Milan is Italy’s second largest city. It is also the country’s richest and helped by being the home of Giorgio Armani’s empire, challenging Paris in the fashion stakes. Opulent shops, boutiques and fashion complexes add their sparkle to centuries-old streets and line Europe’s first ever shopping arcade, a grand affair with a fabulous glazed roof called the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
The Galleria is a must visit and while you’re there be sure to have a Campari Shakerato at Camparino(in the Galleria), or a Sbagliato at Bar Basso (close by), but also try the experience of the Ceresio 7 roof top bar or a fantastic Martini Cocktail made from the cart at The Stage.
Besides its two annoyingly successful football teams, Milan is noted for its art galleries but sadly, the tags that cover the city’s walls are less art than pure graffiti.
After the expo in 2015 Milano lives a new life with the new Mudec Museo and brand new areas, Like City Life and Porta Nuova District, in Porta Nuova you have to go for a classic Americano at Pandenus and a classic Martini Cocktail at the Octavius Bar. Other interesting parts of the city is the Navigli area which is very good to see at sunset and the Porta Romana area.
When booking your flight to Milan, note that Milan Linate (LIN) closed from 27/Jul/2019 – 27/Oct/2019, is much closer to the city than Milan Malpensa (MXP) and flying to Linate will save you the forty-minute train journey into Cadorna station.
August is the month to avoid Milan. Not only are there many mosquitoes at their most annoying but much of the city literally shuts down for the month.
Buyers, supermodels and the international paparazzi flock to the city twice a year for its spring and autumn fairs. You will find hotel availability plummet and prices head skywards during fashion weeks, which fall in January, February, June and September. On the second week of April is the biggest design event in the world “Il Salone del Mobile” which brings in thousands of people, with many events all around.
The Po Valley, just outside Milan, is Europe’s largest rice growing area and famed for its Arborio - the variety used to make wonderfully creamy risottos. Unsurprisingly, risotto is one of Milan’s specialities, particularly ‘Risotto allo Zafferano’ (rice with saffron). Another traditional favourite is ‘Costoletta alla Milanese’ (a flattened veal cutlet coated in breadcrumbs). Milano has become very famous for the Italian City with the highest number of Star Michelin restaurants.
Tax & tipping
IVA (value added tax) at 10% is always included within menu prices but it is common for a ‘coperto’ (cover charge) to be added to the bill. Italians do not expect a large tip on top of this: just round up the bill (that is unless you want to properly demonstrate how very happy you have been with the service. In which case, please tip generously.)
Taking a break in Milano is also very good for people who want to enjoy the north of Italy. Milano is close to Piedmont and Barolo Area, 2h from Florence, 1h from Bologna, 2h from Verona and 2 and a half from Venice. Spend one week in Milano can keep you to all the city that makes the “Italian Renaissance”.