If Lake Como is in your itinerary (I believe it should be, Como is a must actually) the following outlet in Mendrisio Switzerland will only be an additional 15 minute drive from Como. You will be crossing the border so, make sure you have your passports with you (and a valid visa that allowes multiple entries to Italy). It is called foxtown and they have all the outlets of the "big players".
La Rinascente, on Milan's central square (Duom), has ten floors of fashion, accessories, perfumes and household goods. Other amenities include a spa, hairdressers, bar with cathedral views and a vast food market.
Fashion ranges from Prada to Diesel. Giorgio Armani even started his career here as a window dresser. Don't miss the top-floor restaurant for its terrace bar.
What to buy: women fashion, men fashion, cosmetics, jewellery., watches...
Rinascente is located in Piazza Duomo just beside Galeria Vittorio Emmanuele. Even just the location is enough to make it popular. You can find all you can ask from a department store. Many brands with a variety from high fashion to mid-level.
What to buy: Fashion wear
What to pay: It all depends on the brand.
A friend suggested not to miss FNAC, which is a department store catering for all tastes in music, dvds and a great internet cafe on the top floor.
They also have a huge range of computers and electronics, TV and books.
Needless to say I spent a lot of time in the store and brought home some of my favourite music which is not available in Australia!!
How to break the bank in a hurry! Wish I'd had more time....
What to buy: Anything electronic or music, etc.
What to pay: How deep is your pocket or how big is your wallet??
Via Montenapoleone is the famous street in Milan full of fashion and jewellery shops. In this elegant street, you can find all the famous designers' shops. The jet set of Europe often comes to here for shopping. For high spenders, this is a paradise.
What to buy: Men's clothes, Women's clothes, Jewellery
What to pay: The prices are not tagged on shop windows. That should give you an idea :)
You can come across an Esselunga supermarket anywhere in Milan. It is one of the best supermarket that provides variety of food and drinks with reasonable prices. For long term expats, I suggest them getting a fidaty card which enables you to get additional discounts and collect points to spend for your following purchases.
What to buy: Fresh fruit, cheese, wine
What to pay: You can get the best deals here.
Brums is a midsized children clothing store on busy Corso Buenos Aires. The clothes are very colourful and attend to the details. The sizes range from babies to teens (0-16 years) and both girls and boys have a good selection of clothes.
The service is very friendly and there were enough clerks to handle all customers -- this might be because of low number of customers or higher amount of clerks. The prices are in the midrange, so don't expect finding any bargains here.
I know that Muji is expanding, but I was a bit surprised to see their shop in Milan -- the design is so strong in the northern Italy and people seem to be so loyal to the local traditions. Nevertheless, the shop was enjoying a good amount of customers already on early Saturday morning.
Brief introduction to Muji for the non-initiated: Muji is a Japanese design brand that is based on simplicity and no-labels approach. They sell quality stuff, everything from office supplies to clothes, furniture and tableware -- of course, depending on the size of the shop. Nowadays they seem to be found in every big market.
Muji's competitive advantage is not pricing, but the form follows function design that pleases the eye.
There are surprisingly few children stores in Milan, compared to the overall number of clothing stores in the city. Your best bet is to walk on Corso Buenos Aires, as there are several shops for babies and children.
Du Pareil Au Même is one of the biggest, the selection catering for all aspects of having small children. The prices are quite okay, too, but the service is non-existent. We browsed through the shop for quarter of an hour, but got no service what-so-ever. Unbelievable!
We had read about this shop in the guide books and decided to take a look.
At first glance the place reminded me of the food hall at Harrods. There is plenty of well displayed food and numerous staff to help out with those purchases. In fact the Italians make the most of their staff in the way that you buy their food. First you choose what you want and the employee gives you a ticket for it. Then you go off to the young lady on the till and pay for it. Then it’s back to the food counter to hand the ticket over and the food is then beautifully wrapped and handed to you. It was a good job there wasn’t any long queues on the day that we visited.
What to buy: We actually went for the Parmesan cheese of which we bought a huge lump of. It’s the first time I’ve been asked how old I wanted my cheese, 5, 3 or 2 years old. We plumbed for the middle ground of 3 years.
Then we bought some ravioli, which the shop is famous for, and only realised as we came out of the shop that it had just cost us a round £12. Oh well it was very nice when we got it home to England the day after.
What to pay: Parmigigiano Regginao at 19.09 Euros! Ravioli Valdostana at 17.28 Euros!!
Expect it to be an expensive indulgence although window shopping is always free.
I found one of AC Milans official club shops inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Got myself a decent scarf for 20 Euros to hang on the wall at home.
You can buy cheaper ones from the stalls outside but as I got one of those on my earlier trips I thought I'd get a decent on this time.
Nannini is one of the mid-level Italian fashion brands that has been expanding steadily all over the world. We visited their Milan shop on Corso Buenos Aires to spend some time and money for fashion accessories.
The store is for ladies only, and it focuses on bags and shoes. The store is not the very big, but fortunately there were several items worth purchasing with reasonable prices -- you don't pay for the name, but for the design and the quality of the items.
The service was very helpful, despite having a smallish English vocabulary. Fortunately, the ladies had enough persistence and willpower to carry us through the buying process using both English, Italy and hands.
Furla is an Italian high-end fashion brand that focus on accessories: bags, shoes, belts, watches, sunglasses and so forth. Their Milan store is centrally located among other fashion boutiques, only a few hundred meters from Duomo.
The store is quite compact, but fortunately packed well with stylish bags and other accessories. The price tags are hefty, but not over the top for quality made leather wear.
Diesel is one of the more affordable brands having their "concept store" in the centre of Milan. The shop is located on the prime location on Via Venezia, a few blocks from Duomo and the golden triangle of fashion.
The shop is not the biggest Diesel store I've visited, but there is still plenty of stuff to buy. The ground floor is for men, and the first floor is dedicated to the ladies. The selection varies from shoes to garments to accessories, including bags, shades and other paraphernalia. Prices are okay, but not bargains.
If you don't have enough money to buy all the stuff you crave for on the high-end boutiques, outlets are an viable alternative to get the clothes, shoes and accessories with far lesser prices.
Milan is surrounded by outlets, but most of them are so far away that you practically need a car to go there. If you aren't interested in driving among Italians (I surely understand you), your choices are somewhat limited.
Oddly enough, Dmagazine Outlet is located at the very heart of city's fashion district and thus it is very easily accessible with metro. The outlet is not very big, but at least it is packed -- both garments and people.
I've visited the outlet twice and haven't found anything worth buying, but there have been a lot of tantalising items that have missed my size.
One of Milan's best hotels, Principe di Savoia is housed in a Belle Epoque-style building. Though...more
The worse hotel I ever stayed. My mum, my sister and myself were robbed inside our hotel room. The...more
Why booked the Special room for 320 euro per night, because it looked the pretiest from the photos...more