TWO DAYS IN MILAN
Eat, shop and sleep your way round a design capital of the world.
– eat, shop and sleep your way round a design capital of the world
Style and serenity take on a whole new meaning when you wake in the middle of Milan’s fashion district, with traffic on one side and a vast, tree-lined courtyard on the other. It’s so quiet at Milan’s Four Seasons Hotel that you can sleep with the windows open and wake to the sound of very little. It feels like you have been transported to the middle of the Tuscan countryside, except that the hotel offers the best of both worlds – Via Montenapoleone is within five minutes’ walk.
This street is a fashionista’s paradise, home to every big name designer imaginable. Be prepared for eye-watering prices and to be wooed by garments unseen in many other cities, from the top names in global design. It may pay to leave the credit card in your hotel safe on your first foray.
Like Italy itself, Milan is full of surprises and contrasts. The city’s famous modern, deconstructionist designs sit comfortably alongside historic architecture – a stunning contrast. The city’s Duomo cathedral is one of many such examples. It is said to be home to over 3,600 statues and 165 spires, all of which can be seen by climbing the steps into the dome – or taking the lift, if you’re suffering from shopper’s feet.
One of the key times to visit Milan is in April, during the city’s annual design event. The Salone Internazionale del Mobile (furniture fair) is the biggest event in the city, with over 1,270 exhibitors and open days to the public at weekends. If planning a visit around this time, it pays to book accommodation in advance. And you can expect to see a bit of everything, from understated design to downright outlandish. It’s all part of the charm. As is the city’s old-world vibe, which can best be experienced while sipping a cocktail at the Hotel Principe Di Savoia on the Piazza della Repubblica.
Milan is viewed by many as a stop-off to make after visiting France, on the way to Eastern Europe or Rome. But it is a destination in its own right, thanks to its deserved reputation as a design capital of the world. Its well-preserved, impressivelyproportioned historic architecture adds another string to its stylish bow.
Impressing visitors was no doubt the aim of those who converted the once-dilapidated convent into the Four Seasons Hotel. While it oozes authentic charm, with its over 500-year-old frescoes on the walls and ceilings, the hotel is specked with every mod con imaginable.
Above: Milan and its famous shops. Right: the Hotel Principe di Savoia.