City guide: Milan

Ancient Italian city thrives on new trends in fashion, industry and more.

The northern Italian metropolis of Milan is a haven of world-class art, culture and cuisine. The city is famous as a global fashion capital, but the Milanese know business, too. Milan is Italy’s financial nexus, home to its stock exchange and some of Europe’s biggest banks. It’s also an important center for publishing, services and other industries.

Getting to and from the airport

Milan has three airports Malpensa, Bergamo and Linate. Malpensa, the largest and busiest is about 50 kilmeters (31 miles) northwest of the city. Taxis line up in front of both terminals, and the trip costs €95 euros (US$111.56 using the exchange rate US$1=€0.85). Malpensa Express trains run from terminals 1 and 2 to the city center and other stations. Buses depart from both airport terminals.

Bergamo (or Orio Al Serio) Airport is about 50 kilometers from Milan’s city center and is the hub for several low-cost airlines. Taxis are available, but they’re costly. Trains and buses also serve the airport.

Linate is about 10 kilometers from the city center. It’s the closest to Milan but supports the fewest flights. For €20 to €30, you can take a taxi from the airport to the city center. Or get public transportation. The distance to central Milan is about 10 minutes by car and 20 minutes by bus.

Where to stay

  • Luxury: NH Collection President Milano, Largo Augusto 10; Ph: 39 02 77461
  • Upper upscale: Radission Blu Hotel Milano, Via Villapizzone 24; Ph: 39 02 363 1888
  • Upscale: Best Western Plus Hotel Felice Casati, Via Felice Casati 18; Ph: 39 02 2940 4208
  • Midscale: Mercure Milano Centro, Piazza Oberdan 12, Milan 20129, Ph. 39 02 2940 3907
  • Economy: IBIS Milano Fiera, Via Rho Angolo Via Pirelli, Milan 20020, Ph. 39 9375 7511

Things to see and do

With more than 3,000 statues and 55 stained-glass windows, you’ll have plenty to see anywhere in the opulent Duomo Cathedral. Go up to the rooftop for incredible views of the city. If you’re in the mood for something mysterious, go underground to tour crypts, tunnels and subterranean canals. Check out the variety of cathedral tours at different times and price points—something for art lovers, architecture buffs, historians, religious scholars and more.

See what makes Milan a fashion capital with a visit to the high-end Quadrilatero d’Oro shopping district. Even if a Prada creation isn’t in your budget, it’s worth going there to window shop. The Corso Venezia shopping district offers upscale brands at slightly more affordable prices. Shop for hip clothes, accessories and art in the Navigli district.

Get to know the city and its food. Enjoy one of Milan’s walking food tours, which takes you to some of the best eateries in the city. This nearly three-hour small group tour is led by local guides telling stories of Milan’s food, history and culture. Whether it’s ice cream or beer and wine you fancy, there’s a tour to cater to your culinary whims.

Go to the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie to see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. The famous mural of Jesus Christ and his disciples is hidden away on a wall near the church. Reservations are required.

The Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia celebrates Leonardo da Vinci and other visionaries of science, technology and industry. The museum’s collection contains more than 16,000 objects with particular emphasis on transportation, energy production, the iron and steel industry, communications and astronautics.

Where to eat

Caffeine-deprived natives flock to Bastianello. This café is not only a popular place for cappuccino, but also a prime location for people watching. Find it at Via Borgogna 5; Ph: +39 02 3792 0709.

In the trendy Navigli district, El Brellin offers traditional Italian favorites like risotto, osso bucco, and lasagna. The chef also fuses regional favorites to create exciting new dishes. The restaurant has five dining rooms and a beautiful back garden. Go to Alzaia Naviglio Grande 14; Ph +39 02 5810 1351.

Located in the Armani Hotel Milano, the Armani Ristorante is a Michelin-star restaurant offering Italian and international cuisine, as well as beautiful views of the city center and Duomo Cathedral. It’s at Via Alessandro Manzoni 31; Ph: +39 02 8883 8888.

Historic food hall Peck, founded in 1883, is a gourmand’s delight. Fine meats, cheeses, chocolates, pastries and more fill this three-floor celebration of artisanal cuisine. The location houses two restaurants and is a great place to buy culinary gifts to bring home. Find it at Via Spadari 9; Ph: +39 02 8023 161.

Fans of movie director Wes Anderson can grab a drink at Bar Luce. The café, designed by Anderson, is reminiscent of his quirky style. It’s in the Fondazione Prada art gallery: Largo Isarco 2; Ph: +39 02 5666 2611.

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