A Millionaire’s Christmas in Milano, For Free (well, almost!)

Milan is the fashion and design capital of Italy and regardless of the northern weather it bubbles and glows with fun sophistication all year long. The New York Times recently ranked Milan fifth in a list of the top 41 places to visit in 2011…and at Christmas time the city’s many great shopping and dining options become all the more magical. Follow our 12-step method to experience the glamour of Milan like a millionaire – it’s easier than you might think!

1. Banish Your Jetlag:

Okay, so you didn’t get the upgrade to business class on your way to Milan – that doesn’t mean you can’t knock back your jetlag like the best of them. Indulge in a fabulously frothy cappuccino (sorry, Starbucks!) and sinful pastry at this irresistible café where the sleek white décor reflects the emphasis on premium Italian milk.

2. Count to 10…10 Corso Como, that is:

Kiss the mini-mall blues goodbye with an afternoon of browsing what’s on offer at this sprawling galleria where the shops have an art, fashion and design focus. There’s a great casual restaurant, too.

3. Drink in the views from the Duomo:

It’s an Italian icon: downtown Milan’s majestic Late Gothic Duomo commands attention with its marble-encrusted facade and fabulous spires. The huge square in front of the Cathedral is flanked on the right by the porticoes of Vittorio Emanuele II Arcade. Gaze down on it at all from the renovated rooftop and for a few moments you’ll feel like all the world belongs to you. (The next best thing? You’re in Milan!)

4. Shopping Frenzy at La Rinascente:

The shopping choices in Milan can be overwhelming: for fashion, there is simply no better place to shop in Italy. Milan even gives Paris a run for its money. For a great introduction to many of the preeminent Italian brands, as well as some popular international ones, spend some quality time (and not necessarily a lot of money) in this upscale department store, located inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.

5. Drink at Bulgari Bar:

The Bulgari name is synonymous with understated luxury. In Milan, you don’t have to stay at the extravagantly expensive Hotel Bulgari to savor the velvet lap of luxury: just to sidle up to the chic yet surprisingly cozy bar off the main lobby and enjoy the view of the private garden, Aperol spritz in hand.

6. Feast with the “Old Money” set:

Leave memories of marginal food behind as you enjoy an unforgettable meal at a classic Milanese restaurant. The chefs at Ristorante Don Lisander prepare an “ossobucco con risotto alla Milanese” and other fine fare you won’t soon forget. The setting is within an 18th century palace and desserts have been known to provoke heart palpitations in those appreciate the creative potential of sugar.

7. Nibble with the “New Money” set:

Not far from the famous La Scala, Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone is where you can enjoy the flavors of a contemporary Milanese bistro. Want more of a, glassy, flashy, fun evening experience? Just Cavalli Café is the table for you.

8. Clubbing at Tocqueville 13:

What, your last name isn’t Dolce, Gabbana or (ahem) Berlusconi? It doesn’t matter, because you can party with the best of them at this uber-trendy Milan disco. It’s upscale and stylish, as you would expect in design-conscious Milan. A pop and techno evening here will remind you that there’s more to music in Milan than opera at La Scala.

9. Overnight at Armani Hotel:

If you are a famous fashion designer or on the Forbes 400 list, perhaps you have received an invitation to overnight at Giorgio Armani’s house. For the rest of us, there’s something maybe even better: the new Armani Hotel and Giorgio’s suitably sleek pride and joy. Revel in Armani/Casa designs and relax in the Armani/Spa.

10. Brunch at Living Milano:

Enjoy a languorous holiday brunch, served late, at this bustling spot known also as a buzzy bar by night.

11. Opera at La Scala:

Whether you’re an opera aficionado or first-time visitor, no trip to Milan could be complete without taking in a performance at the famous Teatro alla Scala. And you needn’t be a maestro to score some of the best tickets in the house.

Do you have something to add to the list? Leave a Reply below…



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