Where to Hear Live Music and Concerts in Milan

Ho la musica nel cuore
L’occasione mia più grande
Per aver la vita accesa
Per non essere riflesso
Di una luce poco mia
– 
Biagio Antonacci, Ho la musica nel cuore

Music is a universal art form. It crosses boundaries and can speak to all of us, no matter what language we speak. So, where can you find great tunes in Milano? Here’s a breakdown of the most important venues around the city, whether you’re interested in jazz, pop and rock or classical music and opera.

Clarinet detailJazz, Pop and Rock

The second-largest city in Italy, Milano attracts a lot of big names in pop and rock. If you’re looking for jazz, you might need to do your homework, but there are a few locations that specialize in jazz and its sub-genres. Here are just a few venues around town.

Alcatraz: A cool discotheque famous for alternative and rock performers, Alcatraz is an institution in Milano. Check out their calendar for both domestic and international artists and enjoy the show!
Via Valtellina 25; M3 Maciachini

Blue Note: Looking for New York City style jazz and cocktails in the coolest part of the city? Then head to Blue Note in the Isola neighborhood and enjoy ensembles, bands and singers. They also put on a pretty good Sunday brunch.
Via Borsieri 37; M5 Isola

Circolo Magnolia: If you’re into cool, alternative groups for the in-crowd, then Circolo Magnolia might be the place for you. Of course, to get in, you need to be a member! To get your membership card, you can fill out the online form and then pick it up at the ticket office.
Via Circonvallazione, Novegro-Tregarezzo; buses 73, 923

La Salumeria della Musica: This is a very intimate venue features more obscure performers (since not as many fans can pack in the locale to watch each group). Expect to find variations of jazz on the agenda.
Via Pasinetti 4; tram 24, buses 95 and 34

Magazzini Generale: A cool discotheque located in an old warehouse, expect famous DJs and rock musicians to perform here. It’s located close to the Bocconi campus and is usually packed with partiers.
Via Pietrasanta 16; tram 24, bus 90/91

Mediolanum Forum: For popular Italian and international artists that might not fill up the San Siro soccer stadium, head to the Forum in Assago. The venue also currently hosts the local basketball team while their arena is being rebuilt.
Via Giuseppe di Vittorio 6, Assago; M2 Assago Milanofiori Forum

San Siro Stadium: The city’s football stadium, San Siro (or its official name Stadio Meazza) is the venue for mega-concerts, often in the summertime when soccer games are not being held. If you like big-name pop stars with big shows, this might be the place to see your favorite performing artist.
Piazzale Angelo Moratti; M5 San Siro Stadio

Teatro degli Arcimboldi: A smaller venue, this theater hosts a wide variety of events, from musicals to international and Italian pop and rock to classical music and ballet. It was built in the early 2000s and originally hosted La Scala productions while the historic opera house was being renovated.
Viale dell’Innovazione 20; M5 Bicocca

Saxophone silhouetteClassical Music and Opera

If you’re interested in classical music, there are also quite a few places to choose from. The world-famous La Scala Opera House is the most prestigious of these locations, but other spots host various kinds of orchestra and chamber music.

La Scala: One of the world’s most famous opera houses and a symbol of Milano, La Scala is a must-see attraction. And serious opera and ballet aficionados should definitely try to catch a show while in town!
Via Filodrammatici 2; M1 Cordusio, M3 Montenapoleone

La Verdi: A wide variety of classical music is on the agenda at this venue. Check out their calendar and student discounts!
Largo Gustav Mahler; tram 3, buses 71, 90/91

Teatro dal Verme: If orchestra music’s your thing, this is a great place to go! A beautiful 19th century opera house, this building was also used as a cinema before being renovated to host concerts and other performances.
Via S. Giovanni sul Muro 2; M1 Cairoli

Società del Quartetto di Milano: Originally open only to members, this venue is now open to the broader public. Their calendar includes the most famous classical music composers from the 18th and 19th centuries, with a variety of performers.
Via Durini 24; M1 San Babila

Bonus: Bocconi students should check out the university’s website for info on student discounts at various venues around the city.

Remember When…

As study abroad students are finishing up their exams and packing up their things to either travel around the globe or head back home, it’s time to start thinking about what souvenirs you should bring home to friends or family, or keep as a memento of your time in Milano! Here’s a list of ideas. What are yours?

“I heart Milano” memorabilia – Whether you opt for the classic white t-shirt, a different color or a mug, pencil or keychain, this design has taken off in Milano too, like many other cities around the world since it was started in the ’70s in NYC.

Soccer jersey – For all the soccer fans out there, there are plenty of sports stores around town that sell popular jerseys for footballers from the two Milano teams, Inter and AC Milan. Just pick your favorite and wear it with pride!

Souvenir of Milano monument – With three icons to choose from – the Duomo, the La Scala opera house or Leonardo’s Last Supper – there are lots of little souvenirs for you to remember the city. Whether you choose a little statue of the Duomo to keep on your desk, a La Scala poster from the opera you attended or a book on Leonardo, the choices are endless.

Recipe notes – Italian food is renowned the world over, so why not put together some of your favorite recipes from your time in the bel paese? Ask some friends or just jot down a new way of cooking your favorite meal so you don’t forget. And maybe pass it along to some friends back home!

Italian foodstuffs – Italy is also well-known for its edible products, from olive oil, vinegar and saffron to chocolate (think Ferrero anything, gianduiotto or chocolate from Modica). Be sure to stock up on whatever you can’t get back home, and let your friends try something new.

Italian beverages – For anyone who enjoys having a drink every now and then, it’s not a bad idea to take home a memento from an excellent Italian vineyard. Wines with DOCG status (denominazione di origine controllata e garantita, the highest quality category for Italian wines) from Lombardy include Franciacorta, Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico, Valtellina Superiore, Sforzato di Valtellina and Moscato di Scanzo, but there are so many good wines from the region and all over Italy that it usually just depends on your own personal tastes when choosing the best bottle. And what’s more, there are also some delicious beer brands that are hard to find outside Milano. The classic brand Menabrea, made west of Milano in Biella, is just one example of a pretty high-quality brew. But remember, when flying you’ll have to check any luggage with these tasty liquids and be sure to pack with lots of padding!

Milano movies – Update your DVD collection with a few movies set in Milano. Here are just a few titles:

  • Che Bella Giornata (2011)
  • I Am Love (2009)
  • The International (2009)
  • Si può fare (2008)
  • Chiedimi se sono felice (2000)
  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963)

Memorabilia from your alma mater – Last but not least, don’t forget to pick up something from the university that hosted you while abroad! Milanese universities (including Bocconi) have various items, like t-shirts, mugs, bags, pens, etc. at their book stores which you can get to show off your college spirit.