I was so glad to get back Milan after my first trip 30 years ago. I wanted to see what had happened to this famed center of fashion and design as far as the new hotels, restaurants and museums that I have been reading and hearing about. I was lucky to meet up with a friend who helped guide me through some of the emerging neighborhoods. Make sure to visit:
Duomo: Milan’s main Cathedral, with 100 spires, is a must to see. Commissioned in 1386, it was finished in the early 1800’s. There are beautiful paintings, stained glass and statues. The floor is gorgeous so don’t miss looking down.
Piazza del Duomo: Piazza del Duomo, “Cathedral Square”, is the main piazza (city square) of Milan and one of the prettiest in Europe.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: This is one of the world’s first shopping centers, built between 1865 and 1878. It has beautiful mosaic floors under a wonderful iron and glass roof. Here you will find the first Prada store which opened in 1913 (make sure to go in for a walk downstairs), other great stores like Rizzoli and Borsalino hats and many restaurants. I strolled through several times just to enjoy the ambiance!
Teatro alla Scala: Try to get a ticket to the opera and ballet at this world famous venue. I was fortunate to be able to get a ticket to the ballet Onegin since the opera season doesn’t start until December. I booked online and then picked up my ticket upon arrival in Milan. There is no box office at the theater so you have to find the ticket office which is below the Duomo square in the Metro Station. It is a little tricky to find but just look for the signs. The theater is stunning so it’s worth the effort. There is a museum that you can visit during the day.
Explore the famous stores and fashion houses along Via Manzoni and Via Montenapoleone. I loved walking through the great products designed by Allessi and having a cappuccino at Conti Café at Via Montenapoleone 19. Here you will find a sleek café, lounge area and restaurant.
I recently read in the NY Times about the Isola neighborhood to the north of the historical center. This up and coming neighborhood has a number of bakeries, cafes, restaurants, bars and trendy boutiques. I will make sure to add it to my list for my next trip. Let me know what you find if you go!