Milan is a shopper’s paradise, offering every kind of experience from high-end luxury shops and boutiques to unique vintage and thrifted finds. Budget-conscious shoppers should consider visiting the city during the winter months of January and February or from July to September, when the soldi, the twice-yearly sales held all across Italy, take place.
The 14 Best Places to Shop in Milan
As far as Milanese experiences go, strolling through the Galleria, which runs between La Scala and the Duomo, is a must. Find the worn spot in the mosaic floor where Italians spin around for good luck; visit preeminent Italian designer stores; have a pastry and an espresso at Pasticceria Marchesi above Prada, an aperitivo at Camparino, or a lavish meal at Cracco, and simply soak it in.
Also known as the Quadrilatero della Moda, or simply ‘Montenapoleone’ after the Metro station, Milan’s ‘Quad’ refers to the four streets – Via Montenapoleone, Via Manzoni, Corso Venezia, and Via della Spiga – that bound some of the best designer shopping in the world; everyone who’s anyone has a store here, from major brands to one-off artisans. Dress up in your finest, find a small dog to parade around, and go wild with the credit cards. When in Milan…
In the Piazza del Duomo, one of the best and biggest department stores in the world selling everything from haute couture to sneakers, kitchenware, and beach towels. The top floor is a fine food deli selling the best Italian produce with a select food court (think lobster, steak, smoothies, and a mozzarella bar) and terrace. Look out for the money-off coupons on free tourist maps.
Established in 1870, this bookstore – one of the largest in Europe – has grown ever bigger and better since WWII bombs destroyed its former store and its warehouse. It carries a great selection of novels in English and other languages. Also, an excellent travel and map section.
If you’re dismayed by the prices in the Quad, it might be worth seeking out one of the many outlet stores in town, but be prepared to rummage to find a real steal. Matia’s and DMAG each have several convenient central locations.
6. Wait and See
A hip lifestyle concept store selling womenswear and accessories. In their own words, “more than a store, it’s a lifestyle concept” that has a ‘La Vita è Bella’ philosophy. Closed Sunday.
Mainstream and cult streetwear brands with innovative displays a block from the Duomo, featuring an epic sneaker selection. The small cafe inside sells bowls of healthy food.
Borsalino has been making hats since 1857 and became internationally famous in the 1930s when their hats were worn on the silver screen by Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca, and the name of the brand became shorthand for that style of felt fedora. Nowadays, they have a large range of styles for men and women, including the cult classic.
This Porta Venezia womenswear store, established in 1978, seeks out ethical and sustainable designers. International brands include Jill Sander, Issey Miyake, and Comme de Garcons, but there’s lots of care put into sourcing smaller artisanal designers, too.
Established in 1957, this celebrated family-run jewelry brand makes fabulous statement pieces with handmade resin beads and semi-precious stones.
Historic luxury stationers focusing on handmade paper, leather-bound notebooks, and greeting cards, with a great selection of globes and antique maps.
12. Il Cirmolo
Enter this vintage and repro emporium with awe: there are curios covering every surface; you won’t know where to look first. As well as an enamel shop and bar signs, mannequins, neon signs, and all kinds of odds and ends, the shop specializes in Disney collectibles.
Visit the flagship store of one of the most important names in Italian fashion history, Rosy Biffi, who has, since the 1960s, brought international fashion and designers to Italy and set trends with her concept boutiques.
Bi-weekly food and clothing market, bustling with Milanese looking for a bargain. Pops up Tuesday mornings and Saturday all day.
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