Milan is an urban and trendy city in northern Italy and serves as both the country’s financial and design center. This juxtaposition between modernity and culture creates a beautiful cityscape filled with skyscrapers and old churches. I could spend weeks in this city, soaking in the amazing sights, eating traditional Milanese food, and attempting to look chic in one of Europe’s most fashionable cities.
Milan is the economic heart of Italy and is certainly the most modern. While not as picturesque as its famous neighbors, Milan is an elegant metropolis with culture in the heart of their center. This is partly due to the city serving as the front lines during World War II and was destroyed by the bombings. An Italian proverb states, “Rome is a voluptuous woman whose gifts are very apparent, while Milan is the shy, demure girl whose treasures are plentiful, but discovered in time.”
Duomo di Milano
The largest church in Italy, the Duomo di Milano is a Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral that took six centuries to fully complete (the last gate was only opened in 1965). In addition to the artwork and the stunning altar within the church, the extra fee is worth it to go onto the roof and see the architecture up close.
Museo del Novecento
Within the Piazza del Duomo sits the Museo del Novecento housing 20th century art. With the majority of the museum displaying Italian art, there is one room that sees foreigners such as Picasso. Be sure to head to the top for the best views of the Piazza and the Duomo.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
One of the world’s oldest shopping malls, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a four-story double arcade right off the Piazza del Duomo. The mall houses some of the top fashion houses such as Versace and Prada, as well as outdoor eating and cafes.
Santa Maria delle Grazie
The Santa Maria delle Grazie church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and houses the mural of The Last Summer by Leonardo da Vinci. In order to view the painting, you must book in advance as only 25 people can enter every 15 minutes.
Sforza Castle / Parco Sempione
Originally a fortress for the Sforza dynasty, the grounds now house seven museums that detail the history and culture of Milan. Adjacent to the castle is the Parco Sempione, a city park that spans 95 acres. A great place to relax and see great views of the city or enjoy a drink at the popular Bar Bianco.
San Siro Stadium
The Brera District is the artistic heart of the city with quaint stores and street markets. Be sure to visit the international 10 Corso Como, a concept space that includes a restaurant, clothing boutique, bookstore and exhibition space.
Eats & Drinks
A touristy spot, Luini is famous for its panzerotti, a cross between a calzone and a doughnut. Worth the wait in line on a side street by the Piazza del Duomo.
With a Mediterranean influence, Alice has earned one Michelin star. A great spot to stop for lunch where your money goes a bit further.
Carlo Cracco revisits signature Milanese cuisine with a contemporary twist in Ristorante Cracco, a two-star Michelin spot.
Al Pont de Ferr
Along the Naviglio Grande, Al Pont de Ferr is a friendly and traditional setting with masterful local creations.
While situated in the touristy Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Zucca is the site where Gaspare Campari first introduced his alcoholic infusion of herbs.
Colonne di San Lorenzo
For a true local experience, head to this square in front of the Basilica de San Lorenzo for a younger crowd drinking outside.
Surrounded by two canals, the Navigli District is a great place to have a charming walk and an aperitivo Milanese. Check out Manhattan Bar.
Located below a chic Nobu restaurant, Armani Prive is a stylish nightclub to rub shoulders with the city’s finest.
I stayed at the SPG hotel Excelsior Hotel Gallia, which was an unbelievable 4-star art deco hotel close to the train station.
Have you ever been to Milan? What was your favorite part? Did I miss anything?
I’d love to hear from you!
xx Jet Set Steph