City break: Milan, Italy
Where to play on your Milan golf break
Golf Club Milano: Three loops here run through Royal Park of Monza forest, which is almost 700 hectares in size. The first and second nines form the original layout and have been used on many occasions for the Italian Open. Yet it is actually the more modern third loop – with small greens guarded by lots of bunkers – that is deemed to be the more strategic examination. Sits north of Milan’s city centre.
Molinetto: North-east of the city centre, this is a nicely groomed parkland with a good mix of holes. Unspectacular but very pleasant and the ideal second round after Milano if you want to stay in the city centre and its suburbs.
Palazzo Arzaga: This is a super play-and-stay complex just 10 minutes from the shores of spectacular Lake Garda – which means it is a 90-minute drive from Milan city centre. It’s worth it though, with a course (pictured above and below) full of risk-reward shots and groomed like few others in Italy.
Bogogno: There are 36 holes here, situated near Malpensa airport so good for a round or two perhaps en route home. Both are Robert von Hagge designs and it is hard to separate them for quality – and difficulty!
Villa d’Este: For my money the best course in Italy. Bags of character, and you can combine it with a day out on the shores of Lake Como, notably Lecco (above).
Castelconturbia: Three loops by Robert Trent Jones here, located very close to Bogogno in a neat play-and-stay resort.
Where to stay
Savona 18 suites: The perfect spot from which to explore the city, given its location in the Naviglio area. Even the standard rooms at this chic boutique hotel are bright and spacious with a double bed and a large bathroom. A huge flatscreen television on the bedroom wall, a Nespresso coffee machine and luxury Ortigia toiletries are an illustration of the comfort and level you can expect. Breakfast is packed full of amazing pastries and cakes as well as less tasty more wholesome food, and you’ll want to try an omelette made to order from the kitchen.
Palazzo Arzaga: If you want a night away from the city, this is a beautiful option, offering modern luxury and amenities in a centuries-old building. Plus a golf course.
What to do
Sight seeing: It took nearly six centuries to complete, but the wait was worth it. Some think Florence’s Duomo tops it but Milan’s is Italy’s largest church (above) and also probably its best. Enjoy the nearby Galleria (below) too, a shopping mall for the ages.
Nightlife: Head for the canal district for a terrific night of eating and drinking. Start with an Aperitivo, which sees you tuck into huge buffets and get a free drink – for £10. It cannot make financial sense to them but don’t let that worry you – just enjoy it. Then hop in and out of the many hipster bars on either side of the canal.
Football experience: One stadium, two great clubs. And even if Milan and Inter aren’t what they used to be, the San Siro is, in my view, the best stadium in Europe.