The mighty city of Milan, population two million and rising, is for many the region’s spiritual centre. The official capital of Italy may be Rome, but any Italian will tell you that all the really serious decisions that affect the everyday lives of ordinary citizens are taken in Milan: what will be the fashionable colour this year? Which way will hemlines go? Some even hold that this bustling metropolis is the ‘secret capital’ (‘la capitale morale’) of all Italy. All the big corporations and banks are based here and the people who live in the city love to spend their hard-earned cash. No wonder, then, that there are so many excellent designer shops, elegant boutiques and bustling markets, and that the restaurants and cafés are among the best in Europe. The Duomo is a Gothic marvel of white marble adorned with belfries, gables and statues; La Scala is the world’s most revered and important opera house and there are many fine museums. The Kirker Concierge can obtain tickets to the Pinacoteca di Brera, a 17th century palace displaying the country’s greatest art collection, and also to Leonardo’s masterpiece, ‘The Last Supper’ which is housed in the Dominican convent adjoining the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Visitors will find a city that is exciting, colourful and vibrant – ideal in combination with a relaxing holiday on one of the lakes, or perfect for a weekend break.

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