A delightful mix of majestic grandeur and simplicity, Milan has to be mentioned in your travel plans. Known to many as the fashion capital of the world as its home to famous brands like Versace and Prada, Milan also has a rich heritage and a captivating past. What should I not miss in Milano? Here are the 10 best places to visit.
1. Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milan)
Situated in Piazza del Duomo, Duomo di Milan is the largest cathedral in Italy and the third largest in the world. The construction of this magnificent church began in the 14th century and is a dedication to Santa Maria Nascente. Its exterior is decorated with perfectly carved stones and the 2,245 marble statues are a sight to behold. The interior is even more stunning with beautiful stained glass windows bursting with color. The elegance and beauty of the Milan Cathedral make it one of the top places to visit in Milan.
2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Positioned right outside the cathedral, on the Piazza del Duomo, lies famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, another must visit attraction in Milan. The gallery is said to be the oldest shopping centre in Italy and inside, you’ll find the most renowned fashion designer stores, and many luxury restaurants. It’s considered one of the most beautiful spots in Europe and it being one of the most photographed places in Italy backs these claims. When there, turn on your heel over the mosaic bull under the central dome as it brings good luck.
3. Sforzesco Castle
The castle is named after Francesco Sforza the Duke of Milan who built it in the 15th century. Today, the complex is home to many popular museums like Museum of Ancient Art which features the Pietà Rondanini – Michelangelo’s final masterpiece. You can also find the Egyptian Museum and Museum of Prehistory and Protohistory. Behind this castle, you’ll find Parco Sempione, a popular attraction in Milan.
4. Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio
Founded in 386 by St. Ambrose the city’s patron saint, The church of Sant’Ambrogio is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. You’ll be drawn to the church’s simple yet beautiful Romanesque design exterior along with the notably large atrium and bell towers. Makes sure you go inside to see the sarcophagus of Stilicon and the crypt, where the remains of Saint Ambrose, Saint Protasus and Saint Gervasus can be found.
5. Teatro alla Scala
Said to be the most luxurious opera house in the world, Teatro alla Scalla has an exceptional holding capacity of 2000+ people to accommodate all those who enjoy performances from global music legends. You can also visit the Museo Teatrale alla Scala, to see the collection of costumes from iconic performances, paintings and statues. It’s amongst the most famous ballet and opera theatres in the world making it one of the best places to visit in Milan.
6. Arco della Pace
The Porta Sempione (Simplon Gate) is marked by a 25m high landmark triumphal arch called Arco della Pace or Arch of Peace. Built under Napoleon’s rule to celebrate the Napoleonic victories, it echoes the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. At the top of the arch there are 4 statues of victorious men on horseback along with the famous ‘sestiga della pace.’ If you were wondering what to see in Milan, this should be on your list.
7. Cimitero Monumentale
Cimitero Monumentale is a vast cemetery building set near Stazione Porta Garibaldi rail station. It has hundreds of impressive tombs where Italy’s most famous personalities rest. Apart from it being a cemetry, its also an open air museum and you can glance at the sculptures contributed by Italian artists.
The Naviglio canals are lined with high end restaurants, bustling bars and charming cafes frequented by young travellers. Tourists have also enjoyed the 55-minute cruise along the remaining Navigli Lombardi. In the evening, the lights reflecting in the canals make it very romantic. Naviglio is most active at night one of the top things to do in Milan at night.
9. Pinacoteca di Brera
Situated in the Palazzo Brera, Brera Art Gallery is amongst Italy’s most finest art museums. Its 40 aesthetic rooms house 400 incredible works of art like Raphael’s ”The Marriage of the Virgin” or Caravaggio’s ”Last Supper to Emmaus.” Picasso, Braque, and Modigliani also have their works on display to be marveled at. Before you leave tour the lovely Orto Botanico di Brera, an enchanting garden in one of its inner courtyards. Without a doubt it’s high on the list of best places to visit in Milan for art lovers.
10. Santa Maria delle Grazie
A trip to Italy is not complete without a trip to Santa Maria delle Grazie, a Gothic brick church located in the northern city of Milan. Its famous for being the home of the iconic Last Supper painting by Leonardo da Vinci kept in a small room inside the church. Note only a limited number of visitors are allowed to enter the room at a time and tickets are sold in advance.