Italy is a bright unique country. Without its shining sun there would have been no Chianti wine and delicious olives and tomatoes necessary for pizza and pasta. Without thousands years of history Italy wouldn’t have become a museum under an open sky where passionate southern and stylish northern citizens seem to be from different countries.
One of the biggest cities in Italy, Milan, represents style and grace. It’s also widely known as the world capital of fashion. Music lovers are still way too attracted by La Scala opera. Sport lovers rush to visit legendary stadium San Siro where football museum welcomes everyone. Though let’s start from the beginning.
Milan is not only a capital of fashion, but also financial and economical capital of Italy with population of over 4 million people. For one of the most northern cities of Italy snow is not the 8th world miracle, and average temperatures in winter are from -3 to +4 degrees. In the summer months the temperatures are different, from +19 to +30C. If you have curly hair take care of extra-fix hair stuff, the humidity in the city is really high, and smog is a regular thing.
How to choose a hotel in Milan?
A lot of Italian hotels offer affordable rates, though it’s not exactly right if we speak of hotels in Milan centre. If you haven’t made a pre-booking in advance, you will most likely have a choice between expensive and very expensive hotels. There’re really few hostels in Milan, and the city is dominated by 4-star business hotels. That is why if you’re looking for a hotel in Milan we’d recommend being ready to accept the fact that there’re no low-budget hotels here. Why is that you might ask? First of all it can be explained by the fact that there’re not that many sights in Milan while there’re a lot of exhibition and business centres, therefore 90% of visitors are on business rather than on holidays.
Central Milan hotels are among best hotels in Italy. Rooms there are equipped with everything necessary for a comfortable and enjoyable stay, and a list of extra services offered impresses with its length. Which is by the way not typical for hotels in Italy at all.
What to see in Milan?
Though Milan is a financial and economic centre of Italy it still possesses tourist places of interest.
The first on the list is of course il Duomo which has become the major postcard view for Milan. It not only looks colossal, it’s actually colossal being the fourth biggest gothic cathedral in the world, third in Europe and second in Italy after St Peter’s Cathedral in Vatican. This cathedral has been being constructed for over five centuries. We highly recommend that you not only admire the beauty of the cathedral from the outside but also to the viewing point up in the Dome and enjoy the view of Milan from the height of birds’ flight. It’s possible from 7am to 7pm daily.
Another must-see spot in Milan is Castello Sforzesco which dates back to 15th century and is named after Duke Francesco Sfortza, ruler of Milan.
One of the most well-known opera theatres not only in Europe, but in the whole world is Alla Scala theatre in Milan. This theatre was built in 1778 by the order of Austrian queen Maria Theresa, and since then best opera voices were heard inside its walls, and numerous triumph and failed performances happened on its stage.
Another business card of the city is San Siro stadium, or Coliseum of Milan. The capacity of the stadium is 80,000 people which make it third big arena in Italy and a home stadium for two teams – Milan and Inter. There is a museum at the stadium which is visited by all football lovers.
Another spot you just have to know about is Quadrilatero della moda, or Golden fashion district. It’s a famous district of Milan where parlours and shops of leading fashion houses are concentrated. Prada, Armani, Versace, Dolce & Gabanna, Ferragamo, Valentino… this list can be continued for as long as it might take to count on the money you’ve spent there. If you’re on budget, there’re outlets of the famous brands as well.
What should you know before going to Milan?
- there’re three airports in Milan: Malpensa, Linate and Bergamo (this is the one where most low cost airlines fly to);
- underground in Milan is believed to be the best in Italy;
- in Milan like in no other Italian city you might find restaurants that serve other cuisine but Italian. There’re Indian, Chinese, Japanese and other restaurants. Any dinner in Milan starts with an aperitif, one of the most popular of which is Negroni. Don’t miss a chance to try traditional Milan dish Salame du Milano which is basically a combination of various types of cheese and chopped pork and beef;
- you can enter churches and monasteries only if your arms and legs are covered with clothes, and this rule works both for men and women;
- it’s much more expensive to stay in hotels in February and September as during these months fashion shows and last part of ‘Formula-1’ take place;
- if you’re travelling by car take into account that parking is paid and it’ll cost around 1.50eur per hour.