The low-lying Po valley is bound on the north by the Alps and the south-west by the Appennines, which keeps all that moisture firmly where it is – hence the notoriously thick fog that can bring traffic in the area around Milan to a halt.
Winter in many parts of Lombardy can be bitter, with winds zipping down from the Alps. Milan, though, is almost wind-free, which makes it feel milder. Snow is uncommon. Spring can be rainy but is quite short, quickly turning to summer, which tends to be muggy and mosquito-ridden.
If you are coming in July or August, ensure your hotel has air-conditioning. September is a very pleasant month in Milan, but rain may intrude in late October and November.
Touring bands and DJs often hit Milan before Rome or Naples, with outdoor revelry the theme of the finest summer festivals. Spring is the time to peek into palazzi, and there are three dedicated open-house events between March and May. Come the winter, there’s Christmas shopping around the feast of Sant’Ambrogio, Milan’s patron saint: it’s the biggest street party – craft stalls included – of the year.
See all festivals & events in Milan
On public holidays (giorni festivi), banks and businesses are closed, although (with the exception of May Day, Assumption and Christmas Day) bars and restaurants and the shops in the city centre tend to stay open.
Public transport is almost non-existent on 1 May and Christmas afternoon. Holidays falling on a Saturday or Sunday are not celebrated the following Monday; however, if a holiday falls on a Thursday or a Tuesday, many people will take the Friday/Monday off as well, a practice known as fare il ponte ('bridging') - but this doesn't mean offices are closed on these days.
New Year's Day (Capodanno) 1 Jan
Epiphany (Epifania) 6 Jan
Easter Monday (Pasquetta)
Liberation Day 25 Apr
Labour Day 1 May
Republic Day 2 Jun
Feast of the Assumption (Ferragosto) 15 Aug
All Saints' (Tutti Santi) 1 Nov
Feast of Sant'Ambrogio (Milan's patron saint) 7 Dec
Immaculate Conception (Festa dell'Immacolata) 8 Dec
Christmas Day (Natale) 25 Dec
Boxing Day (Santo Stefano) 26 Dec
While every effort and care has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this guide, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors it may contain. Before you go out of your way, we strongly advise you to phone ahead and check the particulars.