Italian Style: 24 Hours in Milan

If you’re visiting Milan for fashion week, you’re sure to have a busy schedule. But if you find you have 24 hours in Milan to explore on your own, we’ve prepared a 24-hour itinerary so you can experience the best this city has to offer.

Style. Pasta. Culture. Art. Wine. Charm. Gelato. Italy has it all, though Milan, in particular, is overflowing with Italian delights. Gothic cathedrals, Renaissance paintings, espresso, charming spots to sit, and of course, high fashion abound. If you only have a short stop in Milan, consider the following itinerary to enjoy the best the city has to offer.

Before You Go

If there is one thing for a style lover to plan a trip to Milan around, it would be Fashion Week. This year’s lineup includes catwalk cameos from the likes of Max Mara, Fendi, Alberta Ferretti, Missoni, Prada, Bottega Veneta and more. Or if your design tastes lean more towards the industrial and interior, plan to visit during Salone del Mobile, the city’s annual furniture show. The April show brings together designers, architects and others with good taste for five days of total design immersion.

Upon Arrival

Armani Hotel Milano

What would be more fitting than to check into the Armani Hotel during Milan Fashion Week? Sculptural detailing meets Italian sensuality at the 95-room property. Take in the view of Milan’s rooftops at the Michelin-starred Armani/Ristorante or relax in between shows at the 1,000-square-meter spa.

Morning: Coffee at Bar Luce

Wes Anderson's Bar Luce

While there is no shortage of cafes and wine bars in Milan, it’s not every day that you get the chance to step into one designed by such an aesthetically-driven director as Wes Anderson. Located in the Fondazione Prada, Bar Luce is in keeping with design trends and features from 1950s and 1960s Italy. Anderson notes, “While I do think it would make a pretty good movie set, I think it would be an even better place to write a movie. I tried to make it a bar I would want to spend my own non-fictional afternoons in.”

Late Morning: Overflow with Culture

Pinacoteca di Brera

Let Rome have the fountain glory—it’s the art, design and architecture you should be after in Milan. Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper (at the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent) ought to be at the top of your list, followed by Mantegna’s Dead Christ and Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus. Find them at the Pinacoteca di Brera.

For a more contemporary alternative, spend some time at La Triennale di Milano. This art and design museum houses an inspiring collection of modern art, photography, sculpture and more. Its Collezione Permanente brings together a sampling of significant objects in contemporary Italian design.

Afternoon: Gold Standard Shopping

Quadrilatero d'Oro in Milan

Shoppers, beware. Milan has a version of the Bermuda Triangle—Quadrilatero d’Oro. The name means “Golden Rectangle” and alludes to a quarter in the city where all the best shopping venues collide. Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Alessandro Manzoni and Via Sant’Andrea are stacked with the very best names in Italian haute couture (Prada, Versace, Roberto Cavalli and so on). You’ll also want to pay a visit to the only brick and mortar Fornasetti store, located on nearby Corso Venezia.

Evening: Michelin-Starred Cuisine at Vun

Vun Restaurant Milan

Leave your shopping bags and head out in search of gastronomic excellence. Vun, awarded one Michelin star, draws its strengths from Chef Andrea Aprea’s innovative techniques and love of Italian fare. While the menu changes seasonally, diners can expect fare like sweet and salty caprese, tortello pasta and black pork.

Late Evening: Face the Music

Teatro alla Scala in Milan

Milan truly is a feast for the senses, so don’t leave until you’ve indulged them all. Cap it off with and a night of opera at the world renowned Teatro alla Scala. You’ll be satisfied and hungry for more at the same time.

Is Milan just one stop of many on your itinerary? Check out our suggestions for a perfect day in New York.

Photos: Armani Hotel Milano, a_marga, Davide “Dodo” Oliva, paul bica, Vun, Teatro alla Scala

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Italian Style: 24 Hours in Milan