If you’re in Milan and can resist the urge to go shopping, even when you’re only there for a few hours while waiting for a train connection, then you’re either extremely strong-willed, a saint, or quite possibly, totally broke.
Milan is the Italian capital of fashion and is world-renowned for its exclusive high-end boutiques where you can blow a whole month’s salary on one item. Going shopping near Milano Centrale doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, though.
The Central Station area of the city is where the Milan locals go to shop. You only have to walk a few feet from the station, and you’ll be able to have a real Italian shopping experience rather than just window shopping while drooling over the alta moda that’s out of reach. You can even shop until you drop in the station itself if you’re low on time.
With all the shopping bags you’re bound to be carrying, it’s best to head to a luggage storage service near Milano Centrale first. That way, you can shop even more!
Milano Centrale is on the Piazza Duca d’Aosta, and that’s the city square that gives its address to the countless stores on the station concourse. This is one train station where you won’t have time to get bored or be uncomfortable as it’s more like a deluxe mall than a station.
Wander around Milano Central, and you’ll find:
- Victoria’s Secret
- Amen Store
- and many more
Exit the station and take a few steps across the Piazza Duca d’Aosta, and you’ll be at the entrance to the Mercato Centrale. This huge market has an indescribable vibrancy that borders on chaos, but is everything you could wish for in a Mediterranean market.
Stroll around, and your senses will be inundated with sights, sounds, and aromas. There’s a fish and meat section, lots of bakeries, fruit and vegetables that have come straight from the Italian countryside, wine merchants, and all manner of artisans offering beautiful handcrafted goods. The street food here is sublime too. Grab whatever takes your fancy, sit at one of the tables, eat, and enjoy while absorbing the amazing atmosphere.
The Via della Spiga and the Via Montenapoleone are the main shopping streets in Milan. They’re around a 20-minute brisk walk from Milano Centrale, so if you’re pressed for time, grab a cab, and you’ll get there a lot quicker.
The Via della Spiga, the Via Montenapoleone, and the streets that crisscross between them form the city’s high-end fashion district. You don’t need to be wealthy to enjoy exploring the area and seeing the designer wear in the window displays.
If you’re on a budget and weak-willed, you might want to avoid temptation by leaving your credit card in a luggage locker back at the station. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you might find the bargain of a lifetime. That’s not going to happen even if the seasonal sales are on. There’s nothing cheap about shopping in this part of the city, but when you’re in Milan, it’s somewhere you just have to go.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
While you’re in the vicinity of Via della Spiga and Via Montenapoleone, go and take a look around the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This indoor shopping mall is out of this world, and not just because of the stores it contains.
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in the Piazza del Duomo is one of Milan’s most iconic structures, and it’s not hard to understand why. Step under the enormous domed glass roof that covers two streets and a square, and the ornate buildings will make you feel as if you’re shopping in the 19th century. The illusion won’t last long, though. The prices will bring you back to reality.
Apart from the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, there are some great shopping streets running off the Piazza del Duomo that are definitely worth exploring. The stores along the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the Via Torino are where you find shops that don’t charge the earth for what they have on their shelves and racks.
The Via Torino is where you’ll come across well-known international brand name stores like Zara, H&M, Mango, Pull & Bear, and FootLocker, along with just about every other retail outlet you can think of. They’re intermingled with plenty of vintage stores, where you may find that bargain designer outfit, and shops offering clothes by upcoming, but not yet famous, Italian fashion designers.
Milan doesn’t have many shopping malls, but if you’re an out-and-out mall addict and are starting to feel deprived, you’ll want to spend an hour or two in Rinascente. Rinascente is a huge department store on the Piazza del Duomo where you’ll feel right at home.
In Rinascente, you can go from floor to floor and department to department and not see the same product twice. This store stocks everything from children’s wear to household goods to stationery, books, and whatever else you can think of. If you can’t find something you need anywhere else in Milan, you’ll find it in Rinascente. They also have departments dedicated to big-name brands like YSL, Gucci, and Chanel. There really is no escaping high-end fashion in Milan.
Shopping near Milano Centrale can be a pleasurable experience. It can also turn into a nightmare if you lose control and overspend. Having a guilty conscience and an overdraft are two ways of ruining your time in Milan, so shop with caution. That’s definitely not the sort of memory you want to leave this incredible Italian city with.