by Ellen Curham
Known as one of Europe’s most stylish cities, the sophisticated metropolis that is Milan is worth checking out even if you only have a short time. Yes, it may be the industrial and financial capital of Italy but that’s not to say it’s all work and no play. Milan is also home to an excellent football team, a prestigious fashion week and a thriving nightlife. If you find yourself in Milan with 24 hours to spare, check out our guide and this fabulous city.
Start off your day the way a typical young Milanese would and head to hipster favourite, Pave. Known for its sourdough, pastries and vanilla-infused cream, Pave is popular with stylish locals and even got a mention in The New York Times.
Get a caffeine hit to prepare you for a long day of exploring and if you’re here at Christmas make sure to try their panettone, a traditional Milanese cake made in the winter months.
Delve into DaVinci
Next up, you’ll want to check out one of Milan’s most popular attractions: The Last Supper mural by Leonardo DaVinci. Housed in the Dominican convent of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the painting is an incredible work of art but maintained extremely badly over centuries and was even used as a target for some of Napoleons soldiers. This is one you will need to book in advance, preferably weeks beforehand, and you can buy tickets here. Because of the mural’s terrible upkeep, only 25 people can view it at once in 15 minute increments to keep the room at a stable temperature.
Shop ‘til you drop
Being the fashion capital of Italy and a main player on the world’s style scene, it would be a shame not to check out some of the fabulous boutique and flagship fashion stores that make up this city. Head to the Quadrilatero d’Oro (‘the Golden Triangle’) to witness some of the biggest designer names. Even if, like most of us, you can’t afford to buy, the creative window displays are worth the trip. You can also check out the Galleria Vittorie Emanuele II. This stunning Art Nouveau-style building, built in the mid-1800s, is the oldest shopping centre in the world. See, who said shopping can’t be educational?!
Dine in style
After a busy morning head to 10 Corso Como. This concept space is a delight for all the senses and features a store, gallery, hotel, café and more. Browse around before settling into the courtyard café for some modern Italian dining using fresh and trendy ingredients. Like most things in Milan, 10 Corso Como isn’t cheap but it is more than just a lunch, it’s an experience and worth a little splurge.
Stadio San Siro
After lunch try checking out a football game at San Siro Stadium if you can. The AC Milan squad are world-renowned and frequently placed at the top of various European leagues.
Tickets are reasonably priced, with seats starting at around €30. Even if you’re not a huge sports fan, the Italians are football-mad and the atmosphere is great.
For some great photo opportunities and art without the entry price, have a look at some of the various sculptures dotted across the city. Highlights include a giant bronze horse based on the previously lost designs of Leonardo DaVinci, a marble column outside the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio with holes in it that are said to have been made by the devil’s horns and a huge stone middle finger in Piazza Affari, said to be a gesture towards the bankers that caused the economic crisis in the country.
Dinner and drinks
For dinner, try out another one of Milan’s trendiest restaurants. Erba Brusca has deliciously fresh and thoroughly local food with much of it grown right there in their own garden. The food is world-class but it still has a casual atmosphere and prices are extremely reasonable for the quality, making it an ideal place to start your night out in Milan.
Afterwards, end your night by heading to Bar Martini, a sleek bar that is a collaboration with famed Italian designers Dolce & Gabanna for a cocktail and some beautiful people-watching.
Where to stay?
Ostello Bello Grande offers great value, with all-day free breakfast, free dinner, 24hr bar, three terraces, free tours and tons of free toiletries. Best of all, all of their colourful, clean and modern rooms are ensuite.