20 Best Things to do in Milan, Italy & Places to Visit

Things to do in Milan

Milan moves quickly while gazing upward. It is the most contemporary city in Italy, with cutting-edge architecture and cutting-edge design around every corner and there are some unique things to do in Milan Italy. 

Nevertheless, the past is omnipresent because Milan, which is located in the heart of the Po Valley, has experienced it all over the course of its 2,000-year existence.

Take into account that St. Augustine was baptised in a basilica that once stood at what is now Piazza del Duomo. 

Artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, composer Verdi, great tenor Enrico Caruso, and designer Giorgio Armani all resided and worked here. It was the place where Toscanini frequently performed at La Scala and Napoleon reigned the world. 

Milan has preserved a wealth of artistic, cultural, and architectural treasures for you to enjoy. The credit goes to its long history and the significant wealth it has amassed as a result of its favourable commercial destination.

There are many things to do close to the Duomo and a large Piazza del Duomo serves as a metro hub in front of the cathedral. If you stand over the stone market arcade in front of the 13th-century tiny Piazza dei Mercanti, you’ll think you’ve travelled back in time.

With this, here is the list of top 20 best things to do in Milan, Italy – 

1. Duomo Di Milano sure to Leave you Amazed

Things

One of the largest and most majestic churches in the world—it can accommodate up to 40,000 people—the enormous Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente is the pinnacle of the Classy Gothic architectural style. Ans, is one of the top Milan tourist attractions. 

The outside is embellished with 2,245 marble figures, and the roof is capped by 135 beautifully sculpted stone crests. With its 52 enormous pillars, the dark interior, which contrasts sharply with the dazzling and intricately decorated façade, leaves an impressive appearance. The oldest stained-glass windows inside are among the largest in the world. 

Highlights include the 16th-century tomb of Gian Giacomo Medici, the seven-branched bronze candlestick holder by Nicholas of Verdun, and the jewel-encrusted gold canopic jars of San Carlo Borromeo in the circular Borromeo Chapel off the crypt. The choir contains elaborately carved panels behind the high altar.

2. Castello Sforzesco Features Series of Museums

Things to do in Milan Castello Sforzesco

The imposing red-brick Castello Sforzesco has seen various changes over the years, first as a stronghold, then as the Sforza dynasty’s royal seat. It has a number of museums where you may learn about its past and is one of the best places to visit in Milan.

The Castello is home to a group of museums called the Musei del Castello Sforzesco, and also has a museum of sculpture. The Pietà Rondanini, Michelangelo’s final masterwork, was included in the collection when it was transported from Rome’s Palazzo Rondanini in 1953.

Other museums have collections of colourful art, Egyptian and ancient artefacts, musical artefacts, and an armoury from the mediaeval era. 

The photo collection features works by Antonello da Messina, Titian, Correggio, Mantegna, Bergognone, Foppa, Medici, and Giorgione. A passageway leads into the park, which was formerly the garden of the dukes of Milan and later served as a military training area, which is located between the Castello’s two rear courtyards.

3. Da Vinci’s Original Art is on the Display at Santa Maria Delle Grazie

Things to do in Milan Santa Maria Delle Grazie

Bramante, one of Italy’s most significant Renaissance architects, created the enormous six-sided dome of the Gothic brick church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which was built in the 1465th century.

The church, along with the adjacent presbytery  were severely damaged during World War II. It is where Leonardo da Vinci painted The Last Supper. During restoration work, historic graffiti paintings in the dome were unearthed. The Madonna delle Grazie Baroque chapel, which has an art installation of the Madonna, is located at the end of the north aisle.

However, the most popular draw for visitors here is the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci that is displayed on the wall of the former Dominican monastery’s refectory. And, is one of the top things to do in Milan Italy

Da Vinci’s dramatic depiction of the scenario, which was highly original and signalled a crucial new stage in the history of painting, replaces prior static portrayals of Christ’s last lunch with his followers. 

The painting has undergone multiple restoration attempts, a process that will likely never be fully finished. It had already started to crack off before a portion of the wall was destroyed and exposed to the elements.

4. Visit Italy’s Finest art Museums – The Pinacoteca di Brera

Things to do in Milan The Pinacoteca di Brera

Built in the Renaissance style between 1651 and 1773, the Jesuit institution  is now known as the Academy of Fine Arts. It houses the Pinacoteca di Brera, one of Italy’s best art museums, as well as a library and observatory since 1776.

Church closures or demolitions led to the acquisition of a large portion of the artwork, and the museum is relatively impressive in masterpieces by northern Italian artists. Napoleon I Monument by Canova, 1809, is seen as you enter through the courtyard.

The paintings by Mantegna  stand out among those from the 15th century. The works of Francesco Bianco, Angelo Veronese, Titian, and Tintoretto, as well as portraits by Antonio Glück and Giovanni Battista Moroni, are examples of the Venetian classics.

The best piece from Raphael’s early phase and the most well-known painting in the collection is the Marriage of the Virgin. Rembrandt’s Portraits of Women, Van Dyck’s Princess Amalia of Solms, Rubens’s Last Supper, and El Greco’s St. Francis  stands out among international geniuses in the house and is one of the top things to see in Milan.

5. Sant’Ambrogio is Europe’s Best Examples of the Romanesque Period

Things to do in Milan Sant'Ambrogio

St. Ambrose, who was born in Milan and is the city’s patron saint, established the church of Sant’Ambrogio in 386 BC. The existing church was reimagined in the 12th century around the altar of an ancient church from the ninth century, and it is a masterpiece of Roman architecture.

There is a lot to see here, starting with the huge atrium, dating from the ninth century, and  is regarded as one of Europe’s finest Roman architectural specimens due to its ornately carved pillars and portal. And is one of the best places to visit  in Italy.

Make sure to look at the lavishly carved Stilicone coffin from the fourth century. A masterwork of Carolingian art, the high altar’s case (paliotto) was created in 835 in Milan or Rheims. The ancient Sacello di San Vittore, entered through the final chapel on the right, has a mosaic dome that is the centre of attraction.

6. The Church of San Maurizio is Most Beautiful in Milan

Things to do in Milan Church of San Maurizio

Many people consider the San Maurizio church’s interior to be the most beautiful in the city, and is one of the top Milan attractions.

The whole interior of the church, which was constructed in the early 1500s as the church for a convent of Benedictine nuns, is decorated in paintings of scriptural references. 

These paintings are not just by some of the best Lombard painters of the 16th century, but the strokes of brush seem like  they have just been painted yesterday.

Along with the ancient history of Milan, you may also see Greek, Etruscan, and Roman artefacts from other parts of Italy, such as bronze and stone sculptures. The bronze skull, female sculpture with folded drapes, and Maximilian’s sculpture from the third century are all excellent examples.

7. Visit Teatro alla Scala to See an Opera

Things to do in Milan Teatro alla Scala

La Scala, regarded as the most prominent opera venue in the world, has included the works of all the greatest operatic composers and singers. Its 2,800-seat audience is renowned as being the largest indoor- gathering in the country.

The season spans from early December to early May, so buying tickets might be hard to come by. The concierge at your hotel is the best place to purchase tickets, but you can also check the box office.

The Museo Teatrale alla Scala is located in the same building. It houses a collection of costumes from significant performances as well as historical and personal artefacts of famous artists who appeared at La Scala

Some of the greats include Verdi, Rossini, and Arturo Toscanini. The opera house itself, one of the grandest in the world, and is one of the best places to visit in Milan.

8. Poldi-Pezzoli Museum is the Sight to Behold

This art museum was founded in the 19th century as the personal collection of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli and his mother, Rosa Trivulzio. Located in a stunning ancient noble home is one of the best fun things to do in Milan Italy. 

The highlights of the exhibit includes  paintings by artists like Bianchi, Mantegna, and Salvador dali. There are also ancient relics in the form of gold, silver, bronzes, stoneware, Roman pottery, armour, and weaponry.

An extremely rare motif created by Botticelli may be found in the museum together with Flemish and Persian carpets, vases, a sizable collection of hand-worked silk, and other textiles.

The home itself is interesting to view since artwork and other collections are shown in a variety of room settings and gallery spaces. Many of the rooms were redecorated in the middle of the nineteenth century to display the collections. 

9. Invest a Night in Navigli

Things to do in Milan Night in Navigli

Navigli is one of the best things to do in Milan at night for the youthful who love to attend the canal-side cafés and music clubs. Visit throughout the day for the restaurants, boutiques, artist workshops, and various events hosted here even though it’s busiest at night.

Visit Vicolo dei Lavandai, where writers like Georges Simenon went in pursuit of inspiration. Here you can experience a true sense of what “old Milan” used to look like. 

Additionally, the Mercatone dell’Antiquariato, a bustling flea market that offers antique furniture, housewares, literature, and used apparel. It is your ultimate dose of high end thrift shopping that takes over the entire Navigli on the last Sunday of each month.

The Festa di Fiori, which takes place in April, fills the district beside the canal with flowers, while the Festa del Navigli features concerts, processions, crafts, and an antique market. 

10. Visit the 12th Century Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio

Things to do in Milan Sant'Eustorgio

The beautiful campanile on The Romanesque basilica of Sant’Eustorgio was built in the 12th and 13th century, and the beautiful campanile was added a century later.  One of the first instances of Renaissance architecture, the Cappella Portinari, built by Michelozzo between 1462 and 1468. It can be found outside the auditorium. Vincenzo Foppa painted its frescoes and is one of the top Milan sightseeing places.

Another Early Christian church, San Lorenzo Maggiore, is nearby and is not far from Sant’Eustorgio. 

The chapel of St. Aquilinus has frescoes from the fourth century, although its Renaissance dome was erected in 1574. The portico of sixteen Corinthian columns in front of the cathedral is the largest Roman Mediolanum from the 16th century. 

11. Do High Fashion Shopping at the Famous Designer Street in the World

Things to do in Milan Famous Designer Street

What to do in Milan for shopaholics? The Quadrilatero della Moda is Milan’s high-end shopping area, home to the most eminent stores of both Italian and international designers. 

Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni, and Corso Venezia are the four premier streets, and each is adorned with a sequence of storefronts showcasing the most recent styles and fashion changes.

Along with the Avenue des Champs Élysées in Paris, this is one of the most well-known designer shopping alleys in the world. You can find all the top brands here, including Prada, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Valentino, Vuitton, Trussardi, and others.

Keep in mind that unless you are dressed to impress, window shopping inside the stores is not permitted. The majority of visitors merely gawk at the gorgeous windows, where the presentations are as dynamic as the clothing.

Every autumn, Milan designers—the elite of the world’s fashion houses—send their top models to Milano Fashion Week to walk the runways. 

12. Explore Leonardo Da Vinci Science Museum

The museum, which is housed in a former Olivetan monastery, traces the development of science and technology from the early days of discovery to the present. 

The Leonardo da Vinci Gallery, which was built using da Vinci’s drawings to produce functional models of many of his inventions and machines It is the #1 Milan tourist attractions.

There are sections on optics, sound, data transmission, navigation, ships, railroads, aviation, metallurgy, automobiles, and timekeeping, in the physics exhibitions. 

You will also encounter the equipment used by Galileo, Newton, and Volta. The history of Italian science, technology, and industry is collectively represented through more than 15,000 technical and scientific items.

13. Triennale di Milano is the Testimony of Fascist-era Architecture

Things to do in Milan Triennale di Milano

The 1933 structure next to Parco Sempione, built to accommodate the top Italian design exhibition, is a prime example of Fascist-era architecture.

However, it serves effectively as a platform for art and design, and there are constantly excellent shows and exhibitions within, frequently with a global reach.

Retrospectives of notable modernists like Picasso or Paolo Costa are the main highlight here, and is one of the best things to do in Milan Italy.

14. Experience the english-style Landscape at Parco Sempione

Things to do in Milan Parco Sempione

When your eyes have had enough of exhibitions and architecture, Parco Sempione’s English-style scenery is a good spot to rest and stroll along the winding paths. The park is used by joggers, walkers, local office workers eating lunch, and parents strolling kids. Here, concerts are hosted throughout the summer.

The impressive Arco della Pace, or Peace Arch, stands at the entrance, while the Torre Branco, built in 1933 by renowned architect Gio Ponte, soars over the park. 

Views of Milan and the Alps are breathtaking on clear days. If you enjoy Art Nouveau, don’t miss the whimsical aquarium pavilion at the park’s edge on Via Gadio.

It’s a great spot for a private picnic as well. All you have to do is locate the Ponte delle Sirenette, with its 4 miniature mermaid figurines. And, it is one of the best things to do in Milan for couples. 

15. Experience the Milan’s Local Life

Milan’s Local Life

There is more to Milan than just haute couture, and if wandering in and out of shops and showrooms isn’t exactly your favourite pastime, all you have to do is wander neighbourhoods to experience a completely different vibe. And, is one of the unique things to do in Italy.

There is NoLo with its diverse, young population. Brera with its intellectual cafés. Porta Venezia with its vibrant nightclubs and LGBTQI community. Isola with its fashionable stores and forests, and Citylife with its luxurious mansions. Every time you stroll through one of these areas, it’s almost like you’re finding a brand-new city.

16. Napoleon’s Residence is Italy’s Finest art Museum

Napoleon's Residence

This palace was brand-new when Napoleon took control of Milan and used it as his palace. The fact that it still has the original marble work and decorative elements inside adds to its appeal. The venue represents the display for Milan’s vast collection of modern art and is one of the great things to see in Milan.

Although there is a focus on Italian art, with works by Degas, Picasso, Monet, Rouault, Modigliani, Dufy, and Vuillard whose collections are far more diverse. Romantic sculpture created by Canova and his contemporaries is something not to miss!

An English-style garden, an arboretum, flower beds, and play areas are all located on the property. The Museum of Natural History is located right next to the Giardini Pubblici and features approximately 100 detailed miniatures that depict earth’s biodiversity. 

The palaeontology exhibit is particularly impressive, with a magnificent pliosaurus hanging from the ceiling as its centrepiece.

17. Appreciate the Contemporary Arts at Pirelli HangarBicocca

Pirelli HangarBicocca

What to see in Milan that exhibits unique artwork? Hangar Bicocca is a distinctive location for modern art located in an industrial neighbourhood. It was once dominated by the Pirelli plants. 

It has a permanent installation called The Seven Heavenly Palaces by German artist Anselm Kiefer, which consists of enormous concrete structures. 

It als hosts cutting-edge temporary art exhibitions that will defy all your preconceptions.

18. Visit Museo Bagatti Valsecchi

Museo Bagatti Valsecchi

This location is very noteworthy to visit for a number of reasons. To recreate the interior of their Renaissance palace in the 19th century, two brothers spent their entire lives collecting antiques and decorations.

Instead of just rooms filled with picture frames, you’ll see a house from that time period that is actually devoid of life. 

Thanks to the great English signage, you can also learn more about how they began collecting. The thrill of the chase is thus mixed up with the historical and artistic details of each piece.

The museum is one of four prestigious mansions that make up the Circuito delle Case Museo di Milano. Admission to all the attractions is accessible with a single ticket and is #1 Milan sightseeing places.

Cimitero Monumentale

It’s simple to forget that Italy also has some exceptional specimens from the Art Nouveau period, known here as Stile Liberty. 

It is where you can experience all of the country’s magnificent architecture and artwork from the Ancient Greek, Roman, gothic, and Renaissance eras.

Cimitero Monumentale is an outdoor exhibition of Art Nouveau sculptures, many of which were created by renowned Italian sculptors. 

These monuments mark the tombs of Milan’s affluent and famous from the late 1800s through the mid-20th century. 

20. Explore the Vittorio Emanuele II Galleria

Vittorio Emanuele II Galleria

Giuseppe Mengoni created the great Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It opens to one side of Piazza del Duomo and opens another side to the Piazza della Scala. 

Built in 17 th century, the dome of the Galleria  rose 48 metres above its mosaic floor, and was at the time the biggest shopping arcade in Europe. 

It served as the first example of modern architecture in Italy and is now regarded as a magnificent example of industrial iron and glass architecture from the 19th century. 

And it’s still a stunning, energetic location where folks gather for lunch or coffee in its classy cafés and peruse its luxury boutiques and is one of the best things to do in Milan Italy.

Best Places to Eat in Milan

Langosteria

It makes sense since the Milanese appear to be eating well because they all look pretty damn fantastic. Right. Making a list of the top restaurants in Milan is one of the great joys of our work.  Great food can be found all across the city, from low-key bistros in the neighbourhood to upscale Michelin cuisine.

One of the perfect things to do in Milan must include a satisfying dinner. And is as essential as visiting the city’s well-known sights and shopping at the best stores in the world. The city kitchens are Milan’s positive force, where famous chefs mingle with everyday history and produce delectable returns.

  • Langosteria – In a classy eating setting, Langosteria serves possibly the greatest fish and crustaceans in the city.  The Catalan-style king crab is particularly recommended. If you prefer your seafood uncooked, choose from the excellent selection of oysters. You can also place an order for one of the raw-fish platters which come with delicacies like red lobsters that are caught in the deep Mediterranean waters near Sicily.

Address – Via Savona, 10, 20144 Milano

  • 28 Posti – Famed for the 28 seats in the Navigli-side restaurant, leads the pack with an innovative, modern take on Italian fare. The restaurant’s menu is influenced by chef Marco Ambrosino’s upbringing on the coast of Naples. The continuously changing menu features dishes like a charred scallion with fermented wild berries, ravioli tossed in balsamic, and savoury desserts flavoured with organic honey, coal, and bottarga. 

Address – Via Corsico, 1, 20144 Milano

  • Gastronomia Yamamoto – Who would have guessed that Milan’s centre would be the finest location to enjoy real Japanese home cooking? The Japanese institution immediately behind the Duomo covers all the essentials, from the lunchtime takeaway counter offering pre-made ramen boxes to the full-service restaurant in the back. We strongly suggest the deeply flavorful stew, pillow-soft unagi salmon udon soup, or the stewed Hijiki and tempura zucchini.

Address – Via Amedei, 5, 20123 Milano

  • Ristorante Giacomo –  With dishes like paccheri with mackerel and okra, a wide variety of raw sashimi and steak, and market-fresh fish that is brought to the table and is served with theatrical flair. Its comprehensive menu leans heavily towards seafood.

Address – Via Pasquale Sottocorno, 6, 20129 Milano

Best Places to Stay in Milan, Italy

Best Places to Stay in Milan

Looking at a map of Milan can be confusing. When you realise that the Duomo, Milan’s main attraction, is easily accessible by foot, it becomes far less exhausting. Additionally, they are neatly arranged in a line, thus passing one or two of them as you move to the outermost of them. The following top-rated Milan hotels are convenient to the city’s major tourist attractions:

  • Grand Hotel et de Milan – The hotel is a revered historical icon. Both opera enthusiasts and fashionistas will find it helpful because La Scala is close to the Monte Napoleone designer stores. The amenities include venetian-style outdoor pool, mini-suites, and heated indoor pool. 

Address – Via Alessandro Manzoni, 29, 20121 Milano

Phone number – +39-02-723141

  • Square Milano Duomo – The stay is close to a Metro stop, surrounded by eateries, and is only a short stroll from the Duomo. In nice weather, take use of the rooftop patio to enjoy the complimentary breakfast.

Address – Via Alberico Albricci, 2/4, 20122 Milano

Phone number – +39-02-727071

  • Hotel Berna – The Hotel Berna is five minutes’ walk from Centrale Station. It serves as the departure point for trains to Lake Como and other parts of Italy. The adjacent Metro is connected to Piazza Duomo by a 30-minute walk. Breakfast is complimentary. 
Hotel Berna

Address – Via Napo Torriani, 18, 20124 Milano

Phone number – +39-02-677311

  • Hotel Sanpi Milano – The property is a short stroll from the Quadrilatero della Moda, Milan’s fashion district, the Public Garden, and its museums. It is also a five-minute walk from Corso Buenos Aires, the city’s main retail centre. The eco-friendly hotel’s rooms have air conditioning and wooden floors. They have a minibar and a flat-screen TV with pay-per-view and satellite channels.

Address – Via Lazzaro Palazzi, 18, 20124 Milano

Phone number – +39-02-2951-3341

Conclusion

The possibilities in Milan are all within your grasp. You will enjoy yourself to no end, and what’s more, you will never be lacking for things to do. The city is your oyster and some simple planning allows you to take into account almost every one of these options over the course of a stay that offers plenty of excitement. So glance through this list, do some planning, and get ready for a vacation like none other.

Also Check: Best Places to Travel in August

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