The business traveler's guide to... Milan

Milan is known as a high-powered, stylish metropolis that makes an art form out of balancing work and leisure.

Milan is known as a high-powered, stylish metropolis that makes an art form out of balancing work and leisure. As the home to iconic brands like Gucci, Versace, Prada and Valentino to name just a few, the city has established itself as a capital of European style. Milan is the centre for Italian commerce and big business is thriving, with KPMG, HSBC and AXA all having bases here. Over 80% of foreign multinational companies in Italy choose Milan as their base, and the city is home to some of the biggest trade events from a variety of industries. However, the beautiful architecture, art and culture are worth making time for if you’re here on business - we’ve rounded up some of the best picks that you can do with your few spare hours.

Where to stay

We’re delighted to be able to offer our business-class express check in and out service in hotels around Milan! These are our picks for where to stay in the city: Hotel Galles is walking distance from the city centre and right by the beautiful Indro Montanelli public garden. The majestic 19th century building is next to Lima metro station, so getting around the city quickly is no problem. It’s also near the central station. It’s a great base for your stay in Milan with its panoramic terraces, sauna and Turkish baths. Our Smarthotel Tocq Milan is well-located between cafes, nightlife and some of the biggest corporate offices in Milan including Microsoft. The architecture and fresh, modern interior makes for a great atmosphere.

What to eat

Milan is famous for its aperitivo culture. The aperitivo might sound similar to Spanish tapas, but it is it’s own event - typically before dinner, friends will gather to enjoy a bitter alcoholic drink and small snacks such as cheese, cured meats and quiches. Italians usually eat at around 8 or 9pm, but aperitivo comes a little earlier so it is the perfect way to relax after a busy day and keep the hunger away! Popular drinks include Spritz, which is typically made with Aperol or Campari, sparkling white wine and soda water and the Negroni, a mixture of gin, vermouth and Campari. If you’re a big risotto fan, Trattoria Abele la Temperanz has over 100 variations on the dish! This is also a great place to try local specialities such as the braised beef stew. The atmosphere is old-fashioned but charming and conveniently located for the central station.For something higher-end but still traditional, Boccondivino is the perfect place for taking colleagues or clients for dinner. The menu is a variety of courses of classic Italian food, served in a warm and friendly atmosphere. For lunch, Piadineriia Atrigianale has got you covered - especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. The food is all freshly made in-house and excellent quality but still wallet-friendly. The piadine is a particular favourite with patrons.

What to do

You can’t visit Milan without seeing Milan Cathedral. This iconic piece of gothic architecture was designed by none other than Leonardo da Vinci and took 600 years (!) to complete. The cathedral is also the fifth largest Christian church in the world and is covered with 3400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures. Supposedly, one of the nails from the crucifixion of Jesus is in place above the altar, marked by a small red light bulb.Take a break from city life and clear your mind at the Indro Montanelli park, the oldest in the city. It’s full of beautiful flowers and spots to relax or go for an early morning jog (especially convenient if you’re staying at Hotel Galles) so take time to unwind when you have a spare hour - your productivity will thank you! If you want an overview of Milan’s fashion and design culture, then make a stop at 10 Corso Como. It’s a bookshop, cafe, B&B and gallery with items for sale (just don’t get too much of a shock from the prices!). It’s worth it for the unique design and interior, as it was owned by former Italian Vogue editor Carla Sozzani. We’ve saved you the waiting at check-in and out so you can make the most of your free time in Milan! Although it might have a reputation as a city of work and business, there’s plenty of opportunities to relax and have fun here, too. Click here to download the conichi app before your next business trip.