Milan, in northern Italy's Lombardy Region, 30 miles south of the Alps and a stone's throw from the Italian Lakes, is one of the fashion capitals of the world. Milan is Italy's industrial hub, but its inescapable connection to the fashion world - the likes of Versace, Gucci, Armani and Prada launched their careers on Milan's runways - means that this historic city simply oozes style and elegance. Experience both high art and high-end boutiques as well as lavish hotels in Milan's manicured centre.
See the famous La Scala Opera House and Milan's elaborate marble cathedral - the third largest in the world - which contains one of the most famous pieces of art ever created: Leonardo da Vinci's painting ‘The Last Supper'. The ornate Piazza Duomo houses the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) and Sforza Castle, which once housed the Duchy of Milan, now holds a collection of art galleries and museums, including Michelangelo's last sculpture, the Rondanini Pietà. Take a break from Milan's cultural treasures and indulge in some shopping at one of the flagship designer stores found along the Quadrilatero d'Oro (Golden Quad).
Lake Maggiore and Lake Como are less than an hour by train or car from Milan and are ideal for a day excursion to the Italian Lakes. Lake Maggiore is famed for its picturesque towns, including Stresa, and the beautiful, flower-filled Borromean Islands, which are scattered throughout the lake. Take a boat to Isola Bella, a paradise of peacocks and ornamental gardens. Due north of Milan is the dazzling Lake Como. Lombard Kings once retreated to its only island, Isola Comacina, after an invasion. Visitors today are more likely to seek sanctuary from the bustle of Milan's busy streets and explore Como's rugged mountains, luxury villas and hill towns of Bellagio and Menaggio.