While the Centro Storico is the unquestionable heart of Milan, it is the north of the city that is its hub. Here you will find two most important railway stations - the imposing Milano Centrale and busy Porta Garibaldi - as well as the ever-growing array of office towers that make up Milan's modern skyline, housing the headquarters of companies that make Milan Italy's economic capital.
Though much less tourist-oriented than the Centre, it is a part of the city most tourists arriving by train or bus simply cannot miss because of the location of the city's transportation hubs. And while you are already there, it is worth exploring, as it actually has a lot to offer.
Northern Milan includes two of the most important railway stations of Milan:
- 1 Milano Centrale. The massive, and undeniably impressive central station building is a terminus station with no less than 24 platforms. Construction of the station was a lengthy process of changing plans and ever-growing ambitions of Italian leaders from King Victor Emanuel to Benito Mussolini, but the result, finally achieved in 1931, became one of Milan's landmarks and certainly a sight to behold.
Milano Centrale serves mostly long-distance trains, including the vast majority of international trains arriving to Milan, such as ones to Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the Thello night train to Paris. It is also an important station in the Italian high-speed train network (though only Trenitalia trains use it, italotreni uses Porta Garibaldi solely), allowing connections to Turin, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples. Regular-speed domestic connections are provided from Milano Centrale to most other cities in Italy, including Bergamo, Genoa, Padua, Verona and Venice. Milano Centrale is also one of the stations served by the Malpensa Express trains that connect the city to the Malpensa international airport.
- 2 Milano Porta Garibaldi. This is the main commuter hub in Milan, served by suburban commuter lines (S-lines), regional and national trains. Be aware that in fact there are two stations. The main one is the surface station, with 20 platforms used by regional and national trains but also commuter lines S7/S8/S11. Here you can also find NTV fast trains to Turin, Rome and Naples and also some connections to Milano Malpensa Airport. The other station (usually referred as Milano Porta Garibaldi Passante or Sotterranea) is placed underground below the main station, with two platforms used by suburban lines S1, S3, S5, and S6. You must use this station to get to the Rho fairgrounds. Both stations are also connected to metro lines and .
- 1 Society for Fine Arts and Permanent Exhibition (Società per la Belle Arti ed Esposizione Permanente), Via Filippo Turati 34 ( station; Tram 1, 2 Donegani Moscova Station; Tram 9, 29/30, 33 Repubblica Station), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Changing exhibitions of contemporary art.
- 2 Contemporary Arts Pavilion (Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea (PAC)), Via Palestro 14 (Near Porta Venezia Gardens; subway line Station; or with many buses and trams), ☏ . Tu W F-Su 09:30-19:30; Th 09:30-22:30; M closed. A contemporary art space. In 1993 a bomb destroyed the building in a time when Italy was heavily committed in its fight against the Mafia. Adult €8.00, reduced € 6.50.
- 3 Modern Art Gallery (Galleria d'Arte Moderna), Via Palestro 16, ☏ . Mainly features 19th-century Italian art.
- 4 Natural Science Museum (Museo Civico di Storia Naturale), 55, Corso Venezia (inside Porta Venezia Gardens; Subway: or Stations). Has reduced and free entry (depends on person) after 16:30 most days or 14:30 Fridays.
Squares and streets
- 5 Piazza Duca d'Aosta (To go here, hop off the Centrale F.S metro station, which is the closest (Caiazzo and Zara are relatively close too)). A very big, relatively modern and busy square in the north-east of Milan, famous for hosting the city's majestic central station, and the Pirelli skyscraper. The Piazza is generally bustling with people, and is at the heart of Milan's economic and business district. It is where you'll end up if you need to go to the central station, but it is also a good place to go because it boasts some excellent examples of post-Second World War modern architecture, such as the Pirelli building, and some elegant hotels, such as the Hotel Excelsior Gallia.
- 6 Piazza della Repubblica (Hop off at the Repubblica metro station, right in the middle of the square. Close stations include P.ta Venezia, Turati and Centrale F.S., which are, within a mediumly long walking distance). A modern and very busy square north-west of Milan. It contains some of the most important office blocks and company buildings in the country, and boasts some good examples of 1950s and 60s Italian architecture. The square is an important one for transportation, and contains some grand hotels. It is also close to the Piazza Duca d'Aosta and the city Central station.
- 7 Corso Venezia. Considered one of the finest and most beautiful streets in the city. Right near the glitzy Montenapoleone area, it is flanked by a series of beautiful villas, museums and palazzi, from all eras. It also contains parts of the Giardini Pubblici, an old and leafy garden and park. On addition to being an aristocratic-aired place, today, several elegant boutiques have opened up here, so it's great for both sight-seeing and designer shopping. Best station to reach it is that of Palestro right in the middle, but San Babila and P.ta Venezia are within decent walking distance.
- 8 Corso Buenos Aires. One of the longest shopping streets in Italy and Europe. It is a large avenue, who, at first, is quite old, but the buildings gradually become newer further along. Today, it contains loads, loads and loads of shops, such as Swarovsky, H&M, Milano House of Cashmere, Calzedonia, Outlet, United Colors of Benetton, Adidas, Nike, Calvin Klein, Zara, Luisa Spagnoli, and a good number more. Since the Corso Buenos Aires is so long, you have the P.ta Venezia and Loreto stations at either side, and the Lima one more or less in the middle.
The historical city gates are located in this part of Milan:
- 9 Porta Nuova. The Napoleonic "new gate" is located next to the modern business district and is simpler built than the other city gates. You might pass through if walking from the central station to Duomo.
- 10 Porta Venezia (Porta Orientale or Porta Renza). Known by its current name since 1862, this gate has origins that can be traced back to the Roman Empire. The current rather massive gate structure consists of two buildings and was completed in 1828.
- 11 Porta Garibaldi. Yet another gate from the early 19th century that has lent its name to the district around it and to the nearby railway station.
- 12 Giardini pubblici (Public gardens). An 18th-century park complex in the Montenapoleone/Porta Venezia district, designed in an English Romantic garden style. Inside, you can find rockeries, water features, fountains, statues and monuments, and other interesting features. You also get a planetarium, a natural history museum, and on the other side of the Palestro street, you can also find an opulent Royal villa which today hosts a contemporary art collection within grand ornate halls. Reachable via P.ta Venezia, Turati or Palestro metro stations. The gardens are in an excellent position since they're quite near to the Duomo and Brera district, and extremely close to the Montenapoleone street and the glamorous shopping area around it.
- 13 Torre Unicredit. The tallest building in Italy by virtue of its 84-metre spire on top of 146 metres of office floors, completed in 2011 to serve as the headquarters of the Unicredit bank.
- 14 Palazzo Lombardia. The government of the region of Lombardy spared little expense to relocate itself to what became Italy's tallest building when completed in 2010. It ceded this title to Torre Unicredit one year later, but has an upper hand in terms of the highest usable floor at 160 metres. The building is open for visit every Sunday, from 10:00 to 18:00. During visit time, you can climb to the "belvedere" glass wall on the 39th floor
- 15 Torre Solaria. The tallest residential building in Italy. The unmistakable Jenga-like visage of the tower is achieved by alternating balconies to offer better views and privacy.
- 16 Torre Diamante (Diamond Tower).
- 17 Pirelli Tower (Grattacielo Pirelli). Completed in 1956, the Pirelli Tower became a turning point in the history of global architecture, even though its looks may pale now in comparison to the newer postmodern-era towers, as well as a symbol of the rebound of Milan and the Italian economy following the Second World War. It was built by the Pirelli company known for tire manufacturing, and was the seat of government the Region of Lombardy until it moved to Palazzo Lombardia.
- 18 Torre Breda (Breda Tower).
- 19 Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest). The residential twin tower's name should be interpreted literally, as it stems from the fact that the buildings' intricate facades contain actual living trees on various levels, which serve a variety of purposes beneficial to the residents. The total amount of vegetation growing on the facades is equivalent to a hectare of an actual forest.
- 20 Torre Galfa (Galfa Tower). The name "Galfa" is a portmanteau derived from the names of the two streets where the tower has its facades, Via Galvani and Via Fara.
- 21 Villa Necchi Campiglio (owned by FAI - Italian National Trust), Via Mozart 14 ( ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The building was built in the 1920s and it has a beautiful garden. Villa + garden: €9, only garden: free.
- 1 Conservatorio di musica Giuseppe Verdi (Milan Conservatory), Via Conservatorio, 12, ☏ . It is an university for the musicians of the future and concerts by them are held in the Verdi (about 1000 seats) and Puccini halls.
- 1 Corso Buenos Aires. Connects Porta Venezia to Piazzale Loreto, and is the place to go for fashion shopping: here you can find Calzedonia, Alex Fashion, Luisa Spagnoli, Furla, Brian & Barry and Nara Camice.
- 2 10 Corso Como, Corso Como 10 (Metro: P.ta Garibaldi), ☏ . Found in the early 1990s, this sort of "multi-functional" shopping complex is found in the same place as its name. Considered a lifestyle emporium and 13,000 square feet big, it contains some fashion shops, design, photography and art gallery, luxury goods, a bookshop, accessories, a cafe and a restaurant. Situated in the Garibaldi district, near the Centro Direzionale (Milan's business district), it has a courtyard, and a European/Oriental inspired interior design.
- 3 Eataly Milan Smeraldo, Piazza XXV Aprile, 10. 10:00-24:00. Eataly is a gourmet grocery store associated with Slow movement. It styles itself as a place to "savor high quality traditional Italian food products and beverages along with local produce and artisanal products." Many different products are for sale, including not only produce but cheese, wine, olive oil, and sweets, and there are also several places to eat hot food. Anyone who enjoys shopping or window-shopping for food-related products is likely to enjoy walking through.
- 1 Pianeta Luna, Via Antonio da Recanate 1 (at Piazza Duca d'Aosta), ☏ . M-Sa 11-22:30. A self service restaurant near the Central Railway Station, with pizza, pasta and other classic Italian dishes and English speaking staff. Very reasonable prices and good food combined with a wide variety of wines - this is not a tourist trap. mains around €10.
- 2 Pizzeria Fashion 2, Via Napo Torriani 30. Pizza Fashion near the Centrale train station is good choice and they also do takeaway dessert if you're running to catch your train.
- 3 Pizzeria Spontini, Via Gaspare Spontini, 4, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 11:45–14:30 for lunch, 18:00–23:00 for dinner. Nice pizza in a small restaurant with very economical prices.
- 4 Caffé Panzera, Piazza Duca d'Aosta. A lively Italian restaurant with decent ossobuco, pizza and other dishes at about €15 and delicious desserts.
- 5 Trattoria Siciliana da Salvatore, Viale Brianza 35, ☏ . M-Sa 12:00-14:00, 20:00-22:30. Dishes from Sicily, mostly fish and seafood. Try the swordfish!
- 6 Il Canarino, Via Mauro Macchi 69. Expect to find typical local dishes on the menu like risotto alla milanese and ossobuco. They have a five courses menu that is a bit expensive but worth the money. mains around €25.
- 7 Al Matarel, Via Mantegazza 2, ☏ . Specializing in Paduan cuisine with dishes like ossobuco con risotto.
- 8 La Terrazza, Via Palestro 2, ☏ . For a Mediterranean take on Japanese cuisine, head to La Terraza which serves fusion food among a contemporary decor. During the summer months, everyone heads to the terrace, where you can see the treetops of the nearby Giardini Pubblici. There's a "happy hour" every day except Sunday; on Sunday, brunch is served.
- 9 Giannino, Via Vittor Pisani 6 (Metro: Repubblica), ☏ . A refined restaurant from 1899 serving meals such as mozzarella, Parma ham, mussels, salad, Milanese-style risotto, spaghetti, soup, beef, chicken, scampi.
1 Como Avenue (Corso Como), near Garibaldi Station, full of bars and glamorous clubs. In the summertime, this street is packed with young and attractive people.
- 2 Fashion Café, Piazza San Marco (Brera district). Fashionable Armani-style place for aperitivo and drinks.
- 3 Dom Cafè, Corso Como.
- 4 [dead link] b:free cocktail bar, Via Lecco, 21 (close to Porta Venezia metro stop), ☏ . If you want to visit a real Aperitivo bar in true Italian fashion, this is a worthy hot spot.
- 5 Brasserie Bruxelles, Viale Abruzzi,33 (near Corso Buenos Aires), ☏ . Daily 18:00-02:00. A bar specialising in beer from Belgium. 5 beer on draught and 50 in the bottle.
Gay and lesbian clubs
- 6 L'Elephant, Via Melzo 22 (subway: Station). Wednesday and Thursday nights hosts a gay crowd at L'elephant
The best saunas in 2008 include Metro and Royal Hammam (in Outer Milan, mostly packed during the weekend especially at night as they are open 24 hours.
- Metro, via Schiaparelli (near the Central Station, subway: ).
- 1 Boston Hotel Milan, Via Roberto Lepetit, 7, ☏ , fax: . Elegant two-star hotel with 25 single, double and triple bedrooms with private bath, shower, Wi-Fi connection and air conditioning. €75 for a double room..
- 2 Dover Hotel Milan, Via Pasquale Sottocorno, 8, ☏ , fax: . Thirteen single, double/twin and triple accommodations with en-suites services, internet connections, TV and telephone. Single €51, double €61. Rates include breakfast..
- 3 Hotel Delle Nazioni, Via Cappellini, 18, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 3-star hotel 400 metres from the main railway station. Singles with bathroom from €84.
- 4 Hotel Garda, Via Napo Torriani, 21 (200 m from Milan Central Station.), ☏ , fax: . Singles from €45 to €150. Doubles from €75 to €225.
- 5 NH Milano Touring, Via Ugo Tarchetti, 2. Rates start at 103€. This 4-star hotel, surrounded by many famous monuments, has 282 rooms, a restaurant, parking, Wi-Fi and a bar.
- 6 Hotel Club Milano, Via Copernico 18, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 7 Hotel Albert, Via Tonale 2, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 8 Berna Swiss Quality Hotel, Via Napo Torriani 18, fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Four-star hotel 100 m away from the station. Single room from €89, double room from €116 (low season of 2009)..
- 9 Hotel Amadeus, Via Vitruvio, 48, ☏ , fax: . Really close to the Centrale station. The average rates are €80 but weekend rates for a single room can drop to as low as €42.
- 10 Hotel Auriga Milan, Via Pirelli 7, ☏ , fax: . The Auriga is a four-star hotel right in front of the central train station of Milan. It has 52 bedrooms, all with private bath, shower, TV and internet connection. Single €76, double/twin €89, triple €119.
- 11 Hotel Bernina, Via Napo Torriani 27, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Single room from €55, double from €75.
- 12 Hotel Canova, Via Napo Torriani 15, ☏ , fax: . Cheapest booked via an intermediary, more expensive direct. Parking €20 per night, or use cheaper local garage. Excellent location near Stazione Centrale. Singles €51 doubles €68.
- 13 [dead link] Hotel Casa Mia, Viale Vittorio Veneto, 30 (corner P.zza Repubblica), ☏ , fax: . 15 minutes' walk to the Duomo and 10 minutes to Via Montenapoleone, small and attentive. Average prices: single rooms €65, doubles €90, triples €120..
- 14 Hotel Fenice, Corso Buenos Aires, 2 (A short distance from Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga and the fashion stronghold), ☏ , fax: . Singles from €65, double from €100 night.
- 15 Hotel Galles, Piazza Lima, 2, ☏ , fax: . Singles from €75, Queen size bed from €92, parking €21 per night.
- 16 Residence de la Gare, Via Mauro Macchi, 49 (300 m from the Central Railway Station; the nearest underground stop is at 100 m from the Residence ( ).), ☏ . Executive Apartment for one week from €770..
- 17 Hotel Bagliori, Via Boscovich, 43, ☏ . Double room from €80.
- 18 UNA Tocq Boutique Hotel, Via A. De Tocqueville 7/D, ☏ , toll-free: (USA). Offers 109 rooms and 13 apartments right in the heart of Corso Como. The hotel also features a restaurant and bar, a fitness center with indoor swimming pool, and a garage nearby the hotel.
- 19 Best Western Hotel Felice Casati, Via Felice Casati, 18, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 4-star hotel.
- 20 Crowne Plaza Milan City, Via Melchiorre Gioia, 73, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 4-star hotel offers 99 rooms plus a wellness and fitness center, restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, suites and family rooms.
- 21 Hotel Andreola Central, Via Domenico Scarlatti, 24, ☏ , fax: . Four-star hotel 200 m from the central train station.
- 22 Hotel Baviera, Via Panfilo Castaldi, 7, ☏ , fax: . Classic 4-star hotel.
- 23 [dead link] Hotel Cristoforo Colombo Milano, Corso Buenos Aires, 3, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 24 Hotel Vittoria, Via Pietro Calvi, 32, ☏ , fax: .
- 25 Sheraton Diana Majestic, Milan, Viale Piave, 42, ☏ , fax: , ✉ SheratonDianaMajestic@sheraton.com.