World Cup 2014: Milan's busy spirit reflected in soccer clubs AC Milan, Internazionale

Milan attractions: "The Last Supper," La Rinascente department store, soccer

Leonardo da Vinci, who painted his famous "The Last Supper" in Milan, also helped with the hydraulic engineering of the city's canals, most of which have since disappeared. He's the ideal representative of this city: a mix of art and practicality. Milan is the opposite of Rome: Its reputation is built on industriousness, business, banks and factories. But like Da Vinci, Milan has an artistic side. The Milanese spirit of hard work has blended with artistic creativity and high Italian style to build the city's massive fashion and design empires. Of course, among the hard-working Milanese are its dedicated soccer players.

Must see: The area around Milan contains several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Santa Maria della Grazie church that houses "The Last Supper." The fashion district is a world center of refined taste as well as glitz — and the place to find the highest-end labels. La Rinascente, Italy's first and most famous department store, is said to attract 20 million visitors a year, twice the number seen at Paris' Louvre .

The soccer scene: The home teams, AC Milan and FC Internazionale, play in Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, nicknamed Stadio San Siro, which holds more than 80,000 spectators. The best place to watch matches on TV with locals is Four Four Two, 61 Via Giulio Cesare Procaccini; 011-39-02-3944-8023;

Beware: Sweet-looking children. They may divert your attention while someone else picks your pocket.

Best time to go: The best months for soccer are April and May, near the end of the season. Milan's climate is similar to New York City's. Weather is better from March to October. The major fashion weeks are in February and September (the next: Sept. 17-23). The Salone del Mobile, a massive home-furnishing exhibition, is tentatively scheduled for April 21-26, which could make hotel rooms hard to find.


Airfare: $1,245-$2,152.

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Soccer cities

This is one of eight stories about the world’s most-fanatical soccer cities so you can applaud or cry with the locals — or enjoy some crowd-free tourism while their eyes are elsewhere.