Milan is the undisputed international fashion capital, but apart from the designer clothing boutiques, the showrooms and the busy shopping streets with their tourists and trendsetters from all over the world, this city has much more to offer. Here you will be able to enjoy the best art, culture, music, design and sport, all of them under the spotlight of exhibitions and high profile events all year round.
Napoleon Hotel Milan, only few minutes’ walk from the fashion streets and the city centre, will be your starting point for you to go and discover the liveliest side of the city as well as the most hidden ones.
The Duomo of Milan, the symbol of the city, is dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente: this is one of the biggest cathedrals in Europe and the highest example of gothic architecture in Italy. Its stunning white marble body stretches for over 157 metres and is 108 metres high; and at the very top, there is the famous little statue of the golden Madonnina. Inside, the soft light peaks through the wonderful multicoloured glass windows enhancing the vast amount of fine materials and works of art executed across three centuries. Here you will find about 3.400 statues.
The Scala Theatre was built in 1776 in accordance with the wishes of Mary Theresa of Austria and it is still one of the most famous Opera Theatres worldwide. Through the years, some of the major Italian Composers such as Rossini, Bellini and Giuseppe Verdi performed here; the Nabucco directed by Giuseppe Verdi in 1842 was a real triumph. Among the famous people that have worked here, there are the unforgettable voices of Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi and Luciano Pavarotti, the directors Luchino Visconti and Franco Zeffirelli and the dancers Rudolf Nureyev, Carla Fracci and Roberto Bolle. In more recent year, popular director Riccardo Muti has also graced the theatre with his talent. The Museum of Theatre is very interesting: in fact, here you will find precious instruments, pottery and many rooms dedicated to the main characters of the Milan music scene.
VITTORIO EMANUELE THE II GALLERY
The wonderful covered gallery that connects Piazza Duomo with Piazza della Scala was built in 1865 following the project of Giuseppe Mengoni. Its eclectic style with lunettes, caryatids and pilasters, and the bright glass windows of the dome represent the real symbols of Milan’s upper class. In fact Vittorio Emanuele the II Gallery can be securely considered the centre of Milan’s high fashion scene, also in part to the many boutiques, cafès and posh restaurants that are hosted under its roof.
PINACOTECA OF BRERA
Pinacoteca di Brera Pinacoteca of Brera is located in an ancient 17th century building which is now the site of the Fine Art Academy. Inside are some extraordinary collections of paintings by some of the major international masters such as Rubens, Joardens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Correggio, Tiepolo, Canaletto and Fattori. There also are many paintings by some early 19th century Italian Artists such as Boccioni, Braque, Carrà, De Pisis, Marino Marini, Modigliani and Morandi. Among the paintings on display, there are the famous Raphael’s Marriage of the Virgin, Bellini’s Madonna and Child and Caravaggio’s Emmaus Supper.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper is a must-see while in Milan as it is one of the greatest works of art of all time. The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a wonderful Renaissance building located close to the Cenacolo, also is well worth a visit.
The Castle once was residence to the Sforza family, which ruled the Duchy of Milan. Nowadays it is a major cultural centre periodically hosting exhibitions and events. Inside there’s a multitude of museums that have both ancient and modern pieces of art on display. On the ground floor you will find the Museum of Ancient Art, where the Rondanini Pietà, Michelangelo’s last unfinished masterpiece is permanently on display. On the first floor you will find the Furniture Show and the Pinacoteca as well as the Applied Art Shows, the Museum of Music Instruments, the Pre-history and Proto-history Museum and the Egyptian Museum.
THE SHOPPING STREETS
Milan’s city centre is heaven for shopping-addicts and a well known point of reference to pick up, in every season, the latest high fashion trends. Corso Buenos Aires, only 100 metres far from Napoleon Hotel, is the street where you can find the major clothing chains’ outlets as well as accessories and jewellery shops, of all preferences and prices. The most important international fashion brands compete for a spot in this area, especially on Via Montenapoleone and on Via della Spiga. If these still don’t satisfy what you are looking for, on Corso Vittorio Emanuele you will find casual and modern style shops as well.
NIGHTLIFE IN MILAN
Milano Nightlife If you love the nightlife, Milan has a multitude of clubs, restaurants and pubs for you to enjoy. If you wish to bump into VIPs and football players you can go to places such as the famous Giannino Restaurant or El Gaucho, owned by Inter captain Javier Zanetti. Among the clubs, stand out the Ubi Maior, a reference for the people from the local gossip society and the See you at 1, a posh New York style lounge. If you like live music, we strongly recommend the Alcatraz, where high profile events take place all year round. If you feel like dancing, you can head to the Gattopardo Cafè, located in a deconsecrated church or to the famous Magazzini Generali. Milan also hosts the Blue Note, the most famous Jazz Club in Italy, where musicians such as The Blues Brothers, Stefano Bollani, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Pino Daniele and Enrico Rava have performed over the years.