Milan Travel Guide
With massive urban sprawl and a reputation for being the cold Lombard capital, Milan doesn’t feel like a quintessentially Italian metropolis, but with settlers from all over the country making their home here, visitors will find all of Italy in one city.
Known as a centre of fashion, finance and football, Milan is indisputably the country’s most stylish city. Trendy bars and boutiques rub shoulders in the back streets, while on the busy thoroughfares mighty towers signal the city’s superior economic clout. Milan is also the home of two big football clubs, A.C. Milan and Inter Milan, who share the historic San Siro stadium.
As the epicentre of Italian fashion and interior design, there is certainly a buzz about the city. International fashionistas, designers, supermodels and paparazzi descend upon Milan twice a year for its spring and autumn fairs. Many high-end designers still use the city’s trusted producers and it remains one of the best places in the world to shop.
Despite the air of modern flair, there is a rich history here too. Cut through the modern metropolitan bustle, and you will stumble across countless impressive churches and palaces. Start with the breath-taking Duomo di Milano in the city centre, a colossal Gothic cathedral, one of the largest in the world. Then there’s the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, which houses Da Vinci’s restored Last Supper painting, and survived bombing raids in WWII.
There is plenty to see near the Duomo too, including the city’s fabled opera house, La Scala, and Sforza Castle, a grand medieval fortress. Nearby is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, an ancient and glamorous arcaded shopping gallery.
Not all of Milan’s aesthetic appeal lies in the historic centre. The pretty Navigli area in the south has become popular for its many bars and restaurants, as has the chic Brera district and lively university quarter.
Meanwhile, former industrial areas are undergoing urban renewal schemes, such as the old Fiera area, which includes new apartments, a park, a contemporary art museum and a trio of futuristic skyscrapers. It’s bold reinvention like this which reminds us that Milan is truly Italy’s most dynamic city.