Milan, Italy

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Adina Oditt
Staff Writer

Known as Italy’s most financially important city, Milan is a thriving cosmopolitan business capital. Having been greatly destroyed by World War II bomb raids, Milan has managed to rebuild itself into fashion paradise. Armani, Versace, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Pucci, Gucci, and many more took off on Milan’s run¬ways. Fashionistas make a pilgrimage here to shop at the designers’ flagship stores in the Quadrilatero d’Oro (Golden Quad). For a tourist, what makes Milan interesting is that the city is about the lifestyle of enjoying worldly pleasures.

Airlines: Milan’s international airport is Malpensa Airport which entertains airlines like Alitalia, Italy’s national carrier, American Airlines, Delta, and Air France. The smaller Linate airport to the east serves flights from Europe and within Italy and is connected to Milan by bus service.
Hotels/Lodging: Milan boasts a wide range of hotels. For those who wish to book luxury hotels, the choice can only be in the central area, among Brera, Via Monte di Pietà, Via Broletto, Via Manzoni, but also in the old town area. Milan offers a wide variety of hotels for business travelers that are close to the exhibition centers Fieramilanocity and Fieramilano and next to the airports of Linate and Malpensa. The areas of the Central Station and Corso Buenos Aires offer 2 or 3 star hotels in a good standard. To find low cost solutions you must move in the suburbs or towards the neighbor¬hoods of Lambrate and San Siro. The areas around Città Studi, Piazza Piola, or near the Polytechnic of Milan, also offer a wide choice of cheap hotels.

Attractions/Sightseeing: Shopping in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II or the Quadrilatero d’Oro are some of Milan’s favorite pastimes, but visitors tend to enjoy the magnificent Duomo and Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper even more. The Duomo of Milan is an amazing sight, stretching up high above the piazza del Duomo. It’s the third largest church in Christendom. A staggering 3,500 statues and 135 spires adorn the marble structure which has a Baroque and neo-Gothic façade and five carved bronze doors. To appreciate this beautiful cathedral in all its glory, take the lift to the roof where you get a breathtaking view of the Alps on a clear day. Make sure that you reserve a timed, 15-minute slot in which to visit the master¬piece, The Last Supper. It may not be Venice, but Milan is still a city of canals and a quiet cruise on its still waters throws light on historic gems. Navigli Lombardi (www.naviglilombardi.it) organizes a tour that takes in the ancient washhouses of vicolo dei Lavandai and San Cristoforo, the Scodellino Bridge, and the old Darsena Port. Built in 1603, this port sits at the confluence of two canals linking Milan with the Ticino and Po Rivers, and now hosts a sedate trade of riverside shopping, dining, and drinking. As the canal stretches across the city, you’ll find boutiques, antique restorers, bookstores, and night¬spots lining the banks and side streets. Fashion and finance aside, Milan’s other religion is calcio (football). The city is home to both AC Milan and Inter, two of Italy’s top teams. Passionate crowds pack San Siro stadium on Sunday in season.

Cuisine: Milanese restaurants serve the most varied of all Italy’s regional cuisines. Here you’ll find creamy pasta and dairy and meat products alongside international foods such as maki and curry. Two famous traditional Milanese dishes are risotto alla milanese (a rice dish made with saffron) and cotoletta alla milanese (breaded veal). Other dishes include Salame di Milano, which is made from finely minced pork and beef meat and many types of cheese. Grana Padano is a famous cheese overseas which comes from the Pò valley that includes the Lombardia, Piedmont, Veneto, and Emilia Romagna regions. Mascarpone is also a typical Milanese cheese that is an essential ingredient for desserts and creams often mixed with other cheeses, salami, or fish. However, the most famous Milanese cheese is without a doubt Gorgonzola. That rich, strongly flavored cheese reigns supreme at the Milan dinner table. This creamy cheese that has blue veins running through it is used to dress tasty first courses (in this case mixed with mascarpone) and to flavor Polenta. It can be eaten alone.

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