As the ultimate fashion destination, Milan will delight fashion victims and fine arts lovers. Check out our plan for a 48-hour city break: must-do tours, recommended things to see and do, restaurants, etc.
See Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece
Paris has the Mona Lisa, Milan has The Last Supper! So you simply must go and gaze upon the other pictorial masterpiece of the great Leonardo da Vinci. It represents one of the most famous scenes of The Bible, the last meal of Christ in the presence of the apostles.
In 1495, the artist painted the fresco in the refectory of the Santa Maria delle Grazie dominican convent, today the Museo Cenacolo Vinciano. Although the fresco is very damaged, the figures depicted still express the apostles’ shared feelings at the time of the announcement.
Entering the Duomo cathedral
Your feelings may run high when you admire Milan from the terraces of the Duomo, the third-largest cathedral in the world. It took six centuries to finish this masterpiece of gothic art, started in 1386.
Start by walking right around the imposing building to admire its incredible ornate details and its 3,400 statues, then descend into the apse, the oldest part. All that’s left to do is elevate yourself (a lift enables you to avoid the stairs!) between sky and earth. Up there, on the rooftops, the golden Madonnina awaits you, a statue of the the Virgin covered in golden copper, the symbol of Milan.
Hold the gaze of Michelangelo's Pietà
Another highlight of your stay, where you hold the gaze of Michelangelo’s Pietà. The imposing Castello Sforzesco, which formerly housed the Duke’s apartments, now houses several museums including the museums of prehistory, of decorative arts, of sculpture and the Picture Gallery.
This is a tour for art aficionados, with some delightful surprises like Rondanini’s Pietà, said to be Michelangelo’s last and unfinished statue, and a ceiling painted by Da Vinci. If you prefer modern art, go to the Museo del Novecento, dedicated to pioneering trends of the 20th century... And rest assured that by the end of the day, Italian art will hold no secrets for you!
Take in an opera at the Scala
Close your eyes and listen! Callas begins the great melody of La Norma. Welcome to the Scala Theatre, probably one of the best lyrical theatres in the world. Its horseshoe-shaped room is held to have perfect acoustics. The works of the greatest Italian composers Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini and of course, Verdi - who worked on it for half a century - have been played there. Likewise, all the performing greats find the consecration of their singing careers there. But to experience such a thrill, you must book one to two months in advance or else queue up in the hope to getting one of the tickets on sale for that evening’s performance.
Stroll around the lively neighbourhood of Brera
No need to book for a stroll around Brera. This lively neighbourhood was once Milan’s Bohemian quarter. Though remodelled, today its streets are still full of charm, brimming with artists, creative talent and antique dealers. So after a stop at the Brera Picture Gallery which displays a few “Raphaels”, “Mantegnas”, “Bellinis” and a nude statue of Napoleon, take a seat at the terrace of a café to enjoy a nice frothy cappuccino or a frozen mojito.
Treat yourself to a unique piece of jewellery
Why treat yourself to a unique piece of jewellery from a Milanese creator! Gemstone rings or fancy earrings, precious metals or synthetic materials, the creators’ boutiques like Maschio Gioielli, Anaconda, Natsuko Toyofuku and Monica Castiglioni reinvent the art of jewellery.
Milan is the fashion capital, the cradle of haute couture and of Italian shopping! Window shopping lovers, you won’t be disappointed: concept stores, fashion boutiques, clothes, shoes, leather goods, sports items, leather and accessories, household linen and more. An opportunity to pick up something “Made in Italy”.
For maximum retail therapy head to the “Fashion quadrangle”, outlined by four main streets: Via Montenapoleone, Via Alessandro Manzoni, Via della Spiga and Corso Venezia. To get a quick glimpse of the best of Milan in terms of fashion, dash to the Rinascente, the equivalent of the Galeries Lafayette in Paris.
Going round the sales in Milan is quite an experience. Don’t worry if you’ve missed them - you will still find good deals !