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Short breaks in Milan – cutting-edge fashion, world-class art, café culture and lively nightlife

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A short break in Milan is all about fashion, food and football. Book a Milan hotel and use this two-day itinerary to make the most of this bustling Italian city.

Milan short break day one, morning

After downing an espresso at a counter bar with Milanese locals, head to Milan’s core, Piazza Duomo. Before entering the majestic Duomo cathedral, take time to admire the surrounded by buildings like the 18th-century Palazzo Reale with its contemporary art collection. Inside the Gothic Duomo, climb up to the roof and stand amid the spires and statues for unparalleled views over Milan city centre. Mid-morning, head to the iron-and-glass Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II mall next to the Duomo. Sip coffee among the mahogany and mosaics of the Zucca cafe and people-watch from the second-floor windows.

Start: Piazza Duomo
Nearest metro stop: Duomo

Afternoon

Take the metro two stops south to Missori to the Fiera di Senigallia, Milan’s open-air Saturday flea market. Winding around the canals, an eclectic collection of stalls sell everything from vintage fabrics and CDs to leather goods. The Viale Papiniano market is also popular (Tuesdays and Saturdays) for its clothes and trinkets. From Duomo, take the metro to Sant’Agostino (changing at Cadorna). Alternatively, shop for designer fashions in the Quadrilatero della Moda, around Via Montenapoleone (“Montenapo”), just north of Duomo. Nearby are the boschetti (little woods) of the picturesque Public Gardens.

Start: Fiera di Senigallia
Nearest metro stop: Missori

Evening

After refreshing at your Milan hotel, head to the lively Navigli canal quarter. Follow Via Vigevano towards Viale Gorizia and the bar-lined streets of the canal quarter. Join locals for the early-evening passeggiata (stroll) and sip aperitifs by the waterways. Complimentary snacks of olives, tramezzini (sandwiches) and cold cuts often accompany the drinks. Take your pick from waterside restaurants, live music venues and all-night bars.

Start: Viale Gorizia
Nearest metro station: Porta Genova

Milan short break day two, morning

A short break to Milan is incomplete without a peek inside La Scala opera house, and its museum has a wonderful display of theatre costumes and sets. Afterwards, explore the neighbouring Brera district, where trendy boutiques and art shops line the narrow alleys. At the Brera National Art Gallery, paintings by Raphael and Mantegna are among the highlights.

Start: Piazza della Scala
Nearest metro stop: Duomo 

Afternoon

A short walk west leads to the landmark of Castello Sforzesco, behind which lies Milan’s biggest green space, Parco Sempione. Climb the steel-tube construction, Torre Branca, for wonderful views of Milan and the Arch of Peace at the park’s northern end. South-west of Parco Sempione is the Renaissance church of Santa Maria delle Grazie on shop-lined Corso Magenta, which houses Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece Last Supper. 

Start: Parco Sempione 
Nearest metro station: Lanza/Cadorna 

Evening

Enjoy your last evening at the ornate and lavishly decorated Il Gattopardo Café, north-west of Milan’s city centre near Corso Sempione. Set in a deconsecrated church, this lavish chandelier-adorned restaurant, bar and club is a Milan institution – no better way to say arrivederci to the city of style. 

Start: Parco Sempione 
Nearest tram stop: Arona Sempione