Milan

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Enjoy a fabulously fashionable location… Must‐see sights, perfect places for two – plus love bites and love potions, for the most romantic wining and dining.

Enjoy a fabulously fashionable location

In a nutshell…

This is the heart of Italy’s fashion industry and a city devoted to style and spending lots of cash ‐‐ as well as making it. If you have not yet purchased your honeymoon collection, then save your pennies until you get here. To bridge the gap between the material and the Divine, you can take in an opera at the magnificent La Scala opera house ‐‐if you can get hold of a much sought‐after ticket, that is. The Milanese are always in a hurry, but slow the pace to take in the splendours of the gothic Duomo cathedral and one or two of the city’s other cultural treasures, particularly its galleries.

Magnetic attractions

  • The Duomo This vast Gothic Cathedral is the third largest church in the world, after St Peter’s in Rome and the Cathedral of Seville. It is a stunning mountain of marble, shaped into 3500 statues and pinnacles, pillars, buttresses and spires.
  • La Scala Opera House Opened in 1778 with an opera by Mozart’s rival Antonio Salieri, it is now very difficult to get hold of tickets. But don’t despair: dispense with dressing up and for a glimpse of the sumptuous red interior, visit the opera house museum instead.
  • Pinacoteca di Brera This is one of the best galleries in Milan and has a vast collection of paintings, including works by Mantegna, Bellini, and Piero della Francesca.
  • Santa Maria della Grazie Although Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is not in the best of condition following centuries of flood damage, it is well worth going to see it in the refectory next to the church.

Romantic rendezvous

  • La Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II This 19th‐century shopping arcade, lined with elegant shops and cafes and tiled with mosaics, is the ‘salon’ of Milan. There’s a circle depicting the signs of the zodiac ‐‐ apparently it’s good luck to stand on Taurus’ testicles!
  • Quadrilatero d’Oro This is the golden square of designer shops and although some may not find it romantic, others will swoon. If you can’t afford to pick up your honeymoon outfits here, at least you can get some great ideas.
  • Flea market Wander around here on a Saturday morning and who knows, you might find an artistic masterpiece at a bargain‐basement price.

Love bites and love potions

The Milanese gain some of their energy from the perfect espresso. Start the day with a couple of shots at Zucca, a café in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. If you are feeling flush, join the ranks of the city boys and big‐time shoppers in Boeucc, Piazza Belgioioso and try some superb risotto or scallops. If you’re saving your money for Italian tailoring, then grab a panini sandwich from one of the lunch bars instead: Quadronno is one of the best. Take a break between Prada and Armani in the Golden Quadrangle and sip a glass of spumante in the Bar Cova on Monte Napo.

Propose here

The highlight of Milan’s cultural treasures is the Duomo. Show your partner that you treasure them by climbing up to the roof for the best views of the city.

To get you in the mood

Maria Callas is the most famous diva of all time and the focal point of her singing life was La Scala in Milan. For a taste of opera, listen to some of her recordings of Tosca and Norma and reflect on her torrid romance with Aristotle Anassis. If you find full‐length opera a bit overwhelming, then snap up a Best of Callas CD.

Robert Altman’s Pret‐a‐Porter is a full‐on look at the Milan fashion shows and the gossip, back‐biting and bitchiness that goes with the territory. All those fancy frocks donned by Sophia Loren, Julia Roberts and Lauren Bacall will get you in the mood for couture. Fashion photographer, Mario Testino captured the sexy side of the fashion world of Milan in his glossy book Front Row/Backstage.

Language of love

Buon anniversario! = Happy anniversary

Ti amo = I love you

Auguri! = Congratulations!

Mi voui sposare? = Will you marry me?

Stags and hens

Stags and hens need look no further than the canal district of Naviglio. Although rather dismal in the daytime, it comes alive at night with some of the best nightclubs in Europe. If football is your game, then this city is host to two of the world’s ritziest clubs, Internazionale and AC Milan. Just don’t wear your England scarves!

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