Most tourists associate Italy with Rome, Tuscany, or even Capri on the Amalfi coast, but Milan is the financial and fashion capital of the country. Its population exceeds 1.2 million, and the G D P is twice that of Calabria in the south.
Milan is New Italy, Rome is Old Italy!
Milan has a different atmosphere to that of Venice, or Verona. It is more bustling, busy and fashionable with modern grey high-rise buildings. Yet it has a lot to offer to tourists, and people who like fashion. The city boasts the head offices of Armani, Versace, Fendi, Etro Gucci, Valentino, Prada, Dolce e Gabbana and has been attracting the best dressed people since the Middle Ages. No city anywhere is as richly steeped in the art of cutting and sewing in the name of beauty.
Here, tourists enjoy worldly pleasure like – shopping (Milan is a paradise for shoppers), nightlife, the opera, football (soccer in North America), the Scala Opera, Villa Nechhi Campiglio, Galleria Vittorio Emannuele II, the public garden, Castello Sforzegco.
For the shopper at heart, the Fashion Quadrangle behind the Duomo is a must see and unforgettable experience.
The construction of the Duomo (the Dome) started in 1386 and continued for many years, the Scala theatre opened in 1778 and after World War II had to be restored. It reopened in 2004 in its old grandeur and glitz. Tickets range from $ 15.00 up to $ 300.00 pending on inflation.
There are also many museums for those who like to visit – Museo del Duomo, the Brera Art Gallery, the Bagatti, Valsecchi Museum, Civico Museo Archeologico, the Sforzesco Castle (Note all museum are closed on Mondays).
If you like to admire old architecture, visit Saint Mary of the Graces (houses the Last Supper of Leonardo Da Vinci), Saint Maurice, San Lorenzo (Fourth century basilica) and when you are tired, head to the public gardens behind the Fashion Quandrangle.
In Milan you can walk comfortably starting at the Duomo, to the Scala, the Fashion Quadrangle, and the Castello Sforzesco, or use the efficient public transportation.
Milan can be visited any time of the year, winters being relatively mild and summers generally warm.
Do not miss the Galleria Vittorio Emannele (arcaded shopping gallery) that can be regarded as the prototype of shopping malls in North America).
Milan is easy to reach – you can fly into Malpensa or Linate airports, drive from anywhere in Europe, book a train ticket, or use the frequent bus service from any major Italian city.
If you are looking for a restaurant, Antica Trattoria della Pesa, Giacomo Bistrot, Trussardi, and Cracco are popular. Generally, restaurants around the Duomo are expensive, but there are many buffet-style or fast food eateries outside the “touristy downtown”.
The same is true for accommodation – you can stay in Park Hyatt, Principe di Savoia, Villa d’Este, or Bulgari if you want luxury and are prepared for it, otherwise everything from bed and breakfast t mid-priced hotels can be found at the click of a “mouse” on your computer.
For shoppers, G. Lorenzi, Giosa Milano, Via Dante, and the Fashion Quadrangle are the most popular.