Best Shopping Streets and Malls, Milan

Best Shopping Streets and Malls (Self Guided), Milan

One of the world's four fashion capitals and, as of lately, that of industrial design as well, Milan is renowned internationally as a top shopping destination, where fashion is the second religion. In a city as rich as this one, dedicated to art and pleasure, there's no shortage of options for those accustomed to upscale shopping and favoring bargains.

Amid the plethora of places to shop here, perhaps one of the most iconic is the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II). Richly adorned with intricate mosaics and glass domes, this magnificent shopping arcade, housing luxury boutiques like Prada and Gucci, exudes elegance and history and, as such, is a must-visit for fashion enthusiasts.

For those seeking a more contemporary shopping experience, La Rinascente, located just opposite the Duomo, is a modern department store that boasts a wide range of international and Italian brands. It's a one-stop shop for fashion, beauty, and gourmet delicacies.

Vittorio Emanuele II Boulevard (Corso Vittorio Emanuele II) is a bustling avenue that connects the Duomo to Piazza San Babila, featuring numerous shops and cafes – a prime location for both shopping and people-watching.

If you're on the hunt for high-end fashion, Via Monte Napoleone, Via Manzoni, and Via della Spiga are your go-to streets. These picturesque lanes are lined with designer boutiques and flagship stores of renowned fashion houses like Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Armani.

Venice Avenue (Corso Venezia) offers a mix of designer stores and historic architecture, providing a unique shopping experience. Meanwhile, Buenos Aires Avenue (Corso Buenos Aires), one of the longest thoroughfares in Europe, offers a wide array of affordable fashion brands, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious shoppers.

In essence, Milan's shopping streets are a shopaholic's paradise, catering to diverse tastes and budgets. Whether you're a dedicated fashionista disregarding price tags or just a regular shopaholic looking for a more budget-friendly spree, you may find this self-guided walking tour equally enjoyable. So, put on your most stylish outfit and immerse yourself in the fashion-forward streets of Milan. Happy shopping!
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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 (Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery)
  • La Rinascente
  • Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (Vittorio Emanuele II Boulevard)
  • Via Monte Napoleone (Monte Napoleone Street)
  • Via Manzoni (Manzoni Street)
  • Via della Spiga (Spiga Street)
  • Corso Venezia (Venice Avenue)
  • Corso Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Avenue)
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery)

1) Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery) (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.

Try to visit 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!
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.

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.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (Vittorio Emanuele II Boulevard)

3) Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (Vittorio Emanuele II Boulevard)

Corso Vittorio Emanuele is a veritable promenade of luxury boutiques and high-end accessories. Flanked on either side by elegant storefronts, it is situated behind the Milan Cathedral and runs a regal course from Piazza Duomo to Piazza San Babila. Its name honors the immortal Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of a unified Italy. Here in this, the second largest pedestrian area of downtown Milan, one can find both retail therapy and respite.

From its post-war renovations emerged a number of small covered shopping galleries, that hold hidden gems worthy of exploration. And if luxury is what you seek, then look no further than the latest collections of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and other esteemed brands, all available for perusal and purchase.

But Corso Vittorio Emanuele is not just a destination for the stylish shopper. It also boasts a number of cinemas, restaurants, and cafes that are equally deserving of one's time and money. So why not take a break from your shopping expedition, and enjoy a relaxing meal or a warm cup of coffee at one of the many inviting establishments?

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, making it a sight to behold.
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 Milan's fashion district (Quadrilatero della moda), it is particularly famous for its ready-to-wear clothing- and jewelry shops. Many distinguished Italian and international fashion designers and shoemakers have established their exquisite presence here, and Monte Napoleone is home to exclusive boutiques, headquarters, major offices, and large emporia of several of the world's top fashion brands.

The street's name dates back to the peak of the Napoleonic era (1804), and Monte Napoleone has been a destination for sporting gents and their ladies since then. After World War II, it became one of the foremost fashion destinations in the world, comparable to 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 royalty, regardless of whether they make a purchase.

Walking the length of the street is worth it, and visitors can walk to La Scala in about 10 minutes or go to Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the Galleria for more shopping.
Via Manzoni (Manzoni Street)

5) Via Manzoni (Manzoni Street)

Via Manzoni is a busy and fashionable street in Milan that runs from Piazza della Scala towards Piazza Cavour in the northwest. This impressive refined-air street is lined with aristocratic apartment blocks and opulent churches, as well as quite a few notable buildings, such as the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, the elegant Grand Hotel et de Milan (where composer Giuseppe Verdi passed away in 1901), and several fine palazzi.

The street was named after Alessandro Manzoni, an Italian writer, poet and playwright, on the day of his death in 1873. The reason for it was that the writer lived nearby, on via Morone, at #1168 (now #1), in a house whose garden almost overlooked the street. In the 19th century, Via Manzoni was considered the most luxurious street in Milan.

Today, it is also one of the city's premier shopping destinations – notably a home to the Armani Megastore and a part of Milan’s high-end fashion district, Quadrilatero della Moda. 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.
Via della Spiga (Spiga Street)

6) Via della Spiga (Spiga Street)

Located in the upscale Quadrilatero della Moda district, Via della Spiga is one of the chicest shopping destination in Milan. Its name is derived from the historic "contrada della Spiga" or district of Spiga, which was once part of the six ancient neighborhoods of central Milan. As for the origins of the Spiga (“ear”) bit, they are uncertain, with some scholars associating it with the Spighi family, while others attribute it to an effigy of an ear affixed in front of a tavern that once stood here.

Nowadays, this street is famous for its sophisticated elegance manifested in stylish clothing, shoes, handbags and other accessories from top brands such as Dolce & Gabanna, Sergio Rossi, Tod's, Bulgari, and Gianfranco Ferre, to mention but a few.

Visitors can find a David Chipperfield designer boutique at #2, while Krizia, known for introducing a mini skirt and knitted dresses to the fashion world, occupies #23. At #28, there is a vintage space, and the store for women's accessories is located at #26. Roberto Cavalli, a renowned Florentine designer known for his animal print, architectural, and geometric motif sweaters and dresses popular among the youth, has opened a new store at #42. The Moschino brand and its wicked style are also part of the street's offerings.

A true paradise for fashionistas, Via della Spiga is well worth spending one's time and, sure enough, money too!

Like most streets in the area, this one is pedestrianized and cobblestoned, so wear comfortable shoes for walking on the uneven surfaces.
Corso Venezia (Venice Avenue)

7) Corso Venezia (Venice Avenue)

Corso Venezia is one of the most prestigious and elegant avenues in Milan, located in the upscale Quadrilatero della moda fashion district. The street is home to a number of art galleries, luxury fashion boutiques, historical churches, as well as a great collection of palaces – notably Baroque and Neoclassical, but also Medieval and Renaissance – such as the Palazzo Serbelloni and the Villa Reale, found in the landscaped Giardini Pubblici along the path.

The aforementioned park also houses the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano and features several fountains, a small lake, and a children's playground, making it a perfect place for a leisurely stroll or picnic.

Fashion lovers will also enjoy the luxury boutiques along Corso Venezia, which include top Italian and international brands such as Gucci, Prada, and Versace. The avenue is also home to several high-end restaurants and cafes, perfect for a coffee break or lunch stop.
Corso Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Avenue)

8) Corso Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Avenue)

With over 350 shops and outlets, Corso Buenos Aires is one of Milan's busiest thoroughfares, and even more so during the Christmas holidays, when the sales of decorations get in full swing. Unlike the fashion-forward Via Monte Napoleone and Piazza Duomo areas, this is the go-to destination for average Milanese shoppers, and the longest shopping street in Milan.

Once known for the numerous small shops selling traditional Milanese goods, Corso Buenos Aires offers a wide range of products, with ready-to-wear clothing being the most prominent, making it home to the highest concentration of clothing stores in Europe.

The area is surrounded by neoclassical and art nouveau buildings, with modern high-rise blocks replacing most of the older buildings. Prices here are accessible, with many shoppers visiting during sales periods to snag bargains.

Im other words, a shopaholic's paradise where one can truly "shop till they drop."

Walking Tours in Milan, Italy

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