05 Apr Stylish Milano: 5 Things You Simply Must Do in Milan
I’ve just returned to the UK after spending a few days visiting a friend in Sesto Calende, near Lago Maggiore in northern Italy. The weather was rather cold and wet when I arrived but I was determined to pop my most stylish threads on and shoot a Youtube video of things to do in Milan. Luckily I picked the right day because when I woke up in the morning the sky was blue!
To be completely honest, I really didn’t like Milan when I first visited- in fact I almost wrote a blog post entitled “Not a fan of Milan”.
When I mention this to people who haven’t been they look kind of surprised and say, ‘But isn’t Milan the fashion capital of Italy?’. Yes it is, but unless you have the cash to flash, Milan is expensive. The city’s famous shopping street- Via Montenapoleone- is lined with pricey designer shops such as Dolce and Gabbana, Prada, Cartier and Chanel. Stylish fashionistas parade up and down this street dressed in their finest clothes, and while it’s fantastic for people watching, for most travellers it’s out of their budget.
The fact of the matter is it’s no Venice or Rome. There aren’t gondolas floating down canals or sights such as the Colosseum and the Vatican. It didn’t sweep me off my feet like the other cities did. The second time I visited Milan I spent 24 hours exploring the city and it grew on me a little more.
This time the sun was shining and it was the most perfect day, so I really warmed to Milan. I finally went up to the roof of the Duomo (something I hadn’t done before) and spent half the day enjoying an Aperol spritz or two in the sunshine!
The Duomo Rooftop
The Duomo is the most impressive and iconic building in Milan and the square in front of it is the centre of all the action. The Piazza del Duomo is always filled with people and many tourists feed the pigeons (something I can never understand!) The best way to explore this stunning cathedral is by climbing the steps or taking the elevator up to the rooftop, where you can enjoy fabulous panoramic views of the city. When I went up there were lots of people sunbathing!
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
One of the world’s oldest shopping malls, the magnificent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is situated just to the side of the Duomo. The grandiose arcade was named after the first king of the Kingdom of Italy and features a glass domed roof. It is a popular Milanese meeting space in the city and is filled with luxury retailers as well as restaurants and cafes.
The Aperol Bar
Aperol is an Italian aperitivo drink made from ingredients including bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb and cinchona. It has a distinctive bright orange colour that makes it look like it could be radioactive and the bitter taste is certainly an acquired one. Since it was a gorgeous afternoon we went up to the Terrazza Aperol for an Aperol spritz (Aperol with soda) in the sun. The terrace offers the best view of the Duomo and the Piazza del Duomo, so take your camera!
The most expensive shopping street in Milan, Via Montenapoleone is an elegant street lined with designer boutiques and world famous fashion brands. Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, it’s fun to walk down the street, gaze in the windows and watch some of Milan’s most chic and ultra-groomed residents walk on by. This is definitely the place to spot the kind of people who would grace the street-style posts of The Sartorialist.
Dolce and Gabbana Bar
In one of the major fashion capitals of the world, why not visit a bar by famous Italian label Dolce and Gabanna? Bar MARTINI by Dolce and Gabbana is a fab cocktail bar with an outdoor courtyard and a covered indoor patio. Naturally the cocktail list features lots of classic Martinis and Martini variations, but there are also other cocktails such as mojitos. I opted for my favourite, the classic gin martini with olives, which was with nuts, crisps and sun-dried tomatoes . I wanted a ‘dirty martini but not sure the Italian staff really understood that and this was close enough. What was meant to be a quick drink turned into 2 and a half hours of cocktail time and we ended up staying long enough for aperitivo. Free food is always a bonus! I have a feeling James Bond would certainly be frequenting this spot if his ‘licence to kill’ brought him to Milan.
Have you been to Milan? Are there any must-do things I haven’t listed here?! Leave your comments below!