Although Milan is cold in winter and you may even see snow, it can be a good time to go as the crowds are usually much smaller than at other times of the year. Many cultural events take place in the winter months, and La Scala Theater, one of Italy's top historic opera houses, usually has several performances during January and February. Winter is also a great time to go shopping in Milan, as stores often have sales starting in January.
Here are some of the most important holidays and events in Milan during January and February.
New Year's Day (January 1)
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 locals can recover from New Year's Eve Festivities. Check with your hotel to find restaurants that are open.
Epiphany and Befana (January 6)
A national holiday, Epiphany is officially the 12th day of Christmas, and it's the day 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.
Men's Fashion Week (Mid-January)
As the fashion capital of Italy, Milan 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.
Carnevale and the Beginning of Lent (Early February)
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.
Valentine's Day (February 14)
Only in recent years has Italy begun to celebrate the feast day of Saint Valentine as a romantic holiday with hearts, gifts, and 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.
Women's Fashion Week (Late February)
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.
While it's not always possible to access the major design houses' runway shows, the buzz in Milan during Fashion Week is exciting, with models (more than usual), photographers, and media all over the city.
Football (Soccer) Matches
Milan's two rival soccer (calcio in Italian) teams, A.C. Milano and Inter Milano (just known as Inter), both play at the storied San Siro stadium in the Milan suburbs. While it's nearly impossible to score tickets to a match between the two teams, you might find last-minute tickets to a less highly contested game. Attending a soccer match in Italy will likely go down as one of your most memorable vacation experiences.
Ready to plan a trip to Milan? Check out our Milan Travel Guide.
Original article by Melanie Renzulli.