For many foreigners, Milan is defined as a fashion capital, where models rush between sleek office buildings for photo shoots and others shop frantically to catch up with the trends. This definition isn’t altogether off the mark. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Milan stole the fashion-capital title from Florence, and it is now the home of the big-name labels and all the catwalk shows that count. Milan is also the hub of financial services and the headquarters of the country’s biggest businesses. For that reason, it is known to Italians as a place to make money and a career, and that’s about it. Yes, it looks a little drearier than the nearby Riviera or the Alpine scenery just to the north, but the indoors lifestyle contributes to the city’s mystique. If the Milanese aren’t at the office, they’re hanging out in nice bars and restaurants or entertaining at home; then they escape on the weekends to Europe’s renowned playgrounds, just an hour or two away. Especially close to the city is Italy’s lakes district, Lake Como in particular. This Alpine lake is so well connected to the city, in fact, that many locals enjoy the best of both worlds by residing near paradise and working downtown. The suburbs of Brianza, which stretch from the city limits to the lakeshore, are attractive in their own right.


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