If you enjoy shopping, or need a little retail therapy, you would struggle to find a more enticing destination than Milan.
The city is best known as a global showcase of haute fashion, but its shops and markets also offer a vast and fascinating array of other products, from classic vinyl records and cool sneakers to gourmet cuisine.
Style Democracy, a website dedicated to “uniting people with the brands they love”, included Malpensa on its list of the seven best airports in the world for shopping.
In 2018, they noted, Milan’s Malpensa Airport upped its shopping game with a new 13,000-square-metre gallery in the Terminal 1 departure area. In addition to hundreds of restaurants, bars, and shops (including 46 new stores after the renovation), the airport has a 2,000-square-metre duty-free area – one of the largest in Europe.
Main Shopping Districts
The Quadrilateral d’Oro (“Golden Rectangle”) was named after the four main fashion streets around Via Montenapoleone: via Monte Napoleone, via Manzoni, via della Spiga and corso Venezia. It is a mecca for leading national and international luxury brands, with chic boutiques, trend-setting furniture showrooms and high-end jewellers – most of them conveniently located in pedestrianised streets.
For budget-conscious shoppers, more affordable items can be found in Via Torino, one of the oldest streets in Milan. Over the centuries, major craft laboratories and workshops were located in the passage-way. Today, as well as being a popular street for shopping, it is home to monuments such as the Basilica di Santa Maria presso San Satiro, a jewel of the Renaissance era.
Located in the opposite direction to via Torino is Corso Buenos Aires, believed to be the longest shopping street in the world.
For some relaxed browsing, the narrow streets of Via Brera – once mainly the haven of artists and bohemians – are full of boutiques, curiosity shops, bric-à-brac outlets and antique stores.
The Porta Genova-Navigli canals district is known for its “ethnic vintage” ambience, drawing a diverse melting pot of students, tourists, hippies and creative types to its many bars, restaurants, markets and alternative shops.
Luxury Fashion Brands
As the home of Milan Fashion Week (one of the world’s four premier fashion weeks, with Paris, London and New York), the city is a paradise for shoppers wanting to buy renowned luxury brands.
Italian fashion houses with their headquarters in Milan include Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada and Versace, all located in the ultra-elite Quadrilatero della moda (Via Montenapoleone) shopping district.
Milan is a city that is consistently uncovering new talent, and one of the catwalk favourites is Attico, a “cult cool-girl” clothing line founded in 2016 by Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini. They are credited with adding a touch of opulence to urban styles, with richly-patterned silks and elaborate embroidery.
A must-visit for those with a penchant for vintage items is Serendeepity in Corso di Porta Ticinese. The store has created an innovative space that merges several shopping platforms. Not only vintage clothing and accessories but also design, art and technology pieces, and – for music enthusiasts – 30,000 vinyl records.
For something a little more hip, also in Corso di Porta Ticinese, Frip offers a range of Scandinavian, French and British brands. An independent store highlighting the creations of emerging and alternative designers, Frip sells understated fast-fashion lines including clothing, shoes and accessories for both men and women, as well as avant-garde international magazines and a meticulously selected range of CDs and vinyls.
And for the ultimate in hip streetwear… One Block Down’s roots are founded on the history of sneakers, having close links with basketball and hip hop. In addition to top-brand collections from Adidas Original and Air Jordan, the store (in Piazza Armando Diaz) has clothing, accessories and magazines including Dazed & Confused, Hunger and I-D.
Deified as “the temple of Italian gastronomy”, Peck in via Spadari is a gourmet delicatessen… and much more. Laid out on tantalising counter after counter are cold cuts, meat, fresh pasta, cheeses, cakes, pastries, pralines, chocolates and handmade gelato.
There is also a fresh fruit and vegetables department, a tea and coffee section, a wine cellar, a ristorante preparing traditional Milanese dishes and a gourmet café.
An exclusive line of objects sporting the city brand is available from the Milan Official Store. Products and items include bags, cups, umbrellas T-shirts and sweatshirts.
All the products have been chosen in accordance with high quality standards, and special attention has been paid to their graphic input and design, and to the use of innovative materials.
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