Local Food & Culture in Milan

Advisor - Julie Middlebrook-Levin
Curated By

Julie Middlebrook-Levin

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  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Boutique Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Group Travel

  • Luxury Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Solo Travel

  • Shopping

  • Outdoor

  • Architecture

  • Romantic

  • History

A tram on the old streets of Milan.
Curator’s statement

Milan is famed for being the fashion and design capital of the world, but often receives a pass when people are planning their trips to Italy. We are here to tell you this second largest city in Italy deserves a spot on your bucket list for its art, culture and food! Milan is very accessible by train from many other cities in Italy, so is an easy add on to a multi city Italy trip. The hidden places in Milan are what will set it apart from other Italian cities and give you an experience that will have you planning your return trip before you leave!

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Where to stay in Milan, Italy

Park Hyatt Milan

Elegant property nearby the Duomo di Milano with upscale rooms and suites.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Armani Hotel

At the heart of Milan's famous fashion district, this 95 suite hotel designed by Giorgio Armani reflects his concept of comfort and hospitality.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Rosa Grand

Stunning Milan hotel right in front of the Duomo with a sprawling rooftop garden.

Advisor - Julie Middlebrook-Levin

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Things to do in Milan, Italy

Girl in a red coat in Milan.

Your bucket list of things to do in Milan most likely already includes things like the Duomo Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Castello Sforzesco, Parco Sempione and Teatro alla Scala, so here are some of the local things we always include our itineraries:

A bike tour where you will ride by sites like the Bosco Verticale (the “Vertical forest”) in Port Nueva. This two hour tour is the perfect way to cover lots of ground, get the lay of the land at the beginning of a visit and see many major sites as well as a few hidden gems.

If you love Italian food, why not learn some tips and skills while in Milan? We recommend a master cooking class on the art of pizza and pasta making with our friend, chef Vittorio.

Explore fashion forward concept stores along the cobblestone street of the Brera district. Stores like 10 Corso Como, vintage store Cavalli e Nastri and the Brera antiques market are a few of our favorites.

Spend an afternoon/evening wandering the Navigli neighborhood. Its a delicious destination filled with little restaurants and bars along the charming canal (perfect for aperitivo and a night out!)

Places to eat & drink in Milan, Italy

Girl in pink coat eating dessert in Milan.


Breakfast basic requirements in Milan are an espresso or cappuccino and a brioche, as the Milanesi call it.  One of our favorite boutique hotels in Milan serves an amazing organic breakfast buffet but if you feel like hitting the streets of Milan early and don’t want to stand while you drink your coffee like many of the locals, go beyond the basics.

Located on various street corners and piazzas, Princi pops up all over the city, loved by both locals and tourists for its excellent coffee and beautiful pastries. We love the Brera location with its historical tangle of cobblestone streets. Princi also serves a high quality aperitivo from around 5pm.

Paticceria Marchesi 1824 - We love the location above Prada which is jade-colored and retro-chic. Sit in the velvet chairs for table service and gaze out the windows at the galleria below. The beautiful design and attentive service by jacketed waiters is worth every euro you pay for your coffee and cornetto. It's chic and dreamlike and worth coming back again and again. Great for lunch or aperitivo as well.


La Proscuitteria Milano Brera is a cute spot for lunch while wondering the cobblestone streets of Brera. Share boards of meats and cheeses, stuffed tuscan flatbreads and a glass of wine. Its old Tuscan tavern vibes inside with a few tables outside as well. This place gets crowded quickly so making a reservation is a good idea.

If you want the most iconic street food in Milan then you must go to Panificio Luini for a Panzerotto! Perfect for a quick snack or lunch while in the historic center of Milan.

Coffee/hot cocoa

Zaini Milano is the oldest chocolate factory in Milan and a perfect destination for a gourmet break any time of day. Stepping inside this historic shop takes your breath away as you inhale the smell of chocolate and visually take in all the details that make Zaini Chocolate perfection! From morning coffee, the most decadent hot chocolate (EVER), to evening cocktails, literally anytime is a good time to visit Zaini! Some of our favorite foodie souvenirs are their signature red tins of pralines and cacao mix.


Aperitivo is a requirement when in Milan! Terrazza Aperol offers several dining options and one of the best aperitivi in the city. The very reasonably priced cocktails are served alongside fresh homemade chips and amazing views of the Duomo.


Did you know that Milan is a rice growing region? Up until a few decades ago, the southernmost tip of the city still featured rice paddies, and if you stand there now, you can see the ones just outside city limits in the distance. Unlike many risottos, the Milanese version is loose, almost like a starch-thickened soup or porridge that first spreads on the plate and then thickens just the slightest amount as it cools. If you’re in Milan, you have to try this one – Risotto alla Milanese with Ossobuco. One of my absolute favorites and THE Milanese dish. Rich and creamy saffron flavored risotto is paired with cross-cut veal shank…yumOsteria Brunello Milano is our favorite destination for this specialty but everything else is delicious too!

Advisor - Julie Middlebrook-Levin

Travel Advisor

Julie Middlebrook-Levin

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Milan.