I must say, Milan is definitely a business-oriented city (compared to cities like Florence and Rome). The major tourist attractions are Da Vinci’s Last Supper (which you must book at least 4-6 weeks in advance), the Duomo, and Castello Sforzesco. Yes, there’s a ton of fashion and shopping, but unless you’ve got a good chunk of money set aside, window-shopping is about all you can do.
It was refreshing to not hear English everywhere though. Unlike the other major cities in Italy, I saw only a few tour groups in Milan – you know, the ones with the leaders holding up a flag or umbrella and speaking into a microphone while 15 or so people follow with their camera’s out. This was a nice change compared to Florence, where every day the city is taken over by groups of tourists playing follow the leader.
I was lucky in that a local showed me around. Sandra, Ivan’s wife, grew up just outside of the city and spent many years working in Milan’s fashion district so she was the perfect tour guide.
Not much else to report from Milan. If you’re planning a trip through Italy and are limited on time, I’d skip it. You can find plenty of shopping if every other Italian city. If it is on your itinerary whether your like it or not be sure to visit the duomo, which has a sort of gothic feel to it and is unlike any of the other Duomos I’ve seen here. The view from roof is a must, and there’s actually an elevator at this one so you don’t have to worry about 538 stairs to the top.
Of course, you’ll want to see the Last Supper, but again, book in advance!! They only allow groups of 25 people in to see it 15 minutes at a time, and they’re closed on Monday. You can book up to 5 months in advance, and if you go on today, the first available date is in October. The alternative is to pay $75 for a tour group that will take you to the main sights in Milan, including the Last Supper. Just keep in mind that that’s about seven times the price of the ticket to visit the painting alone.