I am a 19 year old budding journalist and soon to be NCTJ Trainee at News Associates, currently living in the market town of Northampton.
Visit my blog www.nickbieber.wordpress.com to see more of my work.
Published August 12th 2012
Welcome to Milan, the Italian fashion capital of Europe. Allow me to show you around:
As a vibrant place of culture, tradition and religion, Italy's second largest city holds a central population of 1.3 million people.
Stroll around and you'll easily recognise through the hustle and bustle that this is a place that certainly provides spectacular views, making it well worth bringing your camera.
As a financial and commercial city, Milan is an historical yet inspiring place that treasures its past foundations very highly, with buildings still standing over centuries later and evidently maintained in extraordinary condition.
When you first arrive here, you suddenly feel enlightened and welcomed. The locals of Milan are often recognised as high in class when it comes to their appearance. With this city being highly regarded as Europe's fashion capital, it is hardly surprising that the public look exquisite and glamorous - but it was to a different level than I was expecting as I began my city break here.
The males come across as smart and casual with many wearing branded denim jeans below hand stitched blazers, one you'd expect to see matching trousers in a luxury three-piece suit.
However, the females like to go the extra mile in the fashion sense. Many of whom are seen with designer handbags resting under their arms, sitting alongside light padded jackets and brightly materialised tops; both being complimented with leggings, trousers or jeans - the people of 'Milano' certainly take pride in their appearances.
A tradition often seen across this historical yet unique city is food and drink. In any short distance the eye could reach as far as, you would be almost certain to come across either a small corner cafe or a big restaurant, otherwise locally known as 'Ristorante'.
The cafes in Milan were often occupied with local people drinking Italy's most admired beverages of local wines or small shots of Espresso.
The 'Ristorante's' often served the much anticipated specials of Italy's famous pasta and pizza dishes, leaving you uncontrollably trapped into sampling these appealing cuisine's at whatever time during the day or night.
During the mid hours of the afternoon, the centre of 'Milanese' can become quite heavily crowded, especially outside the city's cathedral - the Duomo di Milno, however don't let this distract you.
After I learnt the strong similarities between Milan and London on a hot summers day, I decided to arrive in the early hours of the morning or evenings - something I would advise you to do if you visit, these parts of the day are much more quiet which allows you more space to manoeuvre and to capture great views of this large city.
Down the centre strip of the city, you will be living a shopper's paradise. You're surrounded by high-class fashion shops which many are recognised from back home in the UK. The stores all sit under historic yet bright and colourful buildings which blend to provide a welcoming entrance. All down the avenue you will find the flags of every country in the world whisking down both sides of the street, enhancing it's historical yet modernised and colourful view.
Reach the central square and you'll notice it is brimmed with beautiful buildings covering a whole spectrum of shades, all in different sizes and shapes - blending together perfectly to create a picturesque setting.
The tall lamps surrounding this focus area especially at night-time offer a beautiful shadow of light onto the floor, creating such a breath-taking and relaxing ambiance around the centre when walking through here in the late evenings.
When it comes to awe-inspiring attractions, this city is the right place for it. This brings us to Milan's biggest tourist attraction, the Duomo di Milano. As the worlds 4th largest cathedral this is somewhat seen as a shining beacon for this country; set right on the doorstep of the central square.
Now I'm sure I am not the first to admit that I'm not a big believer in religion, but the moment I arrived here I just couldn't deny how overwhelmed I was by this extravagant building.
The design of this cathedral is magnificent – the patterns are engraved through white marble, the towers elope into the sky, and the shear size of this place tops the whole scenery off; it's just mind blowing, mesmerising in fact!
Take a walk up 463 steps (or be lazy and take the lift) and you can have the chance of viewing this eye opening array from the roof of this extravaganza – provided you pay the €10 admission of course.
As I walked alongside the 'forest of spires' I remember being told down below that on a clear day you can see as far as the Alps and Apennines, unfortunately a 'lovely day' wasn't what reflected my afternoon as I looked ahead in my limited views – so make sure you visit on a clear day.
Travelling around Milan isn't stressful at all, that is if you use the metro. There is always an underground train passing every few minutes and it gets to you your destination quickly. The same can apply to buses, however the journey takes much longer due to heavy traffic, you'll easily notice that the number of cars on the roads are extremely high as this is the locals most preferred method of transport.
If you are an environmentally aware person, you will be pleased to hear that this city takes big inspiration from ones such as London and Sydney in using the idea of cycling to get around the city. You will often see racks of brightly yellow coloured bike's which are available to the public in a sort of pay as you go method.
This is a double arcade in the centre of Milan. The structure is formed by two glass-vaulted arcades intersecting in an octagon covering the street connecting Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala – this is often used by the locals as the most popular meeting point in the city; hence it's nickname 'The living room', all that was missing was the large flat screen TV and the remote!
This location includes luxurious and elegant shops selling items from haute couture and jewellery through to books and paintings, all set alongside high quality restaurants & cafes.
Homing shops such as Prada, Massimo Dutti, Gucci & Louis Vuitton, this place certainly gives you a hint to it's price ranges, its for this reason that I must note the shops inside this arcade are incredibly expensive; so unless you have come prepared – try to avoid empty pockets by not browsing any further inside.
Putting the prices aside, this hub is certainly an elegant place and is worth looking around. The floored decoration is stunning and offers a sweet and colourful sight as you're walking along the 4 story building, something the likes of David & Victoria Beckham once experienced in the past when they lived here in Milan.
So to sum this incredible Italian city up: This is without doubt an invigorating place full of buzz, culture and tradition. It is suitable for all age ranges and doesn't fail to bring a smile to your face. It shows how history isn't all about knowledge and facts, it expresses beauty and colour, something so unique yet rare.
Milan certainly surpasses expectations - you just wouldn't want to miss it.