From haute couture and fine dining to cutting-edge design, a love of luxury permeates the Italian centre of industry, commerce and fashion. N No city is in thrall to the beautiful people like Milan. A love of luxury permeates the place, from haute couture and fine dining to cutting-edge design. This is also the home of opera, and amid the warren of cobbled streets that fans out from the graceful Duomo cathedral there remains a palpable sense of history and charm.
See The Duomo took nearly 600 years to finish, its name becoming a catchphrase: ‘fabrica del Dom’, or ‘impossible task’. It was worth the wait: a vision in pink and white marble with 3,200 statues, 146 stained-glass windows and 135 spires (duomomilano.it; admission free, terrace tickets from £6).
The Teatro alla Scala is the world’s most famous opera house. Virtually all opera singers of note have trodden its boards in front of six stories of boxes and crimson-lined galleries. The season usually begins on 7 December (teatroallascala.org; Via Filodrammatici 2; tours from £5, tickets from £8).
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, two glass-vaulted 19th-century arcades, links two of the city’s biggest landmarks, the Duomo and Teatro alla Scala. The four-storey arcade is filled with elegant boutiques selling everything from haute couture to paintings (Piazza del Duomo).
In a city filled with artistic masterpieces, one not to miss is Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Seeing the original is an unforgettable experience (cenacolovinciano.net; Via San Martino 1/a; closed Sun; advance tickets £6).
Parco Sempione is the city’s best park, with an aquarium and the Torre Branca steel tower, and fantastic city views. Its Palazzo dell’Arte houses the Triennale di Milano, showcasing top Italian design (triennaledesignmuseum.it; Viale Alemagne 6; admission £6).