When it comes to fashion, there are four most prominent fashion capitals around the world – Paris, New York, Milan and London. Milan is without a doubt the capital of Italian and international fashion because it incorporates luxury, art, gastronomy and culture, that makes a perfect place for fashionistas, art enthusiasts and celebrities. It is the second largest city in Italy located at the northern part of the country. Weather is important in travelling. The best months to go to Milan is during spring season (between April-June), not so cold, not so hot. The coolest months are from December-February, while the hottest months are from July-September.
So, where to go or what to see in Milan? This is the exciting part. If your main aim is to go shopping, you can’t go to the city without stepping foot in the four main luxury streets where you can find the biggest brands and best jewelry boutiques in Milan, namely: Via Monte Napoleone, Via Manzoni, Via della Spiga and Corso Venezia. The unmissable event is the Milan Fashion week held every September-October and February-March. However, if you want to shop with economical prices, Naviglio Grande got the longest flea market during Saturdays where you can find everything, from clothes, shoes, books, etc. to art works. Naviglio is also famous for its pretty canal and for “happy hour” area.
Next not to miss is the Castello Sforzesco (Sforzesco Castle). It is located near Parco Sempione, Milan’s largest park, where you can also find the Arco della Pace. The castle used to be the seat and residence of the Milan Monarchy, from the 14th century. Different museums are inside the castle with relics of the buildings, fotos and history of the castle itself. Just near the castle is the Acquario Civico di Milano. Gigantic aquariums with various fishes can be found in which kids and adults will love to see.
From Sforzesco Castle, you can just walk going to the Duomo di Milano (Milan’s Cathedral). It’s around 979 meters, though you can also take a subway train, bus or tram for just two stations. Duomo di Milano is obviously Milan’s trademark. This structure took more than 500 years to build, the 4th largest in Europe and the 2nd largest cathedral in the world. Adjacent to the Duomo is the big and elegant Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, where big branded stores and restaurants are inside. The architecture is remarkable and breathtaking. There you will find the “wishing spot”. It is considered a good luck to stand or twirl around the testicles of the bull of Turin inside the gallery.
On the latter part of the Galleria, Teatro della Scala will greet you. This is the famous theater where Pavarotti, Maria Callas, etc. used to sing their great operas and stage plays. Every December, the theater opens, and famous celebrities and politicians flock the building. In front of the theater is the Palazzo Marino, the seat of Italian Municipal Government where the Mayor works.
Every 7th of December, St. Ambrose Day (patron saint of Milan), is celebrated near the Sant’ Ambrogio Basilica where flea markets are lined up. Inside the Basilica, you can find the remains of the two guards who watch Jesus’ tomb. Their bones are still intact. From Sant’ Ambrogio, you can take a subway train, just one stop, going to Triennale Design Museum of Milan. This is must for art enthusiasts. It was designed by Giovanni Muzio and built between 1931 and 1933. It hosts design, architecture, visual and performing arts. There are many art museums in Milan besides the Triennale: Pinacoteca di Brera, Prada Museum, Museo di Novecento, MUDEC, Leonardo 3 Museum, Milan Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, La Scala Museum, Armani/Silos, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Museo di Risorgimento, Galleria D’Italia, and Civic Archeological Museum. The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci though can be found inside the Santa Maria delle Grazie Church. It is not a true fresco, as it was painted on a dry wall rather than on wet plaster. This makes the artwork very fragile that’s why only a limited number of people are allowed to see it each day. If you’re going there, walk-ins are not accepted. Book your tickets in advance.
Italian cuisine is one of the best-known and most appreciated gastronomies worldwide. Don’t miss out their pasta, lasagna, pizza, tiramisu, cappucino, risotto, osso buco, gelato (ice cream), and of course, their wine. In Milan, Pizzeria Spontini has the best pizza and the Panzerotti Luini has the best panzerotti (a dough filled with varying amounts of melted mozarella cheese, etc. salted and deep fried).
When touring in Milan, don’t miss some side trips. Go to Lake Como (an hour away from the city). It is one of the deepest lakes in Europe (400 meters deep!). The lake is well known for the villas of the rich and famous designers, celebrities, football players, etc. Villa Oleandra owned by George Clooney, Villa Casinella, owned by Virgin Airlines, to name a few.
MiniTalia Leolandia Park is also an hour away from Milan located at Capriate, Bergamo. Here you will see the miniature of all the Italy’s best attractions. Fun rides, zoo and shows are on the other side of the park.
There are so many things to do and places to go in Milan. Most of the main attractions are located within minutes of each other. Just enjoy getting lost in the pretty cobblestoned streets, explore the galleries and alleys and you’ll discover more of Milan. Ciao!