Welcome to my place . . . Milan

Sheenagh Daly recommends her favourite places to visit, eat and buy shoes in her adopted city

Sheenagh Daly, originally from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, trained as a solicitor at an international law firm in London, which seconded her to Milan more than 12 years ago. "Milan has become my home. Following my decision to settle here, I met my husband, Fabio, who is Milanese, and we have a daughter, Ailise (18 months)."

Where is the first place you bring people to when they visit Milan?

I take visitors to the Gothic Forest of Milan (otherwise known as the Duomo), the adjacent Vittorio Emanuele II shopping gallery and the top floor of the Rinascente shopping centre which, from the terrace of its seventh floor, has a beautiful view of the Duomo, which has been recently renovated. Legend has that turning your heel on the mosaic of the bull in the Vittorio Emanuele II shopping gallery brings good luck.

The top three things to do in Milan that don’t cost money


1. Milan’s parks, of which there are two main ones in the centre and which border interesting and lively areas. Parco Sempione (more on which below) and Giardini Pubblici offer respite from the hectic traffic of the city centre. The Giardini Pubblici border Porta Venezia, Milan’s high-street fashion experience, around which chic and interesting bars and restaurants (serving food as diverse as Eritrean to Japanese) are located.

2. Naviglio Grande. Partly designed by Leonardo da Vinci, the Naviglio Grande (Large Canal) area was revamped at the time the Expo Fair was held in Milan in 2015. The Naviglio now hosts walkways, cafes, bars and a bustling food market.

3. The sleek architecture in Milan’s newly-developed Porta Nuova area may seem out of step with the adjacent cobblestoned Corso Como and piazza XXV Aprile (home to the Eataly building) and the traditional neighbourhood of Isola. However, the gradual ascent to Piazza Gae Aulenti, the heart of this new area, creates a neat division between the architectural styles of old and new Milan. I recommend admiring the futuristic skyline, as well as the architectural feat that is Milan’s vertical forest, and dining in some of Isola’s characteristically Milanese restaurants in Via Confalonieri.

Where do you recommend for a great meal that gives a flavour of Milan?

Da Abele in Via Temperenza, 5 – for the food and flavour of a typical Milanese trattoria. They serve original twists on the classic risotto, cured meats and other delicacies which are characteristic of Milanese cuisine.

What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after a visit to Milan?

Shoes! Milan boasts fantastic outdoor street markets which generally take place on Tuesdays and Saturdays. I recommend the street market on Viale Papiniano, as well as another market particularly famous for shoes (for both men and women) on Via Fauché.

Where is the best place to get a sense of Milan’s place in history?

A stroll in Parco Sempione through Castello Sforzesco to Arco della Pace (Peace Arch) is akin to walking through Milan’s history from the 15th century, to the Arco della Pace built in honour of Napoleon Bonaparte’s victories, to the fascist architecture of the Arena.

I recommend taking tram number 1 (a vintage tram dating from 1928-1930) which takes you into the heart of the historic centre of the city and stops by Arco della Pace. Arco della Pace is located around the corner from Italy’s first and largest Chinatown (Viale Paolo Sarpi), a cobblestoned street of Chinese restaurants and shops with a lively Italian winebar, Cantine Isola, at its centre.

If you’d like to share your little black book of places to visit where you live, please email your answers to the five questions above to abroad@irishtimes.com, including a brief description of what you do there and a photograph of yourself. We’d love to hear from you.