Resting in the North-West part of Italy sits Milan. A city brimming with life, beauty and character; a city who’s grace and splendour hits you hard directly upon arrival. The Milanese are not quite the pizza-loving-spaghetti-eating-wildly gesticulating stereotype of Italians – but they are incredibly welcoming and open in more of a cosmopolitan style. If you don’t trust my word, consider that the city recently featured high on Lonely Planet’s list of the top cities to visit in 2015.
The calmer part…
The Duomo di Milano is the crowning jewel of this gorgeous metropolis. Situated in the center of the city, the Duomo is an awe-inspiring and breath-taking cathedral that took nearly 600 years to build, only being completed in 1965. White marble brick carved into eloquent statues and impressive spires cover the cathedral, which is the largest in Italy. On the ground floor visitors are completely free to roam around and gaze at the wonders inside.Not far from the Duomo itself is the Parco Sempione, a haven for picnics and lounging in the sun. By no means the biggest park in the world; it is however ideally located and a beautiful refuge for a lunch break or grandiose get-together. The front door to Parco Sempione is naturally found past a splendid fountain and then through the epic gates of Sforza Castle, a 15th century fortress that is a joy to behold.
The canals and restaurants of the Navigli district offer a vibrant slice of the Milan lifestyle – classy, sumptuous and always lively. Here you’ll find many of the leading bars that offer aperitivo; essentially a two hour window for an all-you-can-eat buffet when purchasing any drink.
…and the wild side
Obviously synonymous with exquisite fashion tastes, Milan showcases its boldest and brightest attire at Milan Fashion Week. A great summary of the designers and the city’s fashion fascination can be found on the blog of Peter Hahn, in their article Fashion in Milan – Trends in Bella Italia.For those wanting to let their hair down and hear the beats drop should look to the curiously titled Old Fashion, a famous club which contains an open-air dance floor that is perfect for those hot summer nights. Previous to this however, one should – no, must – visit the Colonne in the evening. A magnet for all that partying and celebrating embodies, Colonne is where the cool kids hang out. Affordable bars surround the square, where you can buy a drink in a plastic cup (no glass allowed) and sit on the floor or the benches. Laughter, light, music and merriment will be your guides for this area –typically as good on a Tuesday as it is on a Saturday.
Slightly less festival-looking in appearance but no less entertaining is Ostello Bello. This hostel also serves as a bar and café to the general public. Whether you are travelers in a large group or a solo adventurer; Ostello Bello often contains as many Milanese as there are internationals. Most importantly, the welcoming is always warm and the drink portions consistently generous.