• If you are planning a trip to Milan it is advisable to avoid the month of August.  The city virtually closes down from the end of the first week onwards  - many bars, restaurants, supermarkets and shops will not be open for business so you will have a very limited choice of places to go.  Much of the public transport system will also be operating a much reduced 'bank holiday' type service.  The 15th of August is 'Ferragosto' - a huge national holiday when even more places will be closed.  You have been warned!

  • Note that having your lunch sitting down is always more expensive than standing up at Italian food places. When eating inside the Galleria you're going to pay through your nose. There are plenty of pizza places where you can expect to pay not more than €12 - €15 for a pizza and drink and coffee. By law, restaurants must display their menu on the outside so you can have a look at what you can eat and the prices before deciding to go in. Watch out for the cover charges though; often the soft drinks cost far more than a glass of wine.

 

  • Any effort to speak the local language is always appreciated in any country, and often rewarded in some way. English is fine in most restaurants - just speak more slowly and don't use too much slang. Greetings in Italian are a good way to say "Hey, I'm trying!" but some waiters say that sometimes they wish tourists would just forget attempting broken Italian because it's frustrating for everyone, especially if the waiter is perfectly competent in English. Shopping is a different story - sticking with the basics is OK (size, color, etc.) but it generally gets tough with anything else more complicated. Also, if you're obviously "foreign" when you walk in the door, don't be surprised if the sales assistants can sometimes seem a little less than friendly - it's not that they're arrogant - it's just that they might be a lit bit panicky about having to serve a customer in English.

 

  • Almost all restaurants, almost all shops, and for sure all hotels will accept credit cards (Amex is a bit less frequent than Visa or Diners but still it's very well accepted too). Milan is also full of ATMs (there's virtually one on every corner), so don't bring too much cash or traveller vouchers, you won't need them.

 

** Note:  The original information for this thread came from the following forum thread:

 

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