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Milan, Italy Travel Guide: What to Do & Eat in Milan, Italy

Let's travel to: Milan, Italy

When you think of a ‘typical’ Italian city, you don’t think of Milan. Milan can often be described as gray and industrial; however, once you get to know the city, you will be surprised when you realize how quickly you’ve fallen in love with it. After spending six months studying abroad in Milan, I can definitely say I've fallen in love with Milan.

What to do and see in milan

  • Take the stairs up Duomo di Milano, the 4th largest cathedral in the world

  • Go to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the world’s oldest shopping mall.

    • Find the bull on the floor. Put your right heel on the bull’s balls and spin three times if you want to return to Milan

  • Watch an opera or ballet at Teatro alla Scala

  • See the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci in Santa Maria delle Grazie

    • Book in advance for a 15 minute time slot. Tickets sell out quickly.

  • Castello Sforzeseco - castle with seven specialized museums

    • Free entry is offered from 2pm every Tuesday and for the last hour of every day, the city’s biggest park built in 1888

  • Discover Milan’s canals in the Navigli district

    • Artsy neighbourhood lined with restaurants and cafes. This young and hip area is lined with a network of canals and comes to life at night.

  • Stroll in the Brera district

    • These picturesque streets and narrow and lined with cute boutiques, apartment and charming cafes.

  • Pinacoteca di Brera - popular art gallery in Milan that holds early collections of italian paintings. Masterpieces by Mantegna, Raphael, Piero della Francesca

  • Fondazione Prada - century-old distillery in Milan transformed into arts centre by Rem Koolhaas’ firm

where to eat in milan

Cafe

  • Bar Luce - designed by film director Wes Anderson

  • Bianco Latte

  • Emporio Armani Cafe

  • Gucci Cafe

Snack

  • Luini - Panzerotti

Lunch/Dinner

  • Pastamadre

  • Taglio

  • Osteria de Binari

  • Giulio Pane e Ojo

  • Al mercato burger bar

  • Pizza il tegamino Milano

  • Burger Wave

  • Temakinho (half Japanese and half Brazilian)

Aperitivo

  • Maya (near Navigli)

  • Spritz (by the big canal)

  • Horaz Felix

Brunch

  • California bakery → brunch is extremely hard to find in Milan

Gelato

  • Cioccolati Italiani

  • No 22

WHERE TO SHOP

  • Quadrilatero d’Oro - upscale shopping district formed by four streets to create the rectangle

    • Via Montenapoleone - most expensive street in Milan and 6th most expensive street in the world

    • Via della Spiga

    • Corso Venezia

    • Via Manzoni

  • 10 Corso Como - more designer stores and one of Milan’s best boutiques

  • Corso Vittorio Emanuele II- high-street chains, Excelsior and Rinascente, Milan’s best department store

  • Corso Buenos Aires - longest shopping road in Europe

  • Corso di Porta Ticinese - small boutiques, young designers, streetwear, and vintage shops

  • Navigli market on Saturday

WHERE TO GO OUT

Clubbing

  • Gattopardo - church turned into club (best on Tuesday in fall/winter)

  • Just Cavalli - best on Tuesday once the patio opens

  • Le Banque

  • Old Fashion - best on Wednesday

  • The Club

  • Alcatraz

  • Armani

Rooftop bars

  • Terrazza Aperol - rooftop bar with a great view of the Duomo

  • Duomo 21 - rooftop bar with a great view of the Duomo

  • Boscolo

  • Ceresio 7

  • La Rinascente - located on the last floor of the famous department store outside the Duomo

  • Terrazza Triennale - beautiful view of Parco Sempione

  • 10 Corso Como

  • Terrazza 12 - 10th floor of the Brian&Berry Building

  • La Terrazza Di Via Palestro

  • Terrazza Martini

Casual bars

  • Birreria La Fontanelle

  • Fun bar with awesome containers to drink your beer from

  • Bar Basso - renown for signature cocktail Negroni Sbagliato

LOCAL SPECIALTIES

  • Milan Fashion Week

  • Aperitivo (‘happy hour’) culture - everyday from 7pm - 9pm

    • Starting from 6pm, people meet for drinks and snacks at one of Milan’s bars

    • Usually 10 euros for a drink and unlimited food. Food can take different forms from olives and nuts to buffets.

    • Locals usually have aperitivo before dinner but some treat aperitivo as dinner

USEFUL INFORMATION

  • Language: Italian

  • Currency: Euro

  • Tipping: Not necessary

  • Transportation: The easiest way to get around is the subway or tram.

    • Buy tickets at a tobacco store (tabaccaio) or newspaper stand (edicola) before boarding and get the ticket validated at a machine that will print the date and time

  • Some stores will have a day of the week that they are closed and will call it a day of rest. All stores are different.

  • Most restaurants and bars have specific opening times and will close in the afternoon

  • Locals drink coffee only during breakfast time or after a meal, never during a meal

  • When buying fruit or vegetable at a street market or supermarket, always use the plastic gloves provided and never use your bare hands

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Capital of Lombardy

  • Europe’s main hub for trade and industrialization

  • City was destroyed during World War II and only after World War II, did the city rise and turn into a flourishing business capital of Italy

  • Ruled by Celts, Romans, Goths, Lombards, Spaniards and Austrians

  • Fashion capital of Italy

    • Home to headquarters of many high fashion brands like Versace, Pucci, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Prada, Armani

    • Business home to 12,000 companies, 800 showrooms, 6,000 sales outlets with four weeks dedicated to fashion shows and other events

  • World’s two best soccer teams, F.C. Internazionale Milano (Inter Milan) and A.C. Milan are based in Milan

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