Spring marks the start of the alfresco drinking and dining season. Come 6pm, the bars and restaurants which line the waterways of the Navigli and Porta Ticinese canal quarters are filled with locals and visitors sipping happy hour drinks and nibbling on tasty Italian cold cuts and cheeses. After, dine on outdoor terraces of the area’s traditional restaurants, try the wine bars and birrerie or stay out late in the canal quarter’s nightclubs.
A spring holiday in Milan is incomplete without a stroll or picnic in the 116 acres of landscaped grounds of Parco Sempione, Milan’s biggest park. Head to a deli and pack a picnic hamper with fresh Italian bread, Parma ham and Gorgonzola cheese and enjoy a picnic on the large meadow or by the lake. Don’t miss the De Chirico-designed fountain. Later, listen to music over a drink and snack from the decked terrace or the first-floor lounge of Bar Bianco in the park. Bar Bianco, Viale Enrico Ibsen 4, Parco Sempione, 20121, Milan.
Spot models, A-list celebrities, designers and the latest trends in March, when one of the world’s top fashion shows takes place in Milan. MilanoVendeModa showcases the autumn-winter collections at the FieraMilanoCity exhibition centre. While it’s open only to trade professionals, the city is abuzz with bars, restaurants and clubs hosting fashion events. Dress to kill and join fashionistas over a cocktail at hang-outs like the Principe Bar at the Hotel Principe di Savoia.
Spring in Milan is a chance to enjoy museums, galleries and historic palazzi for free. During Settimana dei Beni Culturali (Cultural Heritage Week) in early spring, all publicly owned museums and galleries offer free entry. In late May, elegant private residences open their doors during Cortili Aperti (Open Courtyards). Some of the Art Nouveau buildings along Corso Venezia which have invited the public inside include Palazzo Castiglioni and Casa Fontana Silvestri.
Milan’s Giardini Pubblici or Public Gardens are in full bloom in the spring. Located at the end of Via Manzoni, they are a welcome respite from shopping before unwinding at your Milan spring hotel. Don’t miss the gardens that lie south of Via Palestro, belonging to the Villa Reale. When the gardens are a riot of color, the Orticola (Flower Show) takes over the whole park. In Milan’s canal quarter, south of the city centre, April sees the Naviglio Grande transform into a sea of color during the Fiori e Sapori (Flowers and Taste) event. Browse flower stalls and art galleries and take a break from the city bustle.
Spring is the ideal time to visit Lake Como, Italy’s third largest lake and just 40km north of Milan, where elegant villas and lakeside villages sit against an Alpine backdrop. In the spring, colorful flora and flower-laden balconies contrast against the blue skies, the smell of wisteria and rose lingering in the air. Enjoy an alfresco coffee or fragrantly fruity gelato in the lakeside town of Bellagio. A short ferry trip away are the flower-filled gardens of Villa Monastero, complete with terraces, sculptures and botanic wonders.