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Central Milan is surprisingly small and one of the best ways to appreciate it is on a guided walking tour. Pick of the bunch is Walkabout Milano, which offers a range of different options including Photobike, combining a bicycle tour with a photography class, and Cooktown, a tour plus a masterclass in Milanese cuisine at the cookery school La Cucinoteca. 34 Via Muratori, tel. 02 56568487, walkaboutmilano.it. (Tours are offered in English, though the website is in Italian.)

One of the most intriguing attractions in Milan is 'dialogo nel buio', conversations in the dark. This unusual sensory experience allows you to feel and understand what it's like to be without sight. The venue offers cocktails and food, and you are accompanied by a sightless guide. Visits usually last around two hours; for a tour in English you need to book in advance. 7 Via Vivaio, tel. 02 76394478.

August in Italy turns into a long annual holiday and though Milan is quiet there's plenty to do for those who stay in the city. Around the Festival of the Assumption on 15 August, known as Ferragosto, there are a series of events at the medieval Castello Sforzesco including dancing, live music and theatre performances until late. visitamilano.it

Join Milan's 'Carnevale' festivities, said to be the longest of their kind in the country and dating back to the period of the city's patron saint, Ambrose. Children don intricate costumes and there's music, street entertainment, parties and balls. For once it's a good idea to leave your designer clothes at home or risk having kids spray you with shaving foam. Runs from 17-21 February, centring on Piazza Duomo.

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