My wife and I will be visiting Milan from 5th Aug to 12th Aug. It was not until our holidays were planned and approved at work, and travel & accommodation bookings were made and paid for that I came to learn about the August phenomenon. Is it true that it will be a ghost town and all or most of the shops and restaurants will be closed?
My main attraction in Milan, apart from the few architectural sites and a tour of the La Scala (yeah I realise there will be no performance to catch), is shopping. Could anyone please help me with the following queries?
1) Will the main shopping districts as well as factory outlets of the famous brands, some of which I hear are located on the outskirts of Milan, will be closed?
2) Will the sites will remain open?
3) I am told by an Italian friend to avoid restaurants and eateries in the touristy places (around the Duomo I presume for Milan) because they are over-priced and the quality of food isn't always the best. Would the restaurants etc. be open in less tourist-infested areas of the city?
4) What is the reason for this complete standstill in August and where do all the residents go?
We are visiting Rome from the 12th to the 17th. Should I expect a similar atmosphere there too or would it be more alive because of the larger number of tourists?
Please advise. I was looking forward to this trip because Italy as a country fascinates me for a number of reasons but knowing about the August standstill now I am feeling quite down.