Milan’s shopping scene is steeped in tradition. Historic specialist shops, with original interiors and façades still intact, are dotted among its standout flagships and contemporary boutiques. Discover our pick of the best of the city’s oldest stores that continue to entice and inspire visitors today.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
An elegant emblem of the city’s past and present, this is one of Europe’s oldest shopping arcades and dates back to the late 1800s. It is a neoclassical feast for the eyes; a cavernous glass and iron domed roof floods light across its elaborate mosaic floors, marble sculptures and frescoes. Located on the Piazza del Duomo, in the heart of the city’s shopping district, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II hosts luxury designer heavyweights, including Prada and Versace, alongside specialist shops such as historic hat maker Borsalino. Leave time for aperitivi drinks at one of its nostalgic bars – the ideal place to watch people go by on their passeggiata (evening stroll).
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Piazza del Duomo, 20121 Milan
Peck has been a cult destination for gourmets since it was founded in 1883. Its Via Spadari store opened in 1912 and offers the highest quality cured meats, stuffed pastas, cheeses, handmade pastries, pralines and fresh produce. It’s easy to get lost among the seemingly endless counters loaded with delicacies, so make sure to speak to the knowledgeable staff who will teach you how to tell your bottarga (fish roe) from your burrata (soft, creamy cheese). Recently revitalised for the 21st century, Peck now features a gleaming new restaurant upstairs.
Peck, Via Spadari 9, 20123 Milan, +39 02 802 3161
This specialist stationery and typography shop, which opened over a century ago, was saved from closure in 2014 by a group of passionate friends who restored it to its former glory. A stationery lover’s dream, this is the place to come if beautiful nibs, perfect pencils and leather-bound notebooks make you go weak at the knees. Rows of pea-green drawers and shelving are meticulously stacked with letterpress stamps, seals and vintage paraphernalia. The space hosts workshops and exhibitions, and also offers a customisation service. Fratelli Bonvini is a brilliant example of history revived for the next generation.
Fratelli Bonvini, Via Tagliamento 1, 20139 Milan, +39 02 539 2151
La Rinascente Milano Piazza Duomo
La Rinascente founded the first department store in Italy, and the history of the retail chain spans 150 years. When the doors to its Piazza Duomo location first opened in 1889, the store introduced a pioneering concept, offering refined ready-to-wear clothing as an alternative to the city’s powerful tailors. La Rinascente means rebirth and it has certainly lived up to its name, having survived several crises, including a fire which destroyed the whole store in 1918, to come back better and more improved each time. The store’s latest updates include a revamped luxury womenswear floor and a stunning rooftop restaurant – an ideal spot for sundowners and unbeatable views of the cathedral next door.
La Rinascente Milano Piazza Duomo, Piazza del Duomo, 20121 Milan, +39 02 88521
Quintessential Milanese menswear outfitter Al Bazar and its charismatic owner Lino Leluzzi have become famous among loyal locals and fashionable visitors alike – just take a look at Leluzzi’s Instagram account. Established nearly 50 years ago, Al Bazar may not be the oldest brand in Milan but it is completely aligned to traditional values, offering beautifully crafted leather shoes, hand-embroidered monograms on shirts and the highest level of personal in-store service. Whether you’re seeking pastel-hued knitwear, the perfect double-breasted blazer or one of its famous cashmere ties, this boutique is a must-visit.
Al Bazar, Via Antonio Scarpa 9, 20145 Milan, +39 02 433470