Located within Italy’s Lombardy region, this northern cultural hub is easily accessible from major cities and promises to be a great addition to any European itinerary. Try visiting in winter to avoid some of the crowds and choose a hotel near a metro stop for easy commuting around the city.
Start your day Milanese style
For a truly authentic Milanese experience, make a special trip to one of the Marchesi 1824 pasticceria (pastry) shops. Exuding old-world glamour, each delightful store is brimming with sweet treats, including the famous Milanese panettone. Pop in for a stand-up coffee at the counter like the locals do, or relax in the seating areas to order off the menu. Head to Via Santa Maria alla Porta to see the original store, or to experience the decadence of the all-green dining room, visit the cafe located on exclusive shopping street, Via Monte Napoleone.
Marvel at The Last Supper
Adorning a refectory wall within the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Last Supper, painted by legendary Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci is undoubtedly a Milano must-see. Visitors are strictly limited (and visits are timed to 15 minutes) so be sure to book well in advance. Alternatively, consider booking as part of a guided tour to discover more about the details of the work and its conservation – definitely worth the extra cost.
Climb to the top of the Duomo
Alongside seeing The Last Supper, a visit to the Duomo di Milano should be at the top of your to-do list. Dating back to 1386, this majestic white marble cathedral was painstakingly constructed over several centuries, and now holds a commanding presence over the Piazza del Duomo.
Beat the queues by pre-booking a fast-pass ticket and ascend by lift or stairs to the top terraces and Duomo roof. Here you can admire the cathedral’s intricate sculptural embellishments up close and take in sweeping views of the city skyline. Next, descend back into the vast cathedral itself where incredible artworks and stained-glass windows await. Finally, be sure to visit the archaeological ruins beneath the cathedral and discover what was onsite before the duomo was built.
Get your fashion fix at Armani Silos
No visit to Milan would be complete without delving into the city’s internationally acclaimed fashion scene. So, set aside an afternoon to discover more about one of Italy’s most recognisable designers – Giorgio Armani.
Formerly used for food storage, Armani Silos is now a vast exhibition space, designed in Armani’s distinctive minimalist aesthetic. Permanently displaying hundreds of outfits and accessories from past Armani collections, it also hosts temporary exhibitions by guest artists and photographers.
Set across several levels, the exhibition is split into the major themes of Armani’s collections, including an entire floor dedicated to his signature androgynous style.
Pick up an audio guide to discover more about individual outfits in short snippets along the way – definitely a more enriching experience. Afterwards, make an espresso stop at the (naturally very stylish) cafe and pop in to the gallery shop to browse a curated edit of Armani products.
Dine along the Naviglio Grande Canal
For a leisurely afternoon or lively evening, hop on the metro to Naviglio Grande, one of the city’s canals. Enjoy taking a stroll along the promenade before stopping by one of the many waterfront bars and restaurants for an alfresco meal. Try Luca e Andrea for authentic Milanese cuisine served up by super-friendly staff. Top menu picks include the Milanese risotto, a buttery and saffron-infused take on the Italian favourite.
All images by Anika Reynolds
Schedule spa time at QC Termemilano
After a long day of exploring, retire to QC Termemilano for an evening of total relaxation. Formerly a tram station, it’s now a luxurious wellness spa comprising waterfall showers, steam rooms, hot spas and a tram carriage converted into an outdoor sauna. Book an early evening session to take advantage of the happy hour package in the dining room before heading to the outdoor pools to soak under the stars – bliss.
Ms Zebra: There is a wonderful vibe to Milan! Thanks for sharing these great tips to make the most of your time in the beautiful city!
About Anika Reynolds: I’m a freelance writer with a love of weddings and creatively styled events. I have a penchant for pretty stationery and perfectly put together cheese plates, and a never-ending sense of wanderlust!