Milan City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 19, 2009

italyFLAG200Milan, or Milano, is a large, highly urbanized city in northern Italy.  It serves as the capital of the Milan Province and the Lombardy Region.  The city is surrounded by industrial suburbs, and is considered as a leading financial, commercial, and manufacturing center in Italy.  Milan also boasts the features of any modern city, such as towering apartment and office buildings, and an extensive railway network of subways and streetcars.

Milan has long been regarded as an artistic center for design and fashion.  It had produced top names in fashion and cultivated many top models in the world today.  Milan also features many upscale shopping districts, such as those of Via della Spiga and Porta Ticinese.  It also boasts of the world’s oldest shopping mall housed in a splendid 19th century palace, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.  Having hosted the famous names of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Bellini, and Botticelli, the city is a showcase of art in itself.  Dotted all over the city are numerous Italian Renaissance and Baroque art museums, Gothic churches with famed alfresco, paintings, and sculptures, and dozens of historical monuments commemorating Milan’s fascinating past.

In spite of the city’s humid subtropical climate, this does not stop the fast –paced and ever-changing lifestyle of Milan.  Perhaps, this hectic mode of living has given the Milanese a passion for leisure trips outside the city.  In the summer, when the city becomes hot and humid, the Milanese    ease it up by spending it in hills and lakes that surrounds it, or a trip to Switzerland that lies just beyond its borders.  Milan’s damp and cold winters are good reasons to spend it skiing in the international Courmayeur or Gressoney at the Aosta Valley.

Living in a highly urbanized and sophisticated city such as Milan certainly has its drawbacks.  There is pollution, traffic congestion, and the cost of living may be higher.  But then again, a simple walk around the city’s plazas, in the midst of its splendid background, is surely enough to rejuvenate anyone caught in the hassles of a cosmopolitan city.

Residential Places in Milan

Many prime residential apartments, villas, and palazzi are found at the city center, where the location is easily accessible to shops and business centers.  One of these districts is Amendola-Fiera with residential streets lined with trees and palazzi built in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  The Vittoria is another district that has a middle class feel, in spite of many fashion houses headquartered here.  They are mainly found between Viale Umbri and Corso Lodi.  Its Viale Lazio and Viale Umbria are its main residential streets.  East of the city is Città Studi, or the university district.  This district locates many of Milan’s higher educational units.  It is also a charming residential district.

Other residential areas are located within the adjoining suburbs of Milan.  This growth has started in the 1950’s and 1960’s, during the economic boom of the city, where many Italians from the south came to the city in search of employment and better opportunities.  The residences in the suburbs also cost much lower than those of located in the city center.

One of the areas generally recommended as the residence for expats is shared in a post at the Italy Expat Forum last June 25, 2009:

A nice area to live in around there is Monza, where you might also find other schools. It is not as expensive as Milan and has a great train service (when there are no strikes) into MIlan Central Station.

Hospitals and Universities of Milan

Milan. Being an intellectual center that it is home to numerous universities and other educational institutions for higher learning.  It has two state universities, one of which is the University of Milan (Statale) established in 1924.  It is one of Italy’s largest universities and is divided into the faculties of arts and philosophy, Political science, law, agriculture, sciences, medicine and surgery, pharmacy, sports and exercise science, and veterinary medicine.  Established in 1998 is the second state university in Milan, the University of Milan Bicocca.  The university has an international vision by participating in many international researches and publications, as well as by organizing international PHD research programs associated with foreign universities.  It is subdivided into the faculties of law, economics, statistical sciences, educational sciences, Psychology, sociology, Medicine and surgery, and mathematics, physics, and natural sciences.

Milan has other specialized universities.  The Vita-Salute San Raffaele University is a tertiary educational institution dedicated for the study of medicine,   as well as for research in clinical issues, cognitive science, and philosophy.  Politecnico di Milano is the largest state technical university in Italy, and has engineering and architecture as its main line of study.  Notable universities in Milan for business, economics, and social sciences are the Bocconi University, Scuola Superiore di Direzione Aziendale-Bocconi, and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore.  Bocconi University is regarded as Europe’s leading educational institution for business and economics.  It has ranked in the world’s top 20 best business schools by the Wall Street Journal and ranked first by Forbes in the category Value for Money worldwide.  The university has produced many prestigious alumni, including Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, Italy’s current Minister of Economy and Finance, Nouriel Roubini who is a senior economist at the US Treasury Department, and Marco Tronchetti Provera. President of Pirelli.

Universities in Milan dedicated for the study of languages, art, and music are the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, IULM University, Scuola Beato Angelico, Milan Conservatory, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano, and Accademia d’Arti e Mestieri dello Spettacolo hosted by the prestigious opera theater La Scala.  Among these the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera is the most important institution dedicated for the study of the creative arts, while The Milan Conservatory is the city’s prestigious institution for music.  Its famed alumni are the classical pianist Maurizio Pollini, the distinguished conductor Alceo Galliera, and the neoromantic composer Giovanni Bottesini.

Institutions for fashion and design are Politecnico di Milano-Facoltà del Design, Domus Academy’s Postgraduate School of Design, Istituto Marangoni, Istituto Europeo di Design, and Scuola Politecnica Di Design.  The Istituto Marangoni has produced many of the world’s leading designers, such as Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana, Alberto Cantù of Giorgio Armani, Antonio Fontana of Prada, Ilaria Icardi of Yves Saint Laurent, Monica Dini of Salvatore Ferragamo, and Chiara Dalle Luche of Valentino. All in all there are thirty-nine university centers making up a student population totaling 174,000 students at a give year. This makes Milan a true center of excellence in education in Italy.

Hospital Facilities

As a major urban city, Milan is privileged to house many hospitals and specialty clinics. Public and private hospitals are considered to render the same standard of services, as well as to possess adequate medical facilities.  Public hospitals are run by the National Health Service, where most medical procedures are subsidized by the government.  These free services are available to residents contributing to the National Health Service.  Private hospitals, though may have better accommodations, costs more for their services.

Milan has several general care hospitals.  One of these is the San Raffaele Hospital established in 1969, and located at Via Olgettina.  This private  hospital is also a teaching hospital for Vita-Salute San Raffaele University’s schools of medicine and nursing.  It has 24-hour emergency services and specializes in endocrinology, surgery, oncology, cardiology, gastroenterology, Allergology, dermatology, gynecology, and pediatrics.

Other general care hospitals in Milan are Ospedale Niguarda at Piazza Ospedale Maggiore, Ospedale Fatebenefratelli at Corso Porta Nuova,, Ospedale Maggiore Poluclinico at Via F. Sforza, Ospedale San Carlo at Via Pio Secondo,  Ospedale San Paolo at Via di Rudini, and Ospedale Luigi Sacco at Via G.B. Grassi.  All these hospitals have English-speaking healthcare practitioners and 24-hour emergency services.

Specialized hospitals and clinics in Milan include Orthopedic Institute Gaetano Pini, Hospital of the Children Vittore Buzzi    at Via Castelvetro, Istituto  Nazionale Per I Tumori at Via Venezian, Istituto Ostetrrico Mangiagalli at Via della Commenda, Ospedale Macedonio Melloni at Via Melloni, Istituto Ortopedico Gaetano Pini at Piazza Cardinal Ferrari, Pronto Soccorso Odontoiatrico (Ready Dental Aid) at Via della Commenda, Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi at Via Galeazzi, and istituto Europeo di Oncologia at Via Ripamonti.

Commercial Establishments in Milan

Milan is home to the flagship store of many international designers.  Many of these stores are found in Milan’s main shopping district known as Quadrilatero d’Oro (Golden Quadrilateral), It is a collection of four adjoining streets north of the Duomo, and comprises of Via Montenapoleone, Della Spiga, Via Borgospesso, and Via Sant’ Andrea.  Its streets are lined with these most upscale, high fashion houses.  Some of the designer brands found at Via della Spiga are Dolce & Gabbana,  Krizia, Adriana, Bottega Veneta, GianFranco Ferre, and Sergio Rossi.   Via Montenapoleone has Alberta Ferretti, Etro, Gucci, Prada, Ungaro, Ferragamo, Valentino, and Louis Vuitton.   Chanel, Fendi, Moschino, Missoni, Giorgio Armani, Kenzo, Trussardi, and   Cesare Paciotti has outlets at Via Sant’ Andrea.  Via Borgospesso, on the other hand, has Laura Biagiotti and   New Sebastian.  Other important shopping districts in Milan are Corso Buenos Aires, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Corso Venezia, Corso Vercelli, Piazza San Babila, Via Manzoni, and Via Verri.

Milan also has numerous stockhouses and factory outlets selling designer brands at a discounted rate.  Some are dispersed in locations beyond the city center, while several others are interspersed in the traditional shopping districts of the city.   They are typically found at the basement level.  Some of these are Emporio Niscia viale Piave, Gastone at Via Vanzetti, Emporio Isola at Via Prina, La Scialuppa at Via Macedonio, Il Salvagente at Via Fratelli, Tiratisu’ at Via Faruffini, Il Paracadute at Viale Piemonte, Diffusione Tessile at the Galleria San Carlo, Vestistock at Viale Romagna, Spaccio Maglieria at Via Mantegna, Rufus at Via Vitruvio, and Top Calzature at Strada Vigenanese.

Restaurants

Milan has a strong provincial cuisine that features cheese, ricotta, milk, cream, butter, mascarpone, risotto, pasta, polenta, bresaola, carpaccio, arrosto,  sausages, and a variety of fresh vegetables.  There are countless choices for cafes, osterias, trattorias, and restaurants in the city that serves Milanese cuisine.  Some notable establishments that serve typical Milanese cuisine are Trattoria Casa Fontana at the Piazza Carbonari, Ristorante Da Berti at Via Algarotti, El Brellin  at Vicolo Lavandai, Da Abele at Via Temperanza, Latteria at Via San Marco, Ponte Rosso at Ripa di Porta Ticinese, and La Milanese at Via Santa Marta.

Some restaurants that serve Italian and Mediterranean  cuisine are Al Pont de Ferr  at Ripa di Porta Ticinese, Gattòat Via Castelmorrone, Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone at Via Monte Napoleone, Don Carlos at Via Alessandro Manzoni, and Bistrot at Via San Raffaele.  Some notable pizzerias are Premiata Pizzeria and Officina 12  at Via Alzaia Naviglio Grande, Pizzeria Grand’Italia at Corso Garibaldi, Be Bop at Col di Lana, Paper Moon at Via Bagutta, and Pizzeria Spontini Via Gaspare Spontini.

Milan also has its choice of ethnic restaurants.  These restaurants are the Sri Lankan Serendib at Via Pontida, the Chinese Giardino di Giada at Via Palazzo Reale, the Indian Tara at Via Cirillo,  the Lebanese Ali Baba at Via Cadore, the Japanese Poporo at Via Piccinni, the Brazilian Berimbau at Viale Monte Nero, and the Spanish restaurants El Paso de los Toros at Via Lazzaro Palazzi and Don Juan at Via Altaguardia.

Dining times are often around 12:30 PM and 2:30 PM local time for lunch and for dinner it would be between 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM.

Nightlife in Milan

Milan is not only a fashion capital, but it is also a city with an exceptionally lively nightlife.  A typical night out in Milan starts at dinner or at happy hour before heading to the more lively nightspots.   The city’s numerous bars and nightclubs are just the perfect venues to rub elbows with actors, models, or the best dressed people in Italy.  Milan’s best locations to scout for bars and nightclubs is in the Navigli district, located southwest of the city and extends up to Corso di Porta Ticinese, and the Brera district. Notable establishments in these areas are the piano bar El Brellin at Alzaia Naviglio Grande, Birreria La Fontanella at Alzaia Naviglio Pavese, Le Scimmie at Via Ascanio Sforza, El Brellin at Vicolo Lavandai at Alzaia Naviglio Grande, Bar Margherita in La Brera, Hollywood at Corso Como, Casablanca across Corso Como, Plastic at Viale Umbria, and Grand Café Fashion at Via Vetere.

Other prestigious bars and pubs in the city is the kookabar at piazzale libia and a favorite night spot for expatriates, Nordest Café that features jazz concerts and classical music at Via P. Borsieri, Orient Express at Via Fiori Chiari, the trendy Bar Magenta at Via Carducci, and the jazz bars Capolinea at Via Lodovico Il Moro and Scimmie at Via Ascanio Sforza.   Famed discos and clubs in Milan include Propaganda at Via Castelbarco, Magazzini Generali at Via Pietrasanta, and the Latino club Tunnel at Via Sammartini.

Service Establishments of Milan

The national Italian telephone company or Telecom Italia is the largest telecommunication company in Italy.  It has a wide coverage for fixed line services, as well as internet connection via Alice TinIt, and mobile services through its mobile arm, Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM).  Application for a subscription can be done by calling their service center at 187 , or by applying on-line through their website.

Other main telephony service providers in Italy are Infostrada, BT Italy, Tele2, Tiscali, MCI Worldcom, and AT&T.  These companies also offer fixed line services and internet connection.  Major internet service providers in Italy are Libero, Tiscali, Blunet, and Isinet.  Other major mobile service providers in Italy are  Omnitel Vodafone, Wind, and H3G.

Government Institutions

Ente Nazionale per l’Energia Elettrica (ENEL) is the major electric power supplier in Italy.  It had a monopoly on providing electricity before the government passed a deregulation and was privatized in 1988.  As of 2006, 31.1% of the company is still owned by the state.  It currently faces little competition in the market.  ENEl is also Italy’s second largest supplier of natural gas.

Milan has a number of police stations strategically located in its major streets and main quarters.  Below is a table of their locations and their corresponding emergency numbers:

Police (Polizia) in Milan
Police Station Telephone
Via Malpensa 02 585 86111
Via Attilio Regolo 02 580 761
Via Cadamosto Alvise 02 205 2101
Via Poma Carlo 02 754 1131
Via Falck Enrico 02 339 3171
Via Malpensa 02 585 84511

Embassies in Milan

Many of the foreign embassies to Italy have their offices located in Rome.  Several consulates are however, located in Milan.  The European countries with consulates  in Milan are Austria at Via Cremona, Belgium at Via Vespucci, Cyprus at Via Ampère, Czech Republic at Via Morgagni, Denmark at Via Ariosto, Finland at Via F. Ferruccio, Germany at Via Solferino , Great Britain at Via S. Paolo , Greece at Via Turati, Hungary at Via G. Boccaccio, Malta at Porto di Classe, the Netherlands at Via Michele Mercati, Poland at Corso Vercelli , Portugal at Via V. Pisani, Romania at Via Gignese, Russia at Via S. Aquilino, and Spain at Via Montenapoleone.

The Asian countries with consulate in Milan include China at Via Tazzoli, India at Via Larga, Iran at P. Diaz, Japan at Via privata Cesare Mangili, Jordan at Via Fieno, Lebanon at Via Larga, the Philippines at Via Santa Maria Segreta, and Turkey at Via S. Barnaba.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sebayang December 13, 2009 at 5:43 am

Dec 12.2009

We had a meeting in Milan and delegations around the world came to Milan for a meeting but one of
delegation was lost a wallet , credit card and ID on the road and there was a robbery. I think Milan needs to
improve a security issue. and I do know where I can report this case ? and where is a police station in Milan ?

as a tourist and visitor Please be careful in Milan such that not a safe area.

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