People who know Italy will tell you to skip Milan. People who know Italy well will tell you that whatever you do, do not skip Milan. Granted, it can be hard to compete with the Romes, Venices, and Florences of the world, but underestimating Milan is rookie move.
This is the media, fashion, financial, and design center of Italy. In other words, it’s one of the few places in the entire country that isn’t driven by tourism. That means excellent restaurants, cutting-edge art galleries, and fashion and design boutiques that are heavy on quality, light on tourists. It’s also heavy on masterpieces. Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, the Gothic Duomo cathedral, La Scala, one of the world’s greatest opera houses—they’re all here.
This being a city driven by locals, there are ample ways to get off the beaten path—quaint neighborhoods, like Brera, with its cobblestoned streets made for an evening passeggiata come to mind. Milan is an Italian anomaly, equally threaded with the hypermodern and the wonderfully old. And like the masterpieces that it lays claim to, Milan has great stories to tell and great beauty to share. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look.
If you can choose when to visit Milan, we would recommend visiting the capital of Lombardy during Spring or Autumn, to avoid the hot summers and the cold, overcast winters. If we had to choose, we would say that the worst month to visit Milan is August. It is the hottest month of the year and in addition, the city is practically empty, since the Milanese take their summer holidays during this month. This is the best time to visit the Italian lakes.
Information on Milan's public holidays and observances will help you plan your holiday to the capital of Lombardy. You will be able to see what top attractions and museums are closed and if the city celebrates a special festival. Best Times to Visit Milan
The best times to visit Milan are April to May or September to October. This spring and fall months straddle the city's manic peak tourism season, and they also escape the summer's sweltering temperatures. The months between November and March constitute the offseason and are characterized by high average temps in the 40s and 50s, fog and an emptied-out city.
Summer in Milan: The mix of high temperatures (sometimes above 85°F - 29°C) with high humidity levels make the summer months; June, July and August rather suffocating. Sometimes it is difficult to find refuge from the heat and stickiness.
Winter in Milan: The coldest months in Milan are December, January and February with average lows of 30.4°F -1°C and average highs of 9°C. The winter months are not especially rainy if we compare them to the months of spring and autumn, but it can snow on occasion.
Spring is a great time to visit the city before the summer crowds roll in. While April sees daytime highs in the 60s, you'll still receive remnants of winter's chill in the evening, as nighttime temps dip down to the low 40s. May sees warmer days, with highs in the 70s and lows creeping up to the low 50s.
June-August: The peak season is hot. Although average highs hover in the mid-80s, the humidity can make the city feel a lot hotter. That, mixed with the loads of tourists that visit during this time, could make for an uncomfortable visit (think crowded main streets, long lines at attractions).
September-October: Fall in Milan is another sweet time to visit. High average temperatures drop into the mid-70s in September and then the 60s by October, giving visitors a hospitable climate to tour the city. The downside to visiting during October is rain. After November, October sees the most precipitation out of the entire year, so arm yourself with an umbrella. And if you plan on visiting in September, keep in mind that women's fashion week commences, so be sure to book your hotel months in advance.
November-March: Bring a warm coat for Milan's foggy and cold wintertime. High averages slide into the 50s during the day in November and then dip down to the 40s December through February. And with nighttime lows in the low 30s and 20s, you'll need a heavy duty coat to get around. If you're traveling during November, be sure to bring an umbrella, as the month sees the most rain out of the entire year. If you plan on visiting during February, book your accommodations months in advance, as women's fashion week is scheduled to occur.
Using debit and credit cards.: You'll find cash machines (ATMs) in most places. Look out for the 'Bancomat' sign. The most popular credit card by far in Italy is Visa, with Mastercard a close second. Both credit and debit cards can be used in Italy to withdraw cash from the bancomat and to pay for goods and services in hotels and shops. Bigger cities and even small towns are full of cash machines (ATMs) these days. Look for those linked to banks ('banco' or 'banca'), like this...
ATMs In the tinier and more remote villages you won't find them, though, so make sure you carry enough cash with you if you're heading out for the day. Remember that your home bank may charge a commission fee for withdrawing cash by card. The more you withdraw at once the lower the commission will be. Also be aware that most Italian bancomats will only allow you to withdraw a maximum of €250 per day. Local 'Festas' which provide local produce, and markets, will very rarely take cards - you'll need cash for those.ATMs are widely available and credit cards are universally accepted. To change money, you’ll need to present your passport ID.
Tipping: Tipping is not generally expected nor demanded in Italy as it is in some other countries. This said, a discretionary tip for good service is appreciated in some circumstances.