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. No tickets online? 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.
      • Need a bathroom? Nearby La Rinascente has bathrooms (and a fancy food court) on its top floor, with nice views of the Duomo
    • 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.
    • Navigli: a few of Milan's old canals are still preserved in this hipster district; check out vicolo Lavandai, Antica Porta Ticinese, and San Lorenzo's Roman columns
    • Shopping: The "Golden Rectangle" of streets just NE of the Duomo are known for being the "home stores" of the top designer brands
      • Matia's Fashion Outlet - north of Brera District, (the main branch at Piazza Carlo Mirabello 4 is for adults, and the one at Via Eugenio Balzan 2 is for babies/young kids), we found some great deals here! (it's a bit like an Italian Ross)
    • Nightlife: Brera (near the art school) and Navigli (the canal district) are apparently the places to hang out

Restaurants/Food

*** = highly recommended

  • 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 Rossa, Corriere della Sera Vivi Milano Top 100 Restaurants, Dissapore 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
    • Osteria alla Grande - Via delle Forze Armate 405, (in Baggio, 8 km W of center; ~20 min drive or ~40 min on NM1 bus, closest metro is Bisceglie but that's a ~30 min walk), country style, rustic & hearty, Slow Food Osterie d'italia (still in 2014 & 2016), Corriere della Sera Vivi Milano Top 100 Restaurants, Dissapore says it's one of the top 5 trattorias in Milan
    • CristianMagri - Meriggia 3 in Settimo Milanese (W of Milan), on a lake, Michelin Bib Gourmand 2016
    • 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 2016, Dissapore 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.
    • Tuscan: Ristorante Alla Collina Pistoiese - Via Amedei 1 (S of Duomo near Missori metro), old-school Tuscan trattoria highly rec'd by Elizabeth Minchilli
      • Tuscan: il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia - rec'd Slow Food
      • Pugliese: Osteria di Mario - via Tadino 5 (NE, near Porta Venezia metro), rec'd Time Out for Pugliese food
      • Ligure: 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")
    • ***Rivareno - Via Mercato 20 (in Brera...also a branch way S at Viale Col di Lana 8), rec'd in Golosario, Gambero Rosso; very nice, we liked it
      • ?Gelateria Sartori - Piazza Luigi di Savoia 1 (on E side of Centrale train station), rec'd by various bloggers, etc.
      • ?Officine del Gelato - New York Times rec's for natural flavors
      • ?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.
    • ?Il Massimo → Corso Sempione
      • 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
    • Gelato Ciacco - not bad, although not quite as good as Giusto (based on 2016 visit), rec'd golosario
      • Puro e Bio - locations at Via Moscova 13 and Viale Umbria 27; it’s a chain, but we really liked the chocolate (chocolatey, creamy, almost mousse-like, although I wasn’t a huge fan of the occasional chocolate chunk)
      • Ciocolattaliani - via San Raffaele 6 (just N of Duomo), guess what they specialize in?
      • 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
    • 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: