A healthy helping of business, a pinch of lifestyle, a touch of glamour and a whole lot of creativity: it’s the secret recipe that makes Milan a truly unique city.

A cradle of design, economics and fashion, Milan is one of the most important cultural centres in Europe, especially when it comes to contemporary art.

We’ve picked out five cult locations you simply have to visit to enjoy the best of contemporary art and much more besides…

1. Pirelli HangarBicocca: culture emerges from the ashes of industry

A vast industrial warehouse turned acclaimed centre of contemporary art, Pirelli HangarBicocca features over 15km2 of exhibition space, making it one of the biggest spaces in Europe. HangarBicocca is home to some of the most significant works around, with both Italian and foreign artists featured. Mark Wallinger, Marina Abramovic and Ragnar Kjartansson are just some of the names to have had work displayed here. The permanent Anselm Kiefer installation, a true masterpiece of contemporary art, is worth the visit on its own.

2. Fondazione Prada: one space, thousands of possibilities

Situated to the south of Milan, Fondazione Prada is a 19,000m2 space bringing together the best of art, culture and design. The eclectic, open-plan space combines temporary exhibitions, permanent installations and entertainment, such as Bar Luce, a communal space designed by Wes Anderson, who drew inspiration from the old cafes of Milan. The bookshop, meanwhile, is a fantastic place to lose yourself in the pages of books on art and other subjects.

3. PAC: promoting culture around the world since 1979

The centre of Milan is home to an art and design gem: the Contemporary Art Pavilion (PAC), in Via Palestro. For over 30 years, the PAC has been hosting creations by some of the biggest talents in the global art panorama. Such as? Lucio Fontana, Vanessa Beecroft and Yayoi Kusama, to name but a few. And if you’re going to be in Milan between July and September, don’t miss a series of exhibitions showcasing Cuban culture with all of the PAC’s trademark sophistication.

4. Base: a meeting point

There are certain spaces in Milan that simply encapsulate freedom. Base is one of them: this brand new cultural foundation promotes contemporary art while offering design lovers and creative types a range of eclectic, open spaces where they can get together, relax, study, practice sport or even work together.

5. Via Farini: creative hub

Experimentation knows no bounds in this exhibition space in Via Farini. Established in 1991, this not-for-profit organisation showcases work by some of the best Italian and international artists as well as providing special work and study areas. The result is a versatile space that really feels alive, where design and creativity merge freely.