Milan has three airports: Linate (30 minutes from Bulgari Hotel), Milan Bergamo (45 minutes) and Malpensa (50 minutes). There are no trains from Linate, but the 73 bus will drop you at Piazza San Babila, just a 10-minute walk from the hotel. There are trains every half hour (until 11.10pm) from Malpensa to Piazzale Cadorna (also five minutes away). From Linate, your only option is the Terravision express coach, which will take you to Milano Centrale station in 60 minutes (around 10 minutes from the hotel).
The hotel is a 10-minute taxi journey from Milano Centrale station, where you can get local and regional trains to the rest of Italy and elsewhere in Europe. Be warned, express trains cost more than the regional equivalents which make more stops; see Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.icom) for details.
The hotel's right next to the cathedral, so once in Milan, simply follow signs to the centre or ‘duomo’ to find it and then leave your car to be taken care of at The Gray (valet parking is available). You probably won’t need to drive within the city; plus, Milan is well-served by public transport, with both a metro and tram system. Although, you may well want a car to visit Bergamo, one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Italy and just under an hour’s car drive away.
Worth getting out of bed for
Climb to the top of the Duomo – 166 steps, or there’s a lift – but worth it for the eyeful. A tour of La Scala is no substitute for a performance, but diverting nonetheless. Santa Marie delle Grazie houses da Vinci’s Last Supper (open until 6.45pm; closed Mondays; call +39 2 8942 1146 to book). La Pinacoteca di Brera is a fine-art must. Il Cimitero Monumentale, where Giuseppe Verdi lies, is an amazing open-air museum in its own right. Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga and Via Sant’Andrea house the showrooms of the major designers, including Gucci, Prada,Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Bottega Veneta. The Armani empire has its multi-concept store on Via Manzoni. For more affordable purchases (MaxMara, Bruno Magli, Pollini, H&M, Zara), head for Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The area around Porta Ticinese is good for street style (Diesel, Miss Sixty, Fornarina) as well as second-hand shops, handmade clothes and intriguing homewares. The Fiera di Senigallia market, every Saturday, sells ethnic handicrafts, records and bicycles along the Darsena dockyard. Mercato dell’Antiquariato di Brera, on the third Saturday of the month, has stalls selling books, jewellery, antiques and so on.
Trussardi alla Scala on Piazza della Scala is well worth popping into for a cocktail and a bite of Italian food either in the restaurant, or in the café. The minimalist decor is a suitable backdrop for the fashionable folk who frequent it. You can even take a little of its cool home with you, after a visit to the adjoining lifestyle boutique and bookstore. Open for dinner, La Libera on Via Palermo calls itself a beer cellar, but the food is also very good. Claudio Sadler prepares seafood with a nouvelle approach at Sadler on Via Troilo. Giulio Pane e Ojo on Via Muratori, is good for Roman cuisine. Nobu on Via Pisoni does Japanese-Peruvian fusion like its global siblings, in a corner of the Armani mini-mall. Chatulle on Via Piero della Francesca is a sparkling-white restaurant, serving imaginative Italian cuisine.
Marchesi, Via Santa Maria alla Porta, is legendary for its coffee and cake. An institution for breakfast and aperitivi. Taveggia on Via Visconti di Modrone, appeals for its original furnishings and great panini. Cova on Via Montenapoleone is famous for its rice pudding – stop here for post-shopping star-spotting.
At aperitivo time, the Porta Ticinese area gets packed out; a few hours here is a quintessential Milanese experience. Executive Lounge on Via di Tocqueville is a candlelit Indonesian-style bar with cushions and low wooden tables, open until 2am. By the entrance to Parco Sempione on Via Luigi Camoens, Just Cavalli Café is as flamboyant and sexy as one of designer Roberto Cavalli’s clinging mini-dresses, all oriental fabrics and antelope furs, open until 2am.