Ah, Milano! While the capital city of Lombardy may not be at the top of most Italophiles’ bucket list, it really should be. Whether you’re looking to spice up your wardrobe, go wild at a football game or treat your ears to an opera, Milan’s sights and sounds never fail to impress culture vultures, sports fanatics, foodies and party animals. If you’re ready to wave buon giorno to Italy’s hub of fashion and business, say grazie to The Culture Trip, whose infographic will give you some insider tips about what to eat and do, and dove si trova the best attractions. By the way, it’ll even teach you what these handy Italian words and phrases mean! Let’s dig a little deeper and find out what a visit to this world-class city has in store for you.
Plan Your Trip
When you’re planning your city break, keep in mind that April to May and September to October are the best times to visit, as these months generally see fewer tourists and the best weather. Unless you’re prepared to take on winter’s chilly wrath (yes, it comes to Italy, too!), it’s advisable to avoid the city in January. And, at the other end of the thermometer, unless you want to sweat like a dog, steer clear of Milan’s sweltering streets in July.
While the public transportation in many Italian cities is not entirely tobe trusted, you’re in luck here. Don’t bother renting a car, as sticking to the metro and buses will allow you to get around the city with ease –without breaking the bank.
What to See
Although you could spend days (if not weeks) uncovering the cultural gems of Milan, here are a few must-see attractions to get you started.
Sforza Castle – This magnificent citadel was built by the Duke of Milan – Francesco Sforza – in the fifteenth century. Considered one of the largest and most palatial fortresses constructed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, along with the well-preserved architectural splendour of the building, it is also home to some of the city’s best museums. One of the most popular of these with tourists is the Pinacoteca, which displays a host of famous artwork by Titian, Tintoretto, Canaletto and many others.
Teatro alla Scala – If you’re a die-hard opera fan,a visit to this opera house is an absolute must. Since 1778, this glorious building has hosted some of the world’s most famous singers, including Renata Tebaldi and Luciano Pavarotti. It even has its own chorus, ballet company and orchestra. Tickets to performances sell like hotcakes, so be sure to book as far in advance as possible so you don’t miss out.
Museo del Novecento– Located close to the famousPiazza del Duomo, this art museum houses an impressive collection of twentieth-century masterpieces. From international superstars like Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol to a range of celebrated Italian artists, including Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla, the venue’s impressive collection is an absolute must for those with a taste for modernist art.
Milan Cathedral – The city’s stunning cathedral is the biggest church in Italy, because while St. Peter’s Basilica is larger, that’s technically in Vatican City. The stereotype that Italians like taking their time certainly holds true for this structure: construction began in 1386, but was not completed until 1965! However, it was definitely worth waiting six centuries for this imposing, Gothic-style edifice, which housesan array of striking paintings and sculptures. What’s more, the cathedral’s roof is open to visitors for free, allowing them to enjoy sweeping views of the city and admire the building’s flying buttresses and intricate spires and pinnacles from a very close vantage.
What to Eat
We should really be talking about what NOT to eat, as that list would be significantly shorter! While the plethora of Milanese specialities are sure to transport you straight to cloud nine, make doubly sure you don’t miss out on these, in particular.
Ossobuco alla Milanese– Braised veal with vegetables. A legendary combination.
Mondeghili– Milanese-style meatballs. Truly divine.
Risotto alla Milanese – Saffron-infused rice with flavoursome onions. Delizioso!
Panettone – A sweet, fluffy bread that contains lemon, sultanas and oranges. It’s always tasty, but it’s particularly popular around Christmas and New Year.
Luini – Tomato and mozzarella covered in fried dough. The ultimate afternoon snack.
Cotoletta alla Milanese– A fried veal or chicken cutlet. Italy’s scrumptious version of Schnitzel.
So,eccoti: your essential travel guide to the highly underrated city of Milan. If you’re ready to experience the full breadth of the city’s cultural wonders, these top tips will definitely help you get your bearings. Buon viaggio!