Best Shopping Streets and Malls (Self Guided), Milan

One of the world's four fashion capitals and, as of lately, that of design as well, Milan is renowned internationally as a top shopping destination, where fashion is the second religion. In a rich city such as this, dedicated to art and pleasure, there's no shortage of options for those accustomed to upscale shopping and those in favor of bargains. If you're a fashionista and/or shopaholic, you may find this self-guided walking tour rather enjoyable.
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Best Shopping Streets and Malls Map

Guide Name: Best Shopping Streets and Malls
Guide Location: Italy » Milan (See other walking tours in Milan)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: kane
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • La Rinascente
  • Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Via Monte Napoleone (Monte Napoleone Street)
  • Via Manzoni (Manzoni Street)
  • Via della Spiga
  • Corso Venezia (Venice Street)
  • Corso Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Street)
1
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

1) Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (must see)

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a fashionable five-storey mall covered in curved glass, topped with iron roof and lavishly decorated with patriotic mosaics and statues – legacy of the chaotic era of Italian unification, manifesting the country's newly-acquired self-confidence.

It was built between 1865 and 1877 by architect Giuseppe Mengoni – who is also credited with the monumental design of the entire area between the Milan Cathedral and La Scala – and is named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of unified Italy. Officially inaugurated on September 15, 1867, the Galleria's completion took another ten years of continuous work. Tragically, just a day before it was over, in December 1877, Giuseppe Mengoni died in accident, falling down from the top of the triumphal arch.

Designed in the form of a Latin cross, the gallery comprises two glass-vaulted covered passages, with the longer one being 196 meters and the shorter – 105.5 meters long, crossing in an octagonal central piazza below an impressive 47-meter high, 36-meter wide glass dome. Incorporating iron and arching glass, the Galleria's architectural design proved groundbreaking for the creation of enclosed shopping malls in the 19th century. Moreover, its use of an iron structure inspired the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

An interesting feature of the gallery is the floor adorned with marble mosaics depicting emblems of the main Italian cities. Locals believe that stepping on the bull's image in the middle of the floor with a heel of the right foot and spinning around can bring good luck. Adherence to this tradition has already left a hole there.

Why You Should Visit:
Almost like stepping into the picture of 19th-century Milan with its lights, colors, windows and landscaping that will never fade in your memory.
There are a few restaurants (incidentally not very expensive, considering it's the mall) where you can sit back, eat to your heart's content, and watch the crowds go by.
There's also a very nice Leonardo Museum at the end of the mall, bang opposite the statue of Leonardo da Vinci.

Tip:
Visit the gallery late at night or early in the morning when there aren't that many people in.
Don't forget to find the "bull" on the floor and have fun!
2
La Rinascente

2) La Rinascente

Founded in 1865, La Rinascente is a classical fashion department store in Milan that has been recognized as the most modern shopping place. In this enormous, eight-storey(!) super mall you can find practically everything you can possibly think of, from lingerie to the colorful ceramics to latest cosmetics to accessories and footwear. The top floor is home to a delicatessen, indoor-outdoor café and innumerable gastro bars offering Italian cuisine, sushi, wines, juices, chocolate, coffee and cheeses (there's a branch of Obikà mozzarella bar), etc. In addition to gastronomic pleasures, visitors can also enjoy a panoramic view of the Duomo cathedral.

Following the renovation of 2008, La Rinascente had its mall-like appearance replaced by a boutique feel. All in all, this is a great place to walk around, do shopping and enjoy a drink or a meal in the comfy environment of the many on-site restaurants.

Tip:
They have clean bathrooms on the top floor, and there is no fee. When you're there, just walk over to the big windows and get a bird's eye view of the Duomo, while enjoying the air conditioning.
If you need to get Tax Refund, collect all your receipts from La Rinascente and process them on the same day on the same top floor. The receipts are only valid for tax refund if done the same day, so it is better to do all your shopping at La Rinascente in one day, then proceed to the Tax Refund and complete a single form including all receipts.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 9:30am-9pm; Fri, Sat: 9:30am-10pm; Sun: 10am-9pm (hours change monthly)
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

3) Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Corso Vittorio Emanuele is a popular shopping street lined on both sides with boutiques specialized in clothes and accessories, situated behind the Milan Cathedral and connecting Piazza Duomo with Piazza San Babila. Named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first King of unified Italy, this is the second largest pedestrian area in downtown Milan, ideal for shopping and passing time away. Stemming from here are a number of small covered shopping galleries emerged during the post-war renovations. Other than luxurious shops selling latest collections of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and other top brands, the passage houses a number of cinemas, restaurants and cafes equally worthy of one's time and money.

Why You Should Visit:
If you want a quick run through the shops, this is one of the best options – very good looking and classy, even by Milan's standards! The street was really spruced up for Expo 2015.
4
Via Monte Napoleone (Monte Napoleone Street)

4) Via Monte Napoleone (Monte Napoleone Street)

Nicknamed ‘Montenapo’ by the Milanese, this luxurious thoroughfare, with the narrow side streets branching off, is one of the most elegant destinations in Milan; also one of the most stylish and expensive in Europe. As the centermost part of the Milan fashion district (Quadrilatero della moda), Via Monte Napoleone is particularly famous for its ready-to-wear clothing- and jewelry shops. Many distinguished Italian fashion designers and shoemakers, as well as those from other countries, have established their exquisite presence here. Exclusive boutiques, headquarters, major offices or large emporia of several of the world's top fashion brands are found in Monte Napoleone.

Its name dates back to 1804, the peak of the Napoleonic era. Since Milan, a wealthy city of such, had always been at the heart of art and pleasure, sporting gents and their ladies flocked here often, and not only to discuss business. After World War II, Monte Napoleone became one of the foremost fashion destinations, similar to the world's major thoroughfares, like Bond and Oxford Streets in London, Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in Paris, LA's Rodeo Drive, and New York's Fifth Avenue.

Why You Should Visit:
The fancy part of Milan – fun to browse (temptation is nigh!), and even more fun to watch people.
The local personnel will treat you like a king or queen regardless of whether you buy anything or not.

Tip:
Walking the length of Via Monte Napoleone is definitely worth it. You can walk from it to La Scala in about 10 minutes or you can get to Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the Galleria for more shopping.
5
Via Manzoni (Manzoni Street)

5) Via Manzoni (Manzoni Street)

Via Manzoni is a busy and fashionable street in Milan which leads from Piazza della Scala north-west towards Piazza Cavour. This impressive refined-air street is lined with aristocratic apartment blocks and opulent churches. There are also quite a few notable buildings found along the way here too, including the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, the elegant Grand Hotel et de Milan – a place where Giuseppe Verdi died in 1901, and several fine palazzi.

In 1990, when the Montenapoleone station was opened, a fountain designed by Aldo Rossi was placed in Via Croce Rossa, as a monument to Sandro Pertini.

Today, this is also one of the city's premier shopping destinations, notably a home to the Armani Megastore. In the north-west, the street forms part of the boundary of the quadrilatero della moda, Milan’s high-end fashion district. Vogue retailers like Anna Rita N, Antonini, Armani Casa, Artemide, Bolaffi, Bottega del Cashmere, Coccinelle, E. Marinella, Frette, Gattinoni, Grimoldi, Les Copains, Mila Schön, Napapjri, Pal Zileri, Patrizia Pepe, Paul Smith, Scappino and El Ganso have all established their presence here.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Via della Spiga

6) Via della Spiga

Via della Spiga is one of the chicest shopping areas of Milan, situated in the north-east of the deluxe Quadrilatero della Moda district along with Corso Venezia, Via Monte Napoleone, Via Sant’Andrea and Via Manzoni. The street is famous for its sophisticated elegance manifested in stylish clothing, shoes, handbags and other accessories on sale. Among the famous brands presented here are Dolce & Gabanna, Sergio Rossi, Tod’s, Bulgari, Gianfranco Ferre, etc. to mention but a few. At #2 is the enormous David Chipperfield designer boutique. #23 is occupied to Krizia who introduced a mini skirt and knitted dresses to the world's fashion. At #28 there is a vintage space and the store for women accessories is found at #26. Roberto Cavalli, a Florentine designer, renowned for its animal print, architectural and geometric motifs sweaters and dresses much loved by the youth, has opened a new store at #42. The Moschino brand and its wicked style are also part of the streetscape. A true paradise for fashionistas, this street is well worth spending one's time and, sure enough, money too!
7
Corso Venezia (Venice Street)

7) Corso Venezia (Venice Street)

Corso Venezia is one of the city's most exclusive and elegant avenues, being part of the city's upscale Quadrilatero della moda shopping district, along with Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea and Via Manzoni. It also boasts a great collection of historic palaces, parks and gardens.

The former – notably Baroque and Neoclassical, but also Medieval and Renaissance – such as the Palazzo Serbelloni and the Villa Reale, are found in the landscaped Giardini Pubblici along the street. The garden also houses the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano, which was founded in 1838 when Giuseppe de Cristoforis (1803–1837) donated his collections to the city.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Corso Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Street)

8) Corso Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Street)

Corso Buenos Aires is yet another major thoroughfare in Milan. With over 350 shops and outlets, this is one of the busiest streets in the city, and even more so during the Christmas holidays, when the sales of decorations get in full swing. Unlike Via Monte Napoleone and the surroundings of Piazza Duomo, that are specialized in haute couture (high fashion), Corso Buenos Aires is generally more oriented towards mass products, such as ready-to-wear type clothes – it features the highest concentration of clothing stores in Europe!

It is also the longest shopping artery of Milan, stretching for about 1.2 km from the Duomo to the nearby city of Monza. The architecture of the area is mostly late 19th- and 20th-century style; the street and its surroundings are pointed with several neoclassical and art nouveau buildings.

The modern Corso Buenos Aires developed from the "stradone di Loreto", an old road connecting the centre of Milan to Monza. In the 19th century, the road used to be called "Corso Loreto"; one of its prominent features was the Lazaretto, which is also mentioned in Alessandro Manzoni's novel The Betrothed; it was demolished in the late 19th century. Approximately in the same period, the horsecars that served this route were replaced by trams. In 1964 the trams themselves were abolished and the railway dismantled, being replaced by modern subway line.

Once known for the numerous small shops selling traditional Milanese goods, Corso Buenos Aires today is mostly associated with modern fashion outlets. Likewise, some of its ancient buildings have been replaced by modern, high-rise blocks of flats.

Local prices, on average, are accessible. During sales periods, after Christmas and in mid-summer, the street attracts shoppers with colorful price tags and becomes a great place for bargains. Once here, you stand a pretty good chance of leaving loaded with bags of goodies. It is rightly said of Corso Buenos Aires that it will make you “shop till you drop.”
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Milan, Italy

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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