Hoepli is one of the famous and big book stores of Italy. It has thousands of books of different kinds of categhories.. You can easily spend a day in the shop without getting bored..
There are also books in different languages.. Divided into sections like architecture, photography, economy, 3d,...
What to buy: Books, magazines...
My favorite stores here:
- ZAP! Milano/ Elizabeth the First
What to buy: If the posh boutiques (with the designer price tags) are a little too intimidating at Via Montenapoleone, VIA DELLA SPIGA on the other hand offers fantastic window-shopping with no traffic to interrupt your browsing. This whole area is pedestrianized with cobblestones dotted with numerous eateries, cafés and restaurants.
For the thrifty foreigner, don't despair! Really. Right at the other end of Via Montenapoleone (yes, towards the Duomo) is SAN BABILA - a great place to shop for those on a tight budget. Here, you can find the amazing Spanish store - ZARA (my favorite. BTW, it's cheaper to buy Zara in Spain. It costs 40% more at least to buy them here!), BENETTON and ZAP! Milano/ Elizabeth the First, a 3-store emporium with different designer corners. If you're an avid fan of vintage outfits, ZAP/ Elizabeth the First has a floor selling them too. If you dig fun tops (like me), then head straight to NADINI. I guarantee you won't be disappointed and you definitely won't leave empty-handed.
What to pay: Don't ask... Your boyfriend/ Husband will be very happy and proud of you for being considerate and thinking of his pocket. ;-)
Let's start with HOEPLI first, shall we?
Italy’s largest bookstore with 6 floors and over 150,000 titles....! This is definitely one of my favorite places to hang out during my lunch breaks (when I don't feel like eating. Must slim down and be as beautiful as all these Milanese women). ;-D
You can find lots of expats here too (read: non-Italians).
La Feltrinelli is another favorite place of mine to browse for books. I'll highlight the Piazza Piemonte store (because that's where I go).
Imagine this - 2 floors of books, music and multimedia. On the upper floor, there are large arm chairs and sofas for you to rest your weary feet... and on the lower floor, there is a ticket center for purchasing concert and theater tickets... as well as a cafè surrounded by walls filled with international magazines (Vogue, Harper's etc) and newspapers. Believe me, you'll soon forget about your worldly woes!
This is Milan’s version of the world famous HMV megastore or the Tower Records Store in NYC.
Conveniently located in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele aka Galleria, yeah... you guessed it - this is another one of my favorite places to hang-out because of the store's long opening hours. If you're learning Italian (like me), you can further enhance your learning experience by checking out the latest Italian pop songs at the listening booths (located on the 1st floor). After listening to some Italian pop songs, I must admit, I am pleasantly surprised by how great some of their songs are! (Thanks to 105FM radio station). ;-))
What to buy: CDs, DVDs...
What to pay: Very reasonable. Your boyfriend/ husband will probably shop here.
For the most exclusive designer shopping, focus on the area around Via Manzoni, Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga. There is a four storey Armani superstore and a lovely Gucci megastore (one of those places with no price tags on the items on display). These places intimidate me no end, so I only ever go in when I'm dressed "properly".
What to buy:
If you want to go shopping without worrying too much about designer brands or burning too big a hole in your pocket my suggestions are the following areas:
- Corso Vittorio Emanuele (and all around the Duomo)
- Via Dante
- Corso Vercelli
- Corso Buenos Aires
Peck is a Milanese institution. It is located on Via Spadari, off Via Torino (walk straight ahead away from the front of the Duomo towards Burger King).
It has damned expensive stuff in there, but it is of the highest quality. I hardly ever get stuff here for myself, but tend to get small items as presents for other people.
There is a wine cellar downstairs, general groceries/butcher/vegetables on the ground floor and teas/coffees/cakes/pastries upstairs. The pastries are DELICIOUS... try having afternoon tea there and ask for some of their yummy fruit pastries.
On Via Torino (about 10 minutes walk away from the Duomo) is a supermarket called Standa. I think it is the only supermarket so close to the centre of town, which makes it convenient to get fruits, snacks, stock up on mineral water, etc.
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??
I've loved Alessi designs for years, so I was delighted to find a large Alessi store here,
They make stylish kitchenware and home décor items, ranging from expensive stainless steel teapots and platters to whimsical plastic pieces.
The plastic ones are more in my price range. (Examples: a rabbit in a top hat is a toothpick holder—pull him out by his ears to get the toothpicks; and two little fat guys (salt and pepper shakers) are attached to a pole by their magnetic feet.
Even if you aren't buying, this stuff is fun to look at. I spent quite a while trying to determine what some of the quirky plastic things are used for. I had intended to look, but I got carried away.
Hours: 10-7 Monday-Saturday. (Closed from 2-3 on Mondays)
What to buy: Whatever you love. I couldn't resist some pretty napkin rings and a couple of the fun plastic things.
A very dear friend of mine introduced me to the word "metrosexual". At first I was like a big question mark, but apparently it's a person who likes to dress up.
Or something like that.... Help me out here, Cassie?
Anyway, in Milano I seem to be transformed into a metrosexual guy. Suddently I really like to feel the burning sensation of my Visa card... :D
At the streets behind Il Duomo I have three shops I really like. All of them unfortunately way too expensive, but then I'm not in Milan that often.
Anyway, the first shop is the Dolce & Gabbana. It's on the way up, on the left side, against Corso Buenos Aires, namely at Corso Venezia. The shop isn't the big, but at least two floors. And there are so many people working there that they sometimes are more than the customers...
The clothes here are special, expensive, but very nice. At least if you ask me. Plus the feeling of using a piece of clothes that says "Dolce & Gabbana".
Yeah, I know... I admitted I was metrosexual everytime I got to Milan, didn't I? ;)
What to buy: T-shirts, jackets, boxers, trousers, shoes, bags. D&G have a huge sortiment, and it all costs more than the dinner you'll have in the evening...
First time I bought a pair of boxers, very nice I can assure you. And quite popular with the ladies too... :D
Last time I first saw a t-shirt, one of the staff members then hold it up for me, and I realised it was a bit too much...
Walked on, found another very nice t-shirt. Tried it on, liked it a lot - and then realised it was the same t-shirt I had seen from the beginning...
Hrm... anyway, bought it quickly. :)
What to pay: A lot. You don't come into the D&G shop to find something nice and cheap. You come in here to find something nice and expensive. For the boxers I paid about 40 euro I think, and the t-shirt went for 80 euro.
Well, I'll live on water and bread for a month now...
The Replay shop is on the Via Vittorio Emanuelle, the big street behind the Duomo. Shortly before the H&M (don't go there, ***ty clothes. All swedish... ;) ) you'll find the Replay store on your right.
Two floors, with clothes for both men, women and kids. Probably for dogs too if you just look good enough.
Much depending on my mood I sometimes find something I like here. As with D&G in the last tip the clothes here are very expensive, at least if you ask me, and you should really like something before you actually buy it.
But, naturally, the quality is great. (see the difference with H&M...?). Not so many people working here as at D&G, which actually is quite nice. More room to just walk around, without three persons jumping on you, asking if you need any help. :)
What to buy: T-shirts, jeans, shirts, shoes, bags, jackets and more and more, depending on the status of your burning Visa card... I bought a shirt here, paid about 100 euro I think.
What to pay: As said before, this is not a shop you come into to find something cheap...
If you like Ferrari then do not miss their shop in the Montenapoleone elite shopping area on Piazza Liberty. The store is in a five storey building whose interiors contain sales area and an exhibition illustrating the famous automobile maker's history.
The store is very impressive; it is definitely not a two-dollar shop, it is rather a candy shop … it is difficult to walk out without buying something. The shop is designed to appeal largely to people who can not afford a Ferrari but like the brand.
What to buy: It is the best place for a windows-shopping, or if you are really brave you might even buy something. I myself bought nothing, and would recommend you to take a look without buying what you do not need and do not want, simply enjoy.
What to pay: The cheapest item is a €6 ($10) sticker, but a realistic professionally assembled 1/12 scale model of the Ferrari Enzo Street 2002 is already €300 ($500).
The most expensive was a Ferrari road car with a top speed of 350kph +, 0-100kph in 3.65 seconds, 0-200kph in 9.5 seconds!!... and the price, €700,000.
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a beautful shopping mall. The building is neo-classical with an iron and glass ceiling. Construction on the building started in 1865 and was completed in 1877. The building also has some very nice mosaics.
As for shopping - the world's oldest Prada store can be found here, and other stores like; Louis Vuitton, Tod's and Gucci. There are other shops as well, selling assortments of clothes, books, shoes and jewellery.
There are also some nice looking restaurants and cafes here (although they all looked a bit pricey).
What to buy: Try to find something on sale in Prada or Gucci!
What to pay: The moon!
You will see on the street many young men selling purses, billfolds, jewelry, watches and other small items that they can pick up and take quickly. I say quickly because when the local police come into the area they grab everything and move away.
Many of these items for sale are fakes made in Asia. So that fancy purse that is being sold for such a great price, is not really such a deal if you want to original designer purse.
It won't do any good to ask them if it is real or not, and if you act interested they will try to pull you into a "deal". Best thing is to ignore them.
What to buy: This Foto below is of the famous, well photographed Fashion Area of Milano. When you see the real thing, up close and personal, it doesn't look so fancy.
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