Italy’s economic capital, Milan is a fast-paced, hard-working city, which expanded in the 19th-century from its historic core into a sprawl of wide streets and neoclassical and art nouveau buildings. Its sights span the city’s history, with traces of the original Roman city of Mediolanum and superb buildings dating from the 13th – 16th centuries. Factor in a stupendous cathedral, some ancient churches, a world-famous opera house, top class galleries and museums, and it’s clear there’s more to Milan than high-end retail therapy.
On the secular side, don’t miss the Pinacoteca di Brera, a superb art gallery, the Castello Sforzesco, the 15th-century stronghold of the ruling family, and La Scala Opera House. Shoppers should hit the glass-roofed 19th-century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the world’s first mall, or stroll the streets known as the Quadrilatero d’Oro, home to every fashion label imaginable. Head out towards the suburbs to the re-vamped Navigli zone with its canals, or take in the HangarBiccoca, a huge and innovative contemporary art space.