Winter is not always everyone’s first choice for travel… but it is the perfect time of year to visit Europe if you want to experience a white Christmas (I’m from Australia so this was a must-do), or if you love museums but hate the crowds.
Milan in December ticks both boxes… dress in your winter best and find out why!
Winter does not slow the Milanese down, as cold and dreary it may be, there are festivities and events still to enjoy.
Opera fans will love the La Scala opera season which opens early December. However be warned, tickets sell out quickly. The cheapest tickets are the restricted view ones, but if you are willing to wait, then reduced-priced tickets are available one hour before shows start.
Tickets to La Scala for the general public are only available 60 days prior to the first performance for each show, but you will be able to see the season schedule months in advance. First choice always goes to season ticket holders, so the remaining seats are the ones left for the general public. The downside is that seats with a clear view of the stage and subtitles are limited, but still possible to get.
Visit the Official Ticket Office to check out the latest schedule HERE
Fashion is on show with stylish boots, long wool coats and warm scarves. Of course there is plenty of shopping still to do, and its the perfect time to stock up on cashmere jumpers, leather boots and anything else your wardrobe needs.
Celebrate the feast day of Milan’s patron saint, St Ambrose, on the 7th December, with a service in the Duomo. While you are in the Duomo, take a tour of the crypt beneath, or brave the rooftop for stunning views of the city.
Take advantage of a quieter time of year to explore the numerous galleries and museums at your leisure. Admire Da Vinci’s Last Supper in the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie (Purchase tickets HERE). Or wander slowly through the Pinacoteca di Brera, with its vast collection of Renaissance works.
Visit the La Fiera degli Oh bej! Oh bej! traditional Christmas market, held near the Sforza Castle. The oh bej! oh bej! market is believed to have begun back in 1510, though celebrations for Sant’Ambrogio have been held at the same time since the late 13th century. Here you will find Christmas sweets, delicacies, handmade crafts, souvenirs, decorations, antiques and more.
Don’t forget the most important part – Aperitivo hour. Between 5-9pm, find yourself a window seat and order some aperitivo drinks and snacks while taking in some people watching (one of my favourite activities to do).
How long will you need? Two days minimum, but three days is better.
Good to know: Tickets for the Last Supper need to be booked between 1-3 months in advance. Though if you go first thing in the morning, there may be spare tickets from last minute cancellations or no-shows.
What are the seasons like? November to December are the coldest months and is also the Opera season. Retail sales start in January and Fashion week is in February.
THE MILANO CITY PASS
What is it? The Milano Card is a tourist city pass which gives you access to free public transport, and free or discounted entry to over of Milan’s top tourist attractions. These city passes can be great value, especially when you plan on visiting several sites during your stay.
How does it work? The pass can now be downloaded straight to your smartphone or via email, giving you instant access. If you prefer a paper card, it can be collected at specific locations around Milan between 2pm-6pm every day.
How much does it cost? The MilanoCard has 3 options: 1 day for €11; 2 days for €17; or 3 days for €19.50
How do you purchase the MilanoCard? Easy, just follow this link HERE
Note: Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link. Full disclosure policy here. I only recommend products that I have used personally, or currently use that I feel provide a high amount of value.