Shopping and Milan go hand in hand. After all, this northern Italian city is where the fashion world holds some of its most elite designer shows during four different periods every year. Anyone with even the most basic knowledge of fashion knows that Milan is hugely important in the industry. It's little surprise, then, that those who flock here with hopes of finding the best that shopping has to offer are never disappointed.
If you come to Milan to shop, one of your first stops should be its Brera neighborhood. This picturesque shopping area offers tourists the opportunity to find unique treasures and items by little known – but up and coming – designers. Small boutiques along narrow streets are the norm here, and it is considered by many to be one of the most pleasant areas in Milan for strolling and shopping at a leisurely pace. Boasting the highest concentration of clothes stores in all of Europe, Corso Buenos Aires is another must see district if you come to Milan to shop. It is impossible to make much of a dent in the many boutiques here; indeed, one could spend an afternoon afternoon and not hope to see even a fraction of the offerings. It is a real shoppers' paradise in Milan, especially for those looking for marathon shopping experiences.
While Milan is world renowned for its high end fashion, there are still plenty of bargains to be had. Head over to Binda, near the lake, to get incredible deals on shirts, scarves and ties. Or if you seek bargains on some of Milan'samed silk clothing, check out Frey. This outlet store is located on the western edge of the old section of town and is teeming with clothing and accessories deals. Sprinkled through and around Milan are its well regarded Coin stores. These department stores offer a fine selection of excellent quality clothing, accessories, handbags and jewelry. There are also great deals to be had on housewares on the basement level of most coin stores. If you come to northern Italy, you simply must check out this Milanese institution. No shopping trip to Milan could hope to be complete without a stop at its preeminent department store, La Rinascente. Here, shoppers can find absolutely anything imaginable when it comes to high end fashion and clothing. Make a day of it by enjoying one of its top floor restaurants; have a snack of a gourmet meal, then head back out for more shopping!
Those looking for outdoor markets in Milan really have their work cut out for them. That's because Milan is bursting at the seams with great options. If you're looking for shoes, head to the Mercato di Via S. Marco on Monday and Thursday mornings. In addition to shoe stalls, shoppers can enjoy many fine foods and a premier selection of knitwear, including a selection by Valentino. Milan's elite regards this market to be the best available, but its far from the only one. On Saturdays and Tuesdays from about 9am to 1pm, head to the huge Mercato Papiniano for amazing deals on designer duds. Those looking for antiques must head to the Mercatone dell'Antiquario on the last Sunday of the month. And to check out something a little different, try the Via Armorari on Sunday mornings to take in its stamp, coin and postcard collectors in action.
The dates for sales pricing in Milan are set by law, and run from mid-January to mid-July. If you must have the latest fashion fresh off the runway, come here between mid-February and mid-August. There are definite bargains to be had; the key is devoting ample time to your search. This is particularly true if you visit during one of its fashion weeks, when the city is swarmed with an influx of fashion industry elite. No matter when you visit, though, shopping in Milan is a truly unforgetable experience.