While it may be Italy’s second city, Milan is often overlooked in favour of the romantic waterways of Venice, the food scene of Florence or the historic sites of Naples. Cosmopolitan and culturally diverse, it’s a city best known for hosting one of the world’s most famous fashion weeks twice a year, but there is so much more to this city than meets the eye.
From opera houses and football teams to sumptuous culinary treats, Milan is also the home of:
Mouth-watering Italian cuisine
Italy is famous globally for its delicious cuisine, but did you know that mascarpone and gorgonzola cheese were invented in Milan? One of the country’s biggest food hubs, the city has over 150 restaurants and eateries that have been singled out for awards over the years, three of which have been awarded two Michelin stars. Plus, if that’s not enough, it’s also the birthplace of the tasty sweet treat panettone.
World-famous sports teams
As well as being one of the hosts of the F1 Grand Prix, having the country’s national velodrome and boasting Italy’s best basketball team, Olimpia Milano, the elegant metropolis of Milan is also home to two world-famous football teams: A.C. Milan and F.C. Inter. It’s also the birthplace of Italy’s most widely-read sports newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Prestigious opera venues
Going to the opera should be top of your list when visiting Italy, and luckily Milan has just the place. Opened in the 18th century, La Scala became one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world and remains so to this day. From some of Italy’s finest opera singers to international stars, it’s hosted the biggest and the best in classical music since it opened over 200 years ago.
Important cultural art
Ever heard of Leonardo di Vinci? We thought you might have. While the iconic Italian artist wasn’t born in Milan, he did spend much of his life here and even left the locals a permanent reminder of his work. Located on the wall of the Santa Marie delle Grazie is the impressive oil painting of The Last Supper. Perhaps one of the most famous pieces of art in the world, it’s one of the city’s major draws and has been situated on the church wall since the 15th century.
It’s evident from Milan’s diverse range of architecture that it’s a city of creativity. If you love ingenious design, the Milan Furniture Fair that happens every spring is a definite must-see. The biggest trade fair of its kind in the world, it showcases designs from thousands of furniture companies and draws in visitors from across the globe.
First-class fashion institutions
We’ve already mentioned Milan’s fashion ties, but it’s far more prestigious in the style world than just hosting Fashion Week. The birthplace of some of the biggest luxury designers, it counts Armani, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Ermenegildo Zegna as local labels. Not just a big name in contemporary fashion though, Milan is also home to one of the oldest shopping malls in the world, the stunning Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II, which was modelled on the beautiful 19th century Burlington Arcade in London.
The best happy hours
As well as serving up a variety of wonderful Italian liqueurs, Milan’s bars are also known for their aperitivo. A more impressive version of our evening happy hours that also features food, aperitivo starts around 6pm in most Milanese bars. Take the edge off with a cool drink and get some wonderful Italian food thrown in for free – perfect for keeping you sustained until dinnertime at one of those award-winning restaurants.