ITALY  |  Milan, Italy Travel Guide
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Milan, Italy

Sloes display on Via Montenapoleone in Milan, Italy (cc)
Photo: Warburg
 

Milan Travel Guide

Introduction

Milan, Milano in Italian, is arguably the design and fashion capital of the world, at once stylish and urbane. It has elegant model-lookalikes in cap-toe shoes and stiletto heels, as if straight out of Vogue, seemingly around every other corner. It has fashion houses and luxury shops by the score, together with fancy cafés, high-priced gourmet and Italian restaurants, boutique hotels, world-class museums and galleries, and a profusion of theaters and opera venues packed with well-heeled patrons. And if you need proof of Milan’s prosperity and fashion-centricity, just pop over to the Quadrilatero d’Oro – literally translated, “rectangle of gold,” with the pedestrians-only Via Della Spiga on one side of it, and the posh Via Monte Napoleone, Via Sant’Andrea and Via Manzione along the other three respectively – and you’ll be left with little doubt about the city’s snob appeal. For here, at this quadrangle and along these streets, you’ll find all the pricey name brands and designer labels under the sun, right alongside exquisite jewelry and watches, fine furs and leathers, and literally a full spectrum of luxury goods. And if that’s not enough, Milan has Italy’s most prestigious universities and media houses – think Silvio Berlusconi's media empire – and among the most impressive, centuries-old palaces and churches. Ultimately, Milan is like that debonair gentleman in a finely-crafted suit – pure style!

Location

Milan is situated below the Alps in the country's northwest region of Lombardy, where the high plains rise steeply into alpine terrain.

How to Get There

Sightseeing

Main Neighborhoods

  • City Centre / Duomo District - Heart of Milan, centered around the huge Gothic Duomo Cathedral and Piazza del Duomo, the city's main square. Principal attractions here are the bustling Corso Vittorio Emanuele shopping district; the arcaded, 19th-century shopping mall known as Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II; and the impressive 18th-century palace, Palazzo Reale. The Duomo is located just south of the Brera District.

  • Brera District - This is the "gallery district" of Milan, filled with trendy art galleries, hip bars and exclusive, fashion-centric boutiques, many of them lined along narrow alleys. Top draw here is the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Brera which houses a coveted art collection that includes works by Raphael and Mantegna.

  • Quadrilatero della Moda - A pricey, high-end shopping zone with brand-name stores such as Armani, Versace and Valentino, adjoining to the southeast of the Brera District and centered on Via Montenapoleone, Montenapo to Italians.

  • Navigli Canal Quarter - Bordering the Ticinese canal quarter, southwest of the Duomo and City Centre. The interest here lies in the narrow, atmospheric streets lined with late-night clubs and bars and unique, edgy art galleries. Fiera di Senigallia, an open-air flea market, is held here on Saturdays, as is the Viale Papiniano flea market in nearby Porta Genova, just west of Navigli. Another, the famous Naviglio Grande antique flea market is held here on the last Sunday of the month.

  • Parco Sempione Area - Largest green belt in Milan, north of the Duomo and Brera districts. Star attractions here: Castello Sforzesco, which houses an art gallery showcasing works of Mantegna and Canaletto; Museo d'Arte Antica, filled with sculptures, including Michelangelo's Rondanini Pietà. Also visit the Santa Maria delle Grazie Church just to the southwest of the park, home to Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. Oh, and Torre Branca, a 109-meter tower in the park, offers superb views of Milan.

  • Porta Garibaldi District - The Porta Garibaldi District and adjacent Central Station are a bustling beehive of activity centered on the multilevel store, 10 Corso Como, a design mecca crammed with boutiques, shops and whatnot.

How to Get Around

Where to Party

Where to Eat

Where to Stay

Trivia

Panettone was invented in Milan.

Know Before You Go

  • Best Time to Visit: June-September
  • Cost Per Day: €70-€200 (US$90-US$270)
  • Currency: Euro EUR (€1 ~ US$1.3)
  • Electricity: 220-240V - 50Hz | Italian Socket with 3 serial pins or Europlug
  • Phone Code: +39 2
  • Population: 1.3 million (7.4 million in the greater metropolitan area)

Nearby Destinations

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Last updated November 30, 2013
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