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Milan see + do

Nobody ever accused Milan of being too beautiful. However, it's a city that inspires deep love and loyalty thanks to its brio, its confident sense of style, and its winning combination of Mediterranean lifestyle and northern Italian efficiency. And, of course, its shopping. Sightseeing plays second fiddle to the city's endless retail opportunities, but while Milan is not in the same league as Rome, Florence, or Venice as a città d'arte, it does have plenty of worthwhile sights, from its spectacular Gothic Duomo to the opulent Teatro alla Scala. The contemporary-art scene is vibrant, playing out between long-running public institutions such as the Triennale museum, private exhibition spaces such as the Fondazione Prada, and a small army of commercial galleries. It's worth getting away from the central fashion strip to explore some of Milan's characterful quartieri. The Brera neighborhood northwest of the Duomo is a classy laid-back area full of cafés, antique shops, quirky left-field boutiques, and art-supply stores. To the southwest, the Navigli district takes its name from the network of canals that once gave landlocked Milan an outlet to the River Po and the sea; today, the area has an artsy, neo-Bohemian vibe, with funky clothes shops, artists' studios, craft workshops, and plenty of happening trattorias, bars, and nightclubs to choose from.

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Da Vinci's Last Supper, Milan

Some claim that a visit to Leonardo da Vinci's greatest wall painting is an Emperor's New Clothes experience: The artist used an unstable dry-painting technique...more

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Day Spas in Milan, Milan

When the Gianfranco Ferré spa opened at the back of the designer's new Quadrilatero d'Oro store in 2004, it was a first for Milan; way back then, the...more

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Duomo, Milan

With its fairytale forest of spires, herds of fierce gargoyles, and army of perched stone saints, Milan's Duomo looks from a distance more like a Disney castle...more

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Fondazione Prada, Milan

Not merely a fashion genius, Miuccia Prada is an inventive patron of the arts. Her contemporary-art foundation, housed in a former bank archive in the eastern...more

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Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Milan's most worthwhile picture gallery is housed on the upper story of the city's still-functioning art academy. Take time over rooms six to nine of this...more

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Teatro alla Scala, Milan

After a three-year, $70-million renovation, the world's most famous neoclassical opera house reopened in December 2004 complete with two controversial new...more

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Triennale di Milano, Milan

Erected in the 1930s, this lofty pavilion on the edge of the Parco Sempione gardens has found new life as an exhibition venue and design center after years of...more

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Villa Necchi Campiglio, Milan

The cultured lifestyle of Milanese high society around the middle of the 20th century is brought vividly to life in this fascinating new casa museo. Located a...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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