Long considered the industrious, somewhat shabby stepsister of Rome, Florence, and Venice, Milan has lately been casting off its old clothes and putting on some designer threads—and our Milan travel guide is ready to help you navigate these exciting new developments.
The World Expo of 2015 brought 20 million visitors and citywide upgrades: Skyscrapers went up in Piazza Gae Aulenti; the Darsena, the area around the old canals, was redeveloped; and the Duomo was cleaned (again). When you visit Milan, you’ll notice new restaurants and bars have been popping up, and areas like 5 Vie (Five Streets) are pulsing with activity. Reinvention has been the modus operandi of this big small city for more than 2,000 years, and once again Milan is looking toward the future—and having fun doing it.
Several impressive museums recently opened and are not to be missed. Rem Koolhaas designed the new headquarters and exhibition space for Fondazione Prada on the site of a former distillery; filmmaker Wes Anderson designed the on-site Bar Luce. Armani unveiled the Armani Silos, featuring garments and memorabilia from the fashion house’s venerable history. And the Museo delle Culture (Museum of Cultures, or MUDEC), in the vibrant Tortona district, focuses on the cultures of the world, with shows devoted to international exhibitions of contemporary art as well as a collection of anthropological items dating as far back as 1,200 BC.
With so much to see, it's best to avoid the periods when there are conventions, as hotel prices go up, restaurants get crowded, and traffic amplifies. The most highly attended are Women's Fashion Week (late February and late September), the Salone del Mobile (mid-April), and the technology meeting Smau (end of October). If you do land at one of these times, no matter: our Milan city guide has plenty of suggestions for what to do that get you away from the crowds.
Best Time To Visit
Milan is at its nicest in Spring (April, May) and Fall (September, October), when it’s generally pleasant and mild.
Milan is amply served by a network of subway (metropolitana), tram, and bus lines. Single-ride tickets cost $1.70 for the subway, or up to 90 minutes on ATM buses and trams, while day tickets cost $5. Most services run between 6 a.m. and 12.30 a.m., though certain lines run all night on weekends. Taxis can be hailed at a designated taxi stand, and bike sharing services are available, too.
January is the coolest month with an average temperature of 34°F (1°C). July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 73°F (23°C).
Know Before Visiting
Many businesses are closed most of August, if not the whole month. Otherwise, restaurants are generally open from noon until 2:30 p.m. for lunch, and 7 until 11 p.m. for dinner. Italians observe many public holidays during which banks and stores are closed; the tourism office keeps a list.