Milan – the cosmopolitan Italian city is the home of fashion and design. Known for its magnificent buildings, haute couture, and exquisite dining experiences, it can be difficult to discover the true Milan on the surface, but with local guides and crafted tours there is a lot to be discovered.
Day one: Getting to know Milan
Start you first day in Milan with a cultural and historic tour of the city, and find out what defines this modern and sophisticated city. The Half-Day Modern Architectural Tour will show you some of the most astonishing modern and historical buildings in Milan under the guidance of a local architect, including the Palace of Art, the House in the Park, the XXI Aprile House, and the Velasca Tower.
For lunch, stay in the Lombardy region, and surrounded by Milan’s resplendent architecture, eat under its gaze. Head to the traditional Trattoria Milanese (Via Santa Marta 11) between 12 and 2.30pm and sample the house special, Risotto alla Milanese or the Cotoletta Milanese, for lunch, although, be warned, this place is not a spot for vegetarians.
For a taste of local life in Milan, check out one of Milan’s bustling Mercato di Viale Papiniano. Jam-packed with fresh, local produce, this vibrant farmer’s market will tickle your tastebuds and allow you to revel in what Italy is most famous for – FOOD!
For an evening of fun head to the up and coming Isola district. Set away from the city, the 19th-Century neighborhood is one of Milan’s best kept secrets. The cool artists and musicians live and work here, and have transformed it into the happening place to be. Check out the famous Blue Note jazz bar (Via Pietro Borsieri, 37) for some live music.
Day two: The art of Milan
Start your next Milanese day with the informative and exciting Leonardo da Vinci Experience, marking the 25 years the artist spent living and working in the city, which is also home to his famous work The Last Supper. The tour takes you to the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana museum, which is located in a 17th Century building and displays work from da Vinci alongside other famous Renaissance masters, as well as a trip to the recently renovated Leonardo’s Vineyards, tucked away in a secret courtyard.
For your afternoon adventure join the Street Art Tour – a walking tour of the street art and culture of Milan, with an expert local guide revealing the other side of Milan’s design culture. This two-hour tour will take in parts of Milan that would be difficult to discover without a guide. Alternatively, if you prefer to discover more about the art and design history of Milan, then sign up for the Design and Style Tour. Offered in either the afternoon or morning, you will learn about the roots of art and design in the city on this tour.
After your tour head for a traditional Italian aperitivo – or a pre-dinner drink (sometimes described as the Italian Happy Hour). Try Jamaica (Via Brera 32), a Milanese institution full of art and soul, Jamaica has a charming terrace and is a great spot for an evening aperitivo.
Day Three: The lifestyle secrets of Milan
To really get below the surface of Milan, you have to literally head below the surface of Milan. The Subterranean Milan Tour does just that. Offering an incredibly unique view of the city through Milan’s secret web of underground caves, passages, wells, crypts and trenches hidden beneath the city. Discover the mysteries and treasures of Milan right under your feet. This is a truly exceptional tour unlike any other.
Enjoy lunch in the charming Navigli District, the area your afternoon will take place in, and head for a deliciously fresh lunch at Taglio (Via Vigevano, 10). The cafe/shop/kitchen feels very Italian, with its local, delicious food, perfect Italian coffee, and relaxed and inviting environment – it’s a must.
After a pleasant walk along the canals Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese, both surrounded by different types of cafés, restaurants, bars, design shops, and art galleries , join the Navigli District History and Lifestyle Tour starting at the oldest church in Milan, the Basilica of Sant’ Eustorgio. The tour will lead you along the historic canals of Milan, discovering long forgotten churches and buildings. What’s great about this tour is that you not only get to sample gin at Gin012 at the first gin corner in Milan, but you also learn about gin production and try some early Milanese gins.
Finish your adventure with a romantic meal on the canal at El Brellin (Alzaia Navilglio Grande, 14) offering classic Milanese dishes alongside modern Lombardian cuisine, all served in a gorgeous old restaurant that overlooks Milan’s canals. A beautiful setting to end your Milanese experience.