In our Simple Pleasure series, our writers show you how you can enjoy a fun and easy-going activity in their city without breaking the bank. Here, writer Stephanie Ong shares her secret for a good time in Milan for less than €15.

Milan is my adopted home for good reason. I love that it feels like a big international city when design or fashion week comes around and then like a small town when you bike ride through the center on a quiet summer's night. It really is the best of both worlds.

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Old tram passing at La Scala theatre in Milan
Milan is blessed with a wealth of cultural activities © Leonid Andronov/Getty Images

It may surprise some, but seeing a performance at La Scala (Teatro alla Scala), one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, is one of my favorite low-cost activities.

Even though I'm not a huge opera fan, there's something undeniably thrilling about the whole experience. It floods your senses and tugs at your emotions. You're ensconced in this rich red velvet and gold setting, surrounded by spectators dressed to impress, with this electric expectation hanging in the air. Finally, when the voices begin to soar, there's this communal sense of awe before you're swept away into another world.

What makes this experience even more incredible is that, instead of the usual €100-300 price tag, it can be had for under €15 (generally around €13 or €14 per person).

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Inside Teatro alla Scala in Milan
Tickets for a night at the opera can range between €100-300 © posztos/Shutterstock

How to do it

Simply head to Via Filodrammatici next to La Scala before 1pm on the day of the performance. It won't be signposted, so you'll need to look for the queue forming in front of a person sitting in a plastic chair. Make sure to bring your ID, and keep in mind only one ticket can be booked per person (they won't make any exceptions). At 5:30pm, you'll have to come back again to pay and pick up your tickets. 

Admittedly, you'll have to enter from a discreet side door, and the seats you'll get will be on the highest balconies, meaning you'll spend most of the night craning your neck to get a decent view. But it won't detract from the exhilarating atmosphere and the immersive power of the music.

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