Milan is a bustling, lively city, with events and festivals happening every month of the year. So, if you are wondering about the best time to visit Milan, you may want to keep reading this article – for example, did you know about Artigiano in Fiera, a massive craft fair in early December? Or JazzMI, a new jazz festival in late October?
Milan’s most popular event is Fuorisalone/Design Week, happening in April. It’s a great time to be in town, with exhibition and parties taking place all over the city – some events are invitation-only, but many are open to everyone. The only downside is that accommodation is very expensive – double or even triple the usual rates!
On the other hand, visiting Milan for Fashion Week doesn’t make much sense, unless you are there for work. Pretty much all fashion shows, presentations and parties are invitation-only, and security is VERY STRICT (speaking from experience). On top of that, accommodation is more expensive – so do yourself a favour and visit the following week!
In this article, we’ve provided a complete rundown of Milan festivals and events through the year. We’ve included outdoor festivals, events as well as public holidays.
In Milan, you may also come across the expression ‘fare il ponte’ – meaning taking extra days off to turn a public holiday into a long weekend. So, if you are visiting just before or just after a public holiday and find Milan half empty, that may be why!
Milan Events in January
- New Year’s Day – it’s a public holiday and many stores remain closed.
- Epifania (Epiphany) – falling on January 6th, it’s a religious festival celebrating the arrival of the Re Magi (Three Wise Men). It’s also a public holiday – children receive sweets or charcoal (if they’re naughty) brought by an elderly woman riding a broom, the Befana. It’s also a public holiday.
- Men’s Fashion Week (Milano Moda Uomo) – presentation of menswear fall/winter collections, usually during the second week of the month. Nothing much to see and do unless you work in fashion.
Milan Events in February
- Chinese New Year (Capodanno Cinese) – Milan is home to a large Chinese community, and every Chinese New Year there’s a big parade down Via Paolo Sarpi, with lion and tiger dances and other performances.
- Women’s Fashion Week (Milano Moda Donna) – presentation of womenswear fall/winter collections, usually the last week of the month. Nothing much to see and do unless you work in fashion.
- Carnevale Ambrosiano – Milan’s carnival, happening on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday and not on Shrove Tuesday like elsewhere in Italy. Usually features a big street parade and fancy dress parties.
Milan Events in March
- FAI Spring Open Days – during the course of a weekend, attractions run by FAI (Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano) open their doors to visitors. It’s a wonderful chance to visit places that are not normally open to the public, like the stunning Albergo Diurno Venezia.
Milan Events in April
- Easter – there are no big parades or events, but it’s worth bearing in mind that some stores and attractions may observe different opening times. On Easter Monday, it’s customary to head away from the city for a day trip, so expect crowds on the way to the Lakes, to the Alps and the seaside.
- Design Week (Fuorisalone) – quite simply the busiest week in town, but also a really good time to visit. It usually falls on the second week of April, but in 2021 it will take place in September.
- Milan Marathon – one of Italy’s biggest marathons attracting amateurs and elite runners.
- Liberation Day – April 25th is a public holiday in Italy, celebrating the liberation from nazifascism marking the end of World War II. In Milan, there’s usually a big anti-fascist parade in Porta Venezia.
Milan Events in May
- Primo Maggio – May 1st is celebrated in Italy as International Workers Day. Many stores remain closed, and it’s worth noting that it’s one of the two days of the year (besides Christmas) when public transport stops running at 7 pm.
- Piano City – a 3-day festival with piano concerts in unusual locations around the city.
- Giro d’Italia – Italy’s prime cycling competition traditionally ends in Milan, usually the last Sunday of the month.
- Orticola – a garden exhibition with rare plants and flowers, taking place at Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli on a weekend in early May.
Milan Events in June
- Festival Latino Americano – a month-long festival dedicated to Latin cuisine, music, dance and culture, happening in Assago just south of Milan.
- Men’s Fashion Week (Milano Moda Uomo) – presentation of menswear spring/summer collections, usually during the second week of the month. Nothing much to see and do unless you work in fashion.
Milan Events in July/August
- Milano d’Estate – a series of open-air dance nights, concerts and other events dedicated to those poor devils that spend their summer in Milan. Most events take place at Parco Sempione.
Milan Events in September
- MITO Settembre Musica – a month-long music festival held in various locations in both Milan and Turin.
- Italian Grand Prix – F1 race taking place at the Autodromo di Monza, just north of Milan, on the second weekend of the month.
- Milano Film Festival – including premieres of Italian and international movies in various cinemas around the city.
- Women’s Fashion Week (Milano Moda Donna) – presentation of womenswear spring/summer collections, usually the last week of the month. Nothing much to see and do unless you work in fashion.
Milan Events in October
- JazzMI – jazz festival happening the last week of the month, with performances in unusual venues like gardens and farmhouses, as well as theatres and the super famous Blue Note jazz club!
- Halloween – like most places in Italy, Halloween is also celebrated in Milan. You’ll find themed nights at bars and clubs all over the city, often requiring a fancy dress! There’s no official ‘trick and treating’ though, so if you are planning to visit Milan with children, take note!
Milan Events in November
- All Saints Day – November 1st is a public holiday, and November 2nd is Day of the Dead. There are no events as such, you’ll just find cemeteries are much busier than usual.
- International Motorcycle Expo – one of the busiest trade fairs of the year taking place at the end of the month. Accommodation prices may rise, especially near the fair.
Milan Events in December
- Artigiano in Fiera – a massive event dedicated to crafts and artisans from all over the world, happening at Milano Fiera in Rho on the first week of December. It’s free to enter and a great place to buy Christmas gifts, but it gets VERY BUSY.
- Sant’Ambrogio/Immacolata – Milan’s patron saint is celebrated on December 7th, and December 8th is also a public holiday in honor of the Immaculate Conception. You can visit the yearly Oh Bej! Oh Bej! market around Piazza Castello, or head to the ski slopes – the season traditionally kicks off on December 8th.
- Capodanno (New Year’s Eve) – in Milan, it’s celebrated with a huge concert in Piazza del Duomo. You’ll also find (pricey) special menus and themed nights in clubs all over town.