One day three ways: Milan


Have a stand-up coffee and croissant at a neighbourhood cafe ($7) as you head to the gargantuan marble Duomo (; $15), where you should climb onto the rooftops for splendid views framed by Gothic turrets. Take the metro (; $7 day ticket) two stops to Bianco Latte (biancolatte; $20) for lunch and Milan's best gelato before heading further north-east for a free guided tour of Hangar Bicocca (, a brilliant exhibition space for contemporary art and design. In the evening, hit Navigli district, where canal-side warehouses have been transformed into lively eateries and artists' studios. Enjoy pizza and salad at Premiata (; $26) before cruising wine bars and live-music clubs such as Le Scimmie (, known for jazz. Stay at the simple, family-run Hotel London (; $130) for old-fashioned but spacious and bright guest rooms.

TOTAL: $205


Skip the touristy Last Supper for Pinacoteca di Brera (; $15), an art collection breathtaking even by Italian standards. The trendy surrounding district is worth strolling before heading to nearby Brera fish markets for a seafood platter and prosecco at Da Claudio (; $36). Content yourself with afternoon window-shopping in the fabulously chic "Golden Quadrangle" fashion district. If you're tempted to spend, hop on a bus (; $7 day ticket) to factory outlet Il Salvagente ( for designer threads at more reasonable prices. Then enjoy the square in front of the cathedral as it catches the late afternoon sun, before a gourmet browse at deli Peck (; $40) through risottos, salads, cheese plates and glorious pastries. Lay your head down in style at Maison Moschino (; $260), where high fashion meets an avant-garde, fairytale-inspired decor.

TOTAL: $358


Sashay through the flagship stores of Ferre, Prada, Ferragamo, Moschino, Versace and Valentino before lunch at Nobu's sushi bar (; $60) in the three-storey Armani store on ultra-chic Via Montenapoleone. Then overdose on art at Museo Poldi-Pezzoli (; $13), a superb personal collection that includes Bellinis, Tiepolos and Botticellis. Take a perch at Il Camparino (; $10) for a cocktail in opulent 1860s shopping mall Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the "drawing-room of Milan", followed by an opera or ballet at adjacent La Scala (; from $160 for best seats). Finally, dine on reinvented Milanese classics at two-star Michelin restaurant Cracco (; $202 tasting menu) before retiring to stylish Straf Hotel, where traditional palazzo architecture meets minimalist decor and recycled objects (; $320).

TOTAL: $765