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Milan top neighbourhood guide

Milan is one of the best shopping cities in Europe and there is a lot more to discover beyond its fashionable city centre. From haute couture to hipster hangouts and cool nightlife, Milan’s diverse neighbourhoods give the city an unforgettable personality. Here we look at the best areas in Milan, from Brera to Porta Venezia

Emily Scrivener
City Guide
Emily Scrivener ,

Milan’s fashion district
Made up of the Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni, Via Sant’Andrea and Via Montenapoleone, the Quadrilatero d’Oro – golden rectangle – is Milan’s fashion district. The most famous shopping area in Milan, it is packed with the best haute couture and international brands, from Prada and Versace to Gucci, Valentino and Salvatore Ferragamo. Often classed as one of the most chic and expensive streets in the world, Via Montenapoleone is considered the city’s beating heart and is where discerning customers can spend hours exploring the range of stunning boutiques.

With its cobbled streets, top galleries, museums and boutiques it is no wonder that Brera is considered the artistic heart of Milan, as well as one of its most charming neighbourhoods. Situated north of the Duomo cathedral, the beautiful Brera district is made up of narrow streets and beautiful buildings. Roam the pedestrian-friendly streets and you’ll see why this is often compared to Montmartre in Paris. The Pinacoteca di Brera gallery is a must-see for art lovers while Cavalli e Nastri is regarded as one of the best vintage shops in Milan. Foodies will love Princi, one of the city’s best bakeries, while Dry attracts locals and visitors with its menu of delicious pizzas.

Navigli and Porta Ticinese
Named after a network of canals, the Navigli district of Milan is a charming area, mostly made up of pedestrian-friendly streets that are lined with top restaurants, intimate wine bars and one-of-a-kind food shops. The relaxed district is renowned for its late-night bars, with people spilling out on to the streets – ideal for a seasonal aperitivo and a fun evening out. The concentration of good-value trattorias attracts those who want more of a laid-back vibe compared to the more expensive city centre. On the first Sunday of each month the banks of the Naviglio Grande are home to a thriving antique market which is not to be missed.

Porta Romana
Porta Romana is arguably one of the most elegant districts in Milan. Known for its quiet atmosphere and grand buildings, it is home to some of Milan’s wealthiest residents and a wealth of great restaurants and bars. The Fondazione Prada institute is a must-visit, with its art deco–inspired bar designed by Wes Anderson. To discover a highlight of the area’s eating and drinking scene, head to Casa Lodi or, to discover unique souvenirs, explore the many small boutiques found throughout the area – try Suite 123 for top womenswear.

Porta Venezia
Porta Venezia is one of the best places to stay in Milan thanks to its prime shopping location and melting pot of cultures. As one of the oldest parts of the city, it is a great place to discover Milan’s history, with stately neoclassical buildings, attractive facades and the famous Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli park. Corso Buenos Aires cuts through the middle of the district, providing plenty of top high-street stores, while the area’s large Eritrean population means that this is also a great place for top eateries. We also recommend Flower Burger, one of the city’s great healthy-eating spots.

Meaning island in Italian, Isola was once a down-at-heel part of the city due to its secluded location. In recent years it has been somewhat gentrified with good links in to the city centre. The remoteness of the area meant cheap rents and there was an influx of artist and creatives to the area. As a result, Isola a bohemian nature and has become known for its vintage shops, quirky restaurants and cool street art. Isola’s cool crowd means that it is a great place to shop for unique buys, with plenty of design studios to inspire you.



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