Standing guard at the gateway to the Italian peninsula, Milan has been a lively settlement for thousands of year. In its early history, Milan was ruled over by the Romans and became an important city for the development of Christianity, a fact that’s reflected in the many religious buildings still standing in Milan today. As the Roman rule fell, Milan was passed into the hands of old Milanese families, and it was in these hands that construction of many of Milan’s finest structures, including the Duomo, was begun. The 16th century saw Spanish rule, the 17th and 18th were powered by Austria, but in 1860 Milan finally became party of Italy once more. Milan today is a thriving, vibrant city, a world capital of fashion and design, and one of Europe’s beating hearts of culture. Popular Attractions
Compiling things to do in Milan into a short list is nigh on impossible; there’s so much to do here and an endless number of sights to see, but a few can be categorised into must-visits. As one of Milan’s most recognizable landmarks, Milan Cathedral automatically falls into this category. With its many spires and ornate details, the construction of the Cathedral was no mean feat – it took nearly six centuries to build. Something this unique deserves a peek, without doubt. Sforza Castle, built in the 15th century, is another impressive piece of architecture in Milan. Not only is the exterior a sight to behold, inside you’ll find a collection of museums that are sure to please the needs of any curious traveler. Italy is a hotbed of legendary art, and Milan is no exception. The city is home to da Vinci’s Last Supper, a fresco that can be found at Santa Maria delle Grazie church. This recommendation comes with a word of advice – make sure you book tickets well before your trip, as it can book up months in advance. Those in town for shopping will want to go to Quadrilatero d’Oro (Golden Rectangle) – an area of four main streets that make up one of the best places to find Milan’s fashionable side. Even though you may not be able to afford much here (think Prada, Armani, Chanel…) it’s worth a visit to mill among Milan’s elite. Food
It’s an international truth that Italy cannot be faulted on its food. Aside from finding all the pizza and pasta you could ever dream of, Milan is home to a few signature foods that are typical in the region. The meat eaters among us should try some Cotoletta alla Milanese, thinly-sliced, fried breaded veal meat served with melted butter or lemon. Polenta also originated in the region, and Milan has its own type of risotto, too. Transport
Linate and Malpensa are Milan’s two airports, and both are very well connected to the rest of the world. Malpensa is the larger of the two, accommodating both continental and international flights from further afield. Linate is quite small, but there are still many connections here that will get you in and around Europe. Bergamo Airport is also sometimes used for budget flights to Milan, but be aware that it is around 45km away from the city. Tips for Travelers
As a large cosmopolitan city, Milan has a good public transport system. Travelers will find it easy to get around the city on the bus, metro, and tram systems, and single trips cost €1.50. To save money consider buying a book of 10 tickets, or a 24/48 hour ticket – a better option of you intend to use public transport a lot in one day. Central Milan is relatively safe, and most travelers visit without any problems. Like much of Europe, petit crime such as theft or scamming is a possibility, so make sure you have your wits about you when possible. It is also not advised that you hang around train stations at night. You may find that many of the shops in Milan close for a few hours in the middle of the day, which is something like a Spanish ‘siesta’. If you plan of doing some shopping, just be aware that between the hours of 1:00pm and 4:00pm, some stores may have their shutters down. That said, the larger stores in the busier areas tend to stay open throughout the day. Fun Facts
Around 15% of Milan’s population is made up of immigrants, who started to flock to the city after WWII. Many of these immigrants are Filipino. Milan has the highest average income rate in Italy. Many of the most famous fashion brands not only have stores in Milan, several are also based there. These include Prada, Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana.