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- ART OF APERITIVO: To the Milanese, aperitif isn't just a predinner drink and bowl of peanuts. Aperitivo is a cocktail hour or two, starting from 6:30 p.m., where drinks are accompanied by a free buffet — usually chips, olives, bruschetta, pasta, salamis and cheeses. Every bar in the city serves its version of aperitivo, but Bar Basso on Via Plinio 39 patented its own drink for the popular Milan pastime: The negroni sbagliato, a mix of Campari, vermouth and Champagne, is served in a fishbowl-size glass with a hunk of ice and an orange slice. Like every Italian city, Milan has regional dishes. Favorites show the city's Northern European influences, from fried and breaded veal cutlet, or cotoletta, to buttery saffron-rich risotto alla Milanese, often served with slowly cooked veal casserole osso buco.
- LEONARDO'S LEGACY: Milan's most famous — and arguably only — historical attraction pinpoints the center of the city. The Duomo, a wedding cake of a Gothic cathedral that was recently unveiled from a decadelong makeover, is best viewed over a glass of Chianti from La Rinascente's bar on the eighth floor. White marble used to construct the church was floated down the Navigli — the city's canals. Today, the southern canal district is a hotbed of bars, vintage and design stores. Meanwhile, Leonardo da Vinci left his imprint on Milan with his iconic "Last Supper," or "L'Ultima Cena," painted on a wall of a former dining hall next to the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Advance reservations are required to see the masterpiece.