The northern city of Milan is Italy’s catwalk capital. This stylish, business-minded city also plays host to a number of cultural and artistic attractions. Home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and the world’s most famous opera house, Milan offers a variety of attractions that make it a perfect place for holidays to Italy.
If you are visiting Milan for two or three days, it’s possible to fit in the biggest highlights while still taking in the culture, food and nightlife of the city. Milan enjoys warm summers, which make July and August perfect times to visit. The run up to Christmas is another popular time to get the most from Milan’s famous shopping experience.
The most obvious attraction is the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral). However short your time in Milan, it is unlikely that you will want to miss a visit to the Duomo, which is the world’s largest Gothic cathedral.
Once you have taken in the extraordinary exterior of this building, you can step into the vast interior to view a huge number of artworks and monuments. The less fainthearted can then attempt to ascend to the top on foot to enjoy far-reaching views of the city. It’s also possible to reach the top in a lift.
Shopping is one of the favourite pastimes of the Milanese. There are many good areas to shop, including the Galleria Vittoro Emanuele II, a vast shopping arcade which dates from 1867. For those who want to window-shop in the more prestigious areas, take a walk down Via Montenapoleone, where you’ll find world-famous luxury brands such as Prada, Versace and Gucci.
The Castello Sforzesco is Milan’s castle and can be found conveniently in the centre of the city. It is home to a number of museums with a huge range of exhibits. The grounds and courtyards are also a good place to relax after a tiring shopping trip.
Milan is home to two major football teams, Inter Milan and AC Milan, who share a ground at San Siro (officially Giuseppe Meazza Stadium). It’s often possible to get tickets for matches and with two teams sharing a stadium, you’re bound to catch one at home.
Although it’s neither Florence nor Rome, Milan is home to some great works of art. The Pinacoteca di Brera is the most well-known gallery and displays pieces from many greats, including Bellini and Raphael.
The most famous piece of Milan’s art collection is Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper fresco. The Last Supper can be seen at the Santa Maria della Grazie convent, much of which was bombed in 1943. Luckily the fresco survived. This is obviously a major attraction in Milan so be aware that you need to book in advance.
If the Last Supper has made you peckish, then you’ll find you are in the right city to enjoy some excellent cuisine, from tasty snacks to extravagant meals. Famed Milanese dishes include illa risotto alla Milanese, a saffron infused risotto and cotoletta alla Milanese, pan-fried veal cutlets.
If you have been shopping or visiting some of the major attractions you’ll find many eateries in the Galleria Vittoro Emanuele II. But if you want to splash out, there are plenty of fine establishments across Milan and the city has no fewer than 20 Michelin-starred restaurants.
If your time in Milan is limited, you’ll want to get the very best from the city’s nightlife. La Scala is the Mecca of opera fans. Getting hold of tickets is not always easy, so if you are unsuccessful you could make do with a visit to the La Scala Museum.
Leonardo da Vinci spent much of his early career in Milan and he was not only an artist, but an inventor and scientific thinker as well. The National Museum of Science and Technology exhibits his contributions to the history of science and technology.
Milan is a great city to visit any time of year, but many people choose to go for St. Ambrose Day on December 7th when there is a street fair. Milan’s biggest celebration is in early June each year and is known as the Festa del Naviglio. The city comes alive with music, shows and carnivals.
From opera and art to fashion, Milan has much to offer. The main attractions and shopping areas are all located in the centre of the city, so they are relatively easy to fit into one weekend.
The unforgettable Gothic cathedral and Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Last Supper, are just two of the main draws that will help make this a memorable weekend. Not forgetting, of course, a peek into the designer shops of the rich and famous.
Guest post by TravelSupermarket.