Last Thursday, I took the early train* out of Venice to Milan to spend a day in Milan – I had 8 hours.. so what did I decide to do, besides a very little sight seeing, it’s shopping and some eating! Because everyone tells me you go to Milan to shop! I hear you all… so I went shopping.
I tell you, it is a big feat because Milan is DESIGNER heaven, and I don’t mean fashion designers only. You have furniture designers headquartered there, home interiors,kitchen wares, to cars (Ferrari has a spot smack in the city) and food too!
So the night before, I made a carefully laid out plan what streets to hit and which shops. I knew I was not interested in the chain retailers like H&M, Zara or Mango but specific young Italian designers – and of course Gucci, Prada , D&G and Ferragamo stores .
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Arrived at around 1030hr, I headed straight to the shopping street, breezed through Corso Buenos Aires (good place for your popular chain retailers like Muji,Zara, H&M, etc) ended up at Corso Venezia (starting to see a few upmarket boutiques), Piazza San Bilaba area ( a mixed of popular high street Italian brands like Diesel , Oltre and luxurious as you approach Montenapoleone/ D -Magazine outlet although small, is quite good , located here too on Via Bigli) and towards Duomo, you get to La Rinascente (your Harvey Nichols – which is worth a look and a good spot for a toilet break) . Here at La Rinascente, I made my first purchase, a black leather handbag by Sissi Rossi.
While you can’t miss Galleria Vittorio Emanuele , I took a whirlwind look, crossed the Duomo square and walked towards Via Torino. Before I proceeded further, it was lunchtime and I had made a reservation at Ristorante Cracco just around the corner.
Lunch @ Ristorante Cracco
Ristorante Cracco, awarded the no 22 spot , in the top 50 world’s best restaurants for 2009 and has 2 michelin stars is on Via Victor Hugo 4, very close to Duomo and Via Torino. The food there was excellent (it had to be otherwise the review would have been rubbish) and the service too, although may not be seamless sometimes, but they get the credit for trying without being intimidating or overly eager! As the white truffles were in season , I chose for my main course a veal steak with toasted shaved white truffles from Alba. Wonderful!
After lunch, I continued on Via Torino towards Corsa di Porta Ticinese – this is the place to be if you are looking for something made by the young designers where you will get a unique piece of clothing, at a more affordable price and still good quality. Here I got my 2nd purchase, a dress – this time not an Italian but Spanish brand called CUSTO (see photo on the left). In fact I bought exactly that top except in a different colour!
Beware though, some shops do still have their siesta from 1300-1530hr, so not all shops will be open that time. After scouring the entire street, I did not get anything else, wanted a pair of shoes, but since the autumn/winter collection is now out, there were not many I could buy from as I will be moving to Singapore this Nov. Nope I don’t need any of those warm clothings – I guess good in a way, less to buy!
After Porta Ticinese, I went to Corsa Genova just a street up parallel to Porta Ticinese, to check out another outlet, Biffi (*for another outlet, a friend tells me Serravalle – at the outskirts of Milan is a good outlet to head for) and continued back up on Via Torino. Soon it was time to head back to the train station for my 1905hr train to Venice. My feet hurt and alas I could not walk anymore, I had to succumb to the convenience of the Metro. Thank god for that as I could not really understand the bus routes at the bus stops!
Verdict: It can be done, shopping 1 day in Milan – although you have to know what you are looking for and what to get! Otherwise I would recommend a minimum 2 day trip!
*For those interested in the transportation details, you can take a train from Venice, the one I took was at 0750hr, arriving in Milan at 1025hr – at the train station Ferrovia you pay €29 one way , if return too, just multiply by 2. On the internet though you can book your tickets with a slight discount and pay €27.60 instead. The journey takes approximately 2 1/2 hours. For online information , go to http://trenitalia.it/