Milan may be the most fashion-forward city in Italy, the couture capital, and the center of industrial progress as well—but this is still Italy, after all, and there’s always room for a little bit of ancient history. Nothing industrial or futuristic about it: the Grand Hotel et de Milan is every bit as traditionally elegant as the newly reopened La Scala theater, which is just a few steps away—and this location surely played a crucial role in the hotel’s history, as such famous names as Nureyev, Callas, and Caruso have graced its guestbook.
Most notoriously, Giuseppe Verdi spent years here, including his last—and though the hotel, like La Scala, was closed for a long renovation, the public rooms are almost exactly as he left them, filled with antique furnishings, marble floors, and Oriental rugs. Guest rooms are just as impressive, all rich fabrics and period furniture, some in nineteenth-century style, others in art deco or art nouveau, and one dedicated to Verdi himself—suite 106, the Royal suite.
Of course all Milan’s modern charms are accessible—the boutiques of Via della Spiga and Via Montenapoleone are close at hand, in addition to the city’s sightseeing attractions, like Il Duomo and La Scala. There are certainly more daring, more modern hotels, smaller boutiques, and more fashionable places to lay one’s head, but if it was good enough for Verdi’s final days, it’s certainly worth seeing.