Milan is known as the second capital of Italy. Consequently, it is the second most populous city after Rome. This captivating city in the Lombardy Region of the country is a financial hub. Milan is recognized worldwide as a global capital of fashion and design. Established in 1958, Milan’s Fashion Week is considered one the world’s most important, and influential in the world. As part of the “Big Four”, Milan shares this place of distention together with New York, London, and Paris. Besides fashion, Milan is at the forefront of Italian entertainment, commerce, sports, and education.
When arriving in Milan, one of the first things you will notice is its mix of architectural styles. This urban metropolis is home to a blend of classic, and modern buildings, reflecting Milan’s denomination as a global city. If your journey begins at Milano Centrale (Milan’s main rail station, and Europe’s largest), take a moment to appreciate its breathtaking design by French architect Louis-Jules Bouchot. The design of the station, together with its main entrance leading to Piazza Duca d’Aosta, is influenced by the Parisian architecture of the 19th century. The station connects Milan with many other important cities of Italy, as well as with cities of other European countries. Buses from Milan’s airports also connect to the station, allowing travelers easy access to the rest of Milan via metro or tram.
Milan, like other financial economies, is a bustling city. Nevertheless, no one knows how to get through his or her day better than the Italians. On your way to the many attractions Milan has to offer, and when walking through the streets of this magnificent city, take your time to appreciate how the locals do it. Make sure to sit outside at one of the many cafes lining the streets and enjoy an Italian espresso.
Milan’s main attraction is the Milan Cathedral or better known as Duomo di Milano. Taking almost 600 years to complete, this architectural wonder holds the spot as the third largest church in the world, and as Italy’s biggest, with a capacity for 40,000 people. Dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente, the church is crowned by a golden statue of the Madonnina. No building in Milan is to be higher than the Madonnina. For this reason, buildings in Milan taller than the Duomo, have erected their own replica of the captivating Madonnina. The Duomo’s façade is constructed of Candoglia Marble, with various carvings and sculptures decorating the exterior as well as the interior of the cathedral. When visiting the cathedral, going up to the roof is a must, as it offers a closer view of marvelous sculptures that otherwise would be missed.
After visiting the Duomo, and before heading to the next attraction, take a walk around the local market found at the Piazza, and enjoy an arancini. Arancini are risotto balls traditional to the south of Italy since the 10th century, but popular throughout all of Italy. Arancini are complicated to prepare, and it is an “on-the-go” culinary experience you must give yourself the pleasure to enjoy! As we said before, take your time to appreciate Milan the way the locals live Milan.
When traveling to Italy’s fashion capital, shopping is a must! A few steps from the Duomo you will find the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Offering a mix of art and fashion stores, as well as restaurants, and bars, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Italy’s oldest active shopping center. Designed and built by architect Giuseppe Mengoni, the Galleria opened in 1877 and was named after the first king of the Kingdom of Italy, Vittorio Emmanuel II. The architecture of the Galleria is a sight to behold. The iron-and-glass ceiling is a classic representation of 19th-century arcades. The center of the Galleria is topped by a glass dome. The Galleria is a popular meeting point in Milan, recognized for its luxury businesses, and housing some of the oldest shops and restaurants in the city. At night, exclusive rooftop bars are buzzing with locals and tourists alike.
There is so much to do in see in Milan! Guild Magazine will continue to write a series of articles about this remarkable city. Keep an eye out for our The Guild’s Two Days in Milan Itinerary coming soon, as well as future features on restaurants and hotels to visit, and locations of the Lombardy region. – GM
Article editing by Jose Morales
Camera: Nikon D850/24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Chizzolini, G.; Poggi, F. (1885). Piazza del Duomo e Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milano tecnica dal 1859 al 1884. Milano: Ulrico Hoepli
Insight Guides (2004) p.220.