September 6th, 2015

With two million inhabitants, Milan (Milano) is Italy’s most dynamic city. Milan is Italy’s window on Europe, its most sophisticated and high-tech city, devoid of the dusty history that sometimes paralyzes modern developments in Rome and Florence or the watery rot that seems to pervade Venice.

5 things you must do when in Milan.

1. Get lost in the Duomo: The most impressive church in Italy–maybe in the world. When you finish gawking at the interior, steal a pair of binoculars and salivate over the hundreds of dazzling spires.

2. Check out the Torture Museum: Hands-down, the best museum in Milan–a great break from the traditional Renaissance masterpieces.

3. See The Last Supper: We are not worthy, and as long as it lasts, it will remain one of the world’s greatest artistic treasures.

4. Barhop on the Navigli Canals: So many happy-hour deals, so little time. Start early, end late, stumble home.

5. Splurge on Something Designer: In this fashion mecca, with Gucci, Prada, Versace, Krizia, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, and others at your fingertips, you can’t pass this up.


Night life

There’s no legal age limit for purchase or consumption of alcohol here–instead you’re completely at the mercy of the shopkeeper and the barkeep. As long as you’re not acting like a drunken fool, you shouldn’t have any problem securing some hooch.

Drinking and carousing in Milan is usually concentrated in ubiquitous locali (bars, cafes, and other going-out places), not on the streets. If you want to be a part of the cocktail-toting fashion elite, just put on some fresh duds, motor over to Radetzky Café (Corso Garibaldi 105; 02/657-26-45; M2 to Moscova; Noon-3pm/8pm-midnight daily, closed Mon afternoon; No credit cards) and order up a L10,000 drink. The large, open windows let you chat with your cool, cocktail-holding comrades mingling on the streets of the Garibaldi.

Word is that Indian food and slinky pumps are a great match. You’ll have to go to Maharaja Fashion Café (Viale Gorizia 8; 02/8942-03-19; M2 to Porta Genova; 2pm-midnight, closed Monday; No credit cards) in the Navigli district to find out for yourself. The food’s more pricey than back home, but who comes to eat? Come late, when all the other pretty boys and girls do–as the night goes on, the focus shifts more to the bar and away from the restaurant.

Loud American music streams out from Indian Bar (Corso Garibaldi at Via Moscova; 02/2900-03-90; 5pm and on; No credit cards), a dark, two-story bar with indoor/outdoor seating just down the road from the Radetzky Café.

The crowd is kind of young and definitely friendly–it’s a good place to ask locals about their views on life, soccer, music, and anything else that comes to mind. Just don’t fall for a 16-year-old (and if they look 16, they’re probably 13).


Milan is its own entity: confident, brash, sometimes a little too cool for school. It’s a city that doesn’t rely on the curiosity of foreigners to dictate its rhythms. You’re welcome to join in, but remember, they don’t really need you. Milan is big and diverse, a sprawling architectural grandiosity. It’s more like London than Rome.

contribution from: Frommers

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