Italy’s financial heart and the home of the national stock exchange is also a global fashion capital...
... and the place where you’ll find Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, one of the world’s greatest cathedrals and many of its finest art collections. And then there’s football, making Milan a contender for the most multi-talented of modern cities.
Milan’s historic quarter and the city’s most famous shopping districts sit in a fairly compact, easily walkable area. A number of major streets are now pedestrianised, and there’s a growing number of cycle lanes, so sightseeing by bike is becoming increasingly popular (see Getting Active).
Metropolitana is Milan’s subway. With four lines running from central districts to the outskirts, it’s the best and most cost-effective way to get about.
Trams are another convenient option, particularly for touring the historic Duomo area, and there are regular bus services across the entire city.
Five public transport lines also operate throughout the night during the week, tripling to 15 over the weekend.
The Milanese like taxis, so services are excellent. Six radio-car companies operate in the city from a single call centre, and there’s a dedicated booking line for disabled passengers.
If you hire a car, Milan has a number of large central carparks along with limited on-street parking. Alternatively, you can leave your car at a Metropolitana carpark and travel onwards to any of the central districts by subway, tram or bus.
Duomo: For history
Milan’s historic district is dominated by the enormous Gothic cathedral that gives the area its name. Several major museums and galleries are located here too, and Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to The Last Supper, is a few minutes’ walk from Piazza del Duomo.
Nothing if not diverse, the best neighbourhood for culture is also good for shopping: 19th-century Galleria Vittorio, one of the world’s grandest arcades, sits almost right next door to the Duomo di Milano.
Fashion Quadrangle: For shopping
The city centre’s glossiest shopping district has long been known as the ‘fashion quadrangle’. It’s a close-knit quarter just north of Piazza del Duomo, formed from four streets: Via della Spiga, Via Montenapoleone, Corso Venezia and Via Sant’Andrea. Yet for all its neat size, it seems that the majority of the world’s leading designers manage to squeeze into this enclave – which is both pretty and pedestrianised.
Porta Nuova: For business
Italy’s stock exchange is in Milan’s Duomo district, but much of today’s city business is conducted north of the centre, in Porta Nuova. Offering a distinct contrast to the historic areas, this hyper-modern quarter is more famous for its glittering new towers than for any hint of heritage. However, it’s saved from being soulless by neighbours including characterful Isola and Porta Garibaldi.
Time zone: Central European Standard Time (GMT +1) and Central European Summer Time (GMT + 2)
Language: Italian, with English spoken by many people working in shops, restaurants, hotels and attractions