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Milan Guide – All at One Place
We’ve prepared a Milan Guide for you so you can find all the information you need for your visit or travel, we tried covering all aspects you might encounter with, we would like to hear your comments, enjoy it.
Milan, the second largest city in Italy in terms of population, dates back to 4th century B.C. In the year 400 B.C. the Gauls, a Celtic people established a settlement here, ruling until 220 B.C. when the Romans conquered the city and the surrounding region. They gave the settlement the name of Mediolanum which in 286 A.D. became the capital of the Western Roman Empire. In the 5th and 6th century, Milan was occupied by several peoples such as the Visigoths, the Huns and the Ostrogoths and was partially destroyed in the attacks.
Due to its location, Milan soon prospered and became the center of trade during the Middle Ages. In 1183 the city became a duchy and was ruled for centuries by the Visconti family. Almost four centuries later, the French king took advantage of the poor defense of Milan and claimed it for himself. However, not long after the Duchy of Milan passed to the Habsburg Dynasty. After the death of the last male member of this dynasty, the Austrian Habsburgs claimed Milan. Napoleon was also among those who conquered this city, declaring it the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
In the centuries that followed, Milan developed economically even though it was again partially destructed in WWII. In the last few decades Milan has also earned the title of “fashion capital”. Today, the city is also known for the Duomo (one of the world’s largest cathedrals), the many art galleries, the La Scala opera house and the oldest shopping mall in the world.
Top sights and attractions in Milan
- Milan Cathedral – the lavish and imposing Duomo
- Piazza del Duomo in all its beauty
- Pinacoteca di Brera – time travel through art
- Medieval beauty – Sforza Castle and Parco Sempione
- “Leonardo da Vinci” National Museum of Science and Technology
Shopping in Milan
At the very mention of Milan, chances are you’ll first think of fashion and shopping. When it comes to shopping, this fashion capital does have a lot to offer. But, Milan’s apparel stores are also known for being quite pricey, especially those at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. But don’t despair just yet. Milan has some less known outlet stores, too, as well as some like Zara, Gap and H&M that are quite affordable. If you opt for the first choice and decide to splurge, the Vittorio Emanuele shopping mall at Piazza Duomo features many popular designer stores including Prada, Armani and Versace, as well as many other. But if you are shopping on a budget, there is a wide variety of cheap shops, too. Visit Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, also near the Duomo, or the kilometer-long Corso Buenos Aires for a wide range of shops that sell all kinds of products, at all prices.
Popular Hotels in Milan
Milan has quite a few hotels ranging from luxury 5-star hotels, to cheaper 1-star ones. We recommend a few to make the choice a little bit easier.
5-star hotels: Hotel Spadari, located just five minutes from the Duomo and other popular attractions, has been voted #1 on TripAdvisor. Principe Di Savoia is an elegant hotel with friendly staff who will cater to your every need. At Park Hyatt Hotel you’ll be warmly welcomed and will enjoy a comfortable stay. Among the best in terms of location and service are also Hotel Hilton, the Carlton Hotel and Hotel Straf, all in the vicinity of Piazza Duomo.
3-4 star hotels: Hotel Dei Cavalieri is a modern hotel near the center of the city. The prices for a room start from 96 euro. Crowne Plaza is a pet friendly hotel with a sauna and Turkish bath, all that complemented by a magnificent view. Prices start from 105 euro. Michelanelo Hotel, a stylish hotel also suitable for families, where rooms start from 110 euro. Lancaster and Soperga Hotel are 3-star hotels, not far from the main attractions and the train station. Though cheaper, they are nonetheless modern and for a price of about 55 euro you also get buffet breakfast.
1-2 star hotels: Hotel Paradiso is surprisingly cheap, only 50 euro a night. The hotel has a beautiful garden and is near Corso Buenos Aires. Sara Hotel is a pretty decent one in this price range (70 euro), with friendly staff but no free Wi-Fi. It’s almost impossible to imagine that Bio City Hotel is a one-star hotel. It is elegant and was fully renovated two years ago. For 70 euro you get free Wi-Fi, parking and breakfast.
Popular City Restaurants
Whether you are looking for a world-class, exclusive restaurant or a more affordable place for a quick bite, Milan has it all. Located in the vicinity of the Centro Storico, there are a number of these restaurants, trattorias and bistros and they all offer different cuisines and have their own personal style of serving the food. Eat in the company of Milan’s elite in one of the high-end, stylish restaurants or enjoy a simple but delicious meal in a local trattoria. And wherever you go, you must try the famous Italian espresso or a portion of tiramisu. Most of these places offer Italian wine, even though the wine list varies from place to place.
The popular fashion brands like Dolce&Gabbana, Armani, Bulgary and a few other have their own restaurants that are as luxurious and pricey as their fashion. But good food doesn’t always have to be that expensive. Many other restaurants will offer you an equally memorable dining experience at much lower prices.
Popular Bars and Clubs
Milan may be known as the city of fashion, with dressed up, fashionable people walking the city’s streets, but there’s another side of this fashion capital, less explored by tourists. The nightlife here is as exciting as it gets.
There are numerous bars and clubs scattered all around the city, but the best one are definitely those in the center of Milan. You can choose from such that exhibit pure elegance in every aspect, to more casual ones where you’ll hang out with bikers. Milan also has a lot of gay and lesbian bars, clubs with live music and so much more. If you opt for a classy bar like Armani or Corso Como, you might even bump into a celebrity. However, the options are quite extensive, so it’s up to you to make your choice and have fun.
Popular Spa & Beauty
Just like with everything else, Milan also abounds in spas and wellness centers where you can go for a relaxing massage, a workout session or a beauty treatment and just unwind. All the 5-star hotels have their own spas, or you can choose from one of the many other options you are offered with.
These state-of-the-art spas have steam rooms, solarium’s, swimming pools and an endless choice of beauty treatments to help you get rid of the stress and forget about everything. Whether you need a facial anti-aging treatment, a massage, a haircut or the entire package, most wellness and spa centers offer all of the above. You only need to relax and leave the rest to the professionals. These luxury spas sometimes offer special deals with discounts, otherwise one of these packages might set you back a few hundred euro.
Transportation to Milan and around it
As one of the major fashion capitals in the world and a popular tourist destination, Milan can be reached by practically every means of transport. There are three airports around the city borders that serve millions of people every year. The Linate Airport is closest to the city center, while the Bergamo Airport, 60 km from Milan, serves the low-cost flights. There are five bigger and more important railway stations that connect the city to other cities and countries, the busiest one being Milan Central station.
The public transport which includes tram, metro, bus and trolley-bus is managed by ATM-Azienda Transporti Milanesi. The metro has 5 lines, while the entire public transport network covers a quite large area of 86 municipalities. The Grande Milano, Milan’s metropolitan area, is served by the suburban railway comprised of 10 lines that go to the city center, whereas the city tram covers 160 km and has 17 lines. The urban ticket valid for 90 on all the ATM network costs €1.5, one-day ticked costs €4.50 and a two-day ticket €8.25. Another way to get around in the city is by taxi or bike, which you can rent, or by means of car sharing. Unfortunately, the ATM network has not yet been fully adapted to people with physical disabilities, although improvements are made continually.
Tips for travelers
Despite Milan’s indisputable beauty as a city, there are a few downsides you should be aware of, especially if you this is your first visit to Milan. All around the most visited monuments and tourist attractions, you can spot people desperately attempting to convince tourists to accept the “free” bracelet they are offering, and you yourself will very often be approached by one of them as well. They will also start a conversation with you and after putting the bracelet on your wrist will ask for money. The best thing to do is to brush them off and continue walking, as they will eventually give up.
Another type of people to beware of are the ones at Milan’s Central Station who will “help” you with purchasing the ticket (even though you don’t need help) and will then ask money for the “service”. Again, ignore them and they will go away. However, be very careful around these people as many use such situations to pick your pockets.
On the bright side, you won’t have any difficulties finding your way around because Milan’s metro system is well-organized and cheap, and thus you can get to any part of the city quickly and easily.
When it comes to shops and stores, you should know that most of them close between 1 pm and 3.30 pm for lunch break, and work no later than 7 in the evening. If you want to eat in a restaurant, it is good to know that those near Piazza Duomo are far more expensive than others, and most cafes and restaurants will charge coperto, a euro per person for sitting down at a table.
It is also worth noting that they appreciate any effort on your behalf to speak Italian, mostly because some of them barely speak English. For any information you need, the APT (tourist office) is located on Piazza Duomo, and if you are looking for a pharmacy later at night, the one at the Central Station is open 24 hours a day.
Always wear proper clothes when you visit a church, especially the Duomo, as you will not be allowed to enter it if you are wearing anything short.
Top 10 Tours to explore beautiful Milan and Lombardy
If you have never visited Milan before and want your first visit to be exceptional, but planning takes a lot of time, there are a number of walking tours that that will take you to the most beautiful and famous landmarks and attractions in Milan. If you are staying a longer and would like to see more of Italy, there are one-day excursions to various destinations including Lake Como and Cinque Terre. The sightseeing tours cost around 65 euro, but they allow you to avoid waiting in line to see “The Last Supper”, without having to book a ticket months in advance and include a tour guide who will walk you through the history of the place.
Milan’s Half-Day Sightseeing Tour visits Santa Maria Delle Grazie, La Scala and the Duomo for a price of 80 euro. You could combine this with a visit to Como with the Milan Super Saver tour for 130 euro. Another Super Saver Tour includes a visit to Verona and the Swiss Alps but will set you back around 200 euro, just as the one to Venice and Lake Como. If you are a football fan, The San Siro Tour is what you are looking for. Milan by Night offers you a unique opportunity to explore this wonderful city by night while getting acquainted with its social scene.
For about 40 euro, you could even see the city from Duomo’s rooftop, in the evening when there are no crowds and learn the history of this majectic cathedral. There’s also the Brera Food Walking Tour that will introduce you to the Italian cuisine in different food shops, accompanied by the guide’s commentary. The Brera district can also be explored by night on the Brera Walking Tour. You could also go to Venice for a day with a day trip to Venice. Other tours include private and shopping tours, trips to Genoa and Portofino, a Segway tour and a few other cultural tours.
Milan discount cards
If you are visiting Milan on a budget and are planning to do some sightseeing, using all the discounts offered is probably something you would like to do. In order to see all the important historical landmarks and monuments, you will most likely spend a small fortune on museum tickets and transportation. And if you are not eating at some of the trattorias, eating out in a restaurant can hurt your budget even more. The best way to save on transportation, food and entry fees, all at the same time, is by purchasing the Milano Card.
You can choose between the one-day or the three-day card, or the all-inclusive card, at a price of €6.5, €13 and €20 respectively. You can buy it online and get it at the airport or train station you arriving at, or you can buy it at several different locations, in one of the Tourism Points. By purchasing it, you get a number of benefits such as discounts of 80% on museum tickets, free use of the public transport, medical assistance free of charge, discounts on match tickets, restaurants, shops and hotels, free card for children younger than 10 and much more. If you are staying longer than 3 day, there’s the option of recharging the card.
If you are only planning on using the public transport (bus, train and tram) you can buy the ATM travel card that costs only €4 and is valid for about 4 years. To avoid waiting in line, purchase it online and get free transport for your child.
The Invito al Teatro is yet another discount card that gives you a 30% discount at 8 theatres you choose. The card costs €76 and entitles you to other theatre discounts, even after your subscription ends.