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Travel to Milan

 
 

Milan

1 December 2014

Enjoy our guide to Italy's fashion capital

Milan will host Expo 2015 from May 1 to October 31, 2015, and in the run-up Italy’s second city is sure to be even more lively than usual. Cultural attractions are plentiful in Milan, despite a reputation for being primarily a business and industrial hub. Yes, this is a destination that thrives on work and industry, and may not boast some of the softer edges to be found in some of Italy’s more tourist-focused locations, but it is a fashion and design capital boasting a rich history, incredible shopping, world-class restaurants and a vibrant nightlife that makes for a fantastic trip, whether it is for business or pleasure.

Duomo di Milano
Italy’s largest cathedral and the fifth largest in the world, Duomo di Milano is dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente. Construction began in the late 14th century, and since then the building has been at the heart of Milan’s story. Tourists even have access to the roof, which offers incredible views across the city. Inside, there is plenty to explore, including various sarcophagi, imposing altars and many a statues. Mark Twain saw fit to dedicate a whole chapter of his book Innocents Abroad to the cathedral, concluding, “I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands.” 

The Last Supper
One of the world’s most famous paintings resides in Milan: the 15th century mural by Leonardo da Vinci in the refectory of the Convent Of Santa Maria delle Grazie, The Last Supper. It has inspired numerous references in popular culture, notably Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. People plan trips from across the globe just to see The Last Supper, but visitors are only allowed 15 minutes to look at it. Booking is essential, tickets for peak season viewing are sold out often months in advance. 

La Scala
Recognised as one of the best opera ballet houses in the world, La Scala has played host to the finest operatic singers and performers. The interior has recently benefitted from major renovations, completed in 2004, which have restored it to its former magnificence. Once again tickets are incredibly hard to come by, but there are tours of the building when performances are not on, offering the chance to take in the architecture. Puccini’s opera Turandot is set to be an early highlight of the 2015 schedule. 

Quadrilatero d’Oro
Milan is a fashion city and in the Quadrilatero d’Oro (Rectangle Of Gold) you will discover high-end boutiques boasting Italy’s finest haute couture. Versace, Valentino, Dior, Armani – they all have a presence. If the prices are too high, the area is still worth a visit as the window displays are often events in themselves, and the pavements outside the boutiques are awash with shoppers wearing what is normally found exclusively on the catwalk. People watching has never been so exclusive. 

POPULATION: 4,058,211
LANGUAGE: Italian
CURRENCY: Euro
CLIMATE: Cold wet winters are replaced with moderately hot summers that can be humid. Alps to the north often block severe cold weather.
HISTORICAL FACT: Benito Mussolini began his march on Rome in Milan in 1919.
FAMOUS RESIDENT: Three-time prime minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi was born in Milan.
WHAT IS MILAN FAMOUS FOR? Its vibrant fashion industry.
DID YOU KNOW? Italy’s stock exchange is in Milan, Borsa Italiana.
WHAT TO EAT: Panettone is a sweet bread loaf cake enjoyed at Christmas and it originated in Milan.

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