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20 Things Women Should Know About Milan

 

Navigli, Milan's hipster neighbourhood...
Immerse yourself in the hipster atmosphere along the Navigli, the only two canals left in Milan. The area pulses with life, restaurants, bars and little shops and offer a totally different vibe. If you happen to be in Milan on the last Sunday of the month, don't miss a browse at the famous Antique Markets along the canals.

 

Bargain hunting at flea markets...
The most popular flea market in Milan is on Viale Papiniano, on Tuesday and Sunday. There you'll find any kind of food, clothes, shoes and various objects. Another good choice is the flea market on Via Losanna, also on Tuesday and Sunday, where you can often find great bargains on clothes and shoes.

 

Trendy Corso Como...
Along Corso Como, one of the few pedestrian areas in Milan, you can enjoy a stroll looking at the trendy cafés and shops. Don't miss the fashionable 10 Corso Como Cafè for a drink on the lush patio and have a look at the inside showroom as well as the the photography exhibitions taking place regularly in the building. A good nearby place for shopping - everything design, from small items to furniture - is HighTech on Piazza XXV Aprile, 12. Closed Sundays.

 

Outlets offer big brands, small prices...
Are you sighing when looking at some Italian fashion brands and thinking you'll never be able to afford them? To make your dream come true, your best bet is going to a big outlet, like the one at Serravalle Scrivia. The Serravalle Designer Outlet is like a village where you'll find many of the most famous brands in fashion and design at lower prices. You can easily reach the outlet thanks to the shuttle bus driving customers from Milan to Serravalle Scrivia twice a day. Bus fee: 20 Euro.

 

Happy hour...
In Milan, Happy Hour is called aperitivo and it has become one of the most typical traits of local life in the city. From approximately 6 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. people gather for fix-priced drinks which includes offerings from a buffet. In fact, often aperitivo is a cheap alternative to dining out. Due to its popularity most bars now offer Happy Hour but the quality of the buffet is not always the best. In general terms, it's better to avoid the bars close to the Duomo - most of which are very expensive and of poor quality. An exception is the rooftop terrace bar on the seventh floor of La Rinascente shopping mall, offering a beautiful close-up view on the Cathedral. Fashionable and trendy, the Roialto café offers one of the best Happy Hours in Milan. Far from the touristy spots, it is mostly populated with locals and it's not uncommon to see famous models there. Address: Via Piero della Francesca 55. Bus routes: 1, 14, 19, 33

 

Be aware of extra costs for table service...
Whenever you stop at a bar or a café for a drink or a snack and sit at a table, look first at the price list to see how much the place surcharges for table service. In many cases, there's only a little difference but at the cafés in the center or in fashionable places the surcharge can be rather high. Take care!

 

Street food...
Luini is a small bakery in a narrow street (Via S. Radegonda 16) close to Milan's Cathedral, where you can buy the best panzerotti of your life - this is fried dough, crusty outside and fluffy inside, filled with mozzarella cheese and tomato. At Luini, panzerotti are baked in real-time so you'll eat them still hot and at their best to enjoy the flavours.

 

The best family-style trattoria and pizza...
Traditional family trattoria in Milan have almost disappeared to leave space for more fashionable, modern restaurants but there are however a few left, usually open at lunch time. You'll find traditional Italian dishes in a simple environment at Trattoria Sabbioneta (Via Tadino 32) as well as at the Trattoria Burla Giņ (Via S. Giovanni Sul Muro). Ask for the daily specials or the jewels in the menu and you'll get advice for the best possible food choices. While pizza is ubiquitous, you'll find the real pizza in the traditional Napoli style at the pizzeria Rita e Antonio (Via Puccini 2), by many considered the best authentic pizzeria in Milan.

 

Reasonably priced restaurants...
Milan is an expensive city and finding nice restaurants serving good food at reasonable prices is not always easy. A few good options I'd like to recommend include: Marcellino Pane e Vino at Corso Sempione 82 (stylish, quiet, traditional-creative cuisine and a great choice of wines), La Cantina di Manuela (wine bar at two locations serving select high end local food products), Osteria Opera Prima on Via Paolo Lomazzo, 29 (small and intimate, usually very quiet, serving a few carefully prepared dishes).

 

Must-see attractions...
You haven't seen Milan if you don't go and visit the Duomo, Milan's Cathedral, with its thousands of sculptures and the magnificent surrounding square. Inside, the interior is imposing and will leave you speechless. And if there's good weather, I strongly recommend going up on the roof. Despite being rather expensive, it's really worth it. The best time of the day is just before sunset, when the marble gets colored in yellow and then pink. Facing the Duomo, on your left, you'll find the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the shopping arcade dating back to the 19th Century with its stunning iron and glass vaulted roof and the sculptures adorning the galleries. Have a stroll, sip a coffee or, even better, an apéritif at the historical Camparino café and just immerse yourself in what is called 'Milan's drawing-room'.

Another must-see attraction is Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. Reservations are a must since only small groups are allowed in at the same time. You'll see the mural painting whose iconography was used as the central theme by Dan Brown in his best-seller, The Da Vinci Code. Next, see the adjacent Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, with its beautiful architecture and superb frescoes. Other things that shouldn't be missed are the beautiful Loggia dei Mercanti (near the Cathedral), a small and intimate loggia, surrounded by beautiful ancient buildings, the romanesque Church of S. Ambrogio and a walk along Corso Venezia to admire the elegant buildings and spot the beautiful courtyards.

Enjoy Milan, everybody!

 

Bonus Tip - English language cinema...

Are you tired of hearing Italian only? Longing for a bit of English? I thought you should know that there's a program for movies in original language (mostly, but not exclusively, in English) going on at three cinemas. On Monday it's happening at Cinema Anteo, on Tuesday Arcobaleno Film Center and on Thursday Cinema Mexico. There! Do you feel better now?

 

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