Milan is a bustling city of excellence that cannot just be read about. Every traveller often finds themselves immersed in its glorious history, with time often slowing down to let the city’s heart beat on. With the Milan Fashion Week fast approaching, drop everything and plan a visit to Italy’s exquisite metropolis, where culture and modernity combine to make for the ultimate tourist experience.
This week, KHAMSA unearths the wonders of Milan with a detailed insider’s guide by Natasha Aris (@natashaaris on Instagram), a Lebanese interior designer, chef, and social media personality. A well-travelled individual who has an eye for culinary goodness and fashion, Natasha is keen on exploring cities and studying their various traits and idiosyncrasies.
With Milan presenting itself as a work of art that houses many of them, KHAMSA urges you to spend time admiring every landmark the way one does said artwork. As seen through Natasha’s vision, the place has everything that could possibly qualify as a bucket list entry.
As the Milan Fashion week begins in full earnest, explore the Italian city as Natasha takes you through its culinary hotspots, shopping destinations, and even some hidden gems. Coupled with expert navigation tips and general city advice, this is all the guide you will need.
Top must-visit Milan food spots?
١. Panzerotti Luini
“The best for a quick bite. You simply can’t go to Milan and not have a Panzerotti from Luini’s. I usually go for the fried pomodoro and mozzarella.”
“Close to Luini’s Panzerotti, you’ll find Spontini, which I believe is also one of Milano’s staples for a quick bite or when you’re on a budget. They serve you a huge slice of pizza with a ton of cheese.
“If you’re a fan of seafood, it’s the restaurant for you. Italy has one of the best gamberi rosa (crudo), and it’s literally my obsession.”
٤. Cova & Marchesi 1824
“Perfect for a coffee and pastry date. They’re right on Monte Napoleone, where all of the designer shops are located.”
٥. Ristorante Assunta Madre
“Can’t go wrong with authentic Italian food.”
٦. Juice X
“My every morning! I simply couldn’t wake up without having my green juice and coffee from Juice X. They also have some pastries in the morning, but they sell out quick!”
٧. Sant Ambroeus
“So cozy for when it’s cold out. Absolutely love the vibe of this place.”
“Charming restaurant. Very authentic.”
٩. Dal bolognese
“The name speaks for itself. For bolognese lovers.”
١٠. Al Cuoco Di Bordo
“Best lobster salad ever.”
١١. Ristorante Pizzeria le Specialità
“Their pizza is just too good. If you’re into a very thin crust.”
Most underrated places?
Brera. I wouldn’t say it’s underrated, but I didn’t really go on my first trip. It’s a charming area filled with restaurants and pubs.
Best places for shopping?
Honestly, my shopping experience is limited. I’ve shopped at Rinascente, which was not bad. They have a selection of brands, but I hate how crowded it is. My personal preference is walking around Monte Napoleone and shopping there, or around the duomo for more accessible brands.
Best boutique hotels to stay in?
The first time I visited Milan, I stayed at the Galleria Altido. It’s a boutique smart hotel. Not bad, very straightforward, but amazing location. It’s located right at the entrance of the Galleria. Don’t expect too much from the hotel, since it’s not a luxury hotel and is affordable.
The Straf Hotel in Milan also has an amazing location. It’s right in front of Rinascente. The rooms are very modern and quite spacious.
What to avoid?
Big gelateria with many flavours with very bright artificial colours. For example, banana gelato shouldn’t be bright yellow. Avoid any restaurant in the galleria. They’re all not worth it and nothing great.
Also, you might find people offering you free items like bracelets. Never accept, as these are scammers and will make you pay for them later.
Closed shoes and an umbrella, even during summer. You never know when it starts to rain, so always be ready. Try to only wear cross body bags or any bags that you can keep close to you, as there are many pickpockets around.
Tip: Try to book a hotel in a great location, so you barely use the car. Walking around Milan is the best part of the trip.