Traveling to Milan for work? Here are some tips to make the best out of your business trip.
As a global business development consultant, I have to travel extensively for work, but also I am very lucky to have friends like Cristina Lazic who is local girl working for Google in Milan giving us all her secrets! Moreover, I am very honored to have Antonio Romano owner of Hotlab yacht design studio in Milan, a fellow yachting professional share with us his insights.
Therefore, hereby I am sharing with you hereby some tips that I’ve gained through my own experience and also some tips from the best Local Milanese!
The name “Milan” comes from the name “Mediolanum” (in the middle of the plain). Which indeed, Milan is located between the mountains and the sea. Moreover, it is also very close to some of the beautiful lakes in the world like the Como Lake, and Lake Garda.
It is located in the center of Europe, making it a very convenient location for business!
Milan Malpensa International Airport (MXP) is the largest and handles the most long-haul international flights, however is 52KM away from the city center. There a comfortable shuttle train that from the City centre (Cadorna Station) or from the main train station (Centrale) brings you into the airport in 35/40min, there also many buses but the train is the faster and easy way.
Milan Linate (LIN) is closest to the city center and serves mostly flights from within Italy and is only a 15min cab ride to the city center.
Whether you’re arriving at Malpensa, Linate you should be aware of the location when booking your tickets – sometimes the cheapest ticket or the best schedule can have you flying into one airport and out of a different one, or involve a long transfer into the city.
There are some places to eat in the local terminal like Panino Giusto and a nice area for food near the gates. However, note that in the international terminal in Linate there is almost no options for food and drink, so dont count on that before boarding. The airport is getting modernized and it coutns with passport scanners which makes the queues at least a bit faster.
Milan is a relative small city (compared to other big cities in Europe) therefore most drives would be around 20 minutes.
Unfortunately Uber in Italy is too expensive (they only have Uber Black option) as it is regulated private drivers (NCC) like in Germany and other countries, therefore there is no real price difference between Uber and a regular taxi. Taxis in Italy are a real problem, as they are expensive and there are not too many so you may have to wait long time before you get one. Make sure to plan this accordingly to your scheule. I been once waiting for a taxi for over an hour and had to reschedule and cancel all my meetings for the day. If you need normal taxis, call 026969.
Locals they use an app called car2go by Share now which is a car sharing alternative.
Public transport is not as convenient as it is in London for example. Taking the tube is preferable rather than taking bus transportation. A ticket lasts for 75 minutes and it costs around 2 EURO.
Best hotels for business trips
On my last visit to milan I’ve stayed at the Sheraton Diana Majestic, it is very well located and very italian!
Baglioni Hotel Carlton, for the quality of the bar (amazing cocktails), perfect for a business meeting because is never crowded an always discreet.
Four Seasons Milano, this hotel was an old monastery, has classical interiors and the lobby is the perfect place for an afternoon tea. Is also in the centre of the most know shopping ares: via Monte Napoleone.
Palazzo Parigi, a palace of the 16th century completely renovated, has one the best suite of all Italy and is extremely elegant and well refined. Fabulous Sunday brunch!
I would recommend the Fifty House, The Yard or Mandarin Oriental
Both Antonio and Cristina cannot emphasize enough the BULGARI Hotel.
Before you book your hotels is good to know the Areas in Milan:
- The center – Duomo to San Babila, and Montenapoleone / Via Della Spiga area
- Brera – Parisian style of neighborhood
- Tortona – cool lofts and it’s a nice to go during design week
- Conciliazione area: Via Vincenzo Monti, Corso Vercelli, Piazza Wagner – nice shopping, very “milanese” (especially Corso Vercelli)
- Isola area – it’s the new trendy area, very nice – Blue Note (jazz club) is there, and also the Google office is located here.
MARCE’S TIP: one of my top tips that I always tell you is ‘avoid hotel breakfast’ and instead go to the corner bakery shop or anything local. In there is where you will get to really live the cultural experience and learn something new about a different culture! Skip the ‘typical continental breakfast’ where you eat the same thing in every hotel, and instead go enjoy the local specialties!
Cristina’s top tips for breakfast in Milan ‘I recommend Lost in Town , GATTULLO or MAROTIN and LEONARDO in Via Saffi.
Laptop friendly cafe’s:
A nice cozy coffee place where you could sit down for a couple of hours do some emails and work while enjoying a nice cup of coffee is at BiancoLatte which is perfectly located in the center.
There is also a trendy modern and stylish lounge type of bar called Ceresio 7 pools and restaurant, which has nice options for lounge areas to do some work in a nice comfy couch.
This is also a great place to hold meetings, organize a business lunch or perfect for after work drink, as it has the most beautiful views of Milan city centers, nice pools and its been rated ‘the most instagrammable place in Milan’
The “Cinq” in Brera, the most artistic area of Milan, the bar is into a pedestrian square very quite and calm.
Place for meetings
A great Hotel Lobby to hold a meeting is at the Hotel Principe di Savoia which has the authentic Italian charm!
Depending on the type of meeting it is, but if its a sort-of-casual type of meeting, check out here the most beautiful roof top bars for aperitivo en Milan which can also be great places to hold a meeting while enjoying what Milan has to offer!
For privacy reasons I often have meetings at private clubs, so perhaps you could ask (whoever you-are-meeting) if they already belong to SOHO House or CORE both members-only clubs
A great place for a business lunch is at the new TRUSSARDI ALLA SCALA, which is very well located in the center and close to the Scala Opera house.
if you want a great view of the Duomo, then there is GIACOMO ALL’ARENGARIO
Co-working space and offices
If you need to hire a place to work, a day-office or a place for a conference meeting room, We-Work is my preferred option worldwide! They have comfortable clean spaces, printing services, high speed internet and it is also a great place to network and socialize!
If you are in the tech business you probably also know Talent Garden, they also have a co-working space in Milan.
Best place for an after work drink
I personally love La RINASCENTE CAFE which is located inside a mall similar to the Harrods in London. It has an amazing terrace (makes sure you reserve a table outside to get spectacular view of the Duomo!
Wining & dining clients (Party)
The Armani hotel is a great place to go and they also have a Nobu inside! There is also the Armani Prive club (if you are lukcy, you might catch our friend Cristina there as she is often the DJ there!)
JUST CAVALLI is a popular bar among the celebrities, football players and models.
BULGARI is the place to see and been seen by all celebrities.
Best place to party is GATTOPARDO the crowd is in their 30s and it used to be a church,it is simply amazing!
Generally, the best areas for drinks are brera, porta ticinese and arco.
For more underground type of party, you have Plastic
Things to do in case you case free time
Milan is the fashion capital in the world, therefore if you can, Go shopping!
Shopping tips: ‘ you should shop around the Fashion area of Milano: Via Montenapoleone, Via Della Spiga, Via Manzoni (they are all close), the centre (Duomo, San Babila) and then go to Brera area for a nice walk and coffee. The new mall area of City Life is also cool, you find less luxury brands but it’s super nice.
If you want to leave the crowded city you could drive towards the countryside to go experience EL GARGHET, or why not drive to Lake Como, or why not having an authentic truffle pasta in the Piedmont region?
If you are willing to drive approx 2 hours, you could go to Valle D’Aosta ( the Alps!) or drive towards the sea in Liguria.
TIPS FROM A LOCAL
I asked my awesome friend Cristina Lazic who now works at Google in Milan (she is also a famous female DJ, and a mom, aka a super woman!) we studied together at University of Miami.
What is your favorite thing about your city ?
‘Its size and location – its small enough to get anywhere in 20 mins, but also close to mountains and sea – only 2 hrs – and lakes – only 30 mins! Plus everyone is classy 😉 it’s just THE BEST! ‘
‘Milan may not be as beautiful as Rome and Florence perhaps, but the people take so much care about their style that they make it a beautiful city!’
Hence, now you know why Milan is THE fashion capital of the world!
Antonio reveals to us where do the locals go? The areas where mostly the local goes are Brera, Navigli and Garibaldi.Last but not least in Garibaldi area don’t miss a visit to the Corso Como 10, you can have a good drink, a dinner, make some shopping, use your laptop and much more in a single, magical, place…
What are the ‘Must do’ experiences in Milan?
- Have a coffee “Al bancone” (Italian expression for a coffee behind the bar standing up) in one of the bars of the center, such as COVA in Montenapoleone (with some pasticcini if possible)
- Of course, visit the Duomo (and possibly climb it!) and eat a typical “panzerotto” by the Luini bakery.
- Go for a walk to the the Parco Sempione and notice the Arco Della Pace and walk around the Sempione area.
- Go see an opera or ballet at the famous Teatro alla Scala
- You cant leave Milan without Having an aperitivo
Cristinas tip: ‘my favorite places for aperitivo are OTTO, THE YARD, RITA for amazing cocktails and then the terraces, like CERESIO 7 and TERRAZZA MARTINI.
Have an ‘Sprtiz’ as they call it, is basically a prosecco and bitter Aperol cocktail, called Aperol Spritz. The best areas to look for bars for an aperitivo are: the Brera, Arco, and Navigli. Italians are serious about the APERITIVO and is one of my favorite things about the italian culture! Is like an afte-work but a million times better! You pay between 6-10 euros for a drink but you also get a lot of food! Aperitivo is very important in Milan and bars compete to offer the best aperitivo, therefore you enjoy a little taste of the best the italian cuisine has to offer! sometimes there are buffets or so many options that you are almost too full for diner!
Where to eat?
You cant leave Milan without eating a proper Milanese (yes, it comes from Milan but Italians call it Cotoletta) Do you know the difference between a Milanese and a German Schnitzel? you would have to ask an Italian and they would be very happy to elaborate!
Best Place for fish
Milan is also known for the quality of his restaurants, especially for the fish (the freshest one of Italy arrives first here)
- LANGOSTERIA BISTROT (amazing fish generally raw),
- “The Fisher” has a nice atmosphere, great service and fish plates. Even better if you’ll try a cocktail at the bar before the dinner
Nice Italian restaurant:
- GIULIO PANE E OJO
- “Paper Moon Giardino” another great court in the surroundings of Monte Napoleone. One of the best places also for mushrooms, truffles and in general for all the kind of pasta!
- “Giacomo all’Arengario” from this place you will have a unique view to the Duomo Square
- For something really WAOW: TORRE at FONDAZIONE PRADA
Feel more like Asian?
- IYO (its actually the best sushi i have ever had, it has been awarded a Michelin star too!),
- BA ASIAN MOOD (asian fusion, same owners as IYO),
- GONG (dim sum etc, again same owners as IYO),
Best Place for Meat:
DON JUAN for argentinian steaks.
Best place for brunch:
- LIVING at arco della pace area
- Palazzo Parigi ‘amazing sunday brunch’
Best place for sunny lunch:
Lunch at the “Salumaio di Montenapoleone”, fabulous restaurant in the centre of the shopping area.Is into the court of an historical building, that is also a museum.
Best place for pizza:
- SPONTINI (very casual and easy place, no posh) .
- The Best pizzeria: PICCOLA ISCHIA.
Non- touristic secret place
Antonio would also suggest to try a very tiny and distinctive restaurant, famous for the quality of the regional food and the kindness and harmony of the two owners, is not in the centre but definitely deserve a visit: Latteria Maffucci.
For more tips on trendy places, there is a well known blog called Flawless which covers all the up to date places to go!
DURING THE CORONA VIRUS
Since we cant fly to Milan, we can watch this video and tele-transport ourselves there! Enjoy!
Milan Aerial views from above: