Insider tips on this trend-setting city
Milan is a city that’s always on the march (in impeccable designer footwear, naturally). This northern star is leading the way in art, culture, fashion and architecture – and spring is the perfect time to see it sparkle. From must-visit galleries to the best hotels in Milan, here are our top three things to do, see, eat, drink, shop and stay.
• Immerse yourself in culture – From Da Vinci’s Last Supper, to remarkable collections of 20th century art at Museo Novecento, Milan is an artistic feast.
Top tip: avoid lengthy ticket queues for the Last Supper by booking a private tour in advance with a company such as MilanoArte.
• Take a walk – Stroll along the Porta Ticinese canals and scope out bars and restaurants to return to after nightfall. Or escape the city bustle with a walk in peaceful Cemetario Monumentale, home to the ornate resting places of the city’s great and good.
• Learn to dance – Look out for ‘Mazurka Klandestina Milano’. These pop-up folk dance events see couples gather in public spaces such as Piazza Duomo for impromptu dance classes.
● Derby day - If your visit coincides with a match between AC Milan and Inter Milan, try to bag yourself a ticket. ‘Il calcio’ is something of an obsession and the atmosphere is sure to be electric.
● The curtain rise – Few concert halls can match La Scala for sheer opulence and historic grandeur. Keep an eye on the calendar of classic opera, world class ballet and orchestral performances and book tickets well in advance.
● The world on film – Fondazione Prada is one of Italy’s most exciting cultural venues, regularly hosting international film festivals and exhibitions.
● Ready to wear –The streets of Quadrilatero della Moda are an A to Z of the most sought-after fashion houses. Via Monte Napoleone in particular ranks as one of the most exclusive (and expensive) shopping streets in the world.
● Vintage – Brera district is the place to browse for timeless pieces. At Vintage Delirium, you could stumble across Versace dresses from the 1920s alongside hand-selected accessories. A real treasure trove.
● Interior design – It’s not just the people who are well dressed. Drop into Rinascente Design Supermarket on Piazza Duomo for stylish Italian homeware.
● Breakfast – do as the Milanese do and grab a brioche a la crema to go with your cappuccino. Pasticceria Marchesi in the elegant Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is ideal for fuelling up before a shopping spree.
● Lunch – If you’ve spent the morning tackling the soaring spires of the Duomo, head to nearby Peck for a well-earned rest. This gourmet market is a great place to sample Milanese specialities. If you’d rather eat on the go, drop into Il Forno for tasty focaccia.
● Dinner – Holding the most Michelin stars of any Italian city, Milan is a mecca for fine dining. But will it be Italian classics at industrial chic Carlo & Camilla, or vegetarian haute cuisine at Joia?
● Coffee – Espresso was invented in Milan, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to coffee. Head to Caffe Cova to experience a traditional Milanese coffee house, with delicious pastries to match.
● Wine – Lombardy is known for its sparkling wines, especially the champagne-like Franciacorta. Take a seat in N’ombra de Vin for atmospheric drinks in the former refectory of San Marco Basilica.
● Aperitivo – This beloved northern Italian tradition starts at sundown and continues through to dinner. Head to Bar Brasso for a classic Negroni, Spritz or local creation, ‘Negroni Sbagliato’ which uses prosecco instead of gin.
• A short stroll from the Duomo – Cool and contemporary The Gray is perfectly placed for nights at La Scala.
• Close to MUDEC and the Ticinese canals – Hotel Magna pars Suites is an all-suite hotel brimming with Milanese style.
• Away from the city – Base yourself at Hotel de la Ville, a family-run, nineteenth century hotel in Monza, between Milan and Lake Como.