Milan is Italy’s city of the future, a fast-paced metropolis where money talks, creativity is big business and looking good is an art form. However, history lovers should know that Milan is not all about trendy shops and designer clothes. Among the city's many historical attractions are La Scala Opera, the Milan Cathedral, the National Museum of Science and Technology and Santa Maria della Grazie, the church that preserves da Vinci's "Last Supper".
We've put together a perfect day in Milan so that you can see all that this fabulous city has to offer in just 24 hours.
9.00am - Designer coffee
Café Trussardi, set in the Trussardi designer store overlooking La Scala, offers a coffee-and-brioche fix.
10.00am - Chic shopping
Stroll along Via Manzoni to the Quadrilatero, the ‘Golden Quadrangle’ designer district. Call in (or window shop) at the Armani superstore (Via Manzoni 31) before exploring the boutiques on Via della Spiga and Via Montenapoleone. If flagging, stop for coffee and cakes at the old-fashioned Caffè Cova (Via Montenapoleone 8).
12 noon - Culture fix
Seek out the designer district’s intriguing ‘historic homes’ museums, beginning with the Museo Poldi Pezzoli. This art-encrusted palace is a testament to the passion of a 19th-century aristocrat. The neighbouring Museo Bagatti Valsecchi is a tribute to the Renaissance.
2.00pm - Lunch
Indulge in a leisurely lunch of creamy risotto milanese in Bice (Via Borgospesso 12; book) or choose lunch on the run from the contemporary Van Bol & Feste (Largo Cairoli).
4.00pm - Park life
Largo Cairoli leads to the Castello Sforzesco, surrounded by Milan’s most culture-studded park. See Michelangelo’s unfinished masterpiece, the Rondanini Pietà, in the castle before strolling through Parco Sempione to the Triennale (Design Museum) for a sense of contemporary Milan.
6.30pm - Duomo sunset
Leave the park via the Cadorna exit and take the metro to the Duomo, Milan’s great cathedral. Take the lift up to the top to admire the view, bathed in the light of the setting sun. Facing the Duomo is the Museo del Novecento, a wonderful combination of 20th-century art and architectural games.
8.00pm - Cocktail hour
Admire the cathedral spires over cocktails on the rooftop bars of La Rinascente store. Move on to the elegant Camparino, in the porticoes of the Galleria, a cocktail haunt since 1867.
9.00pm - Stylish dining
Acanto (Piazza della Repubblica; book) is one of Milan’s most glamorous dining spots but, with its superb northern Italian cuisine, is far from being style over substance.
10.30pm - On the town
Tear yourself away from the sleek Principe Bar attached to Acanto, then head west to Corso Como, a vibrant nightlife area. Corso Como 10 is a perennially stylish spot for after-dinner drinks.