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  Milan British Airways fr £65
  Milan Alitalia Airlines fr £65
  Milan KLM Airlines fr £60
  Milan Air France fr £60
  Milan Lufthansa Airlines fr £55
See the next thing first in the home of glossy consumption.

The now and the next are invented daily in Milan, Europe's creative capital. Until Milan led the way, who knew that happy hour could last four hours, that clothing and household appliances could be made out of basketry, and that coffee could make a delicious pasta sauce?

This city is all about worldly pleasures. Shopping is of quasi-religious significance. Theatre and cinema flourish in this fashionable milieu, as does a hopping club scene and a slew of tempting restaurants. Apart from a few gems, the city is not renowned for its looks; it's lifestyle that counts.


Though Italy has a predominantly Mediterranean climate, Milan's winters (December-February) are certainly brisk, with lows below freezing. Still, mountains shield the city from the worst of the Northern European winter.

Summer (May-Sept) can be hot and muggy. In August, most of the city heads to the beaches to escape the 30°C-plus (86°F-plus) heat; the rest are in Milan's many gardens and parks.

A Top Day in Milan

My top day is kick-started with an espresso at Zucca in Galleria at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. I always find that a morning of art provides an inspiring start to the day, and never tire of visiting Da Vinci's magnificent The Last Supper . The Pinacoteca de Brera is equally irresistible, with its wonderful Raphael's, Bellini's, and Caravaggio's. Or if I'm in the mood for something more modern I'll head to the Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea (PAC). Another favourite museum of mine is the wonderful Museo degli Strumenti Musicali, a must for musicians and music lovers.

For lunch, I generally head straight to Trattoria Bagutta where I can count on sincere service and excellent old-fashioned Milanese cuisine. Although I know I should probably have a siesta, it's hard to resist a visit to the roof of the Duomo, its views are all the more breathtaking after a few glasses of wine.

If I eat three courses at lunch, I'll take the stairs, and the lift, if I stick to two. Lining up for tickets to an opera at the renovated La Scala is worth the wait, before heading down to the Naviglio Grande for a Milanese must - aperitivo hour.

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