28. December 2012 22:20
If you’re proud of your Prada bag, pleased with your arresting Armani shoes and glad about your glorious Gucci outfit, Milan is not just Milan to you; it’s Mecca. With every known brand having a strong presence as well as plenty of local brands offering competition, Milan is the ultimate magnet for shoppers. It’s not just these brands that make Milan a shopping haven; there’s much more to the city that attracts even non-shoppers to its markets. Find out about the magic appeal of Milan’s shops and check out the best buys here.
Big into Brands
The Fashion Quadrangle which is formed by four streets north of the Duomo is where all noteworthy brands have established shop. The Armani Megastore with its wide range of apparel, accessories and home furnishing, the Gucci Flagship store, Prada’s boutique and Dolce e Gabbana’s haven for women’s wear are just a few known names here. If brands are your mantra, nothing but your budget can stop you from going crazy here. In fact, keeping a budget limit for shopping in Milan can be a crazy idea because it is going to be busted anyway.
Blank about brands?
If you think brands don’t matter, only looks do; you are lucky. Milan’s city outlets like Il Salvagente, D Magazine, Matia’s Outlet and Navigli offer just what you want. If flea markets are your fancy, try out the Fiera di Senegalia fair held every Saturday. Viale Fauche is another place where you can get stylish designer wear at much lesser rates than you get at designer wear shops; of course, this still doesn’t mean the clothes are cheap, but then, you get used to this in Milan.
Apart From Fashion
Though it’s a fashion capital, there’s much more to Milan than just clothes and accessories; brand labels often make people forget this. Cute, small gift articles like leather bookmarks, home linen, ceramic utensils and pieces of art are must buys here. Get these as souvenirs and you will find that they are lovely conversation starters.
Another classically Milan purchase would be distinctive Murano glass items that are designed to perfection. Other than ornaments, you can get glass pens, flower vases and picture frames. These are sure to remind you of your shopping experience in Milan. Alessi’s houseware and kitchenware products are other interesting buys here.
Of course, it would be lovely if you could get back some of that lovely gelaterie; but then, maybe it tastes best only when you have the Duomo as your background. However, you can get back some lovely Italian food souvenirs like dried pasta, chocolates, olive oil, Amaretti and Cantucci biscuits and balsamic vinegar. Bakery products like Siena cake are also great to buy as gifts for people back home.
Shopping in Milan
Most shops close by 7.30 PM and have a 2hour break for lunch in the afternoon. On Sundays, markets are usually closed. If you are a non-EU resident, you can claim refund on VAT paid for bills for than €155. Remember this when you exit from Milan and maybe this will offer little solace whenever you remember the day you blew up your entire wallet for a “little” bit of shopping.