Milan is a landlocked city, which makes finding a beach more than a little difficult. But, there are a few options within a couple of hours’ drive if you’re in the mood for coastal views.
You can reach the port city of Genoa in just over two hours from the centre of the city. Its coast is peppered with beaches which come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Sand-and-pebble fronted Chiavari Beach offers a long stretch of sand that’s framed by bars and ice-cream shops.
A trip to the seaside village of Noli takes around two hours from Milan. The beach here is separated from a Medieval-time town by a promenade lined by palms. And its crystal-clear shallow waters bag it year-after-year Blue Flag status.
The neighbourhood of Navigli is home to Milan’s vintage shop scene and offers up a great place to nab a bargain. As well as a once-monthly flea market there are shops with low price tags on both sides of the river along here.
For something a little more affordable than the big names that line the streets of the Golden Rectangle, head to Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. It’s pitched close to the cathedral and it’s lined with friendly face from the UK’s high streets.
The Golden Rectangle doesn’t face any competition when it comes to where to go for designer buys in Milan. Prada, Gucci, Cartier and Fendi are some of the names you can expect to find along here.
Milan’s Brera district is one of the city’s oldest parts, and a big name on its art scene. Its cobbled lanes pick up a bit of pace after dark and its trendy mood-lit bars are a great fit for lowkey after-dark drinks.
The neighbourhood of Navigli is home to bars, restaurants, and riverside boutiques. Milan used to be criss-crossed with canals, much like Venice. But, with the exception of this neighbourhood, they’ve since disappeared. The bars along here are pretty sleepy during daytime, but come darkness its waterside nightclubs are set alive with foot-stomping dancers.
Milan’s take on minestrone sees pasta swapped out for rice, and the vegetables used vary depending on what’s in season. The dish gets a look in on menus year round, with a cold version providing some relief from the summer’s high temperatures.
If you’re a cheese fiend, make sure you try out gorgonzola, a blue-veined cheese hailing from northern Italy. It comes in two versions – dolce offers a sweet and creamy taste, while piccante serves a spicy kick.
This one’s a favourite with on-the-go lunching locals. It looks like a bit like a quesadilla, but it’s just slightly thicker. Its stuffed full of meats, cheese and vegetables before it’s flash cooked on an electric griddle.
The roots of this recipe are firmly held in Italy, with many believing it originated in Milan way back in the 19th century. And with use-by dates stretching for a few months, you can impress your family with a Milan-bought Panettone come Christmas time even if your visit’s a distant memory by then.
Italy’s Europe’s largest producer of rice, with most of it coming from nearby Po Valley. Milan has its own recipe when it comes to risotto. Saffron gives the rice a yellow colour, while cheese and bone marrow add a creamy texture.
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