Albeit it is mostly famous for being the main financial center of Italy, Milan also presents to the tourist a wealth of historical and modern sights, most of them unique in Italy and in the whole world.
Among the most important sights, we point out:
The Duomo. Milan’s main cathedral and one of the biggest and grandest Gothic cathedrals in the world. A visit to its rooftop reveals a spectacular view of the city between the Gothic spires.
Saint Mary of the Graces (Santa Maria delle Grazie). Houses one of the world’s most famous paintings: the Last Supper (Cenacolo Vinciano) by Leonardo da Vinci.
It is necessary to reserve tickets a few months before the visit. Tickets can be reserved by phone (+39 02 8942 1146) or online (official reservation page).
Saint Ambrose (Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio). A beautiful and huge Byzantic/Romanic church which was almost destroyed by allied bombing in World War 2, although some of its Byzantic mosaics are well preserved.
Brera art gallery (Pinacoteca di Brera). One of Italy’s (and Europe’s) most important art collections and one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings.
Address: via Brera, 28 Price: €10
Tue-Sun: 8:30 am – 7:15 pm
Castello Sforzesco and its museums. A grand medieval castle where the Sforza-Visconti ruling families of Milan resided. It houses several museums and a Pinacoteca (an art gallery with masterpieces of famous Italian painters).
The Sforza Castle hosts Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini in its museums and offers visitors some of the most varied collections, including musical instruments, the Egyptian Collection, the Prehistory and Protohistory Collections and the Museum of Ancient Art.
Address: Piazza Castello
Tue-Sunday: 9:00 am – 17:30 pm
City Center, with La Scala Theatre (one of the most renowned opera houses in the world), Galleria Vittorio Emanuele (an ancient and glamorous arcaded shopping gallery), Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Montenapoleone (the two main shopping streets of Milan, with some of the most important Italian fashion boutiques).
Milan boasts a rich and unique variety of museums.
Triennale Design Museum
Unique on the cultural circuit in Italy, the Triennale Design Museum showcases Italian design by means of a series of representations that are annually renewed.
Address: viale Alemagna, 6
Thu: 10:30 am – 11:00 pm
Fri-Sun: 10:30 am – 8:30 pm
Hangar Bicocca is a space near the University of Milano-Bicocca devoted to the production, exhibition and promotion of contemporary art. The current exhibition presents Mike Kelley: Eternity is a Long Time, about the work of the late American artist Mike Kelley (Detroit, 1954 – Los Angeles, 2012). HangarBicocca also puts on an exciting calendar of events offered to the public completely free of charge: HB Kids offers creative adventures, films and activities for children. HB Public has a programme of film festivals, guided tours, meetings with the curator and artists, and cycle rides to explore the Bicocca district.
Address: via Chiese, 2
Thu-Sun: 11 am – 11 pm
The ample scope of cultural museum collections also covers the naturalistic and scientific fields with the Museo di Storia Naturale (Museum of Natural History), the Acquario Civico (Civic Aquarium), the Planetarium and the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia (Museum of Science and Technology), which is dedicated to the great Leonardo da Vinci and has sections devoted to transport, materials and even the new frontiers of biotechnology and telecommunications.
Numerous exhibitions, art events and expositions all rotate around the city. We point out:
Leonardo3 – Il Mondo di Leonardo (Leonardo3 – The World of Leonardo)
The most important interactive and multidisciplinary exhibition dedicated to the artist and engineer Leonardo da Vinci and his machines open in Milan.
Address: Piazza della Scala
Mon-Sun: 10 am – 11 pm
Modigliani, Soutine e gli Artisti Maledetti – La collezione Neter
(Modigliani, Soutine and the Cursed Artists – The Neter Collection)
Presented with great success at the Pinacothèque de Paris, the exhibition in Milan has more than 120 masterpieces by Amedeo Modigliani and other artists who lived and painted in Paris in the Montparnasse area in the early 1900s. For the first time in Italy works from the extensive collection of Jonas Netter (Strasbourg 1868 – Paris 1946), acute connoisseur of talent, including Soutine, Utrillo, Suzanne Valadon and, of course, Modigliani.
Address: Palazzo Reale
Fri: 9:30 am – 7:30 pm
Sat: 9:30 am -10:30 pm
Sun: 9:30 am – 7:30 pm
Parks and Gardens
Milan’s network of parks consists of 54 parks, as well as other green spaces, including 21 splendid gardens, that allow citizens and visitors to pass their free time surrounded by nature. We point out:
Giardini di Villa Reale (Gardens at Villa Reale)
The park is located in the city center and is one of the earliest “landscaped” parks created in Milan.
Address: via Palestro
Mon-Sun: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Parco Sempione (Simplon Park)
It is a large park located in the historic center of the city. It owes its name to Corso Sempione, a major thoroughfare of Milan, dating back to the Napoleonic Empire. The park is adjacent to the gardens of Sforza Castle.
Entrances: Via Pagano, Via Bertani, Piazza Castello, Viale Elvezia, Viale Milton, Viale Gladio, Viale Alemagna and Viale Legnano.
Mon-Sun: 6:30 am – 11:30 pm
Giardini della Guastalla (Guastalla Gardens)
Splendid in every detail, the park, built long ago in 1555 in the city center, was designed as an “Italian-style” garden and contains a wealth of architectural beauty.
Address: via Francesco Sforza
Mon-Sun: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
Moreover, Milan is well-connected by train and buses with several notable points of interest of northern and central Italy, such as (in order of distance):
- Monza (about 15 minutes by train). Medium-size town with a beautiful pedestrian-only centre and a marvellous park, Parco di Monza, the largest enclosed park in Europe.
- Lake Como (about 1 hour by train). An impressive lake in the foothills of the Alps with some beautiful villages such as Como, Menaggio, Bellagio, and Varenna.
- Lake Garda (about 90 minutes by train). Beautiful lake (the largest in Italy) with a lot of beautiful small cities, such as Sirmione and Peschiera del Garda.
- Venice (about 2.5 hours by train). One of the most interesting and charming city in the world. It is a completely pedestrian city which sits on more than 100 islands of a lagoon, traversed by narrow streets and connected by picturesque bridges.
Detailed visitor information are available at the official Milan’s tourism website.
(Freely adapted from the WikiTravel’s Milan Guide.)