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Stroll through the Duomo district and its sur­round­ings, and dis­cover Br­era, one of the most pic­turesque ar­eas in Mi­lan teem­ing with big-name brand bou­tiques and ar­ti­sanal man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Mi­lan's his­toric cen­tre is con­tained within a rel­a­tively small area which is now mostly closed to traf­fic, mean­ing that it's easy to ex­plore on foot. There's no need to choose be­tween plan­ning a ‘cul­tural' itin­er­ary or a ‘shop­ping' itin­er­ary be­cause you can com­bine the two and get the most out of both. In ad­di­tion to be­ing packed with sev­eral of Mi­lan's most fa­mous at­trac­tions, this area is home to myr­iad shops, in­clud­ing big-name fash­ion brands, his­toric ‘bot­teghe' and some of the city's most sought-af­ter cafés, bars and eater­ies. In the space of just a few kilo­me­ters you'll find the Duomo, the Gal­le­ria, Teatro alla Scala, the Cas­tle, the an­cient Basil­ica di Sant’Am­bro­gio, as well as spo­radic traces of ‘Ro­man Mi­lan', the first set­tle­ment and the pre­de­ces­sor of present-day Mi­lan.

AROUND THE DUOMO The Duomo, per se, re­quires no in­tro­duc­tion. It is the undis­puted sym­bol of Mi­lan and the heart of the city. In the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity, over­look­ing the var­i­ous sides of the large square sur­round­ing it, you'll find sev­eral of the world's most ex­clu­sive ad­dresses. For the ul­ti­mate one-stop shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence look no fur­ther than the Ri­nascente flag­ship store (un­der the ar­cades): an amaz­ing ar­ray of fash­ion items un­der just one roof! Just a lit­tle fur­ther on, the win­dow dis­plays of Rocca 1794 will se­duce you with their col­lec­tions of sev­eral of the world's most de­sir­able jew­ellery and watch brands. Pi­azza Duomo is also home to the largest Tif­fany & Co. bou­tique in Europe. Spread over two floors of a his­toric 1870 build­ing, it is lo­cated in front of the Aren­gario and the Museo del Nove­cento, by now a land­mark at­trac­tion for tourists vis­it­ing the city.

TO­WARDS TEATRO ALLA SCALA: THE GAL­LE­RIA Known as the ‘liv­ing room' of Mi­lan, the Gal­le­ria links Pi­azza del Duomo to pi­azza della Scala. For the past 150 years, it has been a meet­ing place for the Mi­lanese and their guests; this ex­plains why the venues over­look­ing the Gal­le­ria are go-to desti­na­tions for those wish­ing to soak up the at­mos­phere of the city. In the Gal­le­ria, haute cou­ture takes cen­tre stage. In ad­di­tion to Prada and Ver­sace, other stand­outs in­clude Louis Vuit­ton, Gucci, Ar­mani, Bor­salino, Luisa Spag­noli, Bric's, Tod's, Ste­fanel and Mas­simo Dutti al­ter­nated with his­toric work­shops (whose signs serve as an in­di­ca­tion of their sto­ried past). You say ‘aper­i­tivo' and you im­me­di­ately think of Cam­par­ino in Gal­le­ria, a land­mark lo­ca­tion and a ref­er­ence point where Mi­lan's elite meet to par­take in one of Italy's old­est so­cial tra­di­tions! Carlo Cracco's new lo­cale is spread over four floors and fo­cuses on op­u­lent aes­thetic and culi­nary of­fer­ings, from break­fast to post-theatre din­ing. For those in search of a taste of tra­di­tion, lo­cated just nearby is Luini (renowned for its one-of-a-kind “panze­rotti”). Con­versely,

those favour­ing a more sought-af­ter gourmet ex­pe­ri­ence can ei­ther opt to eat at Ris­torante Gal­le­ria where you en­joy a taste of Mi­lanese food and hos­pi­tal­ity (for gen­er­a­tions, the Galli fam­ily has de­fined Mi­lanese hos­pi­tal­ity in the Gal­le­ria!) or at Ris­torante Savini, one of Mi­lan's most iconic land­mark restau­rants, or at the March­esi alla Scala restau­rant. Don't miss the Lavazza flag­ship store, a space where cof­fee lovers can sam­ple an au­then­tic espresso and in­no­va­tive cof­fee-based recipes.

TO­WARDS THE CAS­TLE By walk­ing just a few kilo­me­ters from the Cathe­dral, in a north-west­erly di­rec­tion, you'll reach Castello Sforzesco, an­other of the city's most sym­bolic mon­u­ments. The cas­tle was the res­i­dent of the rul­ing fam­i­lies in Mi­lan be­tween the Mid­dle Ages and the Re­nais­sance. To­day, it hosts sev­eral mu­se­ums and one of the city's best-loved green spa­ces. If you walk from Pi­azza Duomo in the di­rec­tion of Cor­du­sio, af­ter pass­ing Pi­azza Mer­canti, you'll come to the new Star­bucks Re­serve Roast­ery Mi­lano, a ‘glo­cal' phe­nom­e­non that com­bines Mi­lanese spe­cial­ties with a for­mat that's loved the world over. Con­tin­u­ing on­wards along via Dante, you'll find myr­iad shops and eater­ies de­signed to sat­isfy your ev­ery whim. For a cul­tural-recre­ational break, head to the Chiostro Nina Vinchi, at no. 2 via Rovello, where a book­store and a new bar, of­fer­ing day-long din­ing, pro­vide insight into the his­tory of the Pic­colo Teatro, Mi­lan's premiere theatre venue. The Seg­way Tour Mi­lan, an al­ter­na­tive means of ex­plor­ing the city, starts next door, at no. 1 via Rovello. Apro­pos tours, re­mem­ber that Pi­azza Castello is the depar­ture point for Zani Vi­aggi's City Sight­see­ing Tours on open-top coaches and the place from which the ma­jor­ity of shut­tles de­part for some of Italy's finest out­lets. While the Duomo is Mi­lan's best-known church on an in­ter­na­tional level, there's an­other re­li­gious site that's just as dear to the Mi­lanese. The Basil­ica of Sant’Am­bro­gio, Mi­lan's sec­ond most im­por­tant church, is ded­i­cated to the pa­tron saint of the city. This build­ing, of enor­mous his­toric and ar­chi­tec­tural value, is well worth a visit. Built in the 4th cen­tury A.D. and, there­fore, much older than the Duomo, it's lo­cated ap­prox­i­mately one and half kilo­me­ters from the cathe­dral, a route that, when crossed on foot, al­lows you to im­merse your­self in the most an­cient part of Mi­lan's his­tory. In this area, you'll find the re­mains of Me­di­olanum, Ro­man Mi­lan, in­clud­ing the Fo­rum, the Cir­cus, the walls and, in the sub­ter­ranean ar­eas of the Pi­na­coteca Ambrosiana, the Cardo and De­cumanus. You only need to walk a few streets down from the ar­eas sur­round­ing the Duomo to see a change in the ur­ban land­scape: fewer shops of big-name in­ter­na­tional brands, more old-world ‘bot­teghe' and a few un­ex­pected de­lights. If you walk from the Duomo in the di­rec­tion of via Torino, you'll come to via Spadari, home to two cult ad­dresses. At no. 9, Peck, an in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned tem­ple of gas­tron­omy. This his­toric deli show­cases an in­cred­i­ble se­lec­tion of cheeses, char­cu­terie, pres­ti­gious wines, fresh pasta, truf­fles, au­then­tic Mi­lanese risotto and breaded cut­lets, plus panettone year-round. Peck is a plea­sure is­land for any­one who loves to taste, but also only ad­mire or de­light in the de­lec­ta­ble aro­mas of high-qual­ity food which can be sam­pled in var­i­ous forms at its re­laxed in-house café or lux­ury restau­rant. Other places that are well worth a visit while shop­ping in the area in­clude Mau­rilio Calza­ture, for high-qual­ity shoes; Daniela De Marchi, who show­cases her col­lec­tion of highly orig­i­nal jew­elry in via dei Pi­atti and For­tura Gio­cat­toli in via Ol­metto, a cen­tury-old toy mecca that will de­light young and old alike. An ab­so­lute must-visit! In the vicin­ity, there are also other op­tions for lunch or din­ner: Mi­lanese cui­sine in an in­ti­mate at­mos­phere at Ris­torante Ol­metto in via Dis­ci­plini; or, if Mi­lan is your only stopover and you're re­gret­ting not hav­ing tasted the stronger flavours of Ro­man cui­sine, don't de­spair, be­cause in via del Tor­chio you'll find Fe­lice a Tes­tac­cio, a spin-off of the fa­mous Ro­man restau­rant. On reach­ing Sant'Am­bro­gio, af­ter vis­it­ing the Basil­ica, linger a lit­tle longer and ex­plore its sur­round­ing ar­eas. In the same square, at num­ber 16, you'll find Chris Cerf, a bou­tique host­ing the vi­brant, el­e­gant col­lec­tions cre­ated by this well-known de­signer of Brazil­ian ori­gin. Just a lit­tle fur­ther on, af­ter ad­mir­ing Gi­u­lia Co­lussi's artis­tic jew­elry in Giardino Calderini, end your tour on a high note and head to via San Vit­tore to sam­ple or pur­chase the ‘cho­co­late gems' cre­ated by Neuhaus Maître Choco­latier, a must-visit gourmet bou­tique sell­ing orig­i­nal Bel­gian, hand­made pra­lines – a to­tally un­miss­able treat!

Tod’s

Gior­gio Ar­mani

Tif­fany & Co. TO­WARDS SANT’AM­BRO­GIO

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