There’s a palpable feel in the air in Milan that this is where things happen. It’s not all work and no play, though: pavement cafés abound and the city parties each evening at aperitivo time, when bars provide complimentary buffets to accompany these early evening drinks.
Milan’s central hub is Piazza del Duomo with the elaborate cathedral it’s named after. Spiralling away from there are many diverse neighbourhoods, each one with its own distinctive character and atmosphere. To the north is pretty Brera, with cobbled streets and pavement cafés, while further out are the city’s two futuristic urban development projects, CityLife and Porta Nuova, both fringed by welcoming public parks. South of the centre, the laid-back Navigli canal district is the place for an evening among the many bars and eateries.
When to go
Spring and autumn are the most pleasant times to visit, but try to avoid the trade fashion weeks in mid-February and mid-September when hotels fill up quickly and prices are high; the Milan Design Week in April is another busy time, but its countless public events bring the city to life. During August, many shops, restaurants and bars close for a week or more.
How to get around
Milan has a good network of buses, trams and trolleybuses as well as four underground metro lines. The same tickets are valid for all and should be bought in advance from newsstands, tobacconists or at metro stations, and stamped when you begin your journey; the 24- and 48- hour tickets are valuable options. Bike-sharing schemes, including BikeMi and Mobike, operate around the city.