Milan is most commonly known as a city of trend-setting fashion, but there's much more to Milan than browsing through designer racks. Rely on Auto Europe to help you make the most of your next vacation in Milan, and get an insider's look at some of the absolute best things to do in Milan. And since shopping is such a big part of the culture in Milan, we have also included a few insider tips on the best places to shop for high-street fashions, catwalk castoffs and the best souvenirs in Milan.
Seeing da Vinci's The Last Supper in person is balanced at the very top of many travelers' to-do lists while visiting Milan, and rightly so. However, if you'll be traveling during peak season, this will be an impossible task if you have not purchased your tickets at least two months in advance. Entry tickets for the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie where the masterpiece is housed are limited, and will typically sell out months in advance during the high season. Our recommendation is to reserve your tickets at least two months prior to your trip to ensure you're able to get into the church to see the masterpiece. We promise it's worth the effort.
As one of the most impressive churches in all of Europe, it will probably go without saying that you'll be making a trip to Milan's Duomo while traveling through Italy, but after taking a guided tour inside the cathedral, we recommend that travelers opt to pay a small fee in order to gain access to the Duomo's roof. Climb the stairs to the very top and walk among the spires and pinnacles for exceptional views extending over the entire city. It has been said that on a clear day, visitors are able to see the Italian Alps and even farther into the distance.
To the surprise of many travelers, Milan used to be outfitted with a vast network of canals that functioned as important trade links to the rest of the Italian countryside. In present-day Milan, only two canals remain and they are nestled just southwest of Milan's city center. Over the past two decades, this area of Milan, which is known locally as Darsena, has become one of the city's liveliest areas in terms of exciting nightlife, trendy restaurants, as well as harboring some of the best antique shops in Milan.
Another delightful surprise to travelers is the amount of green space that is present in Milan. One would not suspect that a city that is renowned for fashion and finance would boast such a fine selection of parks and gardens. Summer is one of the best times to visit Italy, when larger spaces in Milan are sometimes used as venues for festivals and concerts, giving visitors a chance to relax and mingle with locals after a full day of sightseeing and shopping.
Yes, we promised there was more to Milan than shopping, but if you're visiting the fashion capital of Italy, you can't leave without seeing what all the fuss is about. The Quadrilatero d'Oro or "Rectangle of Gold "encompasses Milan's famous shopping streets, Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni and Via Sant'Andrea. If you've come to Milan with money to spend, this is the district for you. These storefronts are oozing with glamour, and even if you don't step foot inside one shop, their window displays alone are enough to satisfy your couture cravings.
If you absolutely must add some designer flair to your wardrobe back home, save some money and shop at establishments offering end-of-season wares at deeply discounted prices. You'll still be shelling out big bucks for these exceptional pieces, but your purchases will keep you on the forefront of fashion for months to come. This is because what's trendy in Milan one minute becomes out-dated the next, and styles that hit the runways in Milan this season won't hit the racks in New York or Paris for almost a full calendar year. Due to this lag, shoppers are able to bag haute couture threads at outlet prices, while being able to return home on the cutting-edge of fashion.
If you were unable to find that one-of-a-kind antique item in Milan's canal district and cannot afford the high-street prices of the Rectangle of Gold, don't fret because that perfect souvenir is still waiting for you in Milan. Wander through the rows of street markets, offering goods that cater to a number of discerning tastes, offering everything from designer clothes and locally made jewelry, to hand-painted porcelain and beautiful silk ties.