Milan needs no introduction as one of the Italy’s most well-known cities. It is the capital of the Lombardy region in northern Italy and is the country’s biggest industrial city. It is a center for financial and creative industries, and a hub for designers, artists, and businessmen and women. Its ancient city center borders modern skyscrapers and architecture, making for a true melting pot of lifestyles and cultures.
Its history goes incredibly far back, to roughly 400 BC, when Gaulish populations settled here after beating the Etruscans. These stayed here until the 3rd Century BC, when the Romans invaded and conquered. Fast-forward to the early the 14th Century and we see the Visconti family, one of northern Italy’s most powerful houses, take control of the city. Under this rule the famous Duomo arises in the late 1300s, and soon becomes the symbol of the city. To this day it is the world’s third-largest church! This is incidentally the same family from which the famed director Visconti stems. After the Visconti family, the Sforza house takes over and Milan enjoys a peaceful period after years of tensions with Venice and Florence. During this time the arts and sciences flourished, and the masters such as Da Vinci and Bramante came to the city to leave their respective marks.
Milan has always been a rich city, both financial and in culture. Some of its most popular attractions are centred around music and the arts. For example, a unique and unforgettable evening can be spent listening to some world-class opera at the La Scala Opera House. During the day, you can head to the beautiful 15th-century Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie which Bramante improved upon. Here you can wonder at Da Vinci’s fantastic Last Supper. Make sure you book tickets in advance for this as they tend to sell out in advance given the very strict preservation rules which restrict how many people can view the painting each day.
The easiest way to get round the city is by using the charming trams. They run frequently and throughout the city center. Here you can see the old palazzi and piazze that characterize central Milan. You can moreover visit some of its great art galleries, such as the Pinocateca di Brera and the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana. Those who are looking for a spot of shopping can head to the exquisite Galleria Vittoria Emanuele. This has one of Italy’s finest selections of designer and high-quality stores.
If you have time, the Navigli area of Milan is a enchantingly singular area to visit. Its waterways were designed by Da Vinci and once traversed the whole of Milan, though now they are confined to just two: the Naviglio Grande and Pavese. Along these you will moreover find many pavement cafés, vintage shops and even the small galleries. It is a trendy neighborhood with a quaint atmosphere that seems far away from the hustle of Milan’s city center. Head to Naviglio Grande on the las Sunday of every month to explore its lovely antiques market!
Milan has its own airport from which you can take bus, train and taxi transfers. As such an important city, you will easily be able to reach it from elsewhere in the region and in Italy as a whole, be it by bus, train or aeroplane.