Hit the road and the city’s hot spots
The city hub is Piazza Duomo with its magnificent cathedral. Prepare to be amazed by the sheer size and features of the Duomo (it has 135 spires and a staggering 3,200 statues!). The roof, accessible by stairs and lift, gives you a breathtaking view of the city.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
On the other side of the piazza you’ll see the entrance to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, an exclusive shopping arcade built in the 19th century. Enjoy a stroll or passeggiata to admire the bars, cafés and up-market shops.
At the other end of the Galleria, across the road, stands La Scala, the world-famous opera house. Join a guided tour to discover the many secrets and little-known facts about this splendid theatre.
It’s a short distance from La Scala to the Quadrilatero d’Oro fashion district, four streets forming a compact location for stores of the biggest designer names.
Also close by is the Brera district. Once the area where hard-up artists lived, it is now one of the city’s hippest districts, with a plethora of restaurants, bars and independent shops. It’s also home to the Pinacoteca di Brera art gallery, which has an extensive collection of art, mostly Italian.
One of the city’s major highlights is of course Leonardo da Vinci’s Il Cenacolo or “Last Supper”, in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. It’s a very popular attraction so make sure you book tickets well ahead.
Da Vinci also designed the defences of the imposing Castello Sforzesco in Piazza Castello, which now houses several museums with exhibits covering Palaeolithic history and furniture, among other things.
The Locals & Food
After an action-packed day of sightseeing and shopping, rub shoulders with the locals over an aperitivo at a local bar. When you feast your eyes on the array of goodies on offer at the free buffet, you’ll see why this has become an after-work institution throughout the country.
Naviglio Festival - June 2013
In June, head to the Naviglio Festival on the banks of the canal where you can enjoy a variety of street performances and theatre shows and peruse the array of crafts on sale. If you’re here in November, don’t miss the annual Jazz festival, which hosts performances from Italian and other European artists.