Milan is the sleek and stylish Armani-clad banker of Italy, producing 10% of the nation's entire GDP. Milan is known worldwide as the capital of Italian fashion and regionally as the capital of Italian finance, but those are not the only industries that fuel this highly energized capital: Television, sport, telecommunications and research are all key revenue sectors, all of which generate business for Milan meeting venues.
Milan convention venues include two of the largest convention centers in Italy: East End Studios with 220,000 square feet of event space and the new, gargantuan Exhibition Centre (or Fiero Milano), with 425,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space just outside the city in the area known as Rho. (The Fiero's old space, Fieromilanocity is still available, with 43,009 square feet of space.)
Although mid- and upscale hotel brands known to Americans (Westin, Sheraton) are present, luxury hotel venues in Milan were once in short supply. Now, they too are expanding in Italy's powerhouse city: The Four Seasons and the Bulgari Hotels broke ground first in 2004, and in 2011, with the Armani Hotel, Milan will complete the triumvirate of Milan's new luxury hotel avant-garde. As with all things that matter in Milan, it will be sleek, it will be stylish and very "bella figura"(or "the beauty of presentation").
Although Milan is a beehive of business, in Italy business and art go hand-in-hand. Meeting groups go en masse to La Scala, the historic opera house, which also offers event space. Visits to the former convent that houses Leonardo's Last Supper and private tours of the Duomo and its scalable rooftop complex should also be on the agendas of meeting planners; and afterward, a visit to Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emanuele next to the Duomo, designed in 1861 and considered the world's first shopping mall.
Special venues include La Sforza Castle at nearby Lake Como. The lake's proximity (less than an hour by car) means that meeting planners can bank on both business and pleasure when booking venues in Milan. (Be on the lookout for celebrity sightings in Como, the part-time home of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Richard Branson.)
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Malpensa International Airport (MXP)
Approximate taxi fare: 19 EUR
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user:MarkusMark
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