Milan is the second largest city in Italy (after Rome) and the nation’s fashion and financial capital. Given its location in the north, Milan is the perfect destination for starting a trip through Italy and is home to some of the most famous Italian landmarks.
Where to Stay:
Try to look for hotels, hostels, or bed & breakfasts in “Centro” or “Zona 1”, which is considered the heart of the city and is where all of the attractions are located. If you are looking for cheap weekend deals, be sure to check out Airbnb. This is usually a cheap and convenient way to find housing for a short trip, particularly in the Porta Romana neighborhood of Milan.
What to See:
Duomo (Milan Cathedral): Milan’s Duomo is the 5th largest church in the world and is located in the heart of the city. There are ticket booths located all around the church where you can purchase passes for the inside and the top of the cathedral. Inside, you’ll get a jaw-dropping look at the gigantic church and at the top, you’ll see panoramic views of the city skyline (with the Alps in the background on a clear day).
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: Located right next to the Duomo, this breathtaking 19th century creation is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. Here you’ll find high fashion shops such as the first Prada store, Versace, Armani, and Louis Vuitton, as well as some cute cafés and restaurants.
Teatro alla Scala: One of the world’s most famous opera houses, La Scala is home to an incredible theater and a small but informative museum.
The Last Supper: This 15th century Leonardo da Vinci mural painting is definitely worth a visit. It is considered one of the world’s most famous paintings and is located in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Navigli: Milan was once surrounded by large canals like those in Amsterdam and Venice and the Navigli neighborhood is home to the canals that still exist to this day. Along these canals, you’ll find amazing restaurants, bars, shops, and dessert stops (pasticcerie, gelaterie, etc.).
Quadrilatero della moda (Fashion Square): Milan is one of the world’s fashion capitals and its high-fashion shopping district certainly showcases that. Start at Via Montenapoleone and shop till you drop!
Castello Sforzesco and Parco Sempione: Sforza Castle is a beautiful 15th century structure that is now home to several museums and art exhibitions. Just behind it you’ll find Parco Sempione, the Central Park of Milan and a nice escape from the big city.
Aperitivo: The aperitivo (or plural, aperitivi) is one of the great foodie phenomena of Milan. In several restaurants throughout the city, you are given the option at dinnertime to pay one price (usually €10 to €15) that includes one alcoholic beverage and access to a buffet. Buffet size and quality varies from restaurant to restaurant but overall, the aperitivo is usually a great deal wherever you go.
Literally Anywhere: Use apps like Yelp and TripAdvisor to look for specific restaurants that are in your area and in your budget. There are nice places to eat all around the city. Also, don’t worry: Milan has more to offer than simply pasta and pizza. Though these options are always great, the city is known for its international cuisine.
Cook in Milano: If you want to dabble in the art of Italian cuisine, Cook in Milano might be a perfect fit for you and your friends. You can book a cooking class with Clara, an enthusiastic Italian foodie who will show you how to prepare some tasty dishes, drinks, and desserts (in the most authentic Italian style, of course). Check out her website for available group sessions: http://www.cookinmilano.com.
Nightlife: All year round, Milan nightclubs follow a weekly schedule for international student discounts. If you’re in Milan on these nights, head to these exciting clubs and show your student ID to enter for free or at a reduced price.
Wednesday: Old Fashion
Thursday: The Club
Saturday: Le Banque