MILAN - Rome has the Colosseum. Florence has Michelangelo's "David.'' Venice has the Grand Canal.
But no Italian city - or any city in the world, for that matter - rivals Milan when it comes to shopping. As the home of nearly every major Italian designer, it's a fashion lover's paradise.
Since it's also the hub for Italian finance, publishing, music, advertising, Cheap Jacob&Co Watches and design, this sprawling city is more of a business center than a tourist mecca. Here people don't take leisurely lunches, as in most other parts of Italy. There's too much work to do.
Besides the Duomo (the world's largest Gothic cathedral), the recently renovated La Scala opera house, and Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper,'' there's not a lot to see.
Unless you love to shop.
Every major designer has a store in the Quadrilatero d'Oro or "golden rectangle," a Cheap Jaeger leCoultre Watches shopping area near the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. It's Rodeo Drive, Fifth Avenue and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor rolled into one.
A Prada store pops up every few blocks. (We counted five.) There are four large Dolce & Gabbana stores near each other. Hometown boy Giorgio Armani has three shops (including one exclusively for children called Armani Junior) and a megastore that takes up an entire city block.
In addition to clothing, the slate-gray store includes a florist, a candy shop (where bite-size pieces of chocolate are marked with the letter "A"), a perfumery, a bookstore, a furniture store (Armani Casa) and two restaurants. One is an outlet of the famous New York eatery, Nobu.
How about this stellar lineup? Valentino, Versace, Ferr, Ferragamo, Zegna, Cheap Montblanc Watches, La Perla, Bottega Veneta, Bulgari, Fendi, Missoni, Miu Miu, Marni, Miss Sixty, Moschino, Laura Biagiotti, Jil Sander, Alberta Ferretti, Cartier, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Tiffany, Tod's, Hermes and Chanel all have boutiques in the area.
Pets are also welcome in the toniest shops. An attractive young couple with their Saint Bernard stopped in the Roberto Cavalli store and poked through a rack of expensive dresses. The sales help seemed unfazed.
People-watching is first rate along the Via della Spiga, where many of the chic stores are located. On a chilly, rainy day, the pedestrian-only street was full of women in full-length fur coats and umbrellas.
When the weather is really bad, shoppers escape to the nearby Galleria Cheap Omega Watches Emanuele II, a four-story shopping arcade with a gorgeous steel-and-glass canopy. Built in 1864, the arcade is home to Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada as well as a supersize McDonald's that seems out-of-place among the houses of haute couture.
The arcade floor is outlined in wonderful mosaics that represent Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. One of the most well-worn mosaics is a bull. If you dig your heel into its private parts and spin around, you'll have good luck, according to local legend.
The Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, a commercial street with a covered walkway that extends from the Duomo to the Piazza San Babila, offers such enticing stores as MaxMara, Zara and a couple of H&M department stores. Mixing high-end designer wear with chic, low- cost items from Zara or H&M seems to be a local pastime.
For a real fashion treat, call a cab (you can't hail a cab here; your hotel or Cheap Panerai Watches will call one that arrives quickly) and head to 10 Corso Como. Former Italian Vogue editor Carla Sozzani founded the store 15 years ago in a converted car-repair shop. Influenced by Oriental bazaars, Sozzani divided the 13,000-square-foot complex into areas that include a bookstore, a photography and design gallery, sections for cosmetics and house-wares, along with dozens of designer boutiques.