Milan Duomo
The city’s beautiful Duomo (which means cathedral)

I visited Milan for the first time last month. Rome may be a city of history and tourism but Milan is where Italy does business. Don’t get me wrong, with iconic monuments like The Last Supper, the Duomo and La Scala, the city is rich with history, but I think a visit to Milan offers a more “real” experience in Italy. Of course, I stayed at the city’s best hotel, the Principe di Savoia, a part of the Dorchester Collection.

Principe Milan
Enjoying my hot chocolate in the hotel’s beautiful breakfast room

In case you didn’t know, The Dorchester Collection is ten of the world’s most iconic hotels in the world’s most iconic places. I have had the pleasure of staying in eight of those ten luxury hotels, needing only to visit Le Richmond in Geneva and Plaza Athenee in Paris.

Here’s a video of my suite at the Principe:


I had an amazing experience in Milan and spent a few days exploring the city. Thanks to Romano, the great concierge at the Principe, I was able to secure a last-minute admission to The Last Supper. He also got me a seat at La Scala so I could see a Wagner opera in that grand setting.

La Scala theater
I attended a Wagner opera at the legendary La Scala theater

After the performance (well, to be honest, after two hours of the four and half hour German opera) I strolled across the street to the city’s beautiful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
The city’s beautiful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s first luxury shopping malls

Porto Nuova Milan
A view of Porta Nuova from the Principe’s fitness center terrace

The hotel sits right next to Porta Nuova, the city’s newest and hottest neighborhood. It’s also only a short walk from the massive train station and a short drive to the city center with the Duomo and La Scala.

Principe di Savoia bathroom
My spa-like bathroom was quite large, with a big soaking tub
Trenitalia trains in Milan
The beautiful symmetry of Milan’s Central Station

To get back and forth to Milan from Rome, I decided to take the train. The train system in Italy is excellent and the high-speed trains (about 200 mph) take about three hours to make the trip. I arranged all the schedules and tickets on with Rail Europe. They are the official U.S. rep for the Italian train system (and most others in Europe) and you get your tickets sent to you in the U.S., before departing. The website also allows easy booking between countries and sells country-wide and Europe-wide rail passes.

And here’s a tour of the hotel’s amazing Presidential Suite: