Apart from being the center of the second largest and second-most populous metropolitan area in Italy, Milan is reputed as one of the most cosmopolitan and expensive cities on the planet. It is famous as a hub of fashion, arts, culture as much as for finance and sports in this part of the world. Little wonder then that Milan has its very own Quadrilatero d’Oro – literally the Rectangle of Gold – and thus figures high on the list of couples who wish to start their married life in style.
Milan is known the world over as one of the most important centers of fashion and design. Here trends are set in almost everything from apparel and accessories to cars, cutlery, furniture and architecture. Milan is home to some of the most high profile fashion brands in the world such as Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, all of which are currently headquartered in the city. Numerous international fashion labels also ensure their presence in Milan, like the recent Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store which has become a main draw among the well heeled consumers of the city. So if you and your beloved like shopping, it would be a good idea to explore Milan's main upscale fashion district is the quadrilatero della moda which literally means the "fashion quadrilateral". Here the city's most prestigious shopping streets like the Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea, Via Manzoni and Corso Venezia are located. Besides these the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Piazza del Duomo, Via Dante and Corso Buenos Aires are other important shopping streets and squares. Make it a point to be in the city during the Milan Fashion Week which like other international centers such as Paris, London, Tokyo, and New York is held twice a year and attracts leading designers, fashion houses and buyers from all over the world.
Fine dining destinations
Just like Italy and good food are practically synonymous, fine dining and a Milanese honeymoon seem to be made for each other. Milan has given the world signature dishes like the Risotto a la Milanese as well as the Cottoletta a la Milanese since the city is the center of the very unique cuisine of the Lombardy region in Italy. No wonder then, Milan is home to several exclusive fine-dining restaurants located in the historic center of the city. Among the best known are the Hotel Four Seasons restaurant, ‘La Briciola’, the Marino alla Scala, the Ristorante Cracco, Chandelier as well as Nobu located in the Armani World at Via Manzaoni. Here you and your brand new spouse can join the super rich of Milan as well as the international jet-setters, as you nibble on an aperitivo buffet, campari in hand and dine on creative fusion cuisine. However apart from its boutique and chic restaurants, Milan is also known for its charming cafes, many of which have historical associations and continue to attract a discriminating clientele. Among the most exclusive of such cafes are the Caffè Cova, an ancient Milanese coffeehouse founded in 1817 near the Teatro alla Scala as well as the Biffi Caffè and the Zucca in Galleria.
Like all Italian cities, Milan too has a rich heritage of art and architecture. Believed to be the second largest cathedral in the world, the imposing Duomo di Milano is dominates the city centre and figures on most sight-seeing lists including those of honeymooning couples. You can get a fantastic view of the city center from the roof which at just €5 entry for the stairs and €8 for the lift is worth every cent. After that you can stroll hand in hand with your beloved across the square and into the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This is a stunning covered arcade known as ‘Milan’s living room’ and offers one of the best people watching-spots in Europe. Once you emerge at the other side, you’re just seconds from La Scala – one of the most famous and beautiful opera house in the world. Milan is, of course, also home to Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic Last Supper, housed in the Santa Maria delle Grazie which dates back to the mid-fifteenth century and was built by Italian architect Donato Bramante. While its original design incorporated many traditional Late Gothic Lombard elements like the nave and two-aisle interior, the newly arriving Renaissance style is visible in more innovative designs like columns in place of pilasters as well as pictorial decoration of the nave. The world famous painting Last Supper can be seen on the walls of the Church Refectory in a place known as the ‘Cenacolo’. The “Last Supper” together with the Church of Santa Maria della Grazie are today considered the finest examples of Milan’s Humanistic Renaissance art which is why in 1980 they were given the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Do remember though that you’ll need to book online, around six weeks in advance in order to view the painting. On the evenings when you don’t have any sight-seeing planned, soak in the the bohemian atmosphere of the Naviglio canal district.
Romance in the outdoors
One of the most favorite destinations for couples in Milan is the park Boscoincittà. Opened in 1975 in the Western outskirts of Milan, this is a nature lover’s paradise where new species of vegetation have been planted here and there is a pond with reeds. What’s more, a picturesque bicycle path runs through the woods. If you are interested in a proper picnic, It is possible to reserve, without charge, a large portico with tables and grills for at the Cascina San Romano, but visitors have to leave the area clean and tidy. The electric lights which are lit under the portico roof until midnight lend this place a magical beauty and creates the perfect site to romance your new spouse. Those couples who wish to combine their love of nature and jewels would find a visit to Sabbadini Milan, a jeweller's shop in Via Montenapoleone, most enthralling. Here it is as though you enter a secret garden in which diamonds are grouped in garlands of white and pink daisies, and colored butterflies rest on you. Magnificent bracelets, rings and brooches inspired by the natural world will amaze you with their sophistication and lightness of design. A short scenic drive from Milan will scenic drive to enchanting Lake Como; you can either enjoy the stunning views or stay overnight at a four-star lakefront hotel. A boat ride across the lake will take you and your beloved to the 18th century Villa Del Balbianello for a special visit to its lakefront gardens and exquisite interiors apart from which you can explore storybook hamlet of Tremezzo for a lunch of local delicacies, head for a guided visit of the exquisite Villa Carlotta, which dates back to the year 1690 or simply browse through the charming village of Menaggio. Yet another great outdoor option for romance in the outskirts of Milan is Curone Valley Nature Park near the town of Montevecchia. The park covers not only the hill but also the plain crossed by the river Molgora and its neighboring areas. It is the last natural area in west Brianza in which the traditional human settlements blend harmoniously into the countryside. Some of the foremost attractions of this nature park are the centuries old chestnuts, oaks, springs, archaeological remains of Neolithic and Iron Age villages and the village itself, with its lively restaurants and especially the soft cheeses that this region is famous for.
Where to stay and how to go around
As the Mecca of style and fashion, Milan offers its visitors the very finest in hospitality services – thus if you are lucky to have big bucks at your disposal, you can put up at luxury hotels with their fantastic service, lavish honeymoon suites and perhaps even spa and a sun terrace at your disposal. Alternately you can look for more economic accommodation like mid-range budget hotels and even a campground Città di Milano which has a bar, a restaurant and very good shower facilities.
Azienda Trasporti Milanesi operates a public transport network which is pretty efficient, especially the underground lines and the trams. The Metro is an even better way to get around Milan since the subway network is quite extended and its stations cover most areas of town. Several buses connect suburban cities and towns surrounding Milan though some lines end their service earlier and some do not have a night service at all. Cars and Taxis are not really practical, firstly because of the congested city center and secondly because of the unpredictable service. Walking and biking are other great ways to explore the city with your beloved, especially when the weather is pleasant.