Milan is Italy’s fashion capital with a culture of well-dressed natives.
Milan is the second largest city in Italy and served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402. It was founded 400 BC by the Celts. From 774 Milan belonged to the Frankish Empire and became a city state. In 1162 it was destroyed completely by Frederick Barbarossa. After reconstruction under the noble family of the Sforza Milan it became one of the leading cities of the Italian Renaissance.
In the 16th century Milan fell into Spanish hands, after the War of Spanish Succession it was awarded to Austria in 1714, until finally in 1859 the Italian Kingdom began to emerge.
During World War II Milan suffered heavy destruction as the centre of the Italian defence industry.
During the 1980s it became an economically thriving metropolis in the fields of fashion, design and media. The city has been recognized as the world’s fashion and design capital. Four times a year the Milan Fashion Week takes place. When it comes to men's fashion Milan is the leading city of the world.
For architecture, art, culture and opera lovers Milan has plenty to offer.
Milan has the biggest gay scene in the whole of Northern Italy. The bars and clubs are scattered all over Milan but there are no particular gay areas but there is a small concentration of gay venues in Porta Venezia area.
Milan is relatively easy to get around by walking if you stay in the centre of town. If you are staying less central then the metro or local buses can be used to navigate the city.
Milan is serviced by three airports called Linate, Malpensa and Orio Al Serio.
Linate is the closest airport to the city just a few kilometres away. The largest and most popular airport is Malpensa. The third airport is Orio Al Serio which is in another city called Bergamo and 45 kilometres outside of Milan.
The best way to travel from Linate airport is either by bus or taxi as there is no train station. Linate Express Bus Service runs from the airport to Piazza San Babila (city centre). You must buy your tickets from the machine before boarding and this ticket is valid for use for up to 90 minutes from time of purchase so you can use it on metro after you get off the bus with a journey time of about 20 minutes depending on the time of day.
There are two buses: 73 and 73X. The 73X is an express service and only stops once before Piazza San Bablia.
Air Bus is also available to take you from Linate to Central Station which more expensive and runs every 30 minutes.
A taxi to the city centre will cost on average €20 euros but check with driver before starting journey so know approximate cost.
Malpensa Airport is the main airport of Milan with two terminals.
The Malpensa Express Malpensa Express service runs directly from Terminal 1 to Piazza Cadorna or to Central Station (Centrale) and departs every 30 minutes.
A Taxi from Malpensa has fixed price but will cost close to €100 depending on traffic.
Orio al Serio (Bergamo) Airport is a small newly renovated airport.
There are two companies offer a bus shuttle from Orio al Serio to Central Station.
A Taxi from Orio al Serio to Milan centre will take about 45-60 minutes and costs about €100.
Places to stay
There are as yet no exclusively gay hotels in Milan but a number of gay friendly hotels. It is a city that has many conventions and corporate events so it is always wise to book your accommodation in advance to guarantee availability and choice.
All accommodation bookable on our website are exclusively gay or gay friendly so you are assured to be welcome.
The large Piazza del Duomo in front of the cathedral is the number one tourist attraction. The massive Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, which the Milanese call just "Il Duomo" is among the world's largest (it holds up to 40,000 people) and most magnificent churches, the ultimate example of the Flamboyant Gothic style. It was begun in the 14th century, but its façade was not completed until the early 1800s, under Napoleon. The roof is topped by 135 delicately carved stone pinnacles and the exterior is decorated with 2,245 marble statues. A walk on the roof of the cathedral is an impressive experience offering views across the city and on a clear day you can see the Alps. You can take an elevator almost to the tope but need to walk the last 73 steps to the platform of the dome.
You'll find plenty of things to do near the Duomo. In tiny Piazza dei Mercanti, you will feel as though you've stepped back into the Middle Ages as you stand beneath the stone market arcade in front of the 13th-century Palazzo della Ragione.
On the other side of the Duomo is Piazza della Scala designed by Giuseppe Mengoni and built between 1865 and 1877. It is a vibrant place where locals meet for lunch or coffee in the elegant cafes and to browse in the luxury shops.
For opera lovers it is recommend to visiting the Scala which is the most famous opera house in the world. The season begins in early December and runs through May but tickets are often difficult to come by. It is possible to do a tour of the opera house. In the same building is the Museo Teatrale alla Scala, where you'll find a collection of costumes from landmark performances and historical and personal mementos of the greats who performed and whose works were performed at La Scala, including Verdi, Rossini, and the great conductor Arturo Toscanini.
Naviglio is a nice place to visit with canal-side cafés and music clubs. It is popular at night but go in the daytime for the boutiques and artists' workshops, and for the restaurants and frequent festivals held here.
Bars, cafes, and restaurants
The gay scene of Milan is more widely accepted in Milan than Rome generally mainly due to the Cosmopolitan character of the city as well as the numerous fashion events that take place in it annually. The areas of Porta Venezia and NoLo are nice places to hang out.
The majority of the locals are pretty open minded but don't forget you are in Italy and the Catholic church still influences many peoples so be discreet.
Blanco is a gay friendly bar with excellent cocktails at aperitivo time. It’s also busy for breakfast and lunch but most fun in the evening when the crowd spills into the square. Address Via Morgagni 2.
Ghe Pensi M.I. is a friendly, relaxed local pub just round the corner from NoLo So and popular with gay guys. Address Piazza Morbegno 2.
LeccoMilano is restaurant bar located in Via Lecco and generally busy from lunchtime to late night. Popular for lunch during the week and has a good choice of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. They have their own cocktail called LeccoCocktail made with rum, lime, organic grape juice, ginger and lemon grass which is work trying. Wednesday is usually karaoke night and Friday night is dedicated to Tom of Finland and Saturday night with only female DJs. Address Via Lecco 5.
Little Italy is a nice Italian restaurant with sexy waiters wearing sailor-inspired uniforms, and serving excellent pizza and a variety of other dishes in the Porta Venezia area. Service is friendly and fast especially on weekend nights when the place is packed with gay and straight people there for the good food and atmosphere. Address Via Tadino 41.
Mono is another gay friendly with retro décor and popular with hipsters. It is a popular aperitivo spot with different events and a DJ most Saturday night. Popular with bears. Address Via Lecco 6.
NoLo So is a bar is a cute gay friendly but in a different area of the city. Address Via Varanini 5.
To enter many of the gay Milan clubs and others in Italy you will need the ANDDOS card. This cost €17 for a year. Search online and sign up. http://www.anddos.org/en/international/
This is one of the longest-running gay clubs in Milan, open since the Eighties. It’s popular with bears and older men, and the atmosphere is fairly low key. There are also private cabins and a dark room. Access only with Anddos card. Address Via Felice Cavallotti, 204, Sesto San Giovanni.
Milan as the fashion capital of Italy has lots of stylish boutiques and shops all over the city. Prices are generally a little more expensive than other cities but the quality and choice is excellent.
Main LGBT Events
The Milano Pride Parade is typically held annually on the last Saturday of June. The parade starts in piazza Duca d’Aosta and finishes in the Porta Venezia district of the city. Approximately 250,000 people attend the event and has a fun and friendly Italian atmosphere.