Milan City Guide
Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region of Italy, is renowned the world over as a fashion capital of the world. This city, which hosts bi-annual fashion weeks, usually receives a huge influx of fashion trade folk who head to its shores to conduct business as well as to observe new trends.
However, aside from being the epicenter of style, Milan is also known to offer various other attractions like world-class shopping, historic landmarks and museums and many other cultural delights that attract tourists of all ages to book a vacation to Milan ever so often.
Where to stay in Milan
The Golden Triangle
Most visitors on a vacation or business trip to Milan like to be based within the city’s golden triangle area, which radiates from its central Piazza Duomo. Located here is the world’s first glass enclosed shopping center, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which is a major draw in Milan. The Golden Triangle affords easy access to other attractions like the Piazza della Scala, which hosts Milan’s famous opera house and Via Montenapoleone that is the city’s high fashion district and the center of design. The Golden Triangle is the most popular accommodation option in Milan and accordingly hosts myriad hotels that range from luxury hotels to discount hotels and budget accommodation options.
Magenta and Brera
The central Milanese neighborhoods of Magenta and Brera are other popular choices for accommodation in Milan. The Magenta neighborhood of Milan is an old residential area that is home to several churches including the famous Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses Leonardo da Vinci’s famed artwork, the Last Supper. The Brera neighborhood is known for its vibrant nightlife and hosts several bars and many inexpensive restaurants. Both these neighborhoods offer a variety of hotels of all grades, which are popular with visitors on a vacation or business trip to Milan.
Places to see in Milan
The Duomo, which is situated on Milan’s Piazza Duomo, is perhaps its most well-known attraction in Milan. The construction of this cathedral, which is the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, continued in fits and starts until it was completed by a Napoleonic order in 1386. The Duomo can house 40,000 worshippers and is adorned with 3400 statues, 135 spires and gorgeous stained glass windows. It also contains the graves of many famous Italians.
Every year during the months of May and September, the Duomo hosts an exhibit of a nail from the cross of Christ, which attracts many worshippers from around the globe. The Museo del Duomo is located opposite the cathedral in the Palazzo Reale and has exhibits of art treasures from the Duomo; though it also hosts the Museo d'Arte Contomporanea, which has exhibits of modern day Italian art.
The museum at Teatro alla Scalla
Milan’s world famous opera house, Teatro alla Scalla is located on the site of the Church of Santa Maria alla Scala. The opera house also has its own museum filled with displays of souvenirs associated with the country’s most famous composers like Verdi, Rossini, Puccini and Toscanini.
The Milan Aquarium
The Milan Aquarium is the oldest and largest of its kind in Italy. The Milan Aquarium is an important center for Marine Biology and Oceanic studies in Italy and is equipped with 36 huge pools filled with more than 100 species of fish sourced from all corners of the world. If you are on vacation in Milan with your children, then the Milan Aquarium should be included as a must-do on your list of attractions.
The Orto Botanico di Brera
The Orto Botanico di Brera is home to Milan’s famed Botanical gardens. These gardens were founded in 1774 by Maria Theresa of Austria who wished to establish a garden which could be used by students. Today these gardens host green houses from the 19th century and flowerbeds and ponds from the 18th century. They are a must-see for any gardening enthusiast or plant lover who is on a visit to Milan.
Museum of Historic Art of the Sforzesco Castle
The huge Sforzesco Castle was built in the 15th century and is one of Milan’s most well known monuments. This edifice, which suffered much damage during WWII, was restored in 1943 and contains three museums including the Museum of Historic Art, which hosts many sculptures including the Pieta Rondanini, which is Michelangelo’s famed masterpiece and his last work. The two other museums located within this castle are the Museum of Applied Arts and the Archaeological Museum.
The Leonardo da Vinci Science and Technology Museum
This museum offers displays of many of Leonardo’s avant-garde designs, which were truly revolutionary at the time that they were created. These designs include war machines to architectural designs and exhibits of applied physics. This museum is yet another fascinating attraction in Milan that is definitely worth a visit on any vacation in the city.
The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie
This Renaissance church is located in the Magenta district of Milan and renowned the world over for being the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous and largest work , ‘The Last Supper’. Leonardo da Vinci lived in the convent at the church between 1495 and 1497 during which he created this famed masterpiece.
Best time to visit Milan
Milan, unlike the rest of Italy has a climate, which can best be described as temperate as it is characterized by hot, humid summers and cold, damp winters. Summers in Milan are usually hot and sultry and experience temperatures that soar above 30 °C (86 °F) especially during the month of July. Winters in Milan are typically damp and cold with average temperatures ranging from -3 to 4 °C (39 °F). The city also receives much snowfall during the winter months.
Most tourists tend to head to Milan during the summer holiday months but the ideal time to sight-see in Milan is during the spring and autumn months when the weather is cool and crisp and walking around the city is especially pleasurable.
If you are in the midst of planning a vacation to Milan, it would be worth your while to explore the various flight deals for Milan that we at Fare Buzz have to offer. Fare Buzz offers cheap air flights all throughout the year and no matter when you decide to book your Milan vacation, Fare Buzz may have attractive cheap air tickets waiting for you.
Getting around in Milan
Milan can be accessed via its Milan Malpensa airport, which is Milan’s largest airport. This airport is located at a distance of 24 miles (39 km) from the city center. The city is also served by other airports like the Milan Linate airport located (4 1/4 miles) east of the center and handles some European flights and many domestic flights. Then there is Milan Bergamo airport, which is located 45 km from Milan, near the city of Bergamo. The Milan Bergamo airport mainly receives low cost carriers from all over Europe.
Malpensa airport is connected by rail, bus and taxis to the center of Milan. The Malpensa Express train connects the airport to Cadorna Stazione Nord in Milan, a station that also offers convenient links to the Milanese subway and suburban rail network.
Milan, in fact, has a well developed and extensive public transport system that is made up of the metro, bus, trams and trolleys, which are all inter connected and easily navigable by tourists. Like every other city, Milan’s transport needs are also catered by taxis, which are plentiful but need to be hired at market stands.
Most tourists on a trip to Milan elect to use the city’s many modes of public transport rather than rent a car in the city for traffic conditions. Parking charges in Milan can be nightmarish. However if you are on vacation in Milan and want to rent a car to visit tourist attractions like Lake Cuomo, which are located on the outskirts of Milan then Fare Buzz can be of assistance. Fare Buzz offers a variety of affordable car rentals for Milan, which can be booked via our booking engine, much like how you would book air tickets.
Where to shop in Milan
Milan is renowned as the epicenter of fashion. Most global trends tend to originate from this truly fashionable city, whose chic residents look as if they have stepped out of the pages of Italian Vogue.
Milan oozes style and thus abounds with numerous shopping options, though inexpensive shopping in Milan is hard to find. The city’s main shopping district is located within its historic district around the Piazza Duomo, a rectangular area known as Quadrilatero d'Oro bounded by streets like Via Montenapoleane, Via Sant’Andrea, Via Monzani and Via delle Spiga, all of which host outposts of big fashion names like Dolce e Gabbana, Armani, Cavalli, Trusadi, Kenzo, Miu Miu, Prada and many more.
Other areas of the city worth perusing for shopping include Corso Como (home to chic lifestyle and furniture stores), Corso Buenos Aires (Europe’s longest shopping street littered with many mid-range brands), Via Brera (art galleries and off-beat boutiques) and the Garibaldi area (trendy fashion finds). Another long established shopping spot in Milan, is the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, the glass roofed shopping arcade located near the Piazza Duomo. This shopping arcade dates back to 1867, and is believed be one of the oldest shopping malls in the world. Luxury fashion brand Prada’s flagship store opened at the Galleria in 1913.
In a city notorious for its outrageous price tags, bargains can actually be found. Mialn actually hosts various discount fashion stores that offer fashion and accessories from the past seasons at a fraction of the price. Outlet stores like IL Salvagente, Dmagazine Outlet, Basement and the outlet stores around Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, are definitely worth visiting if you want to snag brand name fashions on the cheap.
It’s worth remembering that in Milan only the largest stores stay open all day. Most stores shut between 1pm and 3.30 pm and are also shuttered on Sunday. Also many stores and restaurants are shuttered during the month of August for summer holidays.
Non-EU residents are entitled to claim back VAT on purchases totaling €154.94 in a single receipt at stores offering 'Tax-Free Shopping’. Simple ask for a ‘Vat back’ form and then get it stamped by customs at the airport (They may ask to inspect the goods) . You can get the VAT refund in cash at the airport or then you can get it as a refund on your credit card after you post the form back from your home country.
Where to eat in Milan
Italy is known for its exquisite cuisine, much revered throughout the world. Milan, like other Italian cities hosts several excellent restaurants that are well worth a visit. Highly-ranked and recommended Milanese restaurants include Ristorante Carlo Cracco, Clandestino Milano Restaurant, Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia, Armani/Nob, Il Baretto, Gold (restaurant cum nightclub owned by Dolce e Gabbana), OsteriaIValtelina, Giacomo and Il Teatro restaurant at the Four Seasons.
Nightlife in Milan
As night falls over Milan, the city gets ready to let down its hair at the numerous bars, clubs, rooftop lounges, and underground bars that litter its nightlife arena. Stylish new hot spots launch in the city periodically. Buzzing hotspots in Milan currently include nightclubs like Plastic, the Hollywood and Alcatraz, and bars and lounges like Gold, Diana Bar, 10 Corso Como and the Milan outpost of NYC’s favorite jazz club, the Blue Note Jazz Club.