A shopping spree in Milan is a must-have entry on any fashion lover’s bucket list. Milan is home to many of the world’s foremost fashion houses, from Armani to Dolce and Gabbana to Versace, and the city boasts a dizzying array of beautiful shops offering an unparalleled experience.
Shopping Just off the Runway
The sheer number of shopping options in Milan can seem overwhelming at first glance; Dolce and Gabbana alone has eight locations in the city. A little planning, however, can help you create an unforgettable experience.
No Milan shopping trip can be complete without a visit to the Quadrilatero d’Oro. Here you’ll find enough designer creations and exclusive pieces to fill even the largest closet. The glittering Via Monte Napoleone, quite possibly the world’s most select shopping street, is located here, and the other three sides of the Golden Square (or Quadrilateral, or Rectangle) are also lined with high-end boutiques and famous names including Prada, Gucci, and Bottega Veneta.
Be sure to take a moment to appreciate the Neoclassical architecture as well as the luxurious experience, and consider a visit to the Municipal Museum of Fashion and Costume, which is housed in the sixteenth-century Palazzo Morando.
The nearby Galleria Vittorio Emnuelle II also offers a host of haute couture boutiques as well as several shops and restaurants that have been in operation for well over a century. Prada’s first location opened here in 1913, and Biffi, which was founded in 1852, is still serving elegant food today. The Galleria arcade, which was completed in 1877, is capped by an enormous iron and glass dome that allows natural light to showcase everything from Louis Vuitton shoes to Vigano jewelry to antiques and rare books.
Discovering Vintage Treasures
Milan is also an excellent destination for antique and vintage shopping. Many vintage clothing shops are concentrated near the San Vitorre and Navigili neighborhoods, but others can be found throughout the city. Via Brera, meanwhile, is known for antiques and jewelry.
If you’re looking for an eclectic and unpredictable shopping experience that still offers Made-in-Italy quality, Cormano Flea Market should be first on your list. In addition to the famous Cormano-produced silk, the Saturday-morning market offers a huge variety of glassware, silver, antiques, and household goods. Clothing and accessories are less popular here than in other Milan shopping locales, but the treasure-hunt atmosphere adds to the satisfaction of finding the perfect piece.
Moving Towards the Future
As the world begins to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Milan has adapted and is taking steps to return to normal while staying safe. As of late 2021, masks are required in indoor public spaces (fortunately, the city’s fashion houses offer enough unique and comfortable options to make for hours of happy browsing), and some shops require customers to show proof of vaccination, previous infection, or a negative test through the digital Green Pass.
The fashion world is adapting in other ways as well. Dolce and Gabbana, for example, debuted its first “Virtual Boutique Experience” in September of 2020. Fashion enthusiasts can take in a 360-degree view of a particular shop’s current offerings (only certain locations are featured at any one time), click on items to see specific information, and interact with shop assistants by phone or through video conferencing. And beginning with London Fashion Week in June of 202, many designers have made use of technology to host virtual fashion shows.
Milan offers a shopping experience unlike any other. Whether you’re looking for the latest designer belt, a stunning sweater, or a surprise-filled day of raiding cutting-edge stores and historic markets, Milan is truly the place to be.