Milan Travel Guide: There is no other city quite as synonymous with fashion and shopping as Milan. You certainly cannot visit the city without picking up the latest from Italian couture designers like Versace, Gucci or Armani, and you will find a wealth of names from across the globe as well. Nearby also lies one of the best food districts in all of Italy, so it's easy to visit both. Here is a list of the best places to shop while you are in town. After all, wouldn’t you be crushed to return home and learn that you missed shopping at the largest Armani/Casa store in the world?
Milan’s Couture Fashion District: Shop 'til you Drop
Quadrilatero della Moda, literally translated as Quadrilateral of Fashion, is the heart of high-end shopping in Milan. Also referred to as the Via Montenapoleone fashion district, this district is broken down into four streets:
Here you will find that flagship Armani store, as well as Chanel, Moschino, Kenzo, Fendi, Hermes, Michael Kors, Miu Miu and Caesar Paciotti.
The namesake and most notable of the fashion streets in Milan, Via Montenapoleone ranks among the world's best shopping. An amazing amount of designer boutiques call this street home, in fact many of the world’s biggest fashion houses are also headquartered here. Names include Alexander McQueen, Alberta Ferretti, Audemars Piguet, Bottega Venetta, Giuseppe Zanotti, Gucci, La Perla, Louis Vuitton, Montblanc, Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, Versace and YSL.
Via della Spiga & Corso Venezia
Bang & Olufsen, Chopard, Dolce & Gabbana, Manrico, Miu Miu, Prada, Roberto Cavalli and Tod’s can all be found on Via della Spiga, while Diesel, M Missoni, Vivienne Westwood and Wolford all reside on Corso Venezia.
What to See Nearby: Historical Landmarks in Milan
Even if shopping is not entirely your thing, or if you are just overwhelmed by so much fashion in one place, this is still an ideal location to include on your itinerary. You really cannot come to Milan without visiting the famed Quadrilatero della Moda, and after a quick (or long) visit, several notable sights, dining and entertainment are just around the corner as well.
Duomo di Milano
One of the most famous structures in all of the Europe, the Duomo di Milano is just a few blocks from Quadrilatero della Moda. Duomo di Milano is second in size only to the Seville Cathedral and while construction was begun in 1386, the spire was not topped with the Madonna until 1762 and much of the building continued until the 1880s. Today work is still done on the cathedral; blocks of uncarved sections still wait to be transformed into sculptures. Truly, the Duomo must be a part of your trip to Milan.
Teatro alla Scala is on of the most notable opera houses in all of Europe, if not the world. The theater opened its doors in 1778, and until quite recently, acquiring tickets to a show was extremely difficult; to be safe you will still need to secure them well in advance. Regardless of whether you choose to attend a performance, you must visit the La Scala Theatre Museum where you will encounter a host of artifacts relating to its history; the Livia Simoni Library boasts 140,000 books, librettos, opera magazines as well as letters from history’s most notable musicians and performers.
Central Milan's Best Foods & Dining: Mangia!
Whether you plan to attempt all of this in one day or have the time to visit these places at your leisure, you certainly will need to eat. One of the most important ways to experience a destination is through food, and choosing the wrong place to dine often feels like a waste. So, here are a few recommendations for both where to eat and where to shop for amazing Milanese fare. Milan is known for the Panini, so make it a point to enjoy one while in the city.
Pasticceria Confetteria Cova, Via Montenapoleone 8, phone: 02.7600578
Snacks: The oldest and probably most famous café in Milan, ultra chic Caffe Cova was originally built in 1817. Cova offers delectable chocolates, pralines, cakes and more, in addition to a fine selection of wines and excellent coffee.
Bottiglieria da Pino, Via Cerva 14, phone: 02.76000532
Lunch: This small and simple restaurant is tucked away on a quiet street, but fills with locals for lunch. Here you will find an array of beef and poultry dishes as well the classic risotto, soups and more.
All Collina Pistoiese, Via Amedei 1, phone: 02.877248
Dinner: Located near Piazza Missori, a visit to this popular restaurant will require reservations. Offering both Tuscan and Milanese specialties, the food here is delicious and served up in a beautiful setting. This trattoria was established in 1938 as is still owned and operated by the same family who originally opened it.
Peck, Via Spadari 9
Peck is a chef or culinary Connoisseur’s paradise. Here, you will find four levels of classic Italian staples and prepared foods. While what is offered varies, Gastronomia Peck has a plethora of hams, wine, cheese, pastas, sauces, oils and vinegar. In the way of prepared foods, you can expect to find delicacies like asparagus quiche, pheasant, rabbit, foie gras, truffles and a plethora of baked goods as well. To give you an idea of the vast array of offerings, in salami alone, Peck offers 25 different local varieties.
Casa del Formaggio, Via Speronari
If you love cheese, this is your heaven. Offering over 300 different kinds of Italian cheese, you may be hard pressed to choose which one to buy.
Gelateria Passerini, Via Spadari
Of course, no trip to Italy would be complete without sampling some gelato. Gelateria Passerini has been around since 1921 and serves some of the best frozen confections in all of Milan.
Milan is a city of culture, fine foods and fabulous shopping. To completely take in the city, you will certainly need to spend days strolling its streets. However even if you are short on time, quick visits to any of these places will give you an excellent sample of the local flavor, sights to see and the couture shopping Milan is known for.
Courtney Driver combines her passion for luxury with her love for writing as the Executive Editor for JustLuxe. An authority on the luxury lifestyle, Driver's travel experience has come to encompass visits to some of the most lavish properties in the world, exclusive transportation methods such as helicopter and private jet, as well as exotic locales like Africa, Asia and the South Pacific. Having...(Read More)