No Milan city break is complete without shopping in the world-famous Quadrilatero d'Oro ('golden quadrilateral'), a fashion square around Via Montenapoleone (‘Montenapo'), home to Armani and Versace. Brera, north of the Duomo (the cathedral), is popular for its boutiques and elegant art galleries. Browse clothes and fabrics at the Viale Papiniano street market, south of the centre, and find trinkets at the Fiera di Senigallia flea market along the wharf. Pick up antiques at canalside Naviglio Grande, southwest of the centre.
Rustic trattorias, designer restaurants and canalside bars, Milan is a food and drink Mecca. Specialities include costolette Milanese (veal cutlets) and saffron-flavoured risotto alla Milanese. Trendy Brera, north of Duomo, serves everything from pizza to sushi. The southern Navigli and Ticinese canal quarters are packed with romantic restaurants while Milan’s Chinatown, tucked between the Porta Romana and Bocconi University quarter, dishes up ethnic cuisine. Afternoons are for espresso-sipping in Zucca’s mosaic-decorated cafe on Piazza Duomo.
Behind the glitz lies a rich layer of history and culture. Dress up in your finest for a night at the renowned La Scala opera house, north of the Duomo, the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. The nearby Brera district is home to Renaissance masterpieces at Milan’s famous Pinacoteca di Brera art gallery. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper resides at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church. Westward is the gigantic fortress of Castello Sforzesco, a Milan landmark.
The Brera district and canalside Navigli and Porta Ticinese are buzzing with bars, clubs, wine cellars and beer halls. Evenings start with a passegiatta (stroll) before heading to jazz bars in the Navigli quarter or clubs like the chandelier-adorned Il Gattopardo Café, north-west of the centre and set in a deconsecrated church.