“Reserved”, “smart” and “cool” would be the three key words to describe Milan. Although outwardly conservative city, Milan is the heart of business finance as well as being one of the world’s trendiest fashion capitals
You can walk around the centre of Milan in under half an hour and enjoy the Sforzesco Castle, the Duomo (Gothic Cathedral) , the glass and steel eighteenth Century Vittorio Emanuele shopping arcades and La Scala theatre. If you are in Milan on a fine day, a trip to the top of the Duomo cathedral is a “must” and the views can be spectacular, in fact if they sky is very clear you can see all the way to the Alps, north of the city. The alfresco painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, “The Last Supper” is situated in the Church “Santa Maria delle Grazie” and can be reached from the centre by walking for 15 minutes or by metro, either from Cadorna or S. Ambrogio stations. The church is situated on Corso Magenta and tickets for viewing “The Last Supper” can be pre-booked.
Most of the museums and churches of historical interest are in the centre of the city.
The most prestigious shopping areas are of course the “Golden Triangle” that starts around Piazza San Babila (Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga and Via Sant’Andrea) housing the top designer stores, whereas the Brera area (Via Brera, Corso Garibaldi, Via Solferino, Via Palermo ) is alive with hip young up-coming designers and funky accessory shops. An street excelling in ethnic and cool clothing and houseware and furniture is Corso di Porta Ticinese. For a wider variety of stores and competative prices a sure bet would be Corso Buenos Aires,(metro stations either Porta Venezia, Lima or Loreto), an avenue overflowing with department stores and boutiques. Closer to the “Fiera” area of the city is Corso Vercelli (metro station Pagano or Conciliazione). On Tuesdays and Saturdays, viale Papiniano and the Canal area of Milan is buzzing with a street market that is a tradition for the Milanese residents, see below.
The biggest department store in the city is Rinascente, situated in the Duomo square and three branches of a smaller department store Coin are situated in Piazza Cinque Giornate, Corso Vercelli and Corso San Gottardo.
The Naviglio Grande Market on the last Sunday of every month.
The Antique market for bric a brac in Via Fiori Chiari, takes place on the third Saturday of every month.
An antique objects and furniture market is held in Via Santa Maria Segreta every Sunday morning. The flea market in Viale G. D’Annunzio (also known as Fiera di Senigallia) every Saturday from 08.30 to 17.00.
Another market, every Sunday morning is held in the parking lot of the subway M3 San Donato with various objects on sale.
A fantastic way to start the evening is taking an “happy hour” (aperitif) in one of the Milanese bars or clubs. From 18.00 onwards , most bars serve drinks with finger food and the price is included with the drinks (average 8 €). Delicious and beautifully decorated buffets are available, take a plate and serve yourself with pasta salads, salami and prosciutto, cheeses and many Italian specialities. Some of the best:
Shu, Roialto, Biciclette, Volo, That’s Amore, Cafè Antlantique, Hotel Executive, Hotel Diana, Bar Marghera, Old Fashion, Cost but many, many more offer great music, cool drinks and a great buffet.
There is something for everyone as far as clubs and discos. Areas that are fun to walk around on an evening are Brera and Navigli area.
Clubs/Discos: Alcatraz, The Base, Magazzini Generali, Hollywood
Disco bars: Cafè Atlantique, G Lounge, Il Gattopardo, Roialto
The standard of food in Italy and especially Milan is superb. Traditional restaurants are serving the new generations of loyal clients and trendy new eateries are opening around the city. Tradional dishes, seafood (brought fresh every day from the nearby coast), crunchy pizza and ethnic fusion temptations are served with relish and enthusiasm everywhere. Pasta of every shape and form with delicious sauces and numerous choices for vegetarians are on the menu, even in the most modest of the Trattorias. Italian ice-cream has the reputation of being the best in the world, once you taste it you will agree. Try to look for the ice-cream that is home made – artigianale, this is the best.
The Northern Lakes region can be easily reached from Milan by train, Lake Como 50 minutes from Cadorna Station, Lake Maggiore 1 hour 20 minutes from Cadorna station.
The Ligurian Coast (Genova) can be reached by train in under two hours.