Italy's Milan offers a wealth of tourist attractions, great shopping and dining, and art treasures few other cities can boast. From the magnificent Duomo di Milano to the famous La Scala Opera House, where many legendary operas premiered shortly after being composed, Milan is a mecca for cultural tourists. But there are also the fabulous shopping centre in the centre of Milan, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where some of fashion's biggest names have their stores, and many of northern Italy's finest restaurants. Why not join a culinary tour for a tasty first impression of what Milanese cuisine is all about?
Here are a few suggestions on how you could spend your city break in Milan:
Explore the Quadrilatero della Moda district, Milan's designer fashion district in the heart of the city on a private tour that takes you to Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni and Corso Venezia, all fashionistas' hang-outs. You meet your guide at Via Rovello 1-a, which is just a few steps from the Cordusio M1 Red Line stop. You will get to see where the famous and rich buy their clothes and accessories and where brand new ideas spring up for next season's collections.
Built in 1386, Milan's Duomo is still a landmark today. The pinkish-white marble facing it was quarried near Lake Maggiore, also in Northern Italy and easily reached with a coach tour or rental car. Taking some six centuries to complete, Milan Cathedral is a must-see. It houses a great museum, and the Church of San Gottardo in Corte, which is part of the cathedral complex, is also well worth seeing.
Built on the orders of Milan's very first duke, Francesco Sforza, Sforzesco Castle dates back to the 15th century in its original parts. Many changes have occurred since then. Today it houses several museums and galleries. At the Pinacoteca you can see works by painters like Bellini, Canaletto, Tintoretto and Titian. This comprehensive t3-hour our also includes the Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie, where Leonardo da Vinci's painting, The Last Supper (1495 – 1498), is on display – and under 24-hour guard. One of the world's most famous artworks, The Last Supper can only ever be seen by 30 people at a time, as there's simply not a lot of room in which to enjoy the masterpiece.
If you love to live your life fast and furious, you won't want to miss this! Visiting Italy isn't complete without seeing at least one of the legendary supercars the country has produced in the last 100 years or so. But driving one...that's sheer heaven for a committed petrol-head. You can join a Ferrari tour where you are allowed inside one of these red machines. Driving along the lovely 16-km test drive route with views of the city and Swiss Alps is an unforgettable experience for anyone who's ever watched F1 motor racing. This tour includes motorsport's legendary driver Ayrton Senna's favourite tunnel too. You start with a briefing of course, where a guide tells you all about correct driving lines, break points and what acceleration your Ferrari is capable of. And what speeds you are allowed to drive at on Italian roads...
If you can spare a whole day, you could travel on the famous Bernina Express train and visit St Moritz, ski resort of the world's A and B list celebrities. When you're not craning your neck to spot stars of pop and film at St Moritz, be sure to enjoy the breathtaking views of the mountains as your red train hurtles past green fields and snowy caps. Travelling along one of the highest rail networks in Europe requires you to have a head for heights though: at the highest point, the Alps along this stretch of rails reach altitudes or 2,256 metres above sea level.
Meet your well-muscled guide at Duomo Square, just on the left hand side of the Cathedral's façade, in front of the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery, for this bike tour of Milan's city centre. You'll see all the best tourist attractions at the heart of Milan and can stop off easily at specific places to take a selfie or two. The Duomo is a must, as is Sforza Castle, but the tour can also include landmark buildings like Torre Branca, Marino Palace or Sempione Park. You could include San Siro Stadium in the tour...but you may have to pedal extra hard to get there.
It takes around 4.5 to 5 hours to see the stadium and its museum. You meet your host at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, otherwise affectionately known as San Siro due to its location in Milan, and set off to explore the home of AC Milan and Internazionale football clubs on your own, after a few explanations. With a seating capacity of over 80,000, the stadium is one of Europe's largest sporting venues, and one of the world's most famous within the sport of soccer. At the stadium's own museum you can admire many of European's football's most inspirational trophies, all bagged by the players of AC Milan and FC Inter Milan over many decades. Yo get to the stadium in San Siro district, you can take the Hop-on-Hop-off bus that takes tourists on sightseeing trips through Milan. These buses depart from Zani Viaggi, Milan 'sVisitor Centre, located on the corner of Largo Cairoli/Cusani Street.
This full day culinary adventure takes place in a real-life Milanese home and is conducted by a certified cook who will introduce you to three different recipes. Accompanied by local wines you can then taste the authentic cuisine of the region and judge for yourself, how well you've done in your cookery lesson. Tuition starts at 10.00 and usually the class will have finished by 17.00.
Cocktails and street food are at the heart of a very different Milanese tour that takes you from
Piazza Ventiquattro Maggio to the highlights of the Navigli area, where Milanese culture is at its liveliest these days. From breakfast and lunchtime snacks to a cup of espresso and a piece of delicious patisserie at the end, your guide will introduce the city's cuisine to you and the region's wines. Great fun, and not too hard on the waistline.