Capital of Italian fashion, design, and finance, Milan is a chic metropolis known more for its impeccable sense of style and industrious vibe than its cuisine. On my first visit, however, I was surprised to discover a vibrant dining and imbibing scene, with both traditional dishes from Lombardia and a fusion movement that reflected this cosmopolitan city’s cultural diversity.
Milan’s biggest standout is its aperitivo hour, when the fashionable Milanesi bridge the end of their work day with the beginning of dinner hour. Of all Italian cities, Milan is my number one choice for a spritz and nibbles. Experience the city’s top food and drink experiences in three days with these pointers.
Milan is known for its overcast skies, which make summer days muggy and winter days bone-chillingly cold.
If you only have time for one thing, dive into the buzzy cocktail hour scene in the Navigli district.
Get the lay of the land and discover great market stalls, cafès, gourmet shops, and other city eateries on a foodie tour through central Milan. Sample a variety of specialties from the city and surrounding hills, including artisan cheeses and chocolates and red and white wines.
Connect with a local home cook this morning and learn how to prepare a few of Milan’s most authentic traditional dishes. Begin with a stroll through the market to choose a few key ingredients, then head back to your host’s kitchen for a hands-on cooking class and lunch.
This evening, take a deep dive into the region’s wines without leaving the city. Settle in at a well-stocked wine bar for a guided tasting of reds and whites paired with artisan cheeses and charcuterie.
Head out of the city today to explore a nearby foodie destination. One option is the famous Franciacorta hills, where Italy’s most prestigious bubbly is produced. Drive about an hour east to visit a local winery for a tour and tasting.
Alternatively, head about two hours west to Alba in Piedmont, known for its exceptional Barolo wines and white truffles, one of the most expensive foods in the world. Explore its cellars, hill towns, and restaurants on a gourmet day trip.