Like many of Europe’s finest cities, much of the enjoyment can be found in the street side bars and cafes, where - weather permitting - the visitor can watch the everyday lives of the Milanese as they pass by with frantic vitality.
Of course, it wouldn’t be right to spoil your city break by sitting down all day, now would it? So if you do feel inclined to explore Milan, you’ll find there is much more on offer than the high street fashion shows and chic nightlife, not least the Duomo and the many galleries that make Milan such an outstanding City of Art. Here is an outline of some of the sights worth checking out during your stay, and some of the main ones are explored in some more detail on our Guided Tours page.
For brief visits to this city, it may be worth taking one of the Ciao Milano trams from the Piazza Castello that provide a quick but informative tour of the city. However, given Milan’s layout, some may prefer to adventure on foot as most of the main attractions are in the vicinity of the city centre. This way, you are also sure to experience the immediacy and bustle that define the Milanese way of life.
The Duomo, with its 135 spires and statue of the Madonnina, is the most striking symbol of Milan and is the usual start point for the city visitor. From there, it is easy to venture through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - a must for the fashion-conscious visitor - through to the Piazza della Scala with its world famous Teatro alla Scala . Art connoisseurs are also spoiled for choice, with the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie housing Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, the most famous of Milan’s treasures. Yet you will also find wonderful works in the Brera Gallery and the galleries of Sforza Castle, which contains Michelangelo’s Pietá Rondanini.
To escape the ceaseless pace of Milan, the more laid back atmosphere of the old city can be enjoyed with strolls around the churches and villas at the canal sides of the Naviglio Grande. The large Parco Sempione, behind the Castello Sforzesco, with its library, theatre and Aquarium is also worth a visit, and the mid 19th century Public Gardens south of Porta Venezia can be enjoyed on a hot day.
Milan of course, has a truly unparalleled role in the history of Fashion and on page one of this history is undoubtedly the Quadrilatero, north of the cathedral. This is where you’ll find the houses of Armani, Prada, and Gucci et al. Larger – and less intense – outlets can be found in Corso Buenos Aries and Corso Vercelli. Off the beaten track, it is possible to find bargains amongst the independent outlets and markets that add colour to the Milan shopping experience.
Sporty types may wish to see a match at the San Siro, home of AC Milan and Internazionale, or the Formula 1 circuit at nearby Monza. Further afield, day trips can be organised to medieval Bergamo or Lake Como.