The second largest city in Italy, Milan is located in the North of the country and is world renowned as one of the world’s four fashion capitals.
The city attracts around 8 million visitors annually, and are catered to from a wealth of luxury hotels in the city – the fifth most Michelin starred in the world. Thankfully, there are other options of accommodation available too, for those who are not millionaires!
Amongst the cities top attractions are the Santa Maria della Grazie, the Church and Convent built in 1469. The chapel was the original home of the Titian artwork of Christ receiving the crown of thorns, however this was looted by French troops in 1797 and now hangs in the Louvre in Paris.
Art lovers will not be disappointed however, as the chapel’s Refectory is the home of the famous work of art by Leonardo da Vinci – The Last Supper. This work is an al fresco painted onto the end wall of the now refectory. Not a true A Fresco, this work was nevertheless painted onto a dry wall and almost immediately after completion, began to disintegrate. The work has been restored various times over the years.
If you plan to visit, ensure you buy tickets in advance – visitors are only allowed in, in controlled groups of 30 persons and for a 15 minute slot due to the degradation that modern conditions can cause the painting. Tickets sell out months in advance so plan in advance.
Other reasons to visit the city – well for football fans there is the city’s two famous teams of AC Milan and Inter Milan. Whilst getting tickets for a match may be a little more difficult, visits to the legendary stadiums of San Siro stadium and Casa Milan can be arranged in advance, and offers a fascinating tour of the history of both clubs through the years.
Both stadiums feature on the routes of the frequent Hop On/Off buses that tour the city, taking in all of the best places to visit.
Tickets for these are available online and offer other excursions such as day tours to Florence and Turin, so if your timetable allows for it, take advantage of these reasonable priced guided tours in English.
Milan is also one of the four top Fashion Cities of the world, along with Paris, New York and London. With a history in fashion that can be traced back to the Middle Ages, the city was known for its luxury cloths and materials, which continued and developed over the years and was cemented thought the 70s and 80s as young designers launched their new ranges in this city. This makes it a mecca now for the shopping aficionado, with designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Versace and Prada amongst some of the most well known.
Amongst the most important shopping streets, visit the Piazza del Duomo, and the Quadrilatero della Moda which includes Via Monte Napoleone, Della Spiga, Corso Venezia and Via Manzoni, the latter of which is one of the leading shopping districts in the World. Via Monte Napoleane has also been ranked as one of the sixth most expensive shopping streets in the world, estimated at a whopping $770 rent per square foot.
The city is also a great place for picking up bargains from young independent designers – check out local markets and boutique shops to find yourself something truly individual.
There are direct flights from Alicante to Milans two airports of Bergamo and Malpensa throughout the year. Of the two, Malpensa is the closest to the city centre and is well connected by bus and train.
by Yvonne Hollywood, Worldwide Horizons