Home to cutting-edge fashion, grand Gothic cathedrals and world-class football stadiums, Milan is a cultural powerhouse and one of the most popular cities in Italy. City breaks in Milan offer access to a bustling metropolis with plenty to offer.
When it comes to food, fashion or football, Milan is always at the forefront of the trends.
Must-see places in Milan
If you want to spend a city break in Milan, the fashion capital, leave your usual tourist outfit in the wardrobe and take out your finest togs! Luckily, compared to other Italian cities, Milan is less touristy. However, in high season, the main tourist sites, such as Milan Cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie Church, are very popular. So, if you are planning a city break in Milan, there’s a place you cannot miss if you are looking for some peace and quiet: the Cimitero Monumentale di Milan is a cemetery like no other and the extravagant tombs are really worth a visit.
Even if you’re spending a weekend in Milan, try to find the time to take a train to San Giovanni, the main station on Lake Como, for some amazing scenery and a ferry ride on the lake. George Clooney has a home there and is regularly seen sunbathing completely nude! Well anyway, we can dream…
The best places for partying
Dust off your most fashionable designer suit, adopt an air of sophistication and walk elegantly along the Corso Como. This is ‘the-place-to-be’, one of Milan’s hippest areas to go out at night, which is heaving with bars and nightclubs.Try Hollywood nightclub. Another good spot: Gattopardo Café. This former church is a fantastic venue where you can dance in the nave or DJ Booth.
Things to see
Cathedrals and Basilicas
Milan has more gorgeous churches within its city limits that some countries have within the entirety of their borders. The headline act is without a doubt the magnificent Duomo, a lavish Gothic cathedral that took almost six centuries to complete. Work on the cathedral, Italy’s largest church, started in 1386 and wasn’t finished until 1965. Think about that the next time your builder tells you he needs more time to finish tiling your bathroom. The cathedral has a staggering 135 different spires on the exterior, and an enormous interior that is well-worth seeing. Another essential religious spot in Milan is the 16th-century Chiesa di San Maurizio, which is covered with frescoes by Bernardino Luini. There are also a number of other basilicas to look out for dotted throughout the city, including the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio and the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio.
The Last Supper
Milan is one of the best places in Europe to see Renaissance art. Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic The Last Supper is a very popular attraction, based on a wall close to the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. You don’t have to be an art-lover to want to catch a glimpse of one of the most famous images in the whole of Western society, and there is an informative exhibition detailing the restoration process following centuries of damage to the mural. The Pinacoteca di Brera in Accademia di Belle Arti holds an impressive collection of works by old masters, from Titian to Caravaggio. After seeing so much Renaissance art, you’ll want something a little more cutting-edge. Close to the Piazza del Duomo you’ll find the Museo del Novecento, Milan’s museum of modern and contemporary art and a fantastic place to spend a few hours.
Football and shopping
If you can afford it, or if you’ve just won the lottery, then Via Montenapoleone is the perfect place for you: Armani, Gucci, Prada – your wallet will certainly feel it. But Milan is not just about designer labels – there are also markets, department stores and cheap boutiques to pick up some bargains during your weekend. Go to Brera for the smaller shops, or to the roads off Corso Sempione. Milan is home to AC Milan and FC Internazionale, and you can see these teams play at the legendary Giuseppe Meazza Stadium. If you’d rather spend your time in Milan indulging in some retail therapy, the Fashion Quadrangle roughly marked between Piazza Duomo and Piazza San Babila is home to some of the leading designer shops. Amongst the many big name shops, here you’ll find the Armani Megastore, the Gucci Flagship, the Ralph Lauren Flagship Store, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada. There are also a number of markets to check out for trinkets, second hand books and vintage clothes, including the Fiera di Senigallia flea market in the trendy Porta Ticinese area.
To really make the most of your stay in Milan, opt for public transport: the metro, tramway and bus will allow you to get around easily.
Typical food and gastronomy
Escalope milanese, of course, but also osso bucco, risotto, and not to mention authentic Italian pizza!
For coffee: It is difficult to find a bad coffee in Milan, but Cova bakery on via Montenapoleone serves particularly good ones. This establishment has been around since 1817, and it’s plain to see why. Don’t forget to try its cakes too.
For a tipple: Corso Sempione is brimming with stylish bars. Try Deseo, a restaurant/lounge where you can sink super mojitos and caipirinhas.