Milan is a city of class. Here, style, charm and passion meet each other and ‘la dolce vita’ is epitomised in Bella Italia. If you want to be enticed, then read on quickly…

Milan is a great city, with a very unique lifestyle. Not only is Milan a city of traditional art, history and culture, but now it is also known as a world leader in the fields of business, fashion and design. Today, I’ll show you what makes the Italian destination so popular with tourists. Come with me to the fashion capital of Milan and experience the exquisite lifestyle here.

Pure Pleasure

Flair | Culture | Fashion | Cuisine | Nightlife

Milan – the heart of Italy

Even though Milan is not the capital of Italy, it is still a city full of pleasure and passion. Those who live here, live like true Italians and lead an upper-class lifestyle – it’s as if their heart and soul were made according to an Italian recipe! If you set your eyes on Milan, fashion is omnipresent. It is like the Italian cuisine, which seduces all of your senses. Yes, you can say with a clear conscience that Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region, is by far the cultural and, above all, the fashion capital of Italy. ‘La Bella Italia’ is literally in the air and its unique charm makes for a joyful life and exceptional atmosphere.

Before I open the gates to the heart of Italy for you, I have a small savings tip, with which you’ll be able to save a few euros. Because believe me – in Italy there are plenty of ways to get rid of your money. The MilanoCard will prove to be a real saviour if your to-do list mainly consists of sightseeing activities. As in other cities, this card offers discounts on entry fees in Museums, as well as bookings for guided tours, the use of public transport, and even discounts in some restaurants. Your savings card is valid from its first use, for example, when you use public transport.

Architecture and culture to fall in love with

Milan Cathedral

The landmark of this city is Milan Cathedral, and is, of course, the first attraction which I’ll discuss in my article. This architectural masterpiece is something which you would expect to see on a postcard. The Gothic style in which the cathedral was built, is relatively untypical of Italian architecture. The church, built of light marble, is one of the largest of its kind in the world, and the spire is decorated with the ‘Madonnina’, which is a statue of the Virgin Mary. In total, the Milan Cathedral houses almost 4,000 statues and is usually the first stop for tourists, who are sightseeing in the city. Above all, the roof of the cathedral is of great popularity because from here you have an incredible view over the entire city.

Santa Maria delle grazie

Almost as famous is the monastery church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie (Holy Mary of Grace). In this wonderful church is Leonardo Da Vinci’s work ‘The Last Supper’, which is, of course, an absolute tourist magnet. The painting has an astounding story behind it: in a bomb attack in the Second World War, the south wall of the dining room was completely destroyed. But the painting hung on the north wall and remained intact.

Castello Sforzesco

If you continue to the Old Town, you should visit Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle) in the north-west. The castle is located in Piazza Castello and is an absolute must for art and culture fans. Among other things, you will find the Museum of Ancient Art and the Archaeological Museum. Art galleries know how to enchant their visitors, by showing a picture gallery of the painters Canaletto, Mantegna and Cesare da Sesto. And to round off your day, you can enjoy the weather and take a wonderful walk through a lavish park. Its colourful flowers will be sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Castello Sforzesco in Milan,using nd filter to allow longer exposures.

Milan Scala

One of the most famous opera houses in the world is the Teatro alla Scala, also known as La Scala. The impressive building, which stands in the centre of Milan, has a long history. While it was first built in 1776, the building was completely destroyed during the Second World War, so it had to be rebuilt from scratch. As the new building had too many constructional defects, it was demolished again in 1946. Only the outer walls, the lobby and the auditorium remained. Have a guess at what the most expensive ticket there cost? A handsome €2.400!

Museums

The variety of museums in Milan is hard to beat. Even those who tend to avoid entering such a building, will almost certainly want to linger here for a few hours. While some may prefer to visit the Museo del Risorgimento or the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, others may want to take a trip to the Inter and Milan Football Museum, or the Science and Technology Museum. Just to throw a few names into the hat…

Exclusive Fashion metropolis

Fashion and Milan simply belong together, I probably do not have to explain that to you. Designers here work flat out to provide us with the latest trends for the next season. Two times a year, fashion shows take place, in which the designers display their pieces. It is, therefore, no wonder that Milan is famous for its exclusive designer shops (Versace, Prada, Valentino and Co.). The whole world would like to hang such magnificent designer pieces in their wardrobe. Everyone knows that Italian clothing is made from the finest materials and embodies a casual elegance.

Wherever you look, you will see well-dressed people, because fashion is everywhere in Milan. But don’t worry! Even though this fashion metropolis is known for its designer stores, there are also beautiful collections at humane prices. In addition, there are also the ever-popular seasonal clearance sales. Both at the beginning of January and at the beginning of July, the prices drop like crazy. Even the higher-end designer pieces are affordable.

Photo: iStock.com/Manakin

Depending on how your budget looks, I’ll now reveal to you, the best places for a shopping trip. For example, if you’re interested in fashion, but do not want blow half of your holiday budget, head to Corso Vittorio Emanuele. This famous shopping street has many stores, which you will already be familiar with, for example, Zara and H&M. As far as prices and style are concerned, the situation is similar in Via Torino and Via Mazzini. In both Corso Venezia and Corso Buenos Aires, you will find a healthy mixture of mid-range prices. This is, of course, except for a few exceptions, which will completely empty your pockets.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

But not too far away, you’ll soon be able to get a taste of typical Milanese shopping experience. Via Monte Napoleone and Via della Spiga are hard to beat in terms of exclusivity. Cartier and Yves Saint Laurent are just a few of the designers who are based here and have equipped the Milanese with their fantastic fashion. Another little tip which I have for you: take a look down Via Rossini 72, where you will find a Dolce & Gabbana outlet. Gucci and other reputable designers are now setting up their own outlets to make space in their stores for the latest collections.

I’m sure that I’m talking to many people when I say that, after your shopping spree, you might also like to make some purchases from outside of the fashion world. Art lovers should definitely stop by the gallery quarter, Brera. Antique dealers and art galleries share this area with special fashion boutiques for a somewhat more acquired taste. Speaking of taste, those with good taste should also take a trip to Via Spadari 9. Believe me, once you step into Peck’s delicatessen, it’ll be hard to leave. Quality wines of the very finest variety, as well as regional specialities, which are on offer here, will seduce your senses. This is, of course, supposing that you have the right change…

Italian cuisine at its finest

The Italians are just as well known for their passion for good food, as they are for their love for fashion. And as you know, Italian cuisine is one of the most popular in the world. This is with good reason! Good wine and Prosecco are on almost every menu, just like pizza and pasta are never missing from any Italian restaurant. Specialities such as air-dried Prosciutto di Parma, Crudo di San Daniele, Salumi and Parmigiano Reggiano, will make the mouth of every gourmet lover water. But before a hearty dinner is served up in Milan, it’s time to go to a bar or a cafe. Here you can kick off the evening with an aperitif and antipasti. It’s not until 9 pm, that most of the restaurants begin to serve food to their diners.

Photo: iStock.com/anoucka

Colourful Nightlife

For this reason, the happy hour in the cocktail bars begin at 6 pm and end, at yes, you guessed it, 9 pm… A typical drink here is the Zucca, consisting of rhubarb, crushed ice, soda water and an orange slice. In the bar, which is named after the famous aperitif, you’ll be able to enjoy a Zucca, as well as the interior Art Deco design. At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the Dolce & Gabbana Martini Bar. This exclusive location is where the rich and famous, as well as the fashionistas and models, meet. Comfortable leather sofas invite you to relax, and the interior is completely immersed in black and red. However, the true highlight is the Murano glass chandelier.

By the way, you can turn night into day, from Wednesday to Sunday. To give you a small taster, and to prove that this city really is the right party location for everyone, I have picked out three clubs, which could not be more different from one another. For example, in Loolapaloosa, the slightly younger guests celebrate the frequent, themed parties. Whereas, the exclusive Shocking Club draws in high-profile figures. But, if you bat for the other team, Club Afterline will promise you a good night. As a hip meeting place for homosexuals, you can enjoy a cocktail (or two) here, on one of the special themed evenings.

Milan is a city like no other. As an exclusive city, a very special wind blows here – a wind full of charm and class!

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