Milan: Fashion capital of the world

Milan: Fashion capital of the world

Milan is famous for its financial power and as a fashion capital of the world. It is not considered as beautiful as other Italian city, but it is a perfect mix of ancient and ultramodern.

Quick facts

  • Name: Milan
  • Founded: 6th century BC
  • Population: 1.4 milion
  • Area: 181.76 km2 (70.18 sq mi)
  • Known as: Capital of Lombardy region, ‘The Fashion Capital’

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Being almost completely destroyed in WWII, Milan was rebuilt into a modern, cosmopolitan city with many historic attractions preserved, such as: Milan Cathedral, La Scala, one of the most prestigious opera house in the world, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the oldest shopping arcade in the world, the Brera art gallery with works of art from finest Italian and European masters and many others.

Modern side of Milan is represented by Pirelli tower and San Siro stadium as fine examples of ultramodern architecture.

Milan is shopping and fashion paradise that has also lots to offer to art lovers (especially opera), and it is filled with high-end night life venues.

Read more: Italy country spotlight

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Main attractions in Milan

There are many more attractions in Milan, both inside the city and in immediate surroundings and Lombardy. We are listing here only top 25.

Duomo di Milano. Massive Gothic cathedral and most recognizable symbol of Milan. It took nearly six centuries to complete from 1386 until final works were finished in 1965. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. One of the oldest shopping malls in the world, this ornate arcade dates back from 19th century. Sforzesco Castle. This medieval fortress housing many art treasures was once largest citadel in Europe. Built in 15th century, it was being reconstructed several times.

Teatro alla Scala. Grand opera house hosting Italian classics. One of the most prestigious and most popular opera globally. Opened in 18th century and it has hosted many premiere pieces. Santa Maria delle Grazie. This church famous for Da Vinci’s The Last Supper mural. It is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pinacoteca di Brera. Part of the Brera Academy, this is the main public gallery contains notable paintings from Italian masters. Located in Palazzo Brera.

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Sempione Park. Large municipal garden in the center of Milan. Founded I 19th century. Contains several landmarks, such as La Treinnale and Aquarium. Royal Palace. Former ducal and government palace in neoclassical style, now hosts cultural center and international art exhibitions. Offering guided tours and a museum visit. Monumental Cemetery. A mixture of styles, this monumental cemetery is famous for incredible sculptures built on the graveyard of notable citizens of Milan.

Via Monte Napoleone. High end shopping street in Milan with all famous fashion and design lables available. Considered as most expensive shopping street n Europe. Piazza del Duomo. Iconic square with Milan Cathedral at its side, popular photo opportunity, meeting place and start of many walking routes of Milan. Several other attractions on and around square. Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio. One of the oldest churches in Milan, dating back to 4th century. Burial place of many early Christian martyrs, hence its original name – Basilica Martyrum.

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Arco della Pace. ‘Arch of peace’ is a monumental neoclassical arch dedicated to peace, built in 19th century and located in the entrance of Sempione Park in Milan. San Siro Stadium. Also known as Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, official home to AC Milan and Inter Milan, is the largest football stadium in Italy (over 75,000 seats) and one of the largest in Europe. Naviglio Grande. Canal connecting Mian and Ticino River. Located in Navigli area, that is very popular with restaurants and bars.

Ambrosian Library. A historic library in Milan, also hosting art gallery. Founded in early 17th century, library hosts over 800,000 books and 35,000 manuscripts, including ones from Dante and Leonardo da Vinci. Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci. The largest museum of this type in Italy, famous for housing some of Da Vinci’s inventions scale models. Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore. Originally built in ancient Roman times, this 4th century church hosts some of the precious mosaics.

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Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli. Another green oasis in Milan, slightly smaller than Sempione Park, but also very popular, especially for many large tress and fountains. Featuring a museum and a planetarium. Branca Tower. Steel tower with panoramic views, located in Sempione Park. Top at near 110 meters is reachable by elevator. Merchants Square. Locally known as Piazza Mercanti is a central city square located between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza Cordusio, and it used to be the center of the city in the Middle Ages.

From other attractions in Milan we also recommend: Milan Natural History Museum, Santa Maria presso San Satiro, Fondazione Prada and Porta Ticinese.

Things to do in Milan

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Milan has many things to offer and not only for visiting attractions, galleries and museums, you will be able to dedicate considerable amount of time for shopping and night life.

If you want to escape city crowds, we recommend day excursion to Lake Como, where you can enjoy tranquil surroundings and have a relaxing day.

If you still want to stay in the city crowd, we recommend visit Milan’s Chinatown, not that big but worth passing by, Bar Luce, the place for perfect Instagram photos, or have a lunch or a dinner on a tram ride in a romantic setting with ATMosfera.


Festivals and events in Milan

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Milan has very active festival and art scene, especially in summer, but the biggest event is Milan fashion week (there are two of those) in January and July. Here are some top recommendations:

Carnevale Ambrosiano (February), Milano Design Week (April), Fiori e sapori (Flowers and Flavours) sul Naviglio Grande (April), Milano Food Week (May), Arianteo (Summer), Villa Arconati Festival (July), Milano Film Festival (September), Bookcity (November), Artigiano in Fiera (First week of December) and Christmas markets and fairs in December.

Interesting facts about Milan

Discovering Milan Walking Tour

Here are some interesting facts about this amazing city:

  • Milan’s Opera house (La Scala) is the largest in Europe – it can host 2,000 visitors.
  • You can ‘adopt’ a gargoyle from the Milan’s Cathedral as an act of preservation of a history of the city.
  • Milan is famous for aperitivo time, when most of the bars serve free finger food during 7-9 PM every evening with your drink.

Best time for flights to Milan

The peak season for flights to Milan is May, September and October. The low season for purchasing tickets is February, March and August.

Milan is served by these airports: Parma Airport (PMF), Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP), Orio al Serio International Airport (BGY) and Milano Linate Airport (LIN). Direct flights to Milan are offered by 88 airlines. Most flights are with Alitalia airlines.

Where to stay in Milan

These are current offers for top hotels in Milan. The list is updated automatically when page is refreshed. Each time you visit you might be able to see different offers.

Safe travels!