Friday, 18 August 2017

Destination Milan, Italy

Milan, the capital of style and sophistication pulsates with an energy that stimulates all your senses. It has plenty to shout about. Besides having a reputation for luxury fashion and design, it is Italy’s financial hub. The football and food are not bad either.

Courtesy of British Airways

The streets are punctuated with artistic and architectural wonders as well as museums. The old favourites continue to dazzle the crowds. I defy you not to stand in the Piazza del Duomo with the statute of Victor Emmanuel ll, the first king of Italy, reining in his horse and gape at the sight of the Duomo, Milan’s Gothic Cathedral. This most renowned symbol, sparkling white in the sun, will make you stop and catch your breath. 

The Duomo, Milan’s Gothic Cathedral

There are plenty of art galleries housed in gorgeous old buildings to enjoy. Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is the painting that most tourists want to see. Getting a ticket is as hard as obtaining a front row seat at Prada during Fashion Week so book in advance.

Opera buffs will want to ensure they reserve their seats before they travel if they want to attend a performance at Milan’s fabled Teatro alla Scala. If you are visiting outside the season go and take a look at the building.

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Arguably, the best show that Milan puts on is in the streets themselves. Populated with people elegantly dressed, each district stages its own performance. 

Wherever you go you will find shops. People flock to this city for retail therapy. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a domed- shopping arcade running between the Duomo and La Scala Theatre, is a work of art in itself. It is a taste of another era. The long glass roof delights today as when it was built in the second half of the 19th century.  

Navigli District

With designer shops including Prada and Gucci as well as cafés and restaurants, it is the perfect place to mix with locals and indulge in an aperitif – a ritual in Milan. Your drink invariably comes with rather good nibbles so relax and watch the world go by. You may just pick up some style tips.

For good luck, according to old Milanese tradition, you should spin your heels on the mosaic bulls’ “private parts”. You cannot miss the spot as you will see plenty of tourists patiently waiting their turn.

No visit to Milan would be complete without sauntering around the Quadrilatero d'oro della moda, the golden rectangle of fashion that is the city's beating heart. Consisting of four main streets: Via Monte Napoleone, Via Alessandro Manzoni, Via della Spiga and Corso Venezia you will find all the luxury brands here. Walking around is inspiring even if you do not flex your credit card.

Brera is a treasure trove of speciality boutiques and chic restaurants. It has an arty almost bohemian feel. However, it is not just home to museums and galleries as you will realise as you take in the heady smells of brioche and cappuccinos that fill the air in the pretty, narrow, cobbled streets first thing in the morning.

Milan at sunset

From here I discovered several more interesting shops as I made my way to 10 Corso Como. This style emporium, a favourite with the fashion crowd since it opened in 1990, is tucked away in a quiet courtyard off what is often said to be Milan’s coolest street. Goodies include leading designer labels, accessories, and books. There is even a small boutique hotel as well as a lovely café/restaurant where you can refuel.

For a complete change of pace I ended my day in the Navigli District where edgy collides with the industrial past. Leonardo da Vinci reputedly helped overhaul this network of canals. Today the banks of the Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese canals are littered with bars which come to life in the evenings. Not quite Venice or Amsterdam, the area exudes a certain charm where you can escape the throngs of the city and feel as if you have escaped to the countryside. Just what is needed after a day hitting the shops.

By Daralyn Danns

British Airways flies from London City to Milan Linate up to twice a day during the week with one flight on Saturdays and Sundays flying-from-london-city-airport-to.html

(In addition BA has services from Heathrow with connections also available from across the UK and Ireland.)

Advance purchase each way. Basic fares are available from £47 and are available to book on

Club Europe fares include a generous baggage allowance, complimentary refreshments and drinks on board and no debit card charges 

Customers have a quick and easy journey through the Docklands airport, with hand baggage it takes just 15 minutes to get from kerbside to airside. (It did not take me much longer to get airside despite having luggage to check in.)

I combined a stay in Turin (destination-turin-italy) with one in Milan. (You could also visit the beautiful Lake Como.) 

Stay at Hotel Dei Cavalieri Milano Duomo (
Just a few minutes’ walk from the Duomo, this modern hotel is a good base for exploring Milan. The rooms were comfortable and spotlessly clean. Service is good, staff attentive and helpful. The rooftop bar and restaurant has fabulous views over the city. While it is not cheap, the views are worth it especially if you like watching sunsets

For more information about Italy visit