Despite how Milan is portrayed on the world’s stage, the city is anything but flashy. Many of its most interesting sights and attractions are not readily apparent, so you’ll need to dig a little deeper to discover the gems that really make the city unique. Luckily, Milan is surprisingly walkable and at times feels more like a compact town than a major European metropolis. And once you start chipping away at its foreboding exterior, you’ll find untold treasures below the surface: priceless works of art, eccentric beautiful buildings, world-class restaurants and oases of calm. Explore the best things to do in Milan and remember: appearances aren’t everything.
Things To Do In Milan
Milan’s Duomo (duomo di Milano) is a much-loved symbol of the city. The most exuberant example of Northern Gothic architecture in Italy, the cathedral and its spiky spires and towers dominate Piazza del Duomo, the city’s beating heart. One of the highlights of a visit to the cathedral is the view from the roof, where you can scope out Milan from the highest terrace surrounded by statues. On a clear day, it’s possible to see the Italian Alps.
How to Get There
The Duomo is located in the historic center of the city, on pedestrianized Piazza del Duomo. Since it cannot be directly accessed by car, it is best to reach the cathedral on foot or by public transport; the closest metro station is right in front of the cathedral. You can also book a private tour with included transportation. If you’re visiting Rome, Venice, or Verona but want to see the cathedral of Milan, note that high-speed train tickets are a very effective means of travel.
In the fashion capital of Italy, the soaring, glass-domed Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade never goes out of style. Started in 1877, Europe’s oldest shopping mall connects the Milan Duomo to Piazza di Marino and the La Scala Opera House (Teatro alla Scala) by way of a bright and airy, four-story center lined with busy restaurants and shops. Come for the Neoclassical architecture, stay for the brands and fresh baked panzerotti.
How To Get to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The southern entrance of the galleria is located off Piazza del Duomo, adjacent to the cathedral and its northern entrance off Piazza della Scala. Strolling through the galleria is a great way to get from the La Scala Opera House to Milan’s Duomo. The closest metro stop is for the Duomo, right in front of the galleria.
Il Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle) is a medieval fortress built by the Visconti dynasty that became home to Milan’s ruling Sforza family in 1450. Stark and domineering, the historic brick castle has massive round battlements, an imposing tower overlooking the central courtyard and surrounding Parco Sempione gardens, and defensive walls designed by Leonardo da Vinci. Today the castle houses a number of world-class museums and galleries.
It’s possible, after you bought the ticket (months before), to visit the Last Supper, this extraordinary work by Leonardo da Vinci.
address: church at Santa Maria delle Grazie,
Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano MI, Italia
Gae Aulenti Square
Colonne di San Lorenzo
La Scala Theater (Opera)
The Quad d’Oro
How to get around the City and the Airport
If you arrive in Milan by airplane at the Malpensa Airport, there is an easy and economical way to arrive in the city center, you can take the Malpensa Express and you’ll be in the city in less than one hour.
To get around the city you can use the subway. It’s cheap and fast, pretty new and with the AC in the summer. For more information about it, click here.