Although Milan is cold in winter and you may even see snow, it can be a good time to go as the crowds are very small and there are many cultural events in the theaters. La Scala Theater, one of Italy's top historic opera houses, usually has several performances during January and February. It's also a great time to go shopping, as stores often have sales in January.
Popular January Festivals and Events
January 1 - New Year's Day
New Year's Day is a national holiday in Italy.
Most shops, museums, restaurants, and other services will be closed and transportation is on a more limited schedule so that Milanese can recover from New Year's Eve Festivities. Check with your hotel to find restaurants that are open.
January 6 - Epiphany and Befana
A national holiday, Epiphany is officially the 12th day of Christmas and one on which Italian children celebrate the arrival of La Befana, a good witch who brings gifts. This day is celebrated in Milan with a beautiful procession, with participants wearing historic costumes, from the Duomo to the church of Sant'Eustorgio, where the relics of the three wise men (Three Kings) are held. Read more about La Befana and Epiphany in Italy.
Mid-January - Men's Fashion Week (Milano Moda Uomo Autunno/Inverno)
As Milan is the fashion capital of Italy, it has several fashion weeks for both men and women throughout the year. Men's Fashion Week for the forthcoming fall/winter collections is held in mid-January.
Visit the Milano Modo website for further details on men's fashion week events. Note that the corresponding women's fashion week takes place in February and you'll also find information about it on the same site.
Popular February Festivals and Events
Approximately February 3 - Carnevale and beginning of Lent
While Carnevale is not as big in Milan as it is in Venice, Milan puts on a huge parade around the Duomo for the occasion.
The parade typically takes place on the first Saturday of Lent and features floats, chariots, men and women in medieval dress, flag bearers, bands, and children in costume. Learn more about upcoming dates for Carnevale and how Carnevale is celebrated in Italy.
February 14 - Valentine's Day (Festa di San Valentino)
Only in recent years has Italy begun to celebrate the feast day of Saint Valentine with hearts, love letters, and romantic candlelight dinners. While the Milanese may not celebrate the holiday heartily, the city is not short on romantic venues, from the rooftop of the Duomo to Piazza San Fedele, a popular square with couples. Milan is also a short trip from Lake Como, one of the most romantic places in Italy.
Late February - Women's Fashion Week (Milano Moda Donna Autunno/Inverno)
As Milan is the fashion capital of Italy, it has several fashion weeks for both men and women throughout the year. Women's Fashion Week for the forthcoming fall/winter collections is held in late February. Note that the corresponding men's fashion week takes place in January (see the Milano Modo website listed for men's fashion week in January).