The stereotypical summer journey in Italy usually includes heading to Rome and then further down South, visiting tropical beaches and eating in hut-like restaurants; where a chubby nan still in her apron will take your order with a painfully intelligible accent. However, not many people are aware of the fact that Italy presents extremely diverse environments.
Fancy something that’s student friendly and international? Then this is the guide for you.
When it comes to art, fashion, shopping, eating and clubbing, Milan has it all. In this short guide we will bring you through the biggest, smallest, most hidden and best spots of this vibrant city!
Must-go: Duomo, Porta Ticinese and Navigli
Piazza del Duomo is the Milan’s central – and arguably most beautiful – square. The Cathedral, the symbol of the city, was built in a gothic style and took almost six centuries to complete. The massive gallery right next to it, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, was built in the 19th Century and named after the first King of the Kingdom of Italy. The oldest shopping mall of the city, now hosts the most expensive, shiny and unapproachable shops. The area is worth exploring for its architectural beauty, including churches, the La Scala theatre and vintage bookshops. The good news is the absolute best, eccentric, original and retro affordable shopping can be done just a few tram stops from the Cathedral. Corso di Porta Ticinese is a long lane full of vintage shops, live bars, graffiti, sushi restaurants, ice cream shops and interesting people. If someone stops you on the street handing out a flyer, it is highly recommended to accept it, it could be a free entry pass for a new nightclub!
Walking down Porta Ticinese you will eventually find yourself facing two rivers. These are called Navigli, and after a long day of sight seeing and shopping this is the place you want to be. The Navigli are one of the most characteristic and Italian places you will ever find in Milan, and if you like sitting outside looking at a stunning landscape drinking reasonably priced alcohol, this is the place for you! The Navigli come alive after 7pm, and by 11pm you won’t be able to move through the crowd of people. Our best suggestion? To fully experience these places, just show up there with a bunch of friends and see what’s going on that day. You might find yourself surprised.
Summer clubbing: in one word, Magnolia
If you have a car, a bus pass or you’re lucky enough to be able to afford a cab, then you’ll be able to experience some of the best summer clubbing in Milan. You will find Magnolia, one of the most unique clubs in Milan, in the middle of the woods. The dancefloor is located in the middle of a park, it’s surrounded by three bars, a barbecue “restaurant” and quite literally, a forest. Everything is open-air. Every year, from May until September, Magnolia is open almost every night with a different kind of event. Here you will find outdoor cinemas, music festivals, art expositions, messy parties and live bands. Some of the best known artists playing here this summer are Flume, Grimes, God is an Astronaut and Parkway Drive. If you are planning to come here often, you should probably consider buying the membership, which is 10 euros. This allows you to enter the venue with just 5 euros per night (drinks not included).
21st – 27th September: Milan Fashion Week 2016
For those who want to stock up on beautiful clothes before coming back to the sad uni slippers-reality, here’s the week you were waiting for. Milan Fashion Week is not all about that £2400 entry for a single Prada catwalk (does any student actually have that money?), but is also about a wonderful atmosphere that fills the city. In fact, during Fashion Week, Milan is full of free events, parties and galleries (not to mention all the models walking around). Not all the clothes advertised during Fashion Week are ridiculously expensive and unwearable. By searching carefully you will be surprised by the amount of creative and relatively wallet-friendly pieces you will find. Finally, if for one week you are trying to earn money instead of spending, or if you’re just looking for some volunteering work to put on your CV, Milan Fashion Week has an active job network for you to take advantage of.
Our final tip: if you find yourself in Milan not knowing what to do, try checking the online magazine Zero Milano. It will give you a monthly and daily calendar with everything going on across the city. Everything is easily reachable with the tube, which is just 1.50 euros for a ticket. The best aspect of Milan is definitely the unexpectedness of its events: once you get out of your accommodation, you never know what you’re going to be up to. We hope that all you future tourists will love Milan as much as we do!
Text and photo by Lara Del Molin