Welcome to Milan!
Nestled on the foothills of the Alps is the fashion capital of the world, Milan, Italy--a well revered and much-visited city. A modern cosmopolitan with deep roots in its colorful history, Milan is a wonderful city to step foot on and explore. This insider's guide will take you through its historic cobblestone streets to the ornate cathedrals with dazzling architecture. A glorious city where worldwide locals adore discovering over and over again and Milan is also a chic city fit for a royal.
Where to Begin: Milan’s Best Sights and Shops
Once you’ve flown over the majesty of the Alps and landed in the Milan airport, the first place you have to visit is the Piazza del Duomo. Here is a bustling square filled with people enjoying the sights of surrounding buildings and the sound of buskers performing on the plaza. There you can find Milan’s most iconic building, the elegant Duomo di Milano. Built in 1385, the intricately designed church is as alluring on the inside as it is on the outside, with a baroque main altar and incredible set of decorations. Scale up to the cathedral spires, where you are treated to sweeping views of the city. Just across Duomo di Milano is the city’s most famous shopping complex, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II--also the oldest in all of Italy. The four-story arcade is filled with lavish shops and trendy alfresco bars and is a wonderful place to kill time in Milan. Admire its elaborately designed gallery as you walk on the tile floor with its colorful mosaics.
Worldwide Local Tip: To enter the Duomo, there are potentially two long lines you have to wait in. Skip the massive ticket line--this is one of the most popular things to do in Milan--by booking your ticket in advance on the official website. However, there is no way to skip the security line. Try to visit during the early morning or late afternoon to see fewer crowds in the lines and in the cathedral.
History and Architecture
Head to the Sforzesco Castle to see one of Italy’s most impressive fortresses, an imposing structure previously used as a military base to protect the Duchy of Milan. The castle now holds a collection of museums, from art galleries to archaeological exhibits. The citadel grounds also has wide, open green spaces where people relax on the grass and even have a picnic during the pleasant days. Take a stroll at one of its peaceful walkways through the lake, eventually reaching the neoclassical arch, the Arco Della Pace.
Worldwide Local Tip: Take the tram around the city arrive at your destination with a scenic route. The tram system is cheap and well connected, taking you to close to most attractions in the city. Whether you’re staying in a hostel or a fancy hotel, Milan is best explored by this affordable and convenient system.
Navigli: Canals, Nightlife, and More
Venice isn’t the only Italian city with charming canals running through the streets. Milan has them in the Navigli district, where the city’s best nightlife is located. Take a relaxing stroll by the canal and through rustic buildings, or join in with the locals sipping back on an aperitivo. Also, take a look at the newly built Darsena harbor, where the locals hang around grabbing food and drinks and communing together.
Worldwide Local Tip: The locals live and breathe soccer, and the city has two teams, AC Milan and Inter Milan, sharing one stadium. Watch a game at the San Siro to experience ‘Tifo and feel the fans’ passion in the roaring crowd and the choreographed shows in the stands.
Explore Milan’s historic heart at the enchanting Brera neighborhood. With a complete collection of museums and boutiques along narrow cobbled streets, Brera’s bohemian character epitomizes Milan’s combination of embracing its rich history with a contemporary flair. Enjoy the Milan weather by grabbing a coffee at one of its quaint cafes, but always remember never to order a cappuccino after lunch as the locals consider this sacrilegious.
Worldwide Local Tip: For a laid back getaway close to the city, head to the gorgeous Lake Como. Experience nature along the banks of the lake and in the lush greeneries of the surrounding hills. The journey from the city will take about 2 hours, however, it is a trip worth taking for the breathtaking views and the unrivaled beauty.
Enjoy Your Visit!
Milan’s undeniable allure and palpable elegance can be seen everywhere from its opulent architecture to its historic charm. A city that worldwide locals repeatedly fall in love with, and a place where you enjoy getting lost in, Milan is one of a kind.