See Also: Best Things to Do in Milan
While Rome is known for being Italy’s capital, Milan- the Italian city is famous for being the global fashion and design capital. If you are looking to experience fashion and technological advancements amidst gorgeous historic architecture and art, Milan is your perfect holiday destination. With a diverse range of travellers visiting every year, Milan caters to every explorer's need and has something unique to offer to everyone and contribute to their niche.
But it would be quite unfair to categories Milan as a posh and snobby fashion capital laid out on the cobblestoned streets of Italy. With lively energy and a vibrant ambience, Milan is a perfect destination for people with family life, as well as the people with young energetic souls. While Brera is known for its artistic ambience with multiple art galleries in the neighbourhood, Navigli is known for its party atmosphere where locals, as well as tourist, pour in to enjoy the energetic nightlife. People visit Porta Romana to mix in and get a feel of the local Italian vibe whereas Duomo is that neighbourhood where you visit to dive into the pages of your history book. On the other hand, Milan’s Porta Nuova is known for its spell bounding architecture and excellence in its gorgeous buildings.
With a deep-rooted interesting history to its name, modern Milan is a financial hub with cultural attractions that still holds on to its historical significance even at the time of modernisation. Most travellers who travel to Lake Como and Italian Alps, visit Milan as it is the gateway to these majestic creations of nature.
Along with being home to significant historic artworks like Da Vinci’s Last Supper and art galleries like Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan is known for its authentic Italian dishes and delicious Milanese cuisines.
The city of Milan is well planned and is divided into nine zones, that radiates outward, with Milan Duomo being in the centre. Your preference for neighbourhood depends on the mood of your stay. If you are looking for an exciting holiday and want to be in the middle of the action, you should prefer the neighbourhoods that are close to the city’s centre. Otherwise, the area near Park Sempione and the Arco Della Pace is an excellent choice.
To help you decide on your preference of stay, here’s a list of neighbourhoods and their major attractions, that can help you decide where to stay in Milan on your holiday visit.
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Considered to be the historic centre of the city, The Centro Storico is located right in the middle of Milan. It surrounds the colossal Duomo di Milano. It is the city’s most preferred area by the tourists since it is home to many popular tourist attractions which has both historical and cultural importance. Tourists flow into Centro Storico to visit including La Scala Opera House, Museo 900, Duomo di Milano, the Palazzo Reale and the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery. Tourists also come in to shop in the Italian fashion capital, the Quadrilatero, which happens to be a luxury-shopping district. Along with major landmarks, museums, boutiques and shopping destinations, Centro Storico also has many cafés, restaurants and diners. Mainly known as a walking district, it is well connected to other parts of the city with the M1 and M3 metro lines. But since Centro Storico itself has most major attractions for you to visit, and being in the centre of the city, it saves you a lot of transport cost and time.
If you are running short of time and want to enjoy the most of Milan, you should think of staying here in Centro Storico. With multiple accommodation options, undeniably beautiful ambience, highly rated restaurants, high-end shopping choices and numerous tourist attractions in the near vicinity, Centro Storico hosts lots of tourists every year. If are looking for a beautiful vacation in a short amount of time, and money is not an issue for you, Centro Storico should be your choice of stay as well.
Located in Zone 1 of the city along with Duomo, the Brera district stands out in every way. With a beautiful ambience, artistic and stylish look, Brera is located towards the north of the Centro Storico and Duomo district. With a festive ambience in the web of narrow streets, the Brera neighbourhood has multiple places for you to visit, like the Castello Sforzesco, Via Brera, Parco Sempione, Napoleon’s Arch of Peace, Palazzo Brera, Brera Academy of Fine Arts, the Brera Art Gallery, Duomo Galleria area, hidden Botanical Garden, and the well known Pinacoteca di Brera museum; all of them being in your walking distance once you are in the neighbourhood. Of all of these Santa Maria delle Grazie stands tall in the list of importance for being the home of Da Vinci’s famous ‘Last Supper’ painting. The San Marco Church is also an important landmark with historical and cultural importance as it had once hosted young Mozart for three months in the early 1770s. Having such cultural importance and being home to so many historic landmarks, Brera is the best neighbourhood for sight-seeing purposes.
What was once known for its low-rent, artsy, bohemian neighbourhood that was frequented by influential Italian painters, writers and intellectuals have transformed itself into a trendy, fashionable, high-end district with the most luxurious lifestyle choices. While looking for accommodations here in modern Brera can seem costly for most, yet it should be in your ‘must visit’ list for its multiple food options in dinner or an aperativo among the lavish apartments, art and design galleries, elegant buildings, antique stores and boutiques. Artists, who are attracted by Milan’s art and off-beat fashion options, visit Brera for its art galleries and small boutiques with quality materials for them to buy.
With an absolutely safe and sophisticated neighbourhood, Brera has the most sophisticated locale where history has beautifully blended with modern times. Adding to the historic heritage of the city, Brera is the trendiest place to stay in Milan where one can find world-class art, fashionable boutiques and stylish bars.
Here you can find true Milanese dinner options with an opportunity to dine under the stars of a moonlit sky as Brera has restaurants with the option of outdoor dining. Brera also provides impressive stationery shops along with spell bounding collections of vintage stores.
Located South of the city, Navigli is one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Milan. Although known as the modern party district of Milan, the neighbourhood dates back to 1179. The neighbourhood has a network of canals like Naviglio Grande, and Naviglio Pavese, which history says were used to transport goods throughout the city back in the days. Modern Navigli is quite different from what it once used to be as now it has turned to be the home to students and professionals. With 3 major universities in the vicinity, IULM, Bocconi, and Naba, the student filled neighbourhood keeps a low profile in the day time. Post-sun-down, the educational environment gets a lively ambience as the neighbourhood gets charged with energy as the vibrant locality is filled with night-time activities.
If you are planning on visiting Navigli, do try to visit the neighbourhood on a Sunday as Navigli’s Sunday market is famous for its art galleries, artisan shops, design studios, vintage boutiques and antique stalls, selling vintage items. Navigli also provides a picturesque ambience during sunset as people flock over to see the sun set over the beautiful well maintained canals, giving a Venice-like ambience. With several cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs available, Navigli has plenty of options for you to dine and drink, make memories and have an exciting nightlife. If you want to explore Navigli, you can always take a walk from Colonne di San Lorenzo, down the Corso Ticinese, to Piazza Ventiquattro Maggio or you can marvel at the beauty of Navigli as you walk along Naviglio Grande, as light from the streetlamps and historical wash-houses gets reflected on the calm waters of the canal giving you a breathtaking experience of the old Milan.
If you are looking for a happening and exciting vacation in Milan, Navigli is the place you should visit. Located right in the centre of the city, Navigli has an active and energetic ambience with lots of major attractions nearby. Being at the city’s centre also cuts down your transportation costs, and the city’s well-planned connectivity comes as an added bonus to your stay.
Piazza del Duomo; Known for being the city’s core, Duomo is named after the Piazza that is named after the Cathedral of Milan. If you are in Milan, you cannot miss out on a visit to the Piazza, which is the fifth largest church in the world. The historic church has a beautiful golden statue of Mother Mary as the marvellous special spire at the top, that corresponds to the local pride for the gothic architecture.
Duomo is the best place to stay for a first-timer. Amidst all the historic landmarks of Via Montenapoleone, Via Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea, and Palazzo Morando, there are several shopping options available within your reach, especially with Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Europe’s oldest shopping mall being there in the neighbourhood. If you are looking for shopping branded items in the flagship stores like that of, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, Duomo is the best place for you.
With several dining and drinking options available, especially in Camparini, people often come to visit the Scala Opera Theatre, Teatro alla Scala opera house or at least shop at Excelsior Milano. With art museums, cultural landmarks, lavish hotels, beautiful architecture work, cafes, bars, restaurants and a stylish locale, Duomo is a great accommodation option for your holiday.
Porta Nuova and Isola stands as an example of modernisation touching an ancient city of Milan. The skyscrapers and modern plazas stands tall in contrast to the 19th-century remains of the Italian city. While you marvel at the neoclassical architectural marvel of the Piazza XXV Aprile, you can't help but notice the mirrored Unicredit Tower in the background.
While Porta Nuova’s neighbourhood is the home to the marvellous residential building of Bosco Verticale, the building that is famous for its architectural innovation, it is also known for its shops, great restaurants and urban cafes. Although architectural innovation of Porta Nuova’s Vertical Forest is quite well known, Isola’s buildings and warehouses have taken a creative spin on them as the latter’s facades show off artist’s creative skill and the former has turned into restaurants.
With several well-known restaurants available, the Porta Nuova and Isola are frequented by the tourists for tasting Milanese cuisines. Drinking options are also available here. With not many attractions present in the neighbourhood, you can still opt for a stay here as it proves relatively cheaper accommodations in the Art-deco apartments of the neighbourhood. What was once the home to working-class of Milan is now the residential complex of the business travellers. With Garibaldi train station nearby, your vacation remains interesting as you can easily travel to the other parts of the city while having a cheaper stay.
Other than these places, there are several other neighbourhoods of Milan for you to visit. Located in Piazzale Medaglie d’Oro, Porta Romana is a Rome-inspired district of Milan which has a stylish neighbourhood with several eating and drinking options available. Porta Venezia is also an important neighbourhood of Milan as what was once the historical gates of the city is now primarily visited for shopping. With food and clothing available at affordable rates, Porta Venezia is quite famous amongst the tourists here. On the other hand, San Siro is perfect for your stay with your family as there are beautiful shops, café lined streets, and parks, making it perfect for children. San Siro also has sporting activities available, as it is where you find the San Siro Football Stadium.
Although modern Milan is an epitome of modernisation and industrialisation, it still is an ancient city, with canals, cobblestoned streets, narrow lanes, inter-webbed alleys, amidst which several skyscrapers rise up to touch the sky, as the bars and restaurants energies the nightlife in the city. With lots to explore and several attractions to visit, Milan is an ideal holiday destination as the city’s neighbourhoods are interconnected with metro lines and tramways along with several other transportation options.