Milan’s Top 6 Shopping Areas For Shopaholics
By: Valerie Holyoak
When we think of Milan we automatically think of fashion. While this city is also known for finance, it is without doubt clothing that draws crowds of tourists to visit it every year. There are literally hundreds of places you can go to find clothing shops. And not only clothing. This city has it all! Jewelry, shoes, foods, books and even cars. Many of these places are decidedly upper class and possibly beyond many people’s pockets but even so, they are worth a visit if only to see how the other half lives. That being said there are many shops that are not in the upper price range and great to visit.
Huge bargains are to be had here throughout the year. When you have finished shopping and need to sit a while you will find that the streets are full of small cafes where you can stop for a gelato and people watch for a while. Even in winter, it is possible to sit outside, as the temperature is fairly comfortable. Here we have taken a look at a small selection of shopping places, which we think you should visit. Buy a good map, brush up on your Italian phrases and explore the city!
Via Monte Napoleone
This is one of the many upscale shopping streets in Milan. The trademark of this street is it’s ready to wear shops that are interspersed with jewelry stores. This street is full of high-end boutiques owned by many well-known fashion designers. It is rated as the most important street in the Milan fashion district because of this. You will also find some of the most exclusive Italian shoemakers and designers here.
This street is well worth walking along if only to look at the displays in the many different windows! While the price tags may be out of your reach, you will enjoy these window decorations, as they are fantastic! Here you will find that you can pick up a pair of Miu Miu boots for about 500 euros. The street is full of the big names such as Louis Vuitton, Armani, and Gucci to mention but a few. Shopkeepers are very friendly and are always willing to take plastic!
The Ferrari Store
For any Ferrari fan or motor racing fan, this store is a must to see! Husbands and sons alike will think they are in heaven! The basement level has two simulators which Ferrari drivers train on. You can pay 20 euros for 7 minutes of mind blowing adventure yourself. The simulators are well worth trying, but be aware that they are very popular so you might have to wait a while.
The shop is half museum and half shop so you can see cars on display and then visit the shop, which sells everything Ferrari that you can think of: baseball caps, golf towels, mugs and a range of perfumes. You will even find Ferrari Lego on sale for the youngsters. A huge range of clothing from the Ferrari collection in both men and women’s apparel is available starting at a very affordable price tag and ending up in the high priced range with a set of cufflinks for 250 Euros and a Ferrari briefcase for 2,100 Euros!
Although this store does not actually feature in the top fashion shopping areas of Milan, even though it does sell clothing and accessories, I’ve added it as most car lovers will want to visit and buy a little something to remind them of this experience! This is a place that you cannot miss when you visit. Taking big and small boys with you will make a great day out and a subject to be talked about for a long time.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
This is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls and well worth a visit, even if you don’t plan to shop. The building itself was designed in 1961 and completed in 1977. It’s a huge four story building in the center of Milan and you will recognize it easily because of the glass arcades that straddle the street. It has a glass and cast iron domed roof.
Inside this amazing building, you will find bookshops, art galleries, haute couture and many cafes bars and restaurants. Some of the oldest shops in Milan are to be found here. Paolo Biffi who was a pastry chef to the monarch at the time opened Biffi Caffe in 1867. While this shopping center may well be out of your price range it is worth a visit as it is just so picturesque. It has been described as the ‘Mother of all Shopping Malls’ and it quite possibly deserves that title.
This is possibly Milan’s poshest grocery store! A little like Harrods, except that it is in Milan. Peck is a multi story delicatessen that dates back to 1883. If you are hungry AND you have a lot of money, then you should head over there for a gastronomical experience you won’t quickly forget. The historic deli is actually smaller than you might have imagined but what it lacks in size it makes up for in its mind blowing variety of products! Cheese, chocolates, pralines, pates, caviar, truffles, oils and vinegar are on display. The meats are fresh and the cheeses are aged to perfection. This is a ‘foodie heaven’ to say the least. There is an all day restaurant bar that seems to appeal to the banking crowd.
Down a level, they have an amazing wine cellar, which leads into a maze of corridors stocked with local, national and international labels. If you see something you like and buy it, you will find that it is carefully wrapped and presented to you in a little bag with a bow on it. Don’t bother taking your camera with you, as unfortunately photographs are not allowed. You might be able to sneak one or two on your discreetly held phone when no one is looking!
This is a high-end Galleria which – while it is filled with high priced clothing – is actually more well known for the bookshop which is at the far end of the mall. You will find three floors of books on display. They stock a staggering 40,000 books at any given time! The shop is decorated with the most beautiful wooden furniture so you may actually sit and peruse a book before buying it. It is such a warm, welcoming place; and not really surprising that it is so popular. The gallery is divided into themed areas that have very friendly librarians to help you find your way around the maze of books.
It is open till 8 pm every night and 10 pm on a Thursday. If you are a book lover and searching for a particular book, you will find it here. If not, they can order it for you. They can arrange to post it home for you to save you carrying it in luggage. Even if you just like to browse through books this place is an experience.
When you hear the name Prada you probably think of handbags. You would be correct in this as that is where they first started way back in 1913. However, they also specialize in travel accessories, shoes and perfumes and here you will find all these things for sale. It’s a stunning store inside – don’t be deceived by the outside size, as it looks quite small. Once you get inside it is a whole different world. It is huge! If you get up to the upper floor you will even find that some of the antique sales cupboards are still being used, so worth a trip if only to have a look at those.
You can get new designs here at discounted prices. It’s not what you would expect when you think of Prada. The staff is very helpful and has been known to serve cups of coffee to tired husbands who are waiting for their wives to make a decision!
Added to the endless list of high-end shops offering you any product you will ever want, you will also find a section of less pricey outlet stores. These outlets stock designer items at discounted prices and should not be avoided. Most of the fashion items in them have yet to reach the shelves in the US and the UK so you will be ahead of the fashion game when you get back home! Sales take place in January and July where you may pick up some great bargains at very good prices. Food shops abound in Milan and you may find some of the most interesting pastries in small out of the way cafes. Whatever you plan for your visit, you will find that there is something that will make your trip special.