Shopping in Milan is all about fashion and avant-garde design – the two areas that the city is most famous for. I’ve lived in Milan for a year and I’ve visited it a dozen of times afterwards, so let me give you insider’s tips and useful information on shopping in Milan.
In our guide to shopping in Milan you will find:
- Characteristic gifts from Milan.
- Best shopping areas in Milan.
- Street markets in Milan.
Souvenirs, Gifts and Typical Products from Milan
1. Design items
Milan has a long history of design and is in the world avant-garde in the field. Therefore, one of the most characteristic products to buy in Milan are design items. Lamps, decorative objects, creative kitchenware made in Italy – there are plenty of options.
Go to La Rinascente – they have an entire floor called Design Supermarket.
Address: Piazza del Duomo, 20121 Milano
2. Designers’ clothes
As one of the “Big Four” Fashion Capitals of the world, Milan has an exceptionally rich offer of fashion, both prêt-a-porter and haute couture. Apart from the super-expensive brands, there is a great range of affordable brands.
Tip: If you travel to Milan in the period of sales, you will be amazed by how low the prices of spectacular products can be!
For the upscale brands, go to Quadrilatero della Moda. For the affordable brands – see the Shopping Areas section below.
3. Books on art and design
Milan’s impressive heritage in the fields of art and fashion makes it one of the world’s best places to find unique, original and niche books and albums on art, photography, graphic design, industrial design and fashion design.
Go to bookshops in Navigli district (along the canal), Corraini Editions bookshop, splendid Rizzoli bookshop in Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II.
A typical Milanese liqueur of pungent bitter taste. It contains herbs and fruit – chinotto and cascarilla. Campari is the main ingredient of the most classic cocktail in Milan – Negroni, and it’s “cousin” Negroni Sbagliato. Every evening in Milan thousands of people order it as an aperitif – I was always shocked by its popularity.
Panettone is a sweet bread loaf with raisins, candied orange and orange peel. In Italy, it’s eaten for Christmas, but since it has gained popularity abroad, it’s possible to buy it throughout the year. It originates from Milan and the most famous brands are Motta and Cucchi.
You will find it in supermarkets and traditional bakeries.
6. Delicatessen from Peck
Peck is a classic delicatessen store existing since 1883. Buy here exquisite gourmet food: high quality cheeses, cold meats, wines, liqueurs, chocolates etc.
Address: Peck, Via Spadari, 9, Milan, Italy
Milan is an ideal place to buy classy, elegant accessories, such as handmade leather bags, purses, wallets, belts, gloves, jewellery etc. The choice is great and there is something for everyone.
8. Items with Duomo and The Last Supper
If you want a typical souvenir from Milan, the most obvious choice is an item with the cathedral – Duomo di Milano. Then, the second most popular theme for souvenirs is a reproduction of Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. These two main symbols of Milan come in every shape and form, and you will easily find them in souvenir shops.
Well, not the car… unless you can afford it ;) If not yet, then go for a prestigious and elegant accessory or piece of clothing with the official brand Scuderia Ferrari. It may be a watch, bag, suitcase, jacket or polo shirt, or a miniature of the world’s most prestigious car. The choice is huge and the products are truly stylish. Ferrari’s birthplace is Modena, not Milan, but Milan has a great flagship store, so check it out.
Address: Ferrari Store, Via Berchet, 2, 20121 Milano (MI)
Shopping Areas in Milan
Most of articles about shopping in Milan indicate the luxury brands location and let’s face it, they are not for everybody. Actually, more people go there just to window-shop than to actually buy anything. So we will only mention this most famous part of the city and move on to less obvious – but more affordable areas.
Quadrilatero della moda
Milan’s most exclusive and famous fashion district is concentrated in what is called Quadrilatero della moda – the Fashion Square. It is encompassed and delimited by four main streets of the city: via Montenapoleone, Via Manzoni, Via de la Spiga and Corso Venezia.
Here is the headquarters of some of the most prestigious fashion brands in the world, such as: Armani, Prada, Versace, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Cavalli, Moschino, Trussardi, Missoni, Zegna.
This upscale fashion district is one of the most show-offish and ostentatious areas of Milan, where it is common to see parked cars such as and Ferrari or Porsche, and people dressed to impress.
The Galleria VEII is Italy’s oldest shopping mall and the masterpiece of beautiful 19th century architecture (1861). This elegant passage has only a handful of shops, but they are truly remarkable. It hosts also a few restaurants, cafés, bars, and a hotel.
In Galleria, you will find the flagship stores of the most prestigious brands: Armani, Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Luisa Spagnoli, Twinset (fashion), Tod’s (stylish shoes), Gobbi 1842 (exclusive watches), Borsalino (classic hats), etc. For spectacular leather accessories, see Piquadro boutique. My favourite shop, which I visit every time I go to Milan is the huge bookstore Rizzoli. You will find there, among others, a good selection of books and albums on art and design.
Affordable Fashion & Design – Brera Design District
The shops for the common mortals are located in the district of Brera. You will find a lot of boutiques – many overpriced, but some in fact affordable, in the following streets: Via Pontaccio, Via Solferino, Via Ciovasso and Via Fiori Chiari. Head there for interesting artisan shops with fashion and shoes, accessories and jewellery. As it is the design district, you will find there original design shops, too.
La Rinascente is huge shopping mall with high quality brands, in a spectacular location next to Duomo. In Milan it offers something very unique to the city – the Design Supermarket – and entire floor of great, classic brands of design made in Italy. You will find here brands such as Alessi, Artemide, Muji, Kartell, Driade and many other brands, as well as books on design.
On other floors, there is a selection of fashion, beauty and lifestyle products with a wide range of products.
Peck is the biggest delicatessen store in Milan – and the oldest one – existing since 1883. If you love gourmet food, you can’t miss it. On three floors, it offers all kinds of superior quality food typical for Italy and in particular for the region of Lombardy. There are bakery, cold meats, delicatessen, tea room, and a wine store.
Markets in Milan
Eataly is the largest marketplace of Italian food. It is a chain of huge food halls with quality Italian food, including food and beverage counters, bakery, several restaurants and retail items. It is a pleasant place both for eating and finding some exquisite gourmet specialities typical for Italy. Highly recommended.
Address: Piazza Venticinque Aprile, 10, 20121 Milano
2) Naviglio Grande Antique Market
The Naviglio Grande antique market is held monthly on the last Sunday of the month. It’s a street market, where you can find variety of antiques, such as lamps, glasses, books, vintage clothes etc. Due to limited space along the canal, it usually gets a bit crowded.
The area of Navigli is placed along the canal – but don’t expect Venice-style canal, it’s actually quite ugly. Navigli is famous for its restaurants and bars, so you can stay in the area after shopping for a drink or a meal. There are also some vintage shops and second-hand book shops in the area.
Opening hours: 8 am to 6 pm, although some stall close around 4pm.
Address: Alzaia Naviglio Grande, Milano
3) Cascina Cuccagna Food Market
It is a weekely fresh farmers’ food market held in the 7th century Milan farmhouse.
Opening hours: Every Monday, from 3.30pm to 8pm.
Address: Via Cuccagna / via Muratori, Milano.
4) Fiera di Sinigaglia Flea Market
It is a huge street market and the only flea market in the city. It is usually very busy and crowded, as it offers a wide variety of products in low prices – something not common in this very expensive city. There are a lot of vintage items, clothing, decorative elements, collectors’ items, original accessories etc.
Opening hours: Saturdays and Sunday 8 am-6 pm.
Address: Ripa di Porta Ticinese, Milano – metro stop M2 Porta Genova FS (on Saturday); Piazza Mario Pagano, Milano – metro stop M1 Pagano (on Sunday).
More on Shopping in Milan
The main stores in Milan open every day from 10 am until 8 pm. Stores that are not in the main shopping streets usually close on Mondays or open after 3 pm.
The department stores like La Rinascente are open every working day from 10 am to 9 am Fridays and Saturdays until 10 pm.
Do you have questions or you want to add something or share some advice? Write a comment!