Milan, Italy - Stein Travel
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Sophistication reaches new levels in Milan. The financial and commercial centre of Italy, Milan attracts fashion fundis, opera lovers, the young, the beautiful and the bold. Shopping, eating and clubbing is serious business here - and it is no surprise that the city boasts the world's 'most beautiful shopping mall', the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Equally vying for admiration are the Milanese icons of La Scala Theatre (Teatro della Scala) and the Gothic Duomo, one of the world's largest churches. Milan's frenetic pace surges ahead in its drive towards progress, forsaking the lengthy siestas enjoyed in other parts of the country. The city's urban tentacles stretch for miles, although the significant historical attractions are contained between the two landmark sites - the Duomo and the Sforzesco Castle. These reside within the inner loop of the city's concentric design, which is split into four squares: Piazza Duomo, Piazza Cairoli, Piazza Cordusio and Piazza San Babila. The modern civic centre lies to the northwest, around Mussolini's colossal train station built in 1931. The skyline around here is dominated by skyscrapersm from which the sleek Pirelli Tower emerges. The Fiera district that stretches around Porta Genova station is the hub for trade and fashion fairs.

Information & Facts


The climate of Milan is Mediterranean, but like any large urban metropolis, buildings and human activity affect the local micro-climate. In the case of Milan this makes the weather rather more extreme. Summers can be swelteringly hot and humid, with temperatures rising above 86°F (30°C) during August. The mountains behind the city protect Milan somewhat from the severity of winter, but the weather is very chilly with temperatures occasionally dropping below freezing. Winter also brings rain showers and heavy fog.

Eating Out

Milan's restaurants serve everything from traditional local fare to exotic international cuisine. Classic Italian dishes include the usual pastas and pizzas, as well as s alumi friuliani(cured meats), risottos and excellent seafood. Many traditional Milanese restaurants and trattorias(casual Italian eateries) can be found in the Brera, Navigli and city-centre areas. For good pizza when eating out in Milan, try one of the restaurants on Via Palermo. Porta Venezia, Via Victor Hugo and Via Manzoni have more international options, serving Mediterranean, Asian and fusion cuisine. While there will always be a number of Milan restaurants open to diners, it is best to call ahead for reservations. Some restaurants add a service charge to the bill and if not, a 10% gratuity is an acceptable tip.

Getting Around

Milan has an extremely efficient and well-established public transport system, covering nearly 870 miles (1, 400km), which is fortunate because the city's roads are congested and local drivers are frighteningly reckless. The ATM operates the metro, bus, tram and trolley services, which have the advantage of being integrated. Tickets, which can be bought from shops displaying the ATM logo such as tobacconists, coffee bars and vending machines throughout the city, are validated on-board and then have a time limit of 75 minutes travel on any of the transport options, or one ride on the metro. One- and two-day passes are also available. The city's metro is particularly efficient, inexpensive and user-friendly, and consists of three lines. Linea 1, the red line, covers the most important tourist areas near the Duomo. Taxis are freely available but have to be hired at marked stands. Expect extra charges for luggage, or late night or Sunday travel.

Kids Attractions

The chic and historic city of Milan provides plenty of mystifying and magical sights for children of all ages to explore while on holiday. From museums to parks, there's something for everyone in Milan. Take the kids on the big red hop-on hop-off city tour bus, to explore the streets of Milan over the space of 90 minutes. The bus departs from various locations every 75 to 90 minutes along two routes, such as Piazza Duomo or Via Montenapoleone. The Milan Aquarium on Via Gardio, which features over 100 species of fish and other marine animals, will mesmerise the children; the Planetario Ulrico Hoepli (planetarium) on Corso Venezia will educate and captivate young minds; and Gardaland, a popular theme park located in the Lake Garda area, features about 40 different attractions and activities for kids of all ages, including roller coasters, a dolphin pool, dinosaur island, a rapids ride and a fantasy kingdom with singing animal characters. Aquatica on Via Rivoltana is a popular waterpark, where children can enjoy the pools, slides and rafting. During the winter months, when outdoor activities with children are not an option, take them to the Teatro delle Marionette (Puppet Theatre), where classic fairy tales and folk stories are performed; while toddlers will love the Play Planet on Via Veglia, where ball pits, climbing walls, tunnels, tubes and obstacle courses will tire them out and allow parents to enjoy a night to themselves.


The official language of Italy is Italian. English is understood in the larger cities but not in the more remote parts of the country.


The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. Those arriving in Italy with foreign currency can obtain Euros through any bank, ATM or bureaux de change. ATMs are widespread. Travellers cheques can be exchanged with ease in the large cities, not so in the smaller towns. Credit cards are accepted in upmarket establishments and shops around the cities. Banks are closed on weekends, but tend to have better rates than casas de cambios.

Night Life

Fashionable nightlife in Milan radiates primarily from the Brera Gallery and Navigli areas. Centri Sociali is home to an alternative, less expensive entertainment scene. The city offers visitors a vast selection of vibrant bars, restaurants and nightclubs, as well as live music performances. Rolling Stone is the place to hear rock music, often hosting live concerts, while Hollywood is frequented by many local and international celebrities. Alcatraz boasts a disco, bar and concert hall, and often hosts international performances. Old Fashion is popular in summer for its garden and open-air dance floor. El Beverin has a pleasant social atmosphere and is frequented by singers and actors, while Frog Café is an ethnic pub which serves up great cocktails. The Biz Café is an American joint, offering a good selection of beverages at happy hour, and Mas is a very trendy Spanish bar. Musical Box is another popular bar for beer and cocktails, and Arcobaleno is a good ol' Irish pub serving choice ale.


Shopping in Milan is an unparalleled experience. Milan is not just the epitome of fashion paradise, it is considered the fashion capital of the world. This city boasts the most prestigious boutiques and showrooms on earth. In the heart of Milan's shopping area are the streets of the Fashion Quadrilatero - Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga and Via Sant'Andrea - where elegance and luxury can be bought, though at a price. On Via Montenapoleone shoppers will find Gucci, Versace, Valentino and Cartier, to name just a few brands. Chanel, Armani and Moschino are available on Via Sant'Andrea, while Via della Spiga is home to D&G, Prada and Bulgari. After shopping for all these name brands, visitors might like to stop on Via Manzoni at Robert de Niro's restaurant, Nobu, for a breather... Other fantastic shopping stops include Vittorio Emanuele and Corso Vercelli, while Torino and Ticinese house some avant-garde goods and Paolo Sarpi has an eclectic chinatown feel. For more affordable purchases, visit Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Corso Buenos Aires, Via Torino and Corso di Porta Ticinese. On these streets there are shops such as H&M, Zara, Timberland and Diesel. Local markets include Fiera di Senigallia (held on Saturday mornings at Viale d'Annunzio), and Mercatone del Naviglio Grande, at the Alzaia Naviglio Grande, taking place on the last Sunday of each month. The 14% sales tax can be reclaimed by non-EU citizens.


Milan's attractions extend far beyond its fame as a fashion capital: there are many museums, cathedrals and galleries to visit, as well as the Milan Aquarium and the Orto Botanico di Brera gardens. The best time for sightseeing in Milan is spring or autumn, when the weather is warm and sunny. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II arcade is a popular place to relax over coffee, while the Theatre Museum at La Scala is a world-famous opera house worth visiting. The 15th-century Sforzesco Castle's Museum of Historic Art is also a major Milan attraction, as is the Gallery of Modern Art. The Pinacoteca di Brera exhibits collections of medieval and Renaissance art, including the work of Napoleon. The Santa Maria delle Grazie is home to Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting, The Last Supper, and the Leonardo da Vinci National Science & Technology Museum has a collection of his designs for war machines and architecture. Duomo, which is the world's largest Gothic cathedral, and the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, built in the 1st century, are landmark Milan attractions.

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