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Fall for Italy’s second city, and you’ll fall for good. Dig below the suave surface, and holidays in Milan are richly rewarding.
Milan excels at many things, but, above all, it excels at fashion. The city hosts numerous events and trade fairs, is inhabited by often dauntingly dapper locals, and boasts boutiques by everyone from Armani to Zegna.
There’s also serious financial oomph: as well as being home to a battalion of bankers, Italy's stock exchange is located here.
The industrial powerhouse scores too for football (calcio) – multi-European champions AC Milan and Inter Milan share its legendary San Siro stadium – and food, with a raft of newly Michelin-starred chefs making it one of 2020’s culinary must-visit destinations.
Milan also has a reputation for being reserved, a stereotype that’s based upon the city’s often grey, modern buildings and business-like locals. Give a holiday in Milan a chance, however, and you’ll encounter culture, charm, flamboyance and beauty.
There’s La Scala, a world-leading opera house, the Pirelli tower, a triumph of 1960s modernism, and grand Gothic cathedral Il Duomo, one of the world’s finest buildings.
And then there’s the Santa Maria alle Grazie Basilica, home to Leonardo da Vinci's mural ‘The Last Supper’. Art doesn’t come any more vital than this masterpiece.
This is also a place where incredible galleries hide in plain sight and where fantastic cocktail bars are squirreled away in unpromising courtyards: a place that rewards exploration and enterprise.
Stroll districts such as the canal-filled Navigli or raffish Corso Como and you’ll encounter Milan’s own dolce vita (good life).
Here, gelaterias, aperitivi bars and cheap pizzerias accompany high-design furniture stores and impressive, plant-swathed high rises.
Another plus of cheap city breaks in Milan is the dreamy location. Lake Como and ski slopes are both within reach as a day-trip, as are vineyards, beaches and all-inclusive resort hotels.
It's cheap, packed with art and culture, and pizza was invented here. Do you really need any more reasons to visit Naples? Here's how to get the most out of two days here.Read moreabout Secret Italy: How to escape the tourist trail
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