One of the world’s style capitals, Milan offers unlimited open doors for chic shopping and appreciation of Italian culture and history. Italy’s second city became wealthy during the Middle Ages because it successfully controlled trading routes northward across the Alps. While you are there, visit the artistic neighborhood of Brera for calfskin products and Via Monte Napoleone for the selective and luxurious boutiques.
The charming mosaics and glass vaults of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II make customers feel like they’re meandering inside a painting. Enjoy a reprieve from your shopping spree to visit the awe-inspiring cathedral of the Duomo, and then get tickets to witness a live musical performance at the Opera — La Scala . After watching the show, the Navigli area beats with late-night activities. Go on and explore to your heart’s content until the wee hours of the morning.
When To Go:
Milan doesn’t really have any substantial low seasons because this city is a year-round getaway. There are always exhibitions, and things like the fashion week entice stylish tourists and push prices of local commodities to considerable heights. If you wish to be with the in-crowd, ready your pocket for a costly night out. The most ideal climates may perhaps be around April/May, in addition to September — when the Milanese enjoy the relatively mild and moist winters with a great view of snow-capped hills and mountains.
These are the top things to do in Milan:
Milan Cathedral (Duomo)
is a splendid religious structure that is recognized as one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. It was started in 1386 and not finished until the 1800’s. In Milan, there are not so many architectural attractions; this one is definitely a masterpiece and the Duomo is a necessary stop for tourists. It has a huge number of spires, statues, and artifacts that number more than 3000. Entrance to the Cathedral is free. You can even climb to the roof, where you can walk around and see the center of Milan (Piazza del Duomo) from above. The entrance fee for the roof depends on whether you go on foot or by lift. You can also go to a cafe on the roof of the shopping center just across from the cathedral to admire the Duomo from there.
It would probably be very difficult to meet anyone who would be left unaffected by this splendid Gothic building. At the Milan Cathedral you can see pink and white marble in the soft rays at dawn; “hundreds” of openwork spires that give the cathedral a marvelous lightness and weightlessness; the gilded Madonna (patroness of Milan) crowning the chief among these spires; thousands of sculptures illustrating biblical scenes; chimeras lurking on the walls of the building — the splendor and grandeur of the cathedral is simply impossible to put into words. It is worth remembering too that you will not be allowed into the cathedral with bare shoulders and knees. To admire a breathtaking panorama of Milan, do go up to the roof of the cathedral.
Duomo Square Area
unites three unique attractions of Milan: the delicate white marble Gothic cathedral, the Duomo,; Gallery Emmanuelle 2, with access to the famous La Scala; and finally the pigeon bazaar. Also seen is the Sforza palace, but it is necessary to go through a passage at La Scala first. This landmark square is always crowded, and one of the top things you can do is to take pictures with a lot of pigeons while attracting them with food and whistles. This square in the center of Milan — with the majestic snow-white Gothic cathedral, the Duomo — is a symbol of the city and its pride.
Chiesa Di San Maurizio Al Monastero Maggiore
Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
is a very interesting place in Milan. Get a free guide and you will have an excellent tour of the history of the monastery with a breakdown of the frescoes. The church has unusually interesting frescoes and is also striking for its unique interior layout, the bell tower, and one of the towers of the ancient Roman circus. It is one of the most beautiful creations representing the Renaissance Churches of Italy. La Corso Magenta hides a real gem, a triumph of artistic frescos of rich antiquity. In these paintings there is’ immortality’, the junction point between the heaven and the earth.
Remember that the church is divided into two parts by a partition, so do not stop after the first area (the only one that was originally open to all), but continue through a passage on the left at the back (where cloistered nuns once stood). Close to the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci is the Santa Maria delle Grazie; this is a treasure (now not-so-hidden) that really leaves everyone speechless.
L’Ultima Cena (The Last Supper)
One of the most famous works of Leonardo da Vinci,
L’Ultima Cena –
“The Last Supper” is located in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. “The Last Supper” is the most mature and complete creation of da Vinci. Despite the fact that much of the original paint is lost (estimates vary from one third to a half), the mural is very impressive. Contemporaries saw the genius of da Vinci “Last Supper” in the subtle emotional differentiation, which contributed to a variety of postures, gestures and facial expressions of characters. “When going for a walk” — Leonardo wrote as a young instructor to his disciples — “stop, ponder poses and facial expressions.
See how people talk, they argue, laugh or fight. Moreover, take into account the actions of the combatants, and those who support them; do not forget about the onlookers. Immediately make a few strokes in a sketchbook. My notepad always comes with me.”
The time allowed for viewing da Vinci’s work does not exceed 15 minutes. Tickets will cost 10 dollars. At the exit, you can certainly linger in the gift shop and browse the choice of literature and numerous souvenirs. If you have some free time, you can also visit an exhibition of drawings by Leonardo. Admission is free and you can get there on foot from the station called the Metro Cadorna within ten or fifteen minutes.
Dialogo Nel Buio
Dialogo Nel Buio
, you can have a dinner in the dark and an unforgettable experience. The minute you enter, you don’t know what to expect as you dine in total darkness at a table with other people who do not know you and cannot see your face; everyone is forced to focus only on the flavors and voices. It is truly an experience that is highly recommended for everyone. The waiters here are very kind and funny while the experience is incredible and hard to explain.
You will be joined by a blind person on a path that winds through various environments, a forest, the sea, a road, a living room — all in the dark. That makes everything more rigorous, but your guide encourages you to awaken all the senses that will slowly help you to grasp every nuance of the environment that surrounds you — a smell, a sound, an area, even the dark itself, and all of a sudden it becomes almost cozy, warm, and reassuring. It is an experience that absolutely unique and must be tried when in Milan.
Villa Necchi Campiglio
Villa Nechi Campiglio
is located in the center of Milan and considered an oasis of peace in the middle of the city. It is a beautiful villa full of works of art and furnished with great taste — nestled in a scenic park with gardens, swimming pool, and a tennis court. You can enjoy the artwork and then relax in the lovely garden or have some drinks in the bar that can be found in the same building. The house museum is the result of several factors; power, money, intelligence, foresight, and the ability to recognize and appreciate the beauty in an environment so far removed from that of ordinary people.
The family of Necchi Campiglio was able to enjoy comfort and a quality of life worthy of note, and then bequeathed it all to the Italian government to be used by the people of Milan. This is perhaps the single act that rightly makes them unforgettable. It is a wonderful villa with a spectacular pool and garden in the center of Milan. It consists of an impressive architecture, still-beautiful furnishings and interior decorations. It hosts important exhibitions throughout the year and seasonal events, even in the garden.
Brera Picture Gallery (Pinacoteca di Brera)
Brera Picture Gallery
(Pinacoteca di Brera)
houses the most famous collection of Italian masterpieces of both painting and sculpture. The paintings here are mostly religious and carry a biblical theme. You can see how they are restored (in a special hall). The visit requires a total time of 1.5 – 2 hours. In the adjacent courtyard, the restoration of the sculpture monuments is also open for viewing.
The famous Brera Gallery is on the 1st floor of the famous College of Arts in Milan. Here are stored the paintings that Napoleon acquired as a result of his many military campaigns. First of all it is necessary to look at the paintings of Raphael (Betrothal Madonna, etc.) and Caravaggio. Particularly impressive is the collection of the Renaissance period.
Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio
If you are not only in Milan for shopping – be sure to visit the
Basilica of St. Ambrose
. Read the history of his life and learn about the role he played in the history of Milan. The tour here is completely different, as you begin to understand how history comes alive in such places. From the Sforza Castle, this Basilica is about 10 minutes away by foot.
This is the oldest church in Milan, built in the 4th century on the burial place of Christian martyrs, and is one of the finest Romanesque churches in Italy. It is famous for the fact that the sarcophagus of a commander named Stilicho who lies buried here. The Basilica also has a unique golden altar built in the 9th century.
Gallerie d’Italia Piazza della Scala
Gallerie d’Italia Piazza della Scala
is a brand new modern and contemporary gallery in the city center. It is a 3-minute walk away from the Duomo Square, and exhibits works owned by the Cariplo Intesa-San Paolo Foundation. The museum consists of 3 parts and is housed in beautiful buildings: 1) A wonderful Art Nouveau building –it is the first when you enter from the Piazza della Scala). It is the former seat of the Italian Commercial Bank (you will still see the doors) and contains only works of contemporary art. 2) An even more amazing palace (Palazzo Anguissola) containing frescoes, stucco, marble, mirrors, and crystal chandeliers on the ground floor of Canova plaster — and upstairs are nineteenth-century paintings, many of which are scenes from old Milan. 3) A section with dark and evocative paintings of the end of 1800-1900.
It is filled with beautiful paintings down every hallway. In one of the courtyards you can admire one of the famous “discs” created by Italian artist Arnaldo Pomodoro. The museum is completely free (including audio guides and coat check). The staff is friendly and the facility is awesome. It is highly recommended to everyone (even those who are art lovers) to visit this jewel that has enriched the city of Milan.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
is one of the oldest shopping centers in the world. The gallery is a mall with two arches, with glass forming an octagon and covering the street that connects the cathedral square and the square in front of the La Scala Theater. The entire gallery opens with a grand triumphal arch. On the floor of the central polygon, you can see four mosaics depicting the coats of arms of three capitals of the Italian kingdom (Turin, Florence, and Rome) and the national emblem of Milan. The old gallery was named in honor of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of a united Italy; it was originally designed in 1861 and built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877.
The gallery features luxury boutiques selling brand-name goods. Also, there are expensive cafes and restaurants. The place is a must-see in Milan even if you are not interested in shopping. It is very nice, but always crowded and full of only signature brand and expensive shops. In the end, if you find yourself exhausted from the countless boutiques, try to pamper yourself with good Italian cuisine at the row of restaurants on the ground floor.