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Milan

Milan, Duomo Milan, Duomo batigolix
City of the Chic
A city made famous for its non-stop party scene and flashing lenses, this fashionista paradise is also the financial epicentre of Italy. Situated to the North of the country, it is also within striking distance of France and Switzerland, should you fancy a quick getaway from the glamour scene. But then again, why would you? You could miss out on cutting-edge club nights, chic restaurants and a buzzing social scene. For if you aspire to the new, contemporary, finger-on-the-pulse living, Milan is the place for you!

Why should I choose Milan for my year abroad?

Milan is for cool cats, and boy, does this city deliver in terms of all that's hip and happening. Take to people-watching at the very trendy Caruso café, in one of Milan's most fashionable piazzas if you fancy something altogether more arty and less farty, by all means take a trip to Diana's Garden, an art deco sort of place with cocktails and coolness aplenty.

Milan by Andrew HuxtableIf theatre is more up your street, then you could always pop into Boccascena Café after a rendition of a classic at the nearby Teatro Litta. For the more fanciful, many other bars populate and pander to most needs, from hippy to British (but really, why would you?) to state-of-the-art bars. And for those of you worried about studying, fear not—many good universities surround this city, including the reputable Università degli Studi di Milano and Università Bocconi amongst many others...

After all that reading and shopping, some sightseeing might be of interest and Milan has some impressive art collections and some buildings that have been through the ages (and the wars). Check out the Palazzo Reale, an international pit stop for many (part Visconti villa, part Spanish hacienda, part palace and target for World War II bombings...), it holds some bold art collections, from photography to Renaissance paintings.

The Spazio Oberdan offers the best of both art and cinema, holding an art-house cinema downstairs and a contemporary art collection upstairs, featuring some Hirst and Kentridge, as well as many other avant-garde artists. The Triennale di Milano will also have your heart beating a little faster, with superb exhibitions that touch upon art, design, architecture and popular culture. But Italy being Italy, year abroaders can't go amiss without indulging in some hearty food (even supermodels have been known to 'pick' at other people's plates)—and with good reason, for Milan has some particularly good eateries scattered about, that range from the typical Northern dishes to more experimental platters. Take your pick at any given restaurant or bar, and have a dab or two at the antipasti.

Milan is, without a shadow of a doubt, a city that boasts modernity and glamour at its very, very best — a good place to start (and carry on, and finish) for any year abroader who knows their D&G from their G&T!
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