So in part 1 of our Ultimate Guide to Touring Milan, we talked about the places to visit if you want to be able to appreciate the art and culture of this global city. In this installment, we’ll talk about some of the other things that we love doing while on vacation: enjoying good food, and shopping!
Once you’re done touring the museums and ancient ruins, and you’ve had your fill of the frescoes and paintings, you might start feeling the need to grab a bite somewhere, so here’s a short list of some places in Milan where you could do just that.
Whether it’s for a business meeting, a romantic dinner, or just a quiet meal, try out the delicious food over at Ristorante Piazza Repubblica. This restaurant is famous for its white truffle dishes and desserts, as well as its selection of wines. If you’re not sure over what to order or which wine goes with your meal, don’t worry about it as the friendly staff will be on hand to give you recommendations.
If you’re up for seafood, though, visit La Dolce Vita. A short walk from the Duomo, it offers a peaceful and romantic atmosphere, as well as an impressive selection of wines. As stated earlier, this restaurant specializes in seafood, so feel free to indulge yourself with their tasty dishes!
Feeling a little fancy? Then check out Il Marchesino, a tea room-slash-restaurant that is owned and run by the celebrated Italian Michelin-Star chef Gualtiero Marchesi, who is considered by most to be “the founder of modern Italian cuisine”. This place is also perfect for pre- or post-theater snacks and meals because it’s located right beside the Teatro alla Scala.
Another spot for great food is the Trattoria Milanese, which is once again located a mere few minutes away from the Duomo. Having been in operation for more than 50 years, this charming establishment serves up some of the best traditional fare in the city. Make sure to try their saffron-infused risotto alla Milanese, as well as their osso buco. They also specialize in grilled meats and cheeses, and as with any respectable restaurant in Italy, also offer a good wine selection.
Meanwhile, if you’re just looking for a quick lunch or a snack, try Caffè Vecchia Brera. A well-established restaurant in Milan, the place has a retro feel to it, and they specialize in crepes, both the savory and the dessert kinds. Other than crepes and coffee, they also serve sandwiches, salads, pies, and cold cut platters, and they also have lunch and dinner menus. On top of all of that, they also have happy hours which feature wines, cocktails, as well as local and imported beers.
If you’re feeling thirst and really want to up the ante, though, then head over to Principe Bar. It is THE place to see and be seen, so be ready to share the space with celebrities and VIPs, especially during Milan Fashion Week! Other than the sheer star power, though, this is a great spot for cocktails and aperitifs, and is a popular spot for parties and events.
Next up, let’s talk about shopping!
For those who adore designer brands and want to get their hands on the hottest fashion pieces, Via Monte Napoleone is a sort of paradise. An elegant street lined with high-end jewelry and fashion stores that bear the names of world-renowned brands and designers, it is the most important street in Milan’s Fashion District. Even if you’re haven’t decided yet if you really want to buy that Gucci purse on display, it is at least a pleasant spot for window shopping.
Even if your wallet isn’t quite ready for Via Monte Napoleone, however, fret not! We have two words for you: DESIGNER BARGAINS. If you’re looking for discounted designer pieces, check out the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, an establishment that contains outlet stores of various high-end brands that normally stock end-of-season returns, factory overruns, and catwalk cast-offs. There also shops that carry second-hand clothes as well as vintage boutiques.
On the other hand, for those who are looking for simpler wares, there’s the Centro Commerciale Milanofiori, which is the largest mall in northern Italy. As with any mall, it houses lots of brand and store chains, and also features movie theaters, as well as a variety of eateries and restaurants.
Those who are looking for something of a more academic or collectible nature, however, would do well to stop by the Libreria Pecorini. This establishment sells antique books, journals, and music sheets, dated from the 18th and 19th centuries. However, what’s really special about this place is that they also feature ancient maps, as well as volumes of text that date as far back as the 17th century (display only, sorry…), which cover topics that include classic architecture, alchemy, and ancient cartography. This is the go-to place for bibliophiles, collectors, researchers, and antiquarians.
Another book-related point of interest is the Libreria Milanese. It is one of the oldest bookshops in Milan, and features a huge selection of material that covers everything you need to know about Milan and Lombardy, from maps, to pocket guides, to cookbooks, and books on Milanese folklore.
And that completes our two-part guide to the city of Milan. Now that you have your bearings, take your time to look around and discover all the other sights in this lovely city, and most importantly, enjoy the ride!