Milan, a chic classical city of four million, is a mountainside metropolis of coffee, shopping, fashion festivals, elegant architecture and alluring alpine lakes.
A sizeable city as a result of the 1960's boom here, it is home to one of the largest metropolitan areas in the greater region. Milan falls into the 'blue banana' zone which is a strip of land across Europe that is both the most populated and of the highest industrial density on the continent.
A global capital in all things glitz and glamour, Milan is home to the twice annual Fashion Week event and the city stands on top of the world in terms of high end designer brands such as Gucci and Armani. Beyond the vogue of the catwalks are the the array of designer shopping villages such as Fidenza Village or Foxtown. The villages will also be warm with the rich roasty aroma of fresh coffee in its finest form.
The classical side of Milan is evident in the incredibly gothic architecture the city has produced through its role as the once capital of the Roman Empire. During the high middle ages of the 11th to 13th centuries a lot of money flowed into the boundaries of Milan and bold projects were undertaken in the centuries that followed. Some of these works include the Milan Cathedral, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Arch of Peace.
Just a short yet magical drive into the mountains are some of Europes most beautiful alpine lakes. Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda are bright blue bodies of water which reflect the stunning snowcapped peaks that surrounds them. They were once home to some of Italy's most regarded composers Verdi, Rossini and Bellini because of the peace and tranquillity they provided these musical masterminds. Surrounded by opulent villas and lush landscapes the lakes also provide alpine adventure for those seeking adrenalin either on the water or down the slopes.
There is no shortage of elegant hotels in Milan however there is often a shortage of vacancy. Be sure to get in ahead of the crowds.
Milan is accessed easily via the Eurail network and has most of the worlds major airlines, including Emirates, landing into Malpensa Airport.
Source = Lionel Paul Grant