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Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

April 12, 2020
Ahh, Milan! Just the word will conjure up images of fashion shows, luxury shopping, wild parties, and more. There's no doubt that in Europe—perhaps even the whole world—Milan is best known as a glamorous fashion capital. Some of the best of the best in the industry live here, work here, have stores here, and show their collections here. But is Milan really that fabulous? Well, just like any other major city of its kind, this Italian haven has a few different sides to it as well. It's not all fashion and glamour here, but overall, the city still has some great neighborhoods to check out and stay at!

Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

 

Brera

Though it's not exactly Rome or Italy, Milan is still somewhat of a romantic city. Especially in the Brera neighborhood. Looking as if time stopped in past historic periods, this is the kind of European district where the past is still very much the present. Think gothic architecture, renaissance buildings, and the like. You and your partner will feel like you're living out the great love stories of the past as you walk down the cobblestone streets, many of which seem like they were never changed for centuries. Furthermore, the shops here are just as romantic as well, mostly of artisanal concepts and antique stores. 

Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Central Station Area

Being the center-point of travel that it is, the neighborhood near Milan's Central Station is perfect for you travelers who are just saying for a few days—or even just a few hours—in the city. And there are a lot of cheap places here too! Think cozy apartments, trendy hostels, humble motels, and the like. Let's face it, at times, you only go to Milan in-transit, on your way to other more popular cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence. However, if you stay at the Central Station Area, you can still do a bit of sight-seeing while still catching your train at the end of the day! 

Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Centro Storico

How do you know that Milan is really the fashion capital of the world? Well, the city actually has two districts devoted to the industry. One is at the Centro Storico area, perhaps the more popular of the two, as well as possibly one of the most photographed areas in all of Milan. Why? Because this is where the famous Duomo di Milano is. The iconic gothic structure has been seen on countless photos, magazines, newspapers, and even Instagram snapshots. Just a few steps away and you'll be at Quadrilatero della Moda, the area's fashion center. Here, you'll see the likes of Prada, Roberto Cavalli, and more! 

Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Chinatown

What's a mark of a major city? If it has its own Chinatown! So yes, Milan is a major city because, among other things, it has its own Chinatown. But what differentiate's Milan's neighborhood from its sister cities is that this place is all about the food. Just about any Italian city is all about the food! Italy itself is arguably all about food! But here in Chinatown, it's all about the different cuisines just waiting to fill you up and tantalize you with countless flavors. And don't forget, it's the Italians who are doing the cooking here! They're already great with their own cuisine, so you know that their touch of Eastern cuisines will be very interesting too! 

Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Isola

As glamorous as many of its best spots are, Milan as a whole is still very much your ordinary city. There are still some neighborhoods in this city that may not seem like your outside definition of 'Milan,' but are still interesting nonetheless. One, in particular, is Isola. Here, it's all about the buildings, each more innovative than the next. Once you get over the fashionable side of Milan, stay here to revel at the man-made marvels, some of the best that Italy has to offer. Also, it's more peaceful nature will be a great place to really capture the local experience here in Milan. 

Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Navigli

If you think that Venice is the only major Italian city that boasts canals, thing again. Milan has the Navigli neighborhoods, arguably a mini-Venice but a lot artsier. Firstly, the views here alone are amazing. With a stark focus on yellow and pink hues, each corner of this artistic district is Instagram-worthy. Then come the boutiques. Artisanal shops that sell handmade arts & crafts. Antique stores offering centuries-old relics and treasures. And cafes that provide delicious coffee and pastries. A feast of the eyes and the stomach, this is a different side of Milan worth exploring and staying at! 

Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Porta Nuova

When you think of Milan, apart from all the fashion, you're probably thinking of a bustling metropolitan. Well, that's thanks to the Porta Nuova neighborhood. As far as modernity is concerned, this district has embraced it whole-heartedly. And though this may sound generic and a little too gentrified, the area is a bit of a welcome change of pace from the more rustic and old-school neighborhoods. Sure, you won't find gothic architecture nor priceless artworks here. But you will find a bustling city life, full of advanced technology and big business. This is where the money's at! 

Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Porta Romana

Milan arguably has the best of both worlds, namely the past and present (and probably the future too). It has its fair share of centuries-old structures, each more photogenic than the next. As well as, of course, big businesses that continue to draw in the money and the innovation. But there's one neighborhood in the city that really combines the two: Porta Romana. Appearance-wise, it's very nostalgic with the old marvels preserved for hundreds of years. But the lifestyle is quite different. It has a bustling nightlife scene and, juxtaposed with the classic facade, offers quite a new and exciting experience indeed. 

Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Porta Venezia

Milan is and will always be about fashion. But while certain areas embrace the new and the trendy, there are some that still provide the timeless and the classic. And those two words are that best describe Porta Venezia. Like many neighborhoods in the city, this district combines the old and the new in a beautiful and harmonic way. Some structures here are even said to have originated all the way back to the Medieval era. However, what will probably draw you to stay here is shopping. And it's not just the glamorous luxury kind either! This place is full of vintage shops, startup boutiques, and humble cafes all for you to enjoy! 

Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Zona Tortona

As mentioned earlier, Milan actually has two fashion districts (three if you include the shopping haven that is Porta Venezia), one is Quadrilatero della Moda in Centro Storico while the other is at Zona Tortona. The big difference between the two is that the latter is more of the creative hub, hosting both Milan Fashion Week and Milan Design Week. Although fashion is a huge driving force in this area, Zona Tortona also upholds other art disciplines such as painting, sculpting, and even modern technology. All things design-related are all here, waiting to be marveled at by locals and tourists alike. Not to mention, the "zone" is a pretty trendy neighborhood overall! 

Ultimate Milan Guide by Neighborhood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Milan may be one of the most fashion capitals in the world but the city itself is a collection of different and diverse neighborhoods, each more interesting than the next. If you want to stay here, try finding the area that's right for you, not just the one where you'll get the best clothes! 

 



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