Italy’s glamorous fashion capital, where the rhythm is fast paced and the shopping is world class, Milan lies at the foot of the Alps, in the Lombardy region. The most stylish and cosmopolitan city in Italy, Milan reinvents everything you thought you knew about Italian cities. A bustling economic center, home to the country’s Stock Exchange, with a central district where the skyscrapers make the rules, Lombardy’s capital invites you to discover contemporary Italy, where fashionistas and designers invade the city and where two important football clubs, A.C. Milan and Inter Milan, make history.
However, it’s not all about fashion, finance, and football in Milan. The bustling metropolis has a pretty historical quarter where beautiful palazzi (palaces) rub shoulders with trendy bars and chic boutiques. Leave behind the glamour and glitz, and you’ll stumble across superb villas and churches, as well as the breathtaking Duomo. The dining and nightlife scenes are among the most refined in the entire country. Along the Navigli canals awaits a multitude of bars and restaurants, ready to delight your taste buds with delicious Italian cuisine and fine Italian wines.
Many travelers plan a Milan holiday motivated by the abundance of historical attractions waiting to be discovered. The most remarkable of all is undoubtedly the colossal Duomo, a surreal Gothic cathedral that takes your breath away from the first glance. The majestic Duomo is one of the largest cathedrals in the world, a sumptuous structure adorned with elaborated stone embroideries. While the building works started in 1386, the “monstrous” Duomo was finished only 500 years later. Climb the steps to the roof for spectacular views of its 135 spires and 3,600 statues, as well as for lovely panoramas of the city.
Nearby the Duomo, you’ll discover the legendary La Scala opera house. Opera lovers will fall in love with the Museo Teatrale alla Scala, where they’ll have the chance to see collections dedicated to Giuseppe Verdi and memorabilia that illustrates the opera’s fascinating past. Also nearby, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele invites you to step inside one of the most beautiful arcaded shopping galleries in the world. Built in the 19th century, this glass-roofed four-story arcade is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world.
Continue your incursion into Milan’s past with a stop at the fascinating Sforza Castle, a 15th-century red brick castle that was once the residence of the Sforza family and currently houses three museums. The most popular museum is the Museum of Historic Art, mainly due to its rich art collection that includes Michelangelo’s last sculpture, Rondanini Pieta. No trip to historical Milan is ever complete without admiring the majestic Last Supper, one of the most famous paintings in the world. A spectacular creation of Leonardo da Vinci, the masterpiece can be admired on a wall near the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
A true pioneer in the world of fashion and design, Milan abounds in haute couture stores, furniture workshops, and fashion events. If Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle is not enough for you and you’re craving for more fashion destinations, take to Corso Vittorio Emanuelle II, Via Monte Napoleone, and Via Dante. Want to make sure you’re standing out in the crowd? Visit the exclusivist stores located around Via della Spiga, an area also known as the Quadrilatero d’Oro.
Milan boasts a fantastic nightlife that includes an abundance of cultural events, opera, ballet, and theater performances, as well as fun festivals. The theater and concert season starts in October, but many visit Milan especially to attend the parties and street fair organized on December 7th when the city celebrates Saint Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan. Most bars and restaurants in Milan accompany drinks with free aperitivo (antipasti) and remain open till 01:00 when the fun continues in one of the many nightclubs.
The restaurants in Milan are not as famous as its fashion boutiques, but you’ll find great places to enjoy a traditional risotto alla Milanese (rice dish with saffron) or cotoletta alla Milanese (breaded veal). The menus abound in Italian delights, both traditional and reinvented. One of the newest and most popular restaurants in Milan, Insieme is a lovely neighborhood restaurant ready to dazzle your taste buds with Italian dishes with a twist. Also visit the artsy quarter of Brera, a lively and chic university district, especially if you want to try the cool dishes served at IT Milano, a funky restaurant that serves a hipster crowd on the rhythms of Ibiza-style music.
Milan is also an excellent base for superb day trips to the Lake District, where you’ll discover famous destinations, such as Lake Como and Lake Maggiore. Rome is only 3 hours away by train from Milan, and it will take you even less to get to Venice.