Boasting a reputation as the fashion capital of the world, Milan is a city where traditional charm meets modern innovation. There’s something for every type of traveller – from history, art and shopping to good food and sport. A trip to Lombardy’s capital wouldn’t be complete without visiting its breathtaking cathedral and Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic fresco, The Last Supper, but we’ve also rounded up the other must-see things to add to your itinerary.
With its elegant canals and vibrant bars, the Navigli district is one of Milan’s most charming neighbourhoods. In the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci initiated the complicated system of dams. Construction of the waterways lasted seven centuries, ultimately connecting Lakes Maggiore and Como with the Ticino and Po Rivers. Start your evening with a passeggiata (a traditional early evening stroll), before grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants lining the canals. After dinner, make like the locals, grab a cheap Aperol Spritz (or two!) from the waterside vendors and set up camp on the edge of the canal to people-watch.
More like an open-air museum than a cemetery, Cimitero Monumentale is where Milan’s leading figures and families have been buried since 1866. Get lost amongst the rows of sculpture-adorned tombstones and magnificent mausoleums while keeping an eye out for some famous names. Milanese legends including novelist Alessandro Manzoni, footballer Giuseppe Meazza and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the founder of the Futurist movement, all of whom have their final resting places here.
Aperitivo is the Italian version of happy hour – only better. A tradition that started out as a pre-dinner drink served with a few simple snacks has developed over the years into a veritable feast. Depending on how ritzy the bar is, between about 6pm and 8pm, if you order a cocktail, beer or glass of wine, you’ll be offered some form of food. It could be a few nuts and olives, or you could end up with a generous complimentary buffet spread, with dishes such as pizza, cured meats and cheeses.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Jonathan Stern.