A city where awe-inspiring architecture effortlessly blends with cosmopolitan culture, Milan provides the most elegant of backdrops for a weekend break. Capital of the Lombardy region, Milan resonates on a multitude of cultural levels, where passions for fashion and opera stylishly and harmoniously co-exist with a die-hard fidelity for football.
First on the checklist must surely the stunning Gothic cathedral, the fourth largest in the world and described by Mark Twain as “a poem in marble”. If you’re feeling energetic, the climb to the roof is particularly worthwhile for its 135 spires, 3000 gargoyles and statues and breathtaking views across the city to the Alps beyond. The 15th-century Castello Sforzesco meanwhile is another architectural gem, home also to masterpieces by Michelangelo, Mantegna and Canaletto.
Another must-see is undoubtedly the artistic phenomenon that is Da Vinci’s The Last Supper situated at the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Massively popular, this undisputed masterpiece is one of Milan’s biggest cultural attractions and demand for tickets is extremely high so book early to avoid disappointment.
The Brera Art Gallery (Pinacoteca di Brera) is Milan’s leading art museum and home to one of the world’s most important collections of ancient and modern painting. Highlights include paintings and portraits by Tintoretto, Bronzino, Raffaello, Caravaggio and Canaletto as well as from the Flemish school, represented by Rubens, Van Dyck and Rembrandt.
Once you’ve satiated your artistic appetite, why not indulge in a spot of sartorial appreciation amongst the designer boutiques lining the Via Monte Napoleone and situated in the 18th-century, glass-domed Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the Piazza del Duomo, reputed to be the world’s largest shopping centre?
And finally, no stay in Milan would be complete without a visit to the Teatro alla Scala, one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses which in its rich history has hosted operas by composers such as Verdi, Puccini, Mozart and Don Giovanni.