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How to spend 48 hours in Milan

Fashion, food and finance are just three of the many things that Milan is best known for.

The financial and fashion center of Italy is an ideal base for any trip to the region, thanks to its fantastic rail links.

As Milan Fashion Week kicks off on September 20, here’s our guide to what to see, do and where to stay in the country’s most cosmopolitan city.

GETTING THERE

Aer Lingus flies from Dublin to Linate airport in Milan, as does Ryanair. Visit www.aerlingus.com or www.ryanair.com. There is a train from the airport to Milan which takes about an hour.

WHERE TO STAY

We settled into the magnificent Westin Palace, one of the city’s iconic hotels. It is located in Piazza della Repubblica, just a five-minute walk from the main train station, Stazione Centrale, and a few minutes walk from a metro station. This allows you to quickly zip around town or travel much further. One of the city’s main shopping streets, Corso Buenos Aires, is just 800 meters away and the Duomo Cathedral, where you will find most tourist attractions, is 1.6 km away.

This sleek and sophisticated 231-room hotel blends the property’s classic architecture with contemporary touches. Stepping through the door, you’ll be struck by the newly renovated lobby and stylish Lounge Bar, a meeting place for locals and vacationers alike.

In summer, the bar, with its fresh color palette, modern furniture and decorations that enhance the original architecture and the iconic golden ceiling, extends onto the hotel patio at the entrance with its layout green landscape.

Breakfast and dinner are served at the hotel restaurant PanEVO, which, under the direction of Executive Chef Augusto Tombolato, focuses on quality seasonal ingredients to make its dishes stand out. Expect traditional, regional cuisine including Milanese specialties such as saffron risotto with veal ossobuco and breaded veal cutlet.

Breakfast is buffet style, with a range of hot and cold dishes.

Blending the hotel’s heritage with Milan’s history and vibe, Westin Palace hotel rooms are bright, airy and exude luxury. They range from contemporary to imperial style and some offer stunning views of the city. The Presidential Suite spans over 200m² and offers split-level corner accommodation combining the eighth and ninth floors.

The elegant decor and sumptuous furnishings of the various rooms include chandeliers, velvets, silk wallpaper, gold and glass tables, and gold upholstered armchairs. They also include a range of artworks such as sketches by Milanese designer Jole Veneziani – a pioneer of Italian fashion in the 1950s and 1960s – and in particular pieces commissioned from contemporary photographer and artist Mario Guerra.

A special mention must go to the beds, which we found extremely comfortable. For any traveler, the hotel bed is one of the most important things for any stay.

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Lobby of the Westin Palace in Milan

Lobby of the Westin Palace in Milan

The Westin Palace uses the brand’s specially designed Westin Heavenly Bed.

In 1999, the company embarked on a mission to find the ultimate hotel bed, beginning with year-long testing of dozens of beds in a hotel ballroom and leading to the creation of a new bed with a pillowtop mattress and a well-constructed box. spring below.

Marble bathrooms have brushed bronze mirrors, rainfall showerheads, soaking tubs, and quality bespoke toiletries.

For those feeling more energetic than us during our stay, there’s a Westin workout room with a range of gym equipment and yoga mats.

Alternatively, you can book yourself for a spa treatment, which has a holistic approach to well-being.

Visit www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/milwi-the-westin-palace-milan/

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Imperial King Grand Deluxe Room at Westin Palace


Imperial King Grand Deluxe Room at Westin Palace

Imperial King Grand Deluxe Room at Westin Palace

WHERE TO EAT

In addition to eating at the Westin Palace, it is well worth taking a tour of the city, as you will find hidden gems there.

Two places within walking distance of the hotel that particularly appealed to us were Mastro Tortello and La Porta Rossa. We had some of the best pasta dishes we have enjoyed in Italy there.

Mastro Tortello (mastrotortello.com) specializes in stuffed pasta and, boy, does it well. Favorites were nduja and provola with butter and crispy bread and truffle with butter and sage.

When we bit into the delicate tortelli, there were explosions of flavor from the different ingredients.

Elsewhere, La Porta Rossa (www.ristorantelaportarossamilano.it) specializes in cuisine from the Italian region of Puglia (Puglia). Specialties include burrata, lampascioni, orecchiette, fresh pasta, meatballs and bread rolls.

One of Milan’s oldest restaurants, Antica Trattoria della Pesa is a bastion of traditional Milanese cuisine.

Milan is well known for the quality of its cuisine and holds the highest number of Michelin stars in the country.

If you prefer fine dining and Michelin-starred cuisine, book a dinner at the town’s two-star Michelin restaurant, Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia (Aimo and Nadia’s place).

Now in the hands of Stefania Moroni – whose parents, Aimo and Nadia Moroni owned it – and chefs Alessandro Negrini and Fabio Pisani, the restaurant’s well-executed 10-course Territoires menu, which takes you to the different regions of Italy and country. best ingredients, well worth your attention. During our visit it included anchovies from Camogli, crispy chickpeas from Murge, wild salad leaves and edible flowers from Lake Como, beans from Sorana and fish from the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The 700-bottle wine list and service are also exceptional, with the utmost attention to detail.

Visit www.illuogoaimoenadia.com

WHAT TO SEE

Luckily, to help knock off all those excess calories from fantastic food, Milan is a great city to explore. Although you can take the tube (there’s a stop literally a minute from the Westin Palace) or the tram, the main tourist hub is less than a mile away.

Here you’ll find Milan’s Duomo, a neo-Gothic marble building with 135 spiers, over 3,000 statues and topped with a gold-plated statue of La Madonnina. You can walk to the roof of the cathedral for a panoramic view of the city and admire the spiers up close. You could spend hours exploring the interior alone. Our advice would be to buy a €20 (£17) ticket which gives you access to the cathedral, its archaeological area below, its museum and a lift pass (ticket.duomomilano.it).

Next to the magnificent building is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Inside Italy’s oldest shopping center you’ll find a mosaic tile of a Turin bull – and you’ll most likely see someone spinning on the bull’s testicular region.

“Tradition states that if you plant your right heel firmly on the bull’s balls and turn counter-clockwise three times, it will bring you good luck or increased fertility,” Italiansrus.com said. “Like throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome to ensure your return to Rome, everyone thinks spinning on the bull’s balls will ensure your return to Milan.”

The city is home to some of Europe’s most impressive museums, including the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie (home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper), the Pinacoteca di Brera, the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana and the National Museum of Science and Technology , at least where you can find much of Da Vinci’s work and experiences.

Locals also recommend a visit to the bohemian canal-lined Navigli district (said to have been designed by Da Vinci), especially at night when the bars and restaurants are full.

For shopaholics, there are plenty of shops around the Duomo, but the city’s famous shopping district, with its high-end stores, is found along nearby Via Montenapoleone.

In addition to getting around on foot, by metro or tram, Milan’s bike-sharing system bikeMi (bikemi.com) has stations all over the city.

DAY TRIPS

Milan’s rail links mean you’ll be spoiled for choice for day trips. You can choose from Venice, Verona, Florence, Turin, Lake Como or even St Moritz in Switzerland.

During this vacation, we decided to go to one of the towns and villages of Lake Como, Varenna, just an hour by train from Milan.

Beautiful Lake Como (the third largest lake in Italy) is, of course, famous as the playground of the rich and famous, with George Clooney, Madonna, Donatella Versace, Sting and Sir Richard Branson all having homes there.

Along with admiring the beautiful alpine scenery, you’ll also recognize many locations from Hollywood movies, including Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Casino Royale, and Ocean’s Twelve.

We stopped at Varenna, which is on the east bank and one of the most authentic and unspoiled towns.

You’ll find charming little cafes and restaurants along its narrow streets, in the square or by the river, where you can catch a ferry to the busier Bellagio, known as the ‘pearl of the lake’.

Once in Varenna, be sure to take a stroll through the gardens of Villa Monastero.

Originally a monastery, the estate is now home to over 900 native and exotic botanical species, with terraces filled with cypresses, palms, citrus and yuccas.

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Villa Monastero in Varenna


Villa Monastero in Varenna

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Villa Monastero in Varenna