Italy‎ > ‎Lombardy‎ > ‎

Milan

Milan (Milan) is the 2nd largest city in Italy and its business, fashion, and banking capital, bustling with the classy buzz of modern Italy.  Although much of its history was lost to bombing in World War II, it has a handful of historic streets, and still preserves two amazing masterpieces: the Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper fresco and the Milan Cathedral. It's also a great "home base" to exploring the beautiful Lake District and the rest of northern Italy. (In the same way that Pulcinella represents Naples, Meneghino represents Milan: an honest, just, sincere servant)

Sights

  • Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" Book online early for this (in high seasons it often sells out 2 months in advance!), €8 per ticket...only 25 people at a time get to view it for 15 minutes to protect it from humidity. Booked up?  You have four options:
    • Call 029-280-0360 or 028-942-1146; occasionally people cancel and it's not reflected on the website
    • Show up when they open at 8:30 to see if last-minute tickets are available
    • Book at tour with www.lastsuppertickets.com (pretty good ratings), www.autostradale.it or www.zaniviaggi.it, both of which include a visit (both are ~3-3.5 hrs, €50-60)...similarly, tickitaly.com offers a shorter tour including Sforza castle for €32
    • Lastsuppertickets.com also essentially scalps the tickets and sells them for €29 within 4 days in advance, although they also include an English-speaking guide
  • Duomo (Cathedral) - the largest church in Italy after St. Peter's, this huge Gothic cathedral built over 500 years is impressive, but the best part is the view from the roof, where you can get a closer look at the Madonnina (the statue at the top, a symbol for the city).  The nearby museum is supposed to be good, and offers a combo ticket with the roof elevator.
  • La Scala - watch a show at Europe's most famous opera house, the Teatro della Scala, or at least get a peek at the stage when you check out their museum
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - similar to Naples' Galleria Umberto, this fancy glass-covered shopping area, called il Salotto di Milano (Milan's living room), is what every mall wishes it were.  Highlights include the mosaics (with weird spinning-on-wolf's-testicle traditions) and old school Bar Zucca (near the Duomo), where Verdi once hung out.
  • Centro Storico - Some cool things to check out are via Speronari --> Peck (deli on via Spadari 9) --> San Satiro --> P. dei Mercanti (old Medieval center of city) --> San Alessandro's Baroque splendor -> S. Sepolcro's roman ruins
  • Sforza Caslte (Castello Sforzesco) - a cool castle NW of the Duomo, contains 12 museums, the most famous of which is for Ancient Art (Arte Antica), whose highlight is an unfinished Michelangelo Pietà.  Nearby is the Branca Tower (Torre Branca), which offers a good view of the city.
  • Brera Gallery (Pinacoteca di Brera) - Milan's most impressive art gallery, mostly older (18th century and before) paintings, situated above an art school
  • Ambrosiana - W of the Duomo, this gallery has Raffaele's drawings of The School of Athens and Leonardo's Codex Atlanticus drawings.
  • Shopping: The "Golden Rectangle" of streets just NE of the Duomo are known for being the "home stores" of the top designer brands
  • Nightlife: Brera (near the art school) and Navigli (the canal district) are apparently the places to hang out...in the Navigli, you can check out cool historic stuff like vicolo Lavandai, Antica Porta Ticinese, and San Lorenzo's Roman columns.

Restaurants/Food

  • City Center (Centro Storico/Duomo, Brera, Quadrilatero/Montenapoleone)
  • North of City Center/Near Central Train Station (Centrale, Buenos Aires, Porta Nuova/Garibaldi)
    • Antica Trattoria della Pesa - viale Pasubio 10 (18 min walk, near Porta Nuova/Centro Direzionale/Piazza Garibaldi), closed Sun, otherwise ~12:30-2:30/7:30-11, Time Out says it has the best Milanese food in town, especially funghi porcini pasta and costoletta alla Milanese (don't put lemon on the veal!).  Also rec'd by Lonely Planet (they say try the zabaglione), Corriere della Sera Vivi Milano Top 100 RestaurantsDissapore says their Cassoeula is the best in town...also see blog review...a bit more expensive
      • [there's a different place called La Pesa at via Fantoni 26, E/TCI]
    • ???Ratanà - Via de Castillia Gaetano 28 (NE of Piazza Garibaldi, near NM2 bus or Gioia metro [line 2, 11 min]), open every day 12:30-2:30, 7:30-11:30, apperitivo is 6:30-8:30, 028-712-8855, rec'd by 2014 & 2016 Slow Food Osterie d'italia, Michelin
    • ?Trattoria Mirta - Piazza San Materno 12 (Casoretto neighborhood, near Pasteur metro, north of Città Studi, 11 min walk from Piola metro, ~30 min), closed Sat & Sun, 02 9118 0496, Espresso, MichelinCorriere della Sera Vivi Milano Top 100 RestaurantsScatti di Gusto, Osterie d'Italia, still in 2014 and 2016...in 2016 was named one of the "best osterie in Lombardia"
    • Ristorante Mimmo - Via Giuseppe Sirtori 34 (above Casa Dondup store, near Porta Venezia, 16 min), closed Sun lunch, otherwise 12:30-2:30 / 8-11:30, fancy pan-Italian food with some Milanese dishes, rec'd Corriere della Sera
    • Ceresio 7 - Via Ceresio 7 (near Garibaldi/Cimiterio Monumentale), rooftop pool/bar/restaurant with great view of Milan, created by Dsquared2 designers, good apperativi, the "hip" place to be, rec'd New York Times, Michelin, Lonely Planet
    • Osteria del Treno - via San Gregorio 46 (just S of train station between Centrale & Repubblica), 026-700-479, closed lunch on weekends, M-F 12:30-14:30 and every day 8-mid, very old-school Lombardian traditions, dancing on Sundays, ~€35-40, rec'd by Gambero Rosso (in 2015 they won "3 shrimps", the highest award for trattorias), Lonely Planet, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (still in 2014 & 2016), Corriere della Sera Vivi Milano, Espresso...Luke went here in 2011, not bad
    • Ditirambo - Via Garigliano 12 (N of Piazza Garibaldi),  GR/E
    • Gianni e Dorina - Via Guglielmo Pepe, 38 (NW of Piazza Garibaldi), GR/E/TCI
    • ?Da Abele Trattoria - Via Temperanza 5 (4 km NE of center, NE of Centrale near Pasteur subway, 20 min), middle-class neighborhood restaurant that serves mostly locals, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, TCI, Frommer's, Dissapore as one of the top 5 trattorias in Milan, "best risotto in town, no tourists" says a friend
    • Ristorante Berton - Via Mike Bongiorno 13 (near Repubblica metro), fancy/expensive haute cuisine place founded by former chef at Trussardi alla Scala, lots of broth, can order a la carte or €120 tasting menu, rec'd Lonely Planet, Gambero Rosso (gave it 90 points), 1 Michelin star
    • Ristorante Testina - Via Abbadesse 19 (just W of Centrale train station), seems pretty "old school", Puntarella Rossa review, Dissapore says they have the best yellow risotto in town
    • Manna - Piazzale Governo Provvisorio 6 (near Turro metro, NE of Centrale), rec'd GR/E/TCI, supposedly good Cassoeula
    • Bocciofila Caccialanza - via Padova 91(near Rovereto metro, NE of Centrale), rec'd by Dissapore as one of the top 5 trattorias in Milan
    • Ristorante L'Essenziale - Via Carlo Maria Maggi 6 (N of Parco Sempione), Dissapore says their Costoletta alla Milanese is the best in town
    • Osteria dei Vecchi Sapori - Via Francesco Carmagnola, 3 (just N of Garibaldi train station), rec'd Fodors
    • Osteria Opera Prima - via Paolo Lomazzo 29 (N of Sforza/Sempione), Michelin Bib Gourmand 2016
    • La Cantina di Manuela - via Procaccini 41 (N of Sforza/Sempione), Michelin Bib Gourmand 2016
  • East of City Center (Porta Vittoria, Città Studi...)
    • ???Trattoria del Nuovo Macello - Via Cesare Lombroso, 20 (E of viale Umbria, near Porta Vittoria train station/Tram 12 [38 min on tram 12]), closed Sat lunch, Sun, otherwise 12-2:15, 8-10:30, rec'd by GR/E/MIC/TCI, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016, Lonely Planet (esp their cotoletta), MichelinCorriere della Sera Vivi Milano Top 100 RestaurantsPuntarella Rossa rec's their cotoletta, can be expensive but Dissapore points out their weekday lunch is a good deal and says their Mondeghili (Milan-style meatballs) are the best in town
    • ?La Cucina dei Frigoriferi Milanesi - Via Piranesi Giovanni Battista 10 (near Porta Vittoria, Tram 27, a little further from Tram 12, ~30-40 min), closed Sat lunch, Sun, new venture by owners of Nuovo Macello restaurant, fresh, changing menu, very innovative (almost Cal-Italian), choose only the number of dishes (1-3), Dissapore names as one of its "top 10 quality/price restaurants"Corriere della Sera Vivi Milano Top 100 RestaurantsScatti di Gusto
    • Masuelli San Marco - viale Umbria 80 (E of center, S of Parco Largo Marinai d'Italia and Viale Corsica), 025-518-4138, old-school place specializing in meat dishes from Piedmont to Lombardy, order the risotto alla Milanese and you get a souvenir plate, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, and Time Out; ~€40-45 not including wine.
    • Al Bacco - Via Marcona 1 (near Porta Vittoria) 02 5412 1637, closed Sat lunch, Sun, Slow Food Osterie d"italia (still in 2014 & 2016)/E
    • Globe - top floor of COIN building at Piazza 5 giornate (near Porta Vittoria), 1GR/E/MIC
    • Al Less - Viale Lombardia 28 (Piola metro, Città Studi), Dissapore says they have the best Trippa in Umido in town
  • South of City Center (Navigli, Porta Romana...)
  • West of City Center
    • ?Tagiura - Via Tagiura 5 (4 km W of center, 15 min drive or ~25 min on bus 58 or 61), 02 4895 0613, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (still in 2014 & 2016), TCI, Puntarella RossaCorriere della Sera Vivi Milano Top 100 RestaurantsDissapore as one of the top 5 trattorias in Milan, fancy old-school setting, mix of Lombardia & Emilia Romagna, closed Sun, otherwise open for lunch most days, dinners are mostly Thurs/Friday, but also "extra hours" for dinner on some Saturdays/Wednesdays, tasting menu is €35, they're also a tavola calda, apparently also good apperitivo
    • Barabba - Via Belfiore, 15 (2.6 km W of center, near Wagner subway), Enoteca/Restaurant, rec'd by Gambero Rosso
    • Da Giacomino - Via Sant'Agnese 14, rec'd a CH
    • Fiore - Via Savona, 59 (3 km SW, near San Cristoforo), GR
  • Well Outside of Town
  • Other Italian Regional Cuisine - you can find great cuisine from many regions around Italy in Milan, since so many people come here to work
    • Calabria: Dongiò - via Corio 3 (SE, near Porta Romana), 025-511-372, closed Sat lunch and Sun, family restaurant specializes in Calabrian food, homemade pastas, good steaks, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Michelin Bib Gourmand 2016, TCI, and Time Out; ~€25-35 including wine.
    • Rome: Giulio Pane e Ojo Osteria Romana  (SE, near Porta Romana) - via Ludovico Muratori 10, 025-456-189, closed Sun, Roman food, reserve for one of the two seatings (8:30 and 10:30); rec'd by Espresso, Michelin, TCI, and Time Out, ~€10-15 lunch, ~€30 dinner.
    • Sicily: Trattoria da Ottimofiore - Via Bramante, 26 (North, NW of Moscova subway), Time Out, Sicilian food
    • Sicily: Antica Focacceria San Francesco - rec'd by the New York Times
    • Abruzzo: Da Giannino L'Angolo d'Abruzzo - Via Rosolino Pilo, 20 (NE of center near Città Studi, Porta Venezia metro) Time Out, Abruzzese, Corriere della Sera, Michelin Bib Gourmand 2016Dissapore says it's one of the top 5 trattorias in Milan
    • Tuscany: Lucca - via Panfilo Castaldi 33 (NE, near Porta Venezia metro), 022-952-6668, Tuscan food, rec'd by Time Out and TCI.
    • Tuscany: Ristorante Alla Collina Pistoiese - Via Amedei 1 (S of Duomo near Missori metro), old-school Tuscan trattoria highly rec'd by Elizabeth Minchilli
    • Tuscany: il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia - rec'd Slow Food
    • Puglia: Osteria di Mario - via Tadino 5 (NE, near Porta Venezia metro), rec'd Time Out for Pugliese food
    • Liguria: U Barba - Via Pier Candido Decembrio, 33 (SE, near Lodi metro), rec'd Fodors
  • Non-Italian Food - since Milan is so international, it's a great place for cucina etnica ("ethnic food")
    • Indian/Sri Lankan: Serendib - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016, Michelin Bib Gourmand 2016
    • Korean: Koshi Koba - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Greek: Mykonos - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Japanese: Osaka - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Middle Eastern: Re Salomone - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Indian: Shri Ganesh - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Chinese: La Collina d'Oro - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Eritrean: Asmara - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Chinese: Dim Sum - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Spanish: Don Juan - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Russian: Podkova - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Brazilian: Oficina do Sabor - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Greek: Accademia - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Japanese: Poporoya - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Mexican: Cueva Maya - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
    • Middle Eastern: Carmel - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2016
  • Gelaterie (also see Italian reviews from "Survive Milano" or GelamiGelati's "Search for the prefect gelato")
    • ***Gelato Giusto - Via San Gregorio 17 (between Corso Buenas Aires and Centrale train station), 022-951-0284, rec'd by Corriere della Sera, Gambero Rosso, and lots of other reviewersI agree with dissapore that it's "probably the best gelateria in Milan"
    • Grom - M-Sat 12-11, Sun 7:30-11 pm, yes it's a chain but still some of the best gelato in town, there are 5 around the city including one near the Duomo/Scala/Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and another near Navigli at the old Porta Ticinese
    • La Bottega del Gelato - Via Giovan Battista Pergolesi 3 (off Corso Buenas Aires), Time Out rec's, flavors include pink grapefruit, avocado, and pine nut.
    • Ciocolattaliani - via San Raffaele 6 (just N of Duomo), guess what they specialize in?
    • Gelateria Sartori - Piazza Luigi di Savoia 1 (on E side of Centrale train station), rec'd by various bloggers
    • Umberto - Piazza Cinque Giornate (Porta Romana), Time Out rec's, especially the "sumptuous dark chocolate"
    • Chocolat - via Boccacio 9 (just SW of Sforza castle, near Cadorna metro), Time Out rec's, as do other web reviewers
    • Gelateria Marghera - via Marghera 33 (Sant'Ambrogio), Time Out rec's especially the rum chocolate
    • Officine del Gelato - New York Times rec's for natural flavors
  • Other resources: the Big Food
  • Other restaurants in various guidebooks:
    • La Piola Osteria con Cucina - GR
    • La Ratera - GR/E
    • La Scaletta - GR/E/TCI
    • Osteria della Cagnola - GR/MIC
    • Ostriche e Vino - GR
    • Piero e Pia - GR
    • Sarla - GR

Hotels

  • Near Duomo/Center
    • Hotel Santa Marta - Via Santa Marta 4 (just S of Duomo), 028-04-567, www.hotel-santamarta.it, rec'd by Rick Steves
    • Hotel Vecchia Milano - Via Borromei 4 (a few blocks W of Duomo), 028-75-042 / 028-75-971, www.hotelvecchiamilan.com, rec'd by Let's Go and Rick Steves.
    • Hotel Aliseo - Corso Italia 6 (a few blocks S of Duomo), 028-645-0156, www.hotelaliseo.it, as cheap as €70/night, Let's Go says it has small beds and marble staircase, rec'd by Frommer's, mixed reviews online, available on Venere.com
  • Near Centrale Train Station
    • "The Best" Hotel - Via Via Benedetto Marcello 83 (4 blocks SE of Centrale train station), 022-940-4757, www.thebesthotel.it, garden terrace, €50-85, paid WiFi available, rec'd by Rick Steves
    • Hotel Due Giardini - Via Benedetto Marcello 47 (4 blocks SE of Centrale train station), 022-952-1093, www.hotelduegiardini.it, rec'd by Frommer's
    • Hotel Valley - Via Soperga 19, (3 blocks N of train station, follow Lepetit as it turns into Soperga), 026-698-7252, www.hotelvalley.it, cheap (€35-80), free internet, rec'd by Rick Steves
    • Hotel Eva and Hotel Arno, Via Lazzaretto 17 (a few block S of Centrale train station, 4th floor, the two hotels share a reception desk), 026-706-093 or 026-705-509, www.hotelevamilano.com and www.hotelarno.com, free WiFi, €30-90, rec'd by Let's Go.
  • Further Out:
    • Hotel Sabotino - Viale Sabotino 16 (near Porta Romana), 025-830-8797, www.hotelsabotino.com, cheap (€40-95), rec'd by Rick Steves.
    • Ostello la Cordata - Via Marco Burigozzo 11 (1 km south of Missori Metro), 025-830-3598, www.ostellimilano.it, rec'd by Rick Steves
  • Also see Let's Go's Milan Accomodations page for inexpensive options
Comments