|Milan is divided into 20 zones, identified
numerically by the local council. Each zone has characteristics which make
them quite easy to distinguish from each other, this is often due to the
history of those who settled in each of the districts.
Historical centre - This is encircled by the ring road and includes the piazza del Duomo and the surrounding area, the fashion district ' the area that has the highest concentration of shops Piazza della Scala, Corso Venezia, Via Torino, Via Dante and Castello Sforzesco, Corso di Porta Vittoria and the neighbouring areas, Corso di Porta Romana and Corso Magenta. As is the case with many cities, a large part of Milan is taken up with offices and services, but there are also residential areas. Living in Milan is quite costly, and has other inconveniences: there are few shops selling basic items, supermarkets are few and far between, so finding a dry cleaner's or being able to buy groceries can present a bit of a problem. Porta Romana has managed to maintain a slightly more residential feel, rent is a little more affordable and there are also grocer`s shops. The traffic is a slight disadvantage, as it is quite chaotic around that area and it is also difficult to find parking. Despite these problems the historical soul of the centre of Milan makes it a beautiful place, and most of the evening entertainments take place in this condensed area. Behind the centre, heading north is Corso Venezia and its intersecting roads which are filled with noblemen palazzi which are still used as residences in some cases, in others, they have been converted into luxury offices. The gardens of Porta Venezia make up a small, enclosed park which is one of the most beautiful in Milan. Further north, Corso Buenos Aires is one of the largest commercial main roads with a European feel. It is well served by the metro, there are many immigrants here, and because of this, there are many different ethnic restaurants; travellers are well advised to stay away from the gardens at night, or at least be wary of people you may meet around there. The houses here are very beautiful, well repaired and in the evening, this Corso is one of the streets in Milan with the most traffic.
Isola - North of the city, this area is behind Stazione Centrale, in the direction of Monza, behind Via Melchiorre Gioia. Part of the area has large streets which lead out of the city, and it has an olde worlde charm which is visible around Piazza Greco, and its historic factories. 'La Maggiolina' is a beautiful place to live, it was once known as the area of journalists, but the whole area, including Via Villa Mirabello, Via Arbe, Piazza Farina, Via Cagliero a stretch of low houses, surroundded by green. Here, the traffic is a little more reasonable, and it is served by metro line 3. Bovisa-Dergano is north of Milan, it has a historical centre around Piazza Dergano, where it has preserved its identity of a little village, inside a large city. A part of the old industrial area has been recovered by the Polytechnic of Milan, and has used the classroom for the Architecture Faculty. Situated close to the train station, it seems as if one were in the country. Some of the disused areas seem to resemble open wounds in the heart of the city, even though they are served by Ferrovie Nord and the Passante Ferroviario trains. Other areas north of Milan include Niguarda, Ca' Granda and Bicocca there are large hospital complexes here eg. Ospedale Maggiore or CTO and residential areas. In Bicocca, a new science and technology zone has been created on some ot the disused industrial sites. Served only by bus and tram.
Vittoria - South-east of Milan, this is a popular area, characterised by a working/middle-class feel, there are alternating commercial and residential areas. Around Viale Lazio, there are mostly residential areas with tree-lined avenues, in Corso Lodi there is the hum of commercial activity; Viale Umbria is residential, but Corso XXII Marzo is filled with shops. Some fashion houses have their headquarters here, between Viale Umbri and Corso Lodi. Further east between Forlanini and Taliedo, we are in the direction of Linate airport towards the Idroscalo a large dock filled with water where one can bathe, take the sun, and take part in a spot of yachting, close to the great green lung created by Parco Forlanini. To the east, towards Viale Ungheria, a residential zone. There is still some industrial activity further east on Viale Mugello and towards Viale Molise (the large complex of Macello Comunale) and further out, beyond the station of Porta Vittoria, the wholesale market, Mercato Ortofrutticolo. There are no metro stations nearby.
Ticinese - South of the centre, many of the original residents (or their descendants) still live here.There are many case di ringhiera palazzi with wrought iron balconies facing inwards 'homes to workers who lived here at the beginning of the twentieth century. The houses have undergone renovation and are used as homes, and studios for architects, designers, art, graphic and fashion designers, and as fashion workshops where clothes are created. There are many bars but also shops for basic items and for clothes etc, it is across the tracks at the Porta Genova station. Corso Genova and Corso di Porta Ticinese are streets dedicated to shopping, beyond the station Via Savona, Via Tortona and Bergognone are undergoing radical restructure, which has raised the profile of the area a great deal. Many disused industrial buildings have been acquired by designers and stylists as their new headquarters, bringing new life to the area, by day and also by night. On the side of I Navigli, the area teems with nightclubs, creating a noisy, traffic congested area, especially in the evening, even though some of the streets surrounding i Navigli are closed to cars at night.
Magenta - Half of Corso Magenta is in the centre, the other half is outside the centre. Corso Magenta is synonymous with wealth and elegance: there is hardly any shopping to be had, the palazzi are large and there are beautiful hidden gardens; this also can be said of the neighbouring streets, right up to Parco Sempione (where the splendid Via XX Settembre comes to an end) and up to Corso Vercelli. Here the scenery changes and there are a myriad of shops, some of which are very prestigious. It is a street that offers shopping for everyone. Well served by public transport, this is a street with lots of traffic and few parking spaces. This is a good place to live if you don't really like noisy night life, there is are one or two bars among the restaurants and a multiplex cinema (cinema Multisala Gloria in Corso Vercelli). Corso Sempione is a spacious main road which ends at the Arco della Pace. It is a quiet and elegant residential area without many shops nearby.
Centrale - North-east of Milan. Piazzale Loreto is almost in the centre at the end of Corso Buenos Aires. Viale Monza parts from here, this is a large road that ends at Sesto San Giovanni, and Via Padova, which has retained a more tranquil, village-like aspect. Behind Viale Monza, between the metro stops of Precotto and Gorla there is a stretch of Naviglio della Martesana, where a beautiful public walk has been created. At the end of the zone, towards Lambrate, is Parco Lambro, a large green lung within Milan. For the most part it is an area that is well kept without looking like a uniform 'dormitory' which areas created on the outskirts can tend to have. There are few industrial complexes and may inhabitants, various production installations. che di 'dormitorio' che hanno in genere le periferie urbane. Pochi scheletri industriali e molti abitanti, diversi insediamenti produttivi in piena attività.
Città Studi - Situated in the east of Milan, as the name suggests, this is where a number of university faculties are, from the Polytechnic to numerous chemistry, biology and pharmacy departments. A great deal of this area was built in the Twenties, Thirties and Fourties, with large tree lined streets and beautiful residential areas. The same beautiful scenery continues to Viale Argonne, which leads to Lambrate, where the residential zone is criss crossed by streets filled with greenery (all except Via Porpora which has shops and is narrower). The nearest metro is linea 2, and its stops for Piola and Lambrate.
Romana - In the direction of A1 the motorway leading to Southern Italy. Corvetto is a densely populated area, with lots of production plants towards Rogoredo where the road leads onto the tangenziale. Via Ripamonti leads to the south of Milan where there a few important monuments, such as l'Abbazia di Chiaravalle. Some of the areas bear the hallmarks of industrial productivity, with a mix of old and ultramodern residential areas. The areas of Corvetto and Rogoredo are served by metro line 3, whereas the area surrounding Ripamonti is served only by bus.
Navigli - Ticinese - South-west of Milan, this area combines every day life and antiquity on Via Chiesa Rossa, (which is on the Naviglio), this is due to the immigration which took place in the Fifties and Sixties in the area of Gratosoglio. On the outskirts of Milan in Via Chiesa Rossa, there lies some beautiful countryside, making this a pleasant place to live; people have to adapt to the large buildings and lack of shops in Gratosoglio. There is no metro, but the tram will get you there. Further south, are areas that many of the Milanese hold dear a mixture of suburban life with modern constructions. The Naviglio reaches the autostrada for Genova. The complex of Assago can be seen on the motorway, where the FilaForum Milanofiori is situated; this is home to concerts, exhibitions and all kinds of events. The residential areas behind Milan have been recently built. Famagosta and Romolo are the nearest metro stops (line 2). There is also a terminus where buses service the whole area.
Fiera - West, south-west, Via Lorenteggio is a very long road, densely inhabited, the street is elegant at the beginning, with less 'genteel' houses towards the end. The surrounding areas have many tree-lined streets, with lots of greenery and tall buildings with a beautiful view. Most of the buildings were not built before 1930, so they tend to be well kept and relatively new. There are quite a few shops selling basic items and other goods. It is reachable by metro line 1. The ancient suburb of Baggio is a wonderful surprise: small, elegant with the look of a village on the threshold of a large city. Via Forze Armate alternates between residential areas, and zones which are half-deserted, occupied by a large military site, for example. Next door is San Carlo hospital and several residential zones, which have been recently built, typical Milanese suburbs. Via Forza is served by the metro up to a certain point.
San Siro - West of Milan, this actually encompasses three different areas. Gallaratese, is a typical 'dormitory quarter' of the sixties, it also includes two buildings created by two famous architects Aldo Rossi and Carlo Aymonino. The central area of San Siro is made up essentially of houses from the Thirties, the area closest to the peripheries comprises rather elegant residential palazzinas. Elegant houses immersed in green are on the outskirts hemming in the palazzinas like a belt. This is the home of the ippodromo, the stadio S. Siro (for football) and the Monte stella a stadium for sports and leisure time. QT8 is an area in the direction of the Fiera Campionaria (which is located in the Magenta-Sempione area and San Siro), it was an architectural experiment, built in honour of the eighth Triennial from which it takes its name. This is regarded as a prize civil construction and is mainly residential. Metro line 1 runs through the area, except for the peripheral zone of San Siro.
North-West - In a north-westerly direction, Viale Certosa is a main road which is always busy and which leads to the motorway. There are many shops and residential buildings. Il Cimitero Maggiore di Milano (the city cemetery) is found at the bottom of Viale Certosa. Quarto Oggiaro is perhaps one of the areas of Milan with the worst reputation. In reality it is an area that has been left to itself, with medium size houses, cut through with streets that lead away from the city. This absence of real urbanisation has led to a hybrid, with an identity which has unfortunately led to negative connotations, which it does not really deserve. Close by, Vialba, has the same distinguishing features but is less badly regarded. There is no metro available. Affori, Bruzzano and Comasina are on the northern outskirts of Milan, in the direction of Como and are residential areas, there are some collections of villas, a small amount of production plants. It is well served by bus, but is not yet linked by metro.
North-East - The lively Via Ortica is located in this eastern strip of Milan; it has preserved the aspect and atmosphere of an old hamlet alongside the newer constructions in Via Carnia and the surrounding areas. The metro circles the area, with stops at Lambrate, Udine and Cimiano (line 2). Further east, Via Ortica is reachable by bus. It is not a zone with any particular characteristics but it is a convenient place to live; there are no major industrial complexes, the area is just behind the East tangenziale.
South-East - The outskirts of Peschiera Borromeo, S.Donato Milanese and Melegnano that lead towards Lodi. These are all residential areas, typical of other suburban areas in other Italian cities.
South-West - This is the area between Cornaredo, Cusago, Corsico and Rozzano. This is also a typical residential area on the outskirts, leading into the countryside and onto Lomellina.