Milan's Piazza del Duomo. Photo: Fil.ippo

Sleek, cosmopolitan and progressive – Milan is Italy’s fashion and financial capital and is truly representative of everything that is modern in this ancient country. At first glance, Milan might appear to be like any other metropolis with its tall buildings, posh emporiums and a smattering of architectural attractions that herald its historical past. But what it may seem to lack in historical monuments and cultural landmarks it makes up for in creative treasures including design and artistic flair, cuisine and its plethora of shopping and entertainment destinations. Read on to find out what you should see and do in Milan.

Time your visit during certain months of the year when the city plays host to major events and you will certainly begin to uncover the many things to do and hidden pleasures that Milan offers. Fashionistas look forward to the Women’s Fashion Week and Men’s Fashion Week conducted separately and takes place several times during the year; in April, more than 700 interior designers and craftsmen from around the world converge in Milan for the International Furniture Fair in the FieraMilano complex; and the start of September marks the start of the football season when the locals cheer for their home teams at the San Siro Stadium, the world-famous A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano.

If shopping is your sport of choice there is the famous Quadrilatero d’Oro, where the well-heeled and discriminating buyers head to. This trendy shopping quarter is home to the shops of prestigious designer brands like Prada, Armani, Dolce e Gabbana, Versace and Valentino. Even if you do not intend to buy anything, a stroll along the chic streets of Via Montanapoleone, Via della Spiga or Via Manzoni is an experience on its own. For more affordable shopping you can check out Corso Bueno Aires, the longest stretch of shops in the city. If you are into antiques there is the weekend market of Mercatone del Naviglio Grande with over 400 stalls of antique treasures. Afterwards you can take a breather in any one of the city’s parks and green spaces like the Sempione Park, Giardini della Guastalla or Giardini publicci.

Whilst Milan may not be as culturally resplendent as Naples or Rome and tourism is not its main economic activity, the city boasts of enough attractions and awesome things to do that make it one of the most visited cities in Europe. Make time to visit notable historical monuments such as the Duomo, the world-famous opera house La Scala, Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” housed in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Saint Maurice church and the Castello Sforzesco. For a viewing of the Last Supper fresco, you might want to book a ticket in advance especially if it is a peak season – there are a limited number of people allowed in the room at any given time and tickets are also sold on a limited basis. There are also museums and galleries, although most of them showcase Italian Renaissance and Baroque art. Most popular choices are the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Poldi Pezzoli Museum.

Check out the most popular guided tours in Milan

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