Have yourself a Shopping Spree. A combination of the luxury shops in Milan, capital of the fashion world, where in the fashion quadrangle at its centre you will find the best of italian designers, Armani, Gucci, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Alberta Ferretti, Missoni, Prada and the Outlets around Lake Maggiore, where the fun lies in finding that perfect dress, knocked down 70%.
The outlets span from the high tec design of Alessi to the magnificent cashmere Made in Italy of Colombo and Loro Piana, or sunglasses from the Luxottica group. Bargains from world famous labels such as Burberry, Louis Vuitton or Reebock are also to be found. So don’t stop, Shop ‘til you Drop. Enjoy the luxury of spending less.
- Quadrilatero d’Oro is the collective name for the streets holding the greatest concentration of top designer studios, such as Montenapoleone, Della Spiga, Borgospesso, Sant’ Andrea, Manzoni and Santo Spirito. Even if you’re not planning to shop for high fashion, take a stroll down these boulevards to experience their unique chic atmosphere.
- Navigli is home to several noteworthy second-hand female shopping venues. For the best bargains, browse at Eliogabaldo, Biffi and Floretta Coen Musil.
- Via Torino, in recent years has developed as a shoe mall, with a plethora of shops geared mainly to the young set. Merchandise – from all-terrain boots to dainty sandals – is of differing quality and ranges from the inexpensive to the medium-to-high priced.
- Ticinese district, is reached by walking down Via Torino and which offers a selection of small shops and workshops. Beyond Largo Carrobbio you will come to Corso di Porta Ticinese, where a new generation of craftsmen have taken the place of the old timers and, with their creative ideas, are attracting a younger clientele. Corso di Porta Ticinese leads to the Navigli.
- Corso Buenos Aires is a street holding some excellent male vintage fashion shops. You’ll find rock-bottom prices at Darsena, Calzaturifico di Parabiago and Il Drug Store.
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, located between the Duomo and La Scala, is an original 19th-Century shopping mall that continues to impress as one of the city’s most elegant landmarks.
- Corso Vittorio Emanuelle II is the place to visit for popular international labels, including Zara, H & M and Furla.
- Brera district is one of the most evocative in Milan, once populated mainly by artists and bohemians. Brera has only in part survived modern reconstruction, so its original character has changed – but this is not to the detriment of its shopping itinerary which is full of surprises. The narrow streets around the Brera Academy and the Corriere della Sera headquarters have several interesting boutiques of ladies apparel, curiosity shops, bric-à-brac and, particularly in these last few years, antique shops.
- Corso Vercelli close to FieraMilanoCity, not far from Parco Sempione, Corso Vercelli’s shopping area provides an opportunity for some good shopping away from the city center. There are branches of some of the better centrally located shops, and some good department stores. Via Belfiore, a short street going east from mid-Corso Vercelli, is particularly shoe-oriented: there are stores for every taste and every pocket.
The Fashion Quadrangle in Milan
Fashion designer boutiques of:
Armani Store, Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Prada Uomo, Mila Schön, Versace Donna, Fratelli Rossetti, Fausto Santini, Tanino Crisci, Gucci, Etro, Gianni Versace, Lario, Les Copains, Missoni, Bally, Vierre, Ungaro
Fashion designer boutiques of:
Missoni, Gianfranco Ferré, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Moschino, Prada, Kenzo, Armani, Trussardi, Mario Valentino, Armani
Via Della Spiga
Fashion designer boutiques of brand marks:
Borsalino, Bulgari, Prada, Bottega Veneta, Sharra Pagano, Erreuno, Krizia, Ceramiche di Caltagirone, Agnona, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianfranco Ferrè, Diego Della Valle, Krizia, Sergio Rossi
Day trips for shopping in Factory Outlets in Milan – Porta Romana area
Cashmere, Etro, I Santi, Puma amongst others
Milan’s numerous open-air markets are an excellent source of antiques, clothes and deliciously fresh food products. Be sure to stop by at least one of the most popular ones:
- Mercato di Viale Papiniano is the largest city market and the best one to hunt for clothes and accessories bargains. It takes place every Tuesday and Satruday morning.
- Mercatone dell’Antiquariato, held on the banks of the Naviglio Grande on the last Sunday of the month, is the place to visit if you love browsing through antiques.
- Via Armorari is a collector’s market offering old stamps, postcards and coins. It’s held on Sundays at Piazza Cordusio.
Fiera di Sant’Ambrogio is a Christmas street fair organised at Piazza Sant’Ambrogio every December.
Outlet Shopping in Milan
Try the outlets around the corso Vittorio Emanuele II. They employ none too subtle marketing gimmicks to ratchet up the thrill of the hunt, like letting a queue form outside the store, or sealing your handbag inside a special security bag so you’re not tempted to snaffle any of the awesome bargains. Serious shopaholics should invest in a copy of the factory outlets bible Scoprioccasioni (www.scoprioccasioni.it; also available in English at Milan’s major bookstores), which lists over 1,000 reputable establishments.
Among Milan’s best known and longest established outlets is Il Salvagente (‘the lifesaver’), which has three floors of top stuff for men and women, all carefully arranged by size and colour; for children there’s a separate location called Salvagente Bimbi (Via Balzaretti 28, Easy, 02 2668 0764). Equally worthwhile bargains can be found at discount outlets with more convenient, central locations – places like Dmagazine Outlet, wedged between the full-price stores on the city’s main shopping drag. It’s small, hot and hectic, with some pricey women’s lines (€500 per item for the likes of Miu Miu and Marni) for as little as 20 per cent of their original value. Be prepared to dig deep; for men’s lines it’s best to try elsewhere.
Basement – housed, as the name suggests, in a cellar – is for women’s fashion only. It caters to a more upmarket shopper, and is more boutique, less snakepit. Come here for price slashes of 50-70 per cent on brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and YSL.
Vogue readers on a budget: head for the 10 Corso Como Outlet, a slightly shabbier version of the übercool original store (10 Corso Como), with endless racks of mostly black clothes by Helmut Lang, Chloé, Comme des Garçons et al. But even with prices slashed by half, it’s expensive.
End-of-season sales: these sales, strictly sanctioned by the local government for a few weeks each January and July, are a bargain hunter’s heaven.
Out of Town Outlets
And of course the big Out-of-town outlets: These have many more discounted brand shops under one roof:
The mega 250-store Fox Town (+41 (0)848 828 888, www.foxtown.ch) in Mendrisio, just across the Swiss border from Lago di Como.
Vicolungo at Biandrate on the Mila-Turin or Gravellona Toce-Genova motorways. Includes Bruno Magli, United Colours Benetton, Caleffi, Calvin Klein Jeans, Enrico Coveri, Gap, Hilfinger and many others.
The Place Outlets in Biella with a selection of luxury outlets including Ermenegildo Zegna, Agnona, Gucci, La Perla, Bellora, Sergio Rossi.