If you are reading this article, there is no doubt you are interested in where exactly to shop in Milan. That’s correct! Our topic is the ultimate shopping guide in Milan, but before getting there, let’s first start with some history.
You’ll be surprised, but Italian fashion was born in Florence and not Milan as many would think. On February 12th, 1951, Giovanni Battista (Bista) Giorgini presented the first fashion défilé in the living room of his majestic residence Palazzo Torrigiani in Florence. At the fashion parade, Giovanni and his wife Nella invited few American journalists and American buyers, who in that period, were interested in French fashion. The event was successful! This cold day marked an important date in the fashion calendar as the day Italian Fashion made its debut. Next year the iconic Sala Bianca at Palazzo Pitti became a stage for designers and ateliers promoting Made in Italy abroad.
Fashion entered a new period in the 70s when emerging Milan- based designers like Gianni Versace and Giorgio Armani helped the city become widely popular. Attention to detail, impeccable taste, and expert tailoring made the Made in Italy symbol of luxury and Milan its best ambassador.
Today Milan is among the “Big Four” fashion capitals along with Paris, London and New York and shopping in the Italian metropolis is a world-renowned activity. No worries, Milan is not only luxury shopping, but it is also possible to find shopping options for any price point, style and preferences. So, here it is – the ultimate guide that will make your shopping experience in Milan easy. The only challenge is that there are a lot of choices but never enough time.
Il Quadrillatero Della Moda – The Golden Rectangle
If a luxury shopping in Milan is on your to-do list, consider The Golden Rectangle district a must. The beating heart of fashion is situated not far away from Piazza del Duomo. The area spreads around via Montenapoleone, Via Manzoni, Via Della Spiga, and Corso Venezia and is the most exclusive destination for upscale shopping. Considered one of the most prestigious and expensive shopping districts, the best high-end stylist in the world have their boutiques here. Strolling around the streets will make you feel as you are watching a catwalk from the first raw. Even if you are not intended to buy anything il Qudrilatero, as locals call it, remains a paradise for fashion lovers. The stylish and eye-grabbing windows will boost your inspiration and will give you a lot of ideas on how to style a fashion outfit on your budget.
TIP: Stop at Via Monte Napoleone, 8, and have an espresso and delicious pastry in one of the oldest pasticceria in Italy – Pasticceria Cova. Founded in 1817 by Antonio Cova, now owned by LVMH Group, it is a historical Milanese institution with a long tradition. From Giuseppe Verdi to Ernest Hemingway, Pasticceria Cove has always been a favorite spot among the elité.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
A luxury shopping in Milan will not be complete without visiting one of the world’s oldest shopping malls – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. A landmark of Milan and an emblem of luxury shopping, the Gallery houses some of the most famous international designers’ boutiques. The elegant arcade, beautiful frescos and mosaics, along with the iron and glass roof, will make your shopping a better experience.
TIP: You can take a break from the shopping schedule at Pasticceria Marchesi. Founded in 1824, it is one of the oldest and finest pastry shops in Milan.
Are you a retro- haute – couture addicted and hunting for second to none vintage items from the previous century is on your list? No problem, Milan has you covered. In the best vintage shops in the city, you can find high- quality clothes and accessories of international designers that will delight your love for fashion. Here are some addresses in Milan you can’t miss if you are a vintage lover.
Kick-off your shopping -through-time tour by visiting the bohemian heart of the city – Brera district. Tucked in the cobblestone streets of the historic district, Cavalli e Nastri, situated in Via Brera 2, is an institution on the vintage scene in Milan. With its unique and carefully curated collection, the boutique is one of the most celebrated retro shops in the fashion capital. Here, you can find rare designer pieces dating back to 1920.
NOTE: You can find Cavalli e Nastri also in Via Gian Giacomo Mora, close to Colonne di San Lorenzo.
- Remain in the Brera area and head to Il Cameo, situated in Via San Carpoforo 6. Dresses and accessories that don’t go out of style, the items in this shop will make you soak into the timeless fashion atmosphere.
- Via Foro Buonaparte 74, close to metro stop Castello (red line) is another address to put on your list. Here you’ll find Madame Pauline Vintage. A hidden gem for vintage lovers, in this shop you can find rare designer pieces from Chanel to Hermes (to name few) to put in your collection.
- 20134 Lambrate, situated in Via Conte Rosso, 22 in the historic neighborhood Lambrate, has a superb collection of vintage pieces from the 20s to 80s. Hermés, Prada, Marni, Chanel, Dior are some of the high-level brands you can find here. Can you guess what the motto of the store is? I’ll help you – “Fashion fade, only style remains the same”, Coco Chanel.
- Mania Vintage is another must-visit stop during the vintage hunt. Situated in Via Fratelli Bronzetti 11, this shop stocks a large variety of retro accessories- from bags to jewelry, it will be difficult to resist not to buy anything.
Outlets and Factory stores in Milan
Milan is a paradise for shopaholics. If you are looking for designer wear at a much lower cost, don’t miss to visit the outlets and factory stores in the city. You can make great deals for buying off-season items. The only thing to keep in mind is that in the outlets not all sizes are available and there is no guarantee you’ll find yours. In any case, enjoy your shopping!
Fashion Outlet, Via Vittor Pisani 12
Situated close to the Milan Central Station, here you can find men and women apparel at a great price. There are up to 80% discounts on great international brands.
The Highline Outlet, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 30
The Highline Outlet is the biggest in Milan situated in the very center of the city, right behind Duomo cathedral, here you can find clothes, accessories, and shoes for men, women, and kids. With its 2000 sqm area and 400 brands, it is a perfect stop to add to your shopping schedule.
Matia’s Fashion Outlet, piazza Mirabello 4, corso Venezia 37, corso Magenta 12, corso Vercelli 40 and Matia’s baby, Via Eugenio Balzan 2
With more than 10 years of experience, Matia’s fashion outlets are situated in different zones of Milan and offer a variety of quality products that will delight your discounted fashion luxury shopping hunt.
Outlet Etro, Via Spartaco 3
Situated close to the historic headquarter founded in 1968 by Gimmo Etro, here you can find men and women clothes of the label with up to 50% discount.
Outlet Marni, Via Giancarlo Sismondi 65
To all Marni lovers, this outlet is a secret place in Milan. Perfect if you want to renew your wardrobe with high-quality items of the brand. Here you can find both men’s and women’s clothes, shoes and accessories and save up to 50%. Isn’t it great?
Boggi Factory Store, Viale Vincenzo Lancetti, 28
I know most shopaholics are women (don’t blame us), but here is a hidden-gem-store reserved only to the men public. If you need to renew your wardrobe with elegant items made in Italy, the two-floor outlet is the correct address for you. Don’t miss to visit it!
Emporio Isola, Via Giuseppe Prina 11
Another hidden gem that can be reached easily by public transport is Emporio Isola stock house. Situated close to Arco Della Pace in an industrial building from the 19th century, it is the perfect place for those hunting only Italian brands. Here you’ll find la crème de la crème of the Italian fashion at discounted prices.
If your shopping plans include a day trip to some of the outlet villages nearby Milan, here is a list with the best you can find. The outlet villages house hundreds of shops, offering discounts all year round. The best part is that during the winter and summer sales discounts are up to 70-80% and finding big deal offers is even easier.
Serravalle Designer Outlet, Via della Moda, 1, Serravalle Scrivia
Not far away from Milan, only 60 minutes drive from the fashion capital, Serravalle is the largest shopping mall in Europe. Here you can find over 200 top Italian and international brands. A unique “shop ’til you drops” experience that combines a relaxing atmosphere, multiple services, including kids’ playground with around 300 stores.
Vicolungo The Style Outlets, Piazza Santa Caterina 1, Vicolungo
Vicolungo is the nearest to Milan outlet village. Situated only 30 minutes drive from the city and 40 minutes from Milan Malpensa International airport, it offers a unique experience for the whole family. Besides its 150 stores, it houses art exhibitions, events and activities perfect for the visitors of all ages.
Fidenza Village, Via Federico Fillini, 1, Fidenza
On the way between Milan and Bologna, not far away from Parma, in only one hour’s drive, you’ll reach the most famous outlet village in Emilia – Romagna region. With its 130 stores, the fashion outlet village is a paradise for all shopaholics, but not only. Here, in the restaurants, you can also experience the gastronomic heritage of the region. What about skipping the shopping schedule and enjoy a delicious plate of pasta with Parmesan cheese or Panino with Parma Ham?
Franciacorta Outlet Village, Piazza Cascina Moie 1, Rodegno-saiano
Franciacorta is home not only to one of the most famous wines but also to one of the best places to do shopping at discounted prices. Less than an hour’s drive, situated between Lake Garda and Iseo, here you can find 160 stores of top international designers. For all wine lovers, you can also experience some of the wineries nearby.
Last but not least, here is another address to put on your shopping itinerary.
Scalo Milano, Via Milano 5, Locate Triulzi
Only 15 minutes from downtown, Scalo Milano is the metropolitan outlet you can’t miss. Here, you can choose between 130 different fashion and designer brands and satisfy all tastes.
NOTE: If you don’t have a rental car, you can reach the outlet villages with a shuttle service (some are free of charge) that make daily round trips from Milan.
Ready- to-wear shopping
Shopping in Milan is quintessential for those who love clothes. Besides luxury shops with glamour windows, you can also find all well-known ready-to-wear brands. Here are the districts that will make your shopping experience unique without breaking the bank.
Corso Buenos Aires
Corso Buenos Aires is perhaps the best-known shopping street in the city. It connects Piazza Loreto and Porta Venezia and is famous also for its high concentration of stores on one avenue. Here you can find more than 350 international brands as well as a lot of cafes and places to dine. It is a great place to find stage priced shops and pick up some bargains. The only thing to keep in mind is that the street is long and if you want to do good shopping, you’ll need plenty of time.
NOTES: You can reach Corso Buenos Aires from Duomo Square in approximately 15 minutes by walk. Otherwise, you can take the red line of the Metro.
Metro Stops: Porta Venezia, Lima, Loreto (connection also with the green Metro line)
TIP: If you are going on food from Duomo, stop for a while at Corso Venezia 47 to admire Palazzo Castiglioni, an example of the majesty of Liberty architecture in Milan.
Put Via Torino on your list if you want to do some shopping on a budget in Milan. It is the street that connects Piazza Del Duomo with the characteristic Ticinese district. It is one of the oldest streets in the city and here you can find plenty of choice at bargain prices. From clothes to footwear, cosmetics, and home décor, the assortment is big. Besides, here you’ll find a lot of cafes and places to grab some street food.
2. Corso Vittorio Emanuele
While Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II is perfect for the luxury shopping lovers, Corso Vittorio Emanuelle II that connects Piazza del Duomo with San Babila is for those who are looking for something at affordable prices. You’ll find both mid-priced range shops as well-known retailers.
3. Milan Central Railway Station
There is a place where you can do great shopping, but no one tells you -the Milan Central Railway Station. Yes, that’s correct! Perhaps you don’t expect it, but it is more than a railway station, it is a place where you can do some shopping last minute. Here you’ll find over 100 stores and 30 bars and restaurants. Don’t worry if you didn’t have time to walk through the shopping districts in the city center, and you have to get a train, there is plenty to do at Milan Central Station.
Corso di Porta Ticinese
You want to do shopping in Milan, but the ordinary shops are not for you? Head to Corso Porta di Ticinese, at the end of Via Torino, it connects Colonne di San Lorenzo with Navigli. It is the best area if you are looking for some alternative designer items. There are a lot of tattoos, skate and piercing shops set here as well as stores where you can find original streetwear. And for the music lovers, some shops selling vintage vinyl records. If this isn’t a hidden shopping gem.
If you have read the whole article, then you know that Milan is not only glamour and luxury shopping. It is a city where you can find something for everyone and whatever kind of shopping you are interested in, remember to have fun and enjoy as much as you can the shopping experience in one of the world’s fashion capitals.
Updated: December 20, 2019