A Guide to MilanMilan is seen as Italy’s second city, but some people recognise it to be Italy’s first city. While Rome may be the administrative capital, Milan is the country's financial powerhouse, the home of Italy's stock exchange, in the heartland of the wealthy and productive north, it is also a very green city with numerous parks.
In some ways, Milan can be seen to have more in common with European capital cities than other Italian cities as Milan is a business-like city with a work-hard, play-hard ethos. The city has always been prestigious, occupied by successive powers, and like most important cities it has been rebuilt many times.
Milan's designer clothes and furnishings are a major attraction for many fashion-conscious tourists, the golden quarter is also a particularly popular shopping spot with celebrities. but not all of Milan's pleasures require wealth. One can sit in a café outside the world famous Duomo sipping a cappuccino admiring the well-dressed hurry by, or indulge in a spot of window-shopping which is enjoyable and rather more affordable.
Other simple pleasures include climbing up to the Duomo's roof and enjoying the tranquillity and the view over the city to the mountains. Or going for a nightly stroll in the appealing Brera and Navigli (canal) districts.
Milan's museums and galleries host magnificent masterpieces including work from Leonardo da Vinci. Statues of Leonardo da Vinci are also present in streets and squares as he is seen as the symbol of Milan. When visiting Milan it is a great opportunity to see his fresco the ‘Last Supper’.
The city is vibrant and there are many sights to see including the Sforzesco Castle, Milan Cathedral (Duomo), the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, the Scala Theatre, the Gallery of Via Manzoni, Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Brera, the Rotonda della Befana, the Casa degli Omenoni, Casa Parravicini, Palazzo delle Stelline, Palazzo Fontana Silvestri, and the Branca Tower. One sight not to be missed for the fanatical football fans is the San Siro museum.
Milan is also a good jumping-off place for other North Italy destinations, such as Lake Como and the Alps.