Milan is a symbiosis of historical architecture and modern sky-scrapers, all mingled together with a dash of Italian life. In fact, we all know Milan as a centre of high fashion retailers and a home to the leading fashion brands like Prada, Armani, and Versace.
Besides being a historical jewel with the magnificent Duomo Di Milano Cathedral in the heart of the city, Milan is also a destination with mouthwatering cuisine and a plethora of modern art galleries.
Whether you are an art admirer, a fashion enthusiast or a foodie, you will surely find something that sparks your interest in Milan.
We have selected the best 10 places that will take your breath away while visiting Milano.
1. Duomo Di Milano Cathedral
Located at the centre of the city in the Piazza Duomo the Cathedral was constructed in 1386 but not officially completed until 1965. The result was an impressive and unique piece of architecture, which merged the international Gothic style with the Lombard Romanesque style. On the highest spire of the temple is the Madonnina, a gilded bronze statue, which was sculpted by Giuseppe Perego in 1774. Over the years it has become the symbol of Milan.
2. Santa Maria delle Grazie
Created in 1497, the church features a Gothic style using red bricks and a large rear basilica. Although the exterior of the church is not renowned but inside the building lies one of the greatest artistic masterpieces of all times “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci . Milan’s famous 15th-century wall mural over the years has crumbled, been vandalized bombed and restored. Today we are probably looking at very little of the original.
3. Pinacoteca di Brera
Immerse yourself into art at one of the most stunning world-class art galleries in Milan.
Located in the Palazzo Brera, the Pinacoteca is a fine Art Gallery that contains a large collection of Italian art. Amongst the collection are masterpieces by Piero della Francesca, Raphael, Mantegna, Bellini, Caravaggio, Tintoretto and Veronese. There is a small section on modern art which includes paintings by Modigliani, De Chirico and Carrà.
4. La Scala
The world-renowned opera house was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the New Royal-Ducal Theatre alla Scala. The building of the theatre La Scala is a bright representative of the Neo-Classical style – the architecture is among the most beautiful in the world, and its outstanding acoustics had become a legend for ages.
The opera house of Milan turned into a center of the spectacular and extensive ‘opera epoch’ in XVIII-XIX centuries hosting the best singers and conductors of the world including such greats as Rossini, Puccini, Verdi and Toscanini.
5. Castello Sforzesco
Sforzesco Castle is a castle built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza and now hosting one of the largest art collection.
Collections of the Castello Sforzesco include those of the Museum of Antique Art, of the Museum of Musical Instruments, and of the Picture Gallery. The “Rondanini Pietà,” Michelangelo’s unfinished last work, is there. The Picture Gallery has works by Renaissance and 17th-century Italian masters, including Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, Filippo Lippi, Correggio, and Jacopo da Pontormo. There is also a fine collection of French and Dutch works.
The iconic red-brick castle has undergone over the centuries various and complex transformations; it has been defence fortress, military barracks, private residence and centre of cultural institutions and museums.
6. Piazza Dei Mercanti
Piazza Dei Mercanti is one of the most charming and picturesque squares in Milan.
It still preserves the amazing historic atmosphere thanks to the unique buildings it houses. The buildings remain intact and are worth exploring:
The Palazzo della Ragione is a magnificent red-brick building that was inaugurated in 1233 to house the courts of justice of the city. Palazzo delle Scuole Palatin is the most important higher school of Milan. The beautiful Gothic-styled building of Casa dei Panigarola served as a notary seat and now is a restaurant.
7. Quadrilatero D’Oro
The Quadrilatero d’Oro is a beating heart of the vibrant and stylish Milan. The district bounded by four main streets, where the best of high Italian fashion comes together.
Every inch of this area is tightly packed with the best of haute couture, and instantly recognizable high-end names including Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada, Versace and Valentino.
8. Navigli District
Navigli District is a charming area, where you can have a pleasant walk or have an aperitivo Milanese.
Navigli is the name of the triangle bounded by Milan Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese which is headed by the Porta Ticinese dock and covering a large part of the southwestern quadrant of the city. Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese are surrounded by different types of cafés, restaurants, bars, design shops, art galleries etc.
The Navigli are also a wonderful place where you can have a rest for your soul and enjoy the view of magical canals.
9. Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio
Saint Ambrogio is one of the oldest buildings in Milan built in 379 AD by St. Ambrose. It is a church with a Romanesuqe desing has not changed much since its creation. Due to its age, the interior of the church features some beautiful mosaics and artwork including the ceiling of the Oratory and the delightful depiction of Christ on one of the domes.
Although it was severely damaged during World War II, the Basilica’s striking exterior and interior are beautifully preserved. We believe it to be one of the most interesting churches to visit in Milan.
10. Parco Sempione
If you want to relax from the hustle and bustle of Milan, Parco Sempione is the perfect location.
Parco Sempione is a large public space and gardens that sits behind the Sforzesco Castle. It is a beautifully landscaped park with lots of footpaths and many fountains and sculptures.
You can also find a museum in the park and the Torre Branca which is a huge watch tower that offers panoramic views of the city.
So is Milan worth visiting? Absolutely! Milan is less touristy than Rome or Florence but it is an attractive city with its charm and a unique character. Most places of the city still feels truly Italian.
Have a great time in Milan and share your most favourite must-see places of this vibrant and incredible city!