Welcome to Milan, the fashion capital of Italy and a city that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and modernity. As one of the most vibrant and stylish cities in Europe, Milan has plenty to offer to its visitors. From world-renowned fashion houses to architectural marvels, there are countless attractions that make Milan a must-visit destination.
With its roots dating back to ancient times, Milan has emerged as a global hub for fashion, design, and finance. This cosmopolitan city is home to some of the most iconic landmarks, world-class museums, and a thriving culinary scene that will captivate any traveler.
In this article, we will explore the 10 best things to do in Milan. Whether you are a fashion enthusiast, history buff, or simply looking to immerse yourself in Italian culture, Milan has something to offer for everyone. So, let’s dive in and discover the enchanting city of Milan.
Visit the Duomo di Milano
No visit to Milan is complete without experiencing the magnificence of the Duomo di Milano. This iconic cathedral is the epitome of Gothic architecture and one of the largest churches in the world.
As you enter the Duomo, you will be instantly awed by its grandeur. The intricate details on the façade, including over 3,000 statues, will leave you mesmerized. Climb to the rooftop to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city and admire the architectural mastery.
Inside, you’ll find a stunning interior adorned with beautiful stained-glass windows, intricately carved marble altars, and the famous golden statue of Madonnina. Explore the crypt to witness the fascinating archaeological remains of the early Christian baptistery.
For a truly immersive experience, consider attending a Mass or listening to the soul-stirring choir performances. The Duomo also hosts occasional exhibitions, offering a glimpse into the rich history and art of Milan.
Pro tip: To beat the crowd, visit the Duomo early in the morning or late in the afternoon. It’s also worth purchasing skip-the-line tickets to save time and make the most of your visit.
Be prepared to be amazed by the Duomo di Milano and its significance in Milan’s history and culture. This splendid masterpiece is a testament to the city’s architectural prowess and a symbol of its rich artistic heritage.
Explore the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Located right next to the Duomo di Milano, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a world-famous shopping arcade that exudes elegance and luxury. This architectural gem is a testament to Milan’s status as a global fashion capital.
Step into the Galleria and be greeted by a stunning glass roof and intricate mosaic floor. This breathtaking setting serves as a passage between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Scala, two of the city’s most iconic squares.
As you explore the Galleria, marvel at the exquisite high-end boutiques that line its walls. From renowned luxury brands to local Italian designers, the Galleria offers a unique shopping experience like no other.
Take a moment to visit the historic cafes that have stood the test of time. Treat yourself to a cup of rich Italian coffee and indulge in delicious pastries while immersing in the lively atmosphere. You may even spot celebrities and fashionistas stopping by for a quick coffee break.
For an unforgettable experience, don’t forget to partake in the tradition of spinning on the bull’s testicles mosaic. It is believed to bring good luck and ensure your return to Milan.
From upscale shopping to the vibrant ambiance, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II truly embodies the spirit of Milan. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or simply looking to soak up the city’s elegance, this iconic landmark is a must-visit destination.
Wander through the Brera District
If you’re looking for charm and bohemian vibes, head to the Brera district, one of Milan’s most artistic and picturesque neighborhoods. Located just a short distance from the city center, Brera is a haven for art lovers, history enthusiasts, and those seeking a more laid-back atmosphere.
As you stroll through the cobblestone streets of Brera, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful historic buildings, quaint cafes, and art galleries. The district is home to the renowned Pinacoteca di Brera, an art museum that houses an impressive collection of Italian Renaissance masterpieces.
Take your time exploring the museum and be captivated by iconic works of art from artists such as Caravaggio, Raphael, and Mantegna. The museum also offers breathtaking views of the city from its rooftop terrace, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts.
Aside from the museum, Brera is also known for its vibrant nightlife and eclectic mix of restaurants. Indulge in traditional Italian cuisine, sip on fine wine, and immerse yourself in the lively ambiance of the district.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the Botanical Garden of Brera, a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. Take a leisurely walk among the beautiful plants and flowers or simply find a quiet spot to relax and embrace the serenity.
Whether you’re an art connoisseur or simply seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, a visit to the Brera district will leave you enchanted and inspired.
Admire Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
No visit to Milan would be complete without experiencing one of the most famous artworks in the world – Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. Housed in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Santa Maria delle Grazie, this masterpiece is a must-see for art enthusiasts and history buffs.
Created in the late 15th century, the Last Supper depicts the final meal of Jesus Christ with his disciples before his crucifixion. Leonardo’s meticulous attention to detail and innovative use of perspective and composition make this painting a true marvel.
Due to the painting’s delicate nature, entry to the Last Supper is highly regulated, and only a limited number of visitors are allowed each day. It is advisable to book your tickets well in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on this extraordinary experience.
As you enter the room housing the Last Supper, you’ll be struck by the sheer size and impact of the painting. Despite its age, the masterpiece has been carefully restored to retain its original beauty.
Take your time to study the expressions on the faces of the disciples and the intricate details of the table setting. Notice the sense of motion and emotion captured by Leonardo, as each character reacts to the news of Jesus’ impending betrayal.
While admiring the Last Supper, it’s worth engaging the services of a knowledgeable guide who can provide insights into the historical and artistic significance of this iconic artwork.
Prepare to be awe-inspired by the genius of Leonardo da Vinci as you stand face to face with his Last Supper. The sheer beauty and cultural significance of this painting make it a highlight of any visit to Milan.
Stroll around Sforza Castle
Immerse yourself in history as you visit the majestic Sforza Castle, located in the heart of Milan. This grand fortress is a symbol of the city’s medieval past and is now home to several museums and art collections.
Originally built in the 15th century, Sforza Castle served as a residence for the ruling Sforza family. Over the centuries, it has undergone several renovations and expansions, resulting in its impressive architectural blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles.
Take a leisurely stroll through the castle’s vast courtyards and gardens, which offer a serene escape from the bustling city. Admire the impressive architecture, beautiful sculptures, and intricate details that adorn the castle’s exterior.
Inside the castle, you’ll find several museums housing a diverse array of collections. Visit the Museo d’Arte Antica to explore exquisite artworks from the Renaissance period, including masterpieces by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Museum of Ancient Musical Instruments, which showcases a fascinating collection of instruments from different historical periods. The Museum of Egyptian Art is also worth a visit, with its intriguing artifacts from ancient Egypt.
After exploring the museums, take a moment to relax in the castle’s beautiful gardens. The Parco Sempione, adjacent to the castle, offers lush green spaces, tranquil ponds, and picturesque views of the city skyline.
Whether you’re a history buff, art lover, or simply looking for a serene retreat, a visit to Sforza Castle is a must. It’s a place where you can step back in time and discover the rich cultural heritage of Milan.
Enjoy art at Pinacoteca di Brera
If you have a passion for art, a visit to the Pinacoteca di Brera is a must when in Milan. This prestigious art gallery is housed in a beautiful palazzo in the charming Brera district and is home to an exceptional collection of Italian Renaissance masterpieces.
Step inside the Pinacoteca and be captivated by the stunning array of artworks. The gallery boasts an extensive collection that includes paintings by renowned artists such as Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, and Bellini.
As you wander through the gallery’s rooms, you’ll have the opportunity to admire iconic masterpieces, including Caravaggio’s “Supper at Emmaus” and Raphael’s “Marriage of the Virgin.” The collection showcases the evolution of Italian art from the 14th to the 20th century.
The Pinacoteca di Brera is not just a place to view art; it’s a journey through centuries of rich artistic history. The galleries are expertly curated, providing visitors with context and insight into the significance of each artwork.
One of the highlights of the Pinacoteca is its impressive collection of religious art. The gallery’s religious paintings are not only stunning works of art, but they also provide a glimpse into the religious and cultural heritage of Italy during the Renaissance period.
After immersing yourself in the beauty of the art, take a moment to relax in the tranquil courtyard of the Pinacoteca. Surrounded by the charming architecture and lush greenery, it’s the perfect place to reflect on the art you’ve experienced.
Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or simply appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of Renaissance art, a visit to the Pinacoteca di Brera is an enriching and inspiring experience. Prepare to be transported to a world of artistic brilliance and immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of Milan.
Experience the fashion streets of Via Monte Napoleone
If you’re a fashion enthusiast, prepare to be dazzled by the glamour and luxury of Via Monte Napoleone. Known as one of the world’s most prestigious shopping streets, this fashion mecca is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to indulge in high-end shopping.
Located in the heart of Milan’s fashion district, Via Monte Napoleone is lined with elegant boutiques and flagship stores of renowned fashion houses. Designer names such as Gucci, Prada, Versace, and Dolce & Gabbana adorn the street, tempting fashion enthusiasts from around the world.
As you walk along Via Monte Napoleone, you’ll be captivated by the stunning window displays showcasing the latest fashion trends. From exquisite clothing and accessories to luxurious jewelry and footwear, this street offers a shopping experience like no other.
Even if you’re not planning on making a purchase, simply strolling along the street allows you to soak in the glamorous atmosphere of Milan’s fashion scene. It’s a chance to admire the impeccable craftsmanship and cutting-edge designs that have made Italian fashion renowned worldwide.
Take a break from shopping and treat yourself to a meal or a refreshing drink at one of the stylish cafes or restaurants that dot the street. Enjoy people-watching as fashion-forward individuals go about their day, exuding style and sophistication.
Whether you’re a fashion connoisseur or simply appreciate the artistry found in fashion, a visit to Via Monte Napoleone is a must. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the world of haute couture and witness the epitome of Italian elegance.
Take a walk in the beautiful Parco Sempione
Escape the bustling city streets and find tranquility in the enchanting Parco Sempione. Located right behind the Sforza Castle, this sprawling park offers a serene oasis in the heart of Milan, perfect for those looking to relax and rejuvenate.
As you enter Parco Sempione, you’ll be greeted by lush green lawns, towering trees, and winding pathways. Take a leisurely stroll and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you.
One of the highlights of the park is the picturesque Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) at its entrance. This neoclassical triumphal arch serves as a symbolic gateway to the park and offers a stunning backdrop for photos.
Continue your walk and discover charming ponds, statues, and fountains scattered throughout the park. Find a comfortable spot on the grass and enjoy a picnic or simply soak up the peaceful ambiance.
The park is not only a haven for relaxation but also offers a variety of recreational activities. Rent a bike and explore the park on wheels, challenge a friend to a game of tennis or basketball, or simply unwind with a book on one of the park benches.
For art enthusiasts, don’t miss the chance to visit the Triennale di Milano, an art and design museum located within Parco Sempione. The museum showcases contemporary works of art and hosts various temporary exhibitions.
As you walk through Parco Sempione, you’ll also encounter the famous Torre Branca, a steel tower with an observation deck that provides breathtaking panoramic views of Milan’s skyline. Climb to the top for a stunning vista of the city.
Whether you’re seeking a peaceful escape from the city or looking to engage in outdoor activities, a visit to Parco Sempione is a must. This beautiful park offers the perfect retreat and a chance to reconnect with nature in the heart of Milan.
Marvel at the modern architecture of the Unicredit Tower
Rising majestically in the Porta Nuova district, the Unicredit Tower stands as a symbol of modernity and innovation in Milan’s architectural landscape. This skyscraper, reaching a height of 231 meters, is one of the tallest buildings in Italy and offers awe-inspiring views of the city.
Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, the Unicredit Tower showcases sleek lines, a glass façade, and a unique twisted shape, making it a true masterpiece of contemporary architecture. As you approach the tower, its impressive presence captivates the eye and exudes a sense of modern grandeur.
Visitors have the opportunity to ascend to the building’s panoramic terrace, aptly named “Terrazza 360.” From here, you can marvel at the breathtaking views of Milan’s skyline, including iconic landmarks such as the Duomo and Sforza Castle.
Aside from its architectural allure, the Unicredit Tower also houses several commercial spaces, offices, and a conference center. It serves as the headquarters of Unicredit, one of the largest banking groups in Europe.
While exploring the Porta Nuova district, take a moment to appreciate the architectural synergy between the Unicredit Tower and the surrounding buildings. The district itself showcases a harmonious blend of contemporary skyscrapers and historic structures.
Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or simply appreciate modern design, a visit to the Unicredit Tower is a must. It offers a unique perspective on Milan’s ever-evolving cityscape and illustrates the city’s commitment to contemporary aesthetics.
Sample Italian delicacies at Mercato Metropolitano
Indulge in a culinary adventure at Mercato Metropolitano, a vibrant food market that celebrates the essence of Italian gastronomy. Located in the Porta Genova district, this bustling market is a haven for food lovers seeking a taste of authentic Italian delicacies.
As you enter Mercato Metropolitano, you’ll be greeted by a feast for the senses. The market is filled with the aromas of freshly brewed coffee, artisanal bread, and a variety of regional specialties. The vibrant atmosphere and lively chatter create an immersive experience that reflects the Italian way of life.
Meander through the market’s various stalls and discover a wide array of gourmet delights. From traditional pasta and freshly baked pizzas to cheeses, charcuterie, and gelato, there’s a mouthwatering selection to satisfy every craving.
One of the highlights of Mercato Metropolitano is the emphasis on sustainable and local products. Many vendors showcase organic and seasonal ingredients, ensuring a high-quality and environmentally conscious culinary experience.
While exploring, don’t miss the chance to grab a seat at one of the communal tables and enjoy a meal with friends or fellow food enthusiasts. Engage in conversation, share stories, and savor the flavors of Italy as you soak in the lively ambiance.
Mercato Metropolitano is not just a place to satisfy your taste buds; it’s also a hub for cultural events and workshops. From cooking classes and wine tastings to live music performances and art exhibitions, the market offers a diverse range of activities to enrich your visit.
Immerse yourself in the culinary traditions of Italy at Mercato Metropolitano and discover a world of flavors and regional specialties. It’s a place where the passion for food and the joy of community come together.
Milan, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and modern allure, offers an incredible array of experiences for visitors. From iconic landmarks and world-class museums to fashion streets and culinary delights, there is no shortage of things to do in this captivating city.
Exploring the Duomo di Milano and witnessing its magnificent architecture is an absolute must. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II will immerse you in the world of fashion, while the Brera District will offer a charming and artistic escape.
The artistic treasures continue with Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, a masterpiece that leaves a lasting impression. Sforza Castle showcases the city’s medieval past, and the Pinacoteca di Brera is a paradise for art lovers.
Via Monte Napoleone embodies Milan’s reputation as a fashion capital, while Parco Sempione provides a tranquil retreat amidst nature. The Unicredit Tower stands as a symbol of modern architecture, and Mercato Metropolitano offers a tantalizing culinary journey.
As you bid farewell to Milan, you’ll carry with you an appreciation for the city’s blend of old-world charm and contemporary vibrancy. Whether you’ve indulged in fashion, delved into history, or savored the flavors of traditional Italian cuisine, Milan is a destination that leaves a lasting impression on every traveler.
So, pack your bags, immerse yourself in Milan’s allure, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Discover the magic of this remarkable city and embrace the European charm that truly sets Milan apart.