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Milan's perfect 10

May 16, 2011, 11:33 am Cathy Finch Yahoo!Xtra

As one of the richest and most avant-garde metropolises in the world, Milan overflows with high fashion, famous art, culture and cuisine. Here are ten tips for a perfect stay.

Milan s perfect 10

As one of the richest and most avant-garde metropolises in the world, Milan overflows with high fashion, famous art, culture and cuisine. Here are ten tips for a perfect stay.

1. The Duomo (cathedral) dominates the city square, Piazza del Duomo, and is decorated by thousands of spires, pinnacles, gargoyles and statues. Enter through the main door and touch the leg of the figure in the right-hand panel (gleaming gold from all the rubbing) for good luck. Take the climb to the Duomo rooftop at sunset for spectacular city views.

The Duomo. Photo: Cathy Finch

2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Enter this "living room of Milan" through a monumental decorated archway off Piazza del Duomo and stand in awe of the frescoes, marble and plasterwork. Spot the locals with poodles protruding from their Gucci handbags, while tourists twirl their heels in the testicles of a mosaic bull on the gallery floor. This tradition is said to avoid Mengoni (the gallery designer's) bad luck. He fell to his death from scaffolding during the gallery’s construction.

Mosaic bull, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Photo: Cathy Finch

3. Fashion. As one of the haute-couture capitals of the world, all the big labels can be found in the Quadrilatero d’Oro, or "Golden Quad" of fashion made up of pedestrian streets Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Borgospesso, and Via Sant'Andrea. Also fashion famous is the wide pedestrian street of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II which unites the Duomo with Piazza San Babila. For discount prices head to Corso Buenos Aires, just east of Stazione Centrale or Milan's largest street market held in the Navigli district on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

4. Rest up. If you are in the city's main department store La Rinascente, nip out on to the terrace of the seventh floor to the bar/restaurant that overlooks the Duomo's spires. Alternatively sip a coffee at Zucca in Galleria, a favourite place of Verdi and Toscanini, who used to stop here after performances at La Scala (Milan's legendary opera house).

5. Money. Don't be fooled by large line-ups at money exchanges surrounding the main square of Piazza del Duomo. Commissions are gigantic. The best way to obtain Euros is via the ATMs (known as Bancomats in Italy), withdrawing money straight from your account back home while being dispensed in Euros.

Piazza del Duomo. Photo: Getty Images

6. The Last Supper. Don't count on getting a last-minute ticket to see Leonardo da Vinci's Renaissance masterpiece, The Last Supper. You won’t. Secure your tickets before leaving home or book on a city tour that includes entry.

7. Sforzesco Castle and Museum. Dating back to the 14th century, this important Milanese monument now houses several museums and art gallery collections including masterpieces designed by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti's last and unfinished work. Take the pleasant walk amid noble buildings from the Duomo along Via Dante pedestrian street to the castle.

8. The Navigli (canals). Based on an exclusive design by Leonardo Da Vinci and built in the 15th century by the Duke of Milan, these canals were used to transport commodities like the marble used in the construction of the Duomo. Today the waterways are lined with some of Milan's most popular bars, restaurants and markets.

Navigli district. Photo: Getty Images

9. La Scala. Said to be the most famous opera house in the world, tickets for the opera are best secured before departure. You can also catch ballet, theatre, recitals and concerts here.

10. Accommodation gem. Grand Hotel Villa Torretta was once a prestigious 16th century residence in the countryside and has now been converted into a historical hotel within easy access to Milan's much busier city centre. It's surrounded by ancient medieval walls and features wooden beams and richly frescoed rooms. Staff service is refined and faultless. Go to www.villatorretta.it

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  1. JiggyJ07:34am Wednesday 25th May 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    One of my favorite cities in Italy just wish I'd had more time to explore it.

  2. Spud06:46am Wednesday 25th May 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    Couldn't agree less.Uninspiring flat city,full of pickpockets in the main piazza.

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