Milan is the second Italian city, capital of fashion and design, with a different atmosphere from cities like Rome or Florence.
In the Piazza Duomo is located the symbol of the city, the Duomo a massive gothic cathedral, the fourth -largest church in Europe. To experience it at its best you must reach the roof and give a close look to the Madonnina, a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary which is the protector of the city. From the Duomo you can also enter the Baptistery which dates back to the 4th century.
A short distance away is the Ambrosiana Library & Picture Gallery, oldest museum in Milan with great paintings, drawings and medieval manuscripts. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a covered cross-shape arcade which hosts luxurious boutiques and fancy coffees.
Nearby is also the astonishingly beautiful La Scala Opera House, destroyed during WWII then reopened in 1946 remains one of the major Opera House in the world. Furthermore, the massive fourteenth century’s Sforza Castle has been a residence of the Sforza family during Renaissance but also a fort against invaders, nowadays hosts several museums.
In the singular neighborhood of Brera visit the Brera Picture Gallery, with its great collection of ancient and modern art and important Venetian and Lombard Paintings.
Just behind the gothic Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in the former refectory of the neighboring convent, you can find the Last supper, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the mural which gathers people from all over the world. If you are interested in Leonardo’s work you can also visit the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology, settled in an old monastery, the collection includes copies and models encompassing fields such as music, telecommunication, astronomy, transportation, physics, motion-pictures and much more.
The Church of St Ambrogio, is named after Milan’s Patron who built the first church when he was Milan’s bishop, has been destroyed and rebuilt several times but its style influenced the other churches in the region. Another interesting thing to visit is the Monumental cemetery overflowing with contemporary and classic sculptures may be considered an open air museum.
From the top of the iron-made Branca Tower in the middle of the Parco Sempione (Simplon Park) you can enjoy a great view of the city. If you are a fashion lover, you mustn’t forget to stroll around the Quadrilateral of fashion – Via Montenapoleone, Via Manzoni, Via dell Spiga and Corso Venezia.
In the neighborhood of Navigli, which was a system of channel around the city, you can find the perfect spot to enjoy nightlife with a lot of concerts, bars, restaurants and clubs.
What/where to eat
Milan is today a lively multicultural city and even the gastronomic scene always offers new flavors and trends, but for those who want to immerse themselves in the culinary tradition, risotto, Milanese cutlet, ossobuco and boiled meats cannot be missing. For a lunch break you will have a wide choice, from cheap places to eat a quick snack to the most refined restaurants:
Gino Sorbillo. If you love Neapolitan pizza, a very famous place a few steps from the Duomo. Among the specialties also fried pizza.
Antico Ristorante Boeucc. An ancient place, open since 1696, serves traditional Milanese and Lombard dishes, with impeccable service.
Space. Excellent restaurant with traditional dishes revisited in a modern key. Spectacular views of the spiers of the Duomo.
Locanda del Gatto Rosso. Excellent restaurant in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele to eat at affordable prices.
Cracco. Restaurant and bar, an elegant location to try the dishes of the famous chef Cracco a stone’s throw from the Duomo.
The Navigli area has a romantic and slightly vintage atmosphere and is perfect for ending the day in Milan. This place has also become the center of the Milanese nightlife, thanks to the numerous clubs, bars and restaurants where you can have a dinner or an aperitif.Being slightly distant from the center, you can arrive by metro with line 2, stopping at Porta Genova station. Among the best places for an aperitif or dinner there are:
BQ Quality Craft Beer. As the name suggests, the perfect place for beer lovers, to accompany appetizers and sandwiches.
• Tongs. A buffet also suitable for vegetarians and vegans, to be combined with quality beers or cocktails.
• River. Halfway between pub and restaurant, with excellent aperitifs, snacks and hot dishes served at the moment.
• Alle Zitelle. Enoteca for wine lovers, with an intimate and relaxed atmosphere, for those who don’t like confusion.
What/where to buy
Milan is one of the most worldwide famous “fashion capitals” and if you love shopping among the best things to buy there are just clothing and accessories. The fashion district is among the main shopping destinations and here is Via Montenapoleone, the most famous street in Milan, where the boutiques of prestigious brands such as Prada, Gucci, Versace and many others are located. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is another place that hosts some great brands. However, there are shopping avenues with more affordable and low-cost brands, such as Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Corso Vercelli, Corso Magenta, Via Garibaldi . If you do not want to kill your wallet, head to Corso Buenos Aires, specialized in more low cost brands. In Milan three shopping centers really worth the visit. First La Rinascente in Piazza del Duomo, the historical milanese department store that houses designer shops and various restaurants.After we suggest the brand new Tre Torri (under the new three skyscraper built during the last five years), and then Piazza Gae Aulenti commercial hub, close to Porta Garibaldi Station. Next to it is the Eataly Milano Smeraldo store, an ideal destination for gastronomy enthusiasts where you can find specialties from all over Italy The entrance hall is occupied by a lively market where you can shop or eat some snacks, while on the upper floors there are restaurants. But if you want to take some Milanese specialties home, go to the Pasticceria Marchesi in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele or in Corso Magenta to buy an artisan panettone all year round.