Alfa Romeo, risotto, Giorgio, Milano! Welcome to the heart of Italian wealth and style, where the removal of sunglasses is a surgical procedure and popping to the deli without stillies is simply illegal. So the streetscape ain’t exactly pretty, but who cares when the people strutting on it are so fabulous. Bene bella, put your fash foot forward.
Milan radiates from Centro, a very walkable area encasing the Duomo, Teatro alla Scala, Quadrilatero d’Oro (Quad) for all your label needs, plus the ancient, winding paths of Vecchia Milano. North of La Scala are arty Brera and hip Garibaldi. West are genteel Magenta, home to The Last Supper, Salone del Mobile hotpad Zona Tortona and the Navigli canals. Far east is buzzy Lambrate with Design Week hub Via Ventura, and fanning east to south are Porta Venezia, Porta Vittoria and Porta Romana for local vibe.
Apart from August, when everyone flees and the city pretty much shuts down, there’s no bad time to visit Milan, though multiple fashion weeks (check calendar at fieramilano.it) and the Salone del Mobile furniture fair in April make Milan a hectic (and pricey) signorina Main int’l airports are Linate and Malpensa. Try to avoid the latter – it’s well on the way to Switzerland and takes upwards of 50 mins / € 90 by cab, or € 12 by the Malpensa Express train. Linate is an easy-breezy 20 mins / € 20 Taxis generally can’t be hailed. Either catch one from the stands on main roads, or call (see Very Useful), but note that they charge from the time the call is made Cycling (see V. Useful) and walking are good options around Centro. Beyond, metro and trams are easy Shops are usually open 10am-7pm Tue-Sat and Mon afternoon. Some close for lunch, and everything is shut on Sun, so make it a day for museums and culture Many shops, restos and services are hidden away inside courtyards, and buzzers don’t always work, but nip in and you’ll often find a little security office to help Restaurants are more about the scene, and although dress codes are non-existent, your outfit matters A small cover charge (coperto) is levied at most restos, but it’s still nice to round up a couple of euros Aperitivi (6-10pm) is vital to the Milanese day The smoking ban applies to all indoor bars and restos, unless there is a special ventilation system and licence Coffee etiquette: caffè/espresso is a single shot, doppio is a double shot, Americano is a long black Milk in coffee after midday puts an ‘L’ on your forehead Italy’s international code is +39. Milan’s area code 02 must be dialled for landlines but not mobiles Emergencies: police 113, ambulance 118
Allora, parliamo l’italiano e il milanese...
Buongiorno / Buonasera : Good morning / Good afternoon Per favore / Grazie / Prego : Please / Ta / You’re welcome Stai schiscio : Take a chill pill, Bill