Although high-end purchases can be made in any part of the city, several urban areas are also entirely given over to the business of shopping, dining and entertainment. If you are in search of a truly Milanese atmosphere and lots of fun besides, then these areas are definitely the places to go.
Find here the editor's picks that will help you discover the city, starting from its best boutiques
Duomo, Galleria and Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
Lying adjacent to the Galleria and Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Piazza Duomo, with its majestic cathedral is the heart of Milan’s historic centre. Each street surrounding the piazza and the “Galleria” – leading to Piazza della Scala and Corso Vittorio Emanuele II – will offer you a one-of-a-kind perspective of Milanese style. Wherever you look you’ll find fashion boutiques, pasticcerie and hidden gems of architecture.
Quadrilatero della Moda
Situated just a short distance on foot from the Duomo, Milan’s Fashion Quad sits amidst four of Milan’s most expensive and prestigious shopping streets, namely via Montenapoleone, via Manzoni, via della Spiga and corso Venezia. Via Montenapoleone itself generates 25% of the entire city’s international shopping turnover. This is where all the most important fashion designers of international repute offer their luxurious creations.
Known as the “District of Ideas”, this is one of the most evocative areas in Milan’s historic centre. Home to the famous Accademia di Belle Arti and the headquarters of Italy’s most important newspaper, the “Corriere della Sera”, it runs from via Brera to via Solferino. The neighbourhood of antiquarians and art galleries, it sports a number of fashionable boutiques and picturesque cafés. In the evening, shopping gives way to a trendy nightlife atmosphere as its charming cobbled streets fill up with stalls, street musicians and visitors.
Close to the City Life district and not far from Parco Sempione, this area is one of Milan’s chicest, most exclusive districts: a residential area, still inhabited by Milan’s upper crust, it epitomizes the traditional soul of the city and is distinguished by its air of sophistication, elegance and stunning residential architecture. Renowned for several of the best shopping addresses in town, it is also home to several department stores. Via Belfiore, a short street lying east of the middle of Corso Vercelli, is particularly shoe-oriented with stores for all tastes and pockets.
The Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) provides the backdrop for life in the surrounding district of Piazza Castello and Parco Sempione. The area is one of the best places in town to enjoy the Milanese “movida”: five hundred metres of bars, where you can savour a delightful Italian coffee, sip an aperitivo or have a meal at one of the many high-class restaurants scattered around the neighbourhood. The area usually gets very crowded at night, especially on Saturdays and Sundays.
A new exclusive space and one of Lombardy’s latest and most innovative economic and business hubs. Piazza Gae Aulenti, the “heart” of Porta Nuova, boasts the highest skyscraper in Italy (the Unicredit Tower) and is surrounded by arcades hosting the shop windows of numerous upmarket boutiques.
Extending northwards towards Milan’s Stazione Garibaldi, together with Porta Nuova, Milan’s bohemian district Isola not only represents one of Italy’s most significant urban redevelopment projects but is also gradually becoming a magnet for young creatives and those in search of cool entertainment in the city.
Corso Como is the trendy pedestrian area situated between Piazza Gae Aulenti and Piazza XXV Aprile, it’s one of Milan’s hippest nightlife districts but not only. It also has a great daytime vibe with a fab offering of boutiques, restaurants, pizzerias and snack bars.
5 Vie: Via Torino and more
Spend a few hours discovering via Torino, one of Milan’s trendiest shopping streets connecting Piazza Duomo to the picturesque district of the Navigli. One of the oldest streets in the city, hosting artisan workshops and studios – traces of which can still be found in several side streets including via Orefici and via Spadari – via Torino has a strong commercial tradition and is almost entirely given over to shops selling clothing, shoes and accessories at budget-range prices, but also bars patronized by young creatives, students and tourists.
The Roman gate “Porta Romana” was originally built by the Romans and reworked in the Sixteenth century, when Milan was ruled by the Spanish family Gonzaga. The surrounding prestigious area takes the name from this ancient gate and is characterised by beautiful buildings of the Nineteenth and Twentieth century and shops mainly frequented by locals in Milan.
Corso Buenos Aires
Since opening in 1782, Corso Buenos Aires has been one of the most important commercial thoroughfares in Milan. A real shopper’s paradise, it offers one and a half kilometres of storefronts, with shops for all tastes and all budgets: sophisticated boutiques, alternated with trendy stores offering all types of merchandise and numerous bars for a quick snack. Its side streets abound in restaurants, many of which are ethnic. A Saturday afternoon favourite with Milanese shoppers of all ages.
Navigli and Colonne
This is one of the most vibrant districts in Milan boasting restaurants, wine-bars and live music but also painters’ studios and a slew of interesting shops. Starting from Porta Ticinese, an interesting eclectic neighbourhood boasting “banister houses” and trendy artisan workshops, you can stroll beyond Piazza XXIV Maggio and the Naviglio Grande. Festivals and open-air markets are often held in the Navigli area: don’t miss the Antique Market on the last Sunday of every month.