Last updated: 09/08/2020
Located in northern Italy, Milan is a city full of history, culture, works of art and the capital of fashion. Check out a little more about this charming city that should be included in your itinerary through Italy.
THE CITY OF MILAN
Milan is the second most populous area in Italy, after Rome. Milan is a global city focused on arts, commerce, design, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, services, research and tourism. The city is home to the Italian Stock Exchange and the headquarters of major national and international banks and companies.
The city is a fashion and design capital of the world, well known for several international events and fairs. In addition, the city is home to numerous cultural institutions and universities and two major football clubs. It is in Milan that the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci “The Last Supper”, considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located.
Milan public transport is efficient and works well. Most of the city's attractions can be easily accessed via the metro. Check out the map below with the city's lines and stations so you can find your way around Milan.
WHAT TO DO IN MILAN
We have separated all the suggestions from this post on the interactive map below to help you plan your visit to the city. We have separated the attractions in 2 colors: in blue, the suggestions of the first day and, in purple, those of the second day.
DAY 1: MILAN DUOMO AND SURROUNDINGS
1. MILAN DUOMO
Milan Duomo is the name of Milan Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic church that was built over six centuries, between 1386 and 1965. The church has a capacity for 40 thousand people and has 4 side aisles. The Duomo has more Gothic-style statues than any other church in the world: they are 3400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 other figures variety decorating the place. One of the main attractions of the Duomo is the visit to its roofs. It is possible to see up close the architectural details of its spiers and have a beautiful view of Praça do Duomo. A simply unmissable tour!
- Address: Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Italy
- Duomo: daily from 8 am to 7 pm (ticket office closes at 6 pm, last entry at 6:10 pm)
- Access to roofs: daily from 9 am to 7 pm (ticket office closes at 6 pm, last entry at 6:10 pm)
- Duomo + Museum and Church of Saint Gotthard: 2 euros
- Roofs: €9 (stairs) / €13 (elevator) – buy tickets here
- milan cathedral terrace tour
- Skip the Line Milan Cathedral and Terraces Tour
- Milan Duomo and 2-Hour Rooftop Guided Tour
- Milan: Skip the Line Duomo Terrace Tour
- Skip the Line Milan Cathedral and Terrace Tour
- Best of Milan: Skip the Line Duomo and Last Supper Tour
- Milan: The Last Supper and Cathedral Skip the Line Tour
Read more: Italy: Milan Duomo and its amazing rooftops
2. GALLERY VITTORIO EMANUELE II
The beautiful Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II, located on the left when looking at the Duomo from the front, is one of the oldest shopping and restaurant galleries in the world. It was built between 1865 and 1877 in honor of the Italian king of the same name. The structure consists of two vaulted glass arcades that intersect in an octagon that covers the street that connects Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala. The street is covered by an arched ceiling and cast iron that provides a stunning visual effect. The central octagonal space is topped with a glass dome over 17 meters high. A legend says that turning three times with one heel on the testicles of the bull of the coat of arms of Turin, which is just below this dome, will bring luck. This practice caused damage to the mosaic, forming a hole in the place of the bull's genitals. See more information at Milan's official tourism website.
- Address: Piazza del Duomo, 20123 Milan, Italy
- Schedules: open 24 hours – store opening times vary
Opened in 1778, Teatro Alla Scala is one of the most famous theaters in the world and one of the most important opera and ballet houses on the planet. Most of Italy's greatest lyrical artists and many of the best singers from around the world have performed at the venue over the last 200 years. The theater also has an associated school, known as Academia de Teatro La Scala, which offers professional training in music, dance, performing arts and stage management. In addition to attending theater, ballet, music and opera performances, the theater has a museum which tells the glorious history of the theater and is open to visitors daily.
- Theater: Via Filodrammatici, 2, 20121 Milan, Italy
- Museum: Largo Antonio Ghiringhelli, 1, 20121 Milano, Italy
- Museum opening hours: daily from 9 am to 5:30 pm
- Museum Entrance: € 7
Founded in 1776, the Pinacoteca di Brera has one of the most incredible and remarkable collections of Italian paintings in the world. The art gallery is located in a beautiful building, the Palazzo di Brera. It has an incredible collection of works by Giambattista Pittoni, Andrea Mantegna, Bramantino, Rafael, Donato Bramante, Giovanni Bellini, Caravaggio, among others. In addition to the beautiful works, there is also an Observatory and a Botanical Garden located behind the Pinacoteca.
- Address: Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano, Italy
- Schedules: Tuesday to Sunday 8:30am to 7:15pm / closed on Mondays
- Entrance: € 10
- Tip: Museum, Tour and Walking Tours – see more information in this link
The Ambrosiana Library is a historical library founded in 1609. It is here that the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, the Ambrosian art gallery. The name is a tribute to Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan. Among the 30,000 manuscripts in the collection, which range from Greek and Latin to Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopian, Turkish, and Persian, is the Muratorian fragment, from around AD 170, the first example of a biblical canon and an original copy ( illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci) from “De Divina Proporcione” by mathematician and father of modern accounting Luca Pacioli.
- Address: Piazza Pio XI, 2, 20123 Milan, Italy
- Schedules: Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm / closed on Mondays
- Pinacoteca entrance: € 15
The Royal Palace served as the administrative residence and administrative seat of the city for many centuries. Currently, it is used as a cultural center for exhibitions. On the first floor of the building is the magnificent “Sala delle Cariatidi”, which occupies the site of the former theater burned in 1776 and is the only room that survived heavy bombing in 1943, during the Second World War, when the Palace lost its most neoclassical interiors. After the war, a restoration process began that took place through a complex task of reconstructing the original furniture to allow a broader and more articulated historical and stylistic reading of court life.
- Address: Piazza del Duomo, 12, 20122 Milan, Italy
- Schedules: Monday from 2:30 pm to 7:30 pm / Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm / Thursday and Saturday from 9:30 am to 10:30 pm
- Entrance: € 12
5. GOLD QUADRILATERAL OR FASHION QUADRILATERAL
Quadrilátero de Ouro or Quadrilátero da Moda is the most famous shopping district in the world. It comprises the area surrounding Via Monte Napoleone, Via Sant'Andrea, Via della Spiga and Via Alessandro Manzoni. The place is synonymous with elegance, sophistication, and of course, money. The area is characterized by the presence of numerous boutiques and retail outlets that represent most of the world's major fashion brands.
- Tour option: milan private fashion tour
Completed in 1784, this is the oldest public garden in Milan and covers an area of 172,000 m.2. In addition to beautiful green areas, the Public Garden also houses notable buildings such as the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano, founded in 1838, and the Milan Planetarium, founded in 1930.
- Garden: Bastioni di Porta Venezia, 20121 Milan, Italy
- Natural History Museum: Corso Venezia, 55, 20121 Milan, Italy
- Planetarium: Corso Venezia, 57, 20121 Milan, Italy
- Garden: daily from 6:30 am to 9 pm
- Natural History Museum: Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 5:30 pm / closed on Mondays
- Planetarium: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 am to 5 pm / Tuesday and Thursday from 9 am to 10 pm / Saturday and Sunday from 3 pm to 4:30 pm
- Natural History Museum: €5
- Planetarium: €5
Villa Reale Communal, also known as Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte, is a mansion built between 1790 and 1796 by the architect Leopoldo Pollack, commissioned by Count Ludovico Barbiano Belgiojoso. The mansion's facade faces an English-style garden, also designed by Leopoldo Pollack. Since 1921, the building has housed the Milan Modern Art Gallery. The museum's collection features works by Francesco Filippini, Giuseppe Ferrari, Giovanni Fattori, Silvestro Lega, Giovanni Boldini, Vincent van Gogh, Edouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Francesco Hayez, Giovanni Segantini , Giuseppe Pellizza Volpedo and Antonio Canova, among others.
- Address: Via Palestro, 16, 20121 Milano, Italy
- Schedules: Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 5:30pm (Thursday to 10:30pm) / closed on Mondays
- Entrance: € 5
DAY 2: SFORZESCO CASTLE AND SURROUNDINGS
10. SFORZESCO CASTLE
Sforzesco Castle was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, on the ruins of a 14th century fortification, which was formerly the Visconti Castle. It was later renovated and expanded in the 16th and 17th centuries and became one of the largest palaces in Europe. During the Second World War, a bombing destroyed some areas of the castle, which were later rebuilt. Today, Sforzesco Castle houses several of the city's museums and art collections.
- Address: Piazza Castello, 20121 Milan, Italy
- Castle: daily from 7 am to 7 pm
- Castle Museums: Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 5:30 pm / closed on Mondays
- Castle: free
- Castle Museums: 5 euros
- free: every Tuesday after 2pm / from Wednesday to Sunday 1h before closing
Read more: Italy: Sforzesco Castle in Milan
11. SEMPIONE PARK
Sempione Park is our favorite in Milan. Founded in 1888 and with an area of 386 thousand m², it is located between the Sforzesco Castle and the beautiful Arco da Paz, a monument that recalls the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The park has a wide variety of plants and flowers, sculptures, as well as interesting attractions such as:
- Civic Aquarium: This is the third oldest aquarium in Europe, founded in 1905 for the Milan World's Fair. There are over 100 different species on display. (Viale GB Gadio, 2, 20121 Milan, Italy)
- La Triennale di Milano: This is an art and design museum founded in 1923, which offers many exhibitions focused on landscaping, design, urban planning, architecture and other topics. (Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6, 20121 Milan, Italy)
- white tower: Iron tower 109 meters high, which you can climb, between May and September, to have a panoramic view of Milan. (Viale Luigi Camoens, 20121 Milan, Italy)
- civic arena: It is a multidisciplinary stadium opened in 1807. It currently hosts football and rugby matches, concerts and various cultural events. (Viale Giorgio Byron, 2, 20154 Milan, Italy)
12. CHURCH OF SAN MAURIZIO
Once you have visited the Duomo, you will hardly consider visiting another church in the city. However, the Church of São Maurício, which dates from 1518, is worth a visit. Known as “Milan Cistine Chapel”, this church displays a large number of colorful and beautiful frescoes by Bernardino Luini. There's no way to regret the visit.
- Address: Corso Magenta, 15, 20123 Milan, Italy
- Schedules: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 19:30 (in winter until 17:30)
- Entrance: free
The famous painting “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, also known as “Vincilian Cenacolo”, in Italian, is located in Santa Maria Delle Grazie Church. For those who don't know, “Last Supper” is not a painting, but a painting made by Leonardo da Vinci in wall of the old convent refectory, between the years 1494 to 1498. Access is made in small groups and it is necessary to book a time in advance, as tickets sell out quickly. If it's worth it? Certainly! We were delighted to be face to face with a masterpiece by da Vinci!
- Address: Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123, Milan, Italy
- Entrance: $8 euros ($6.50 euros ticket + $1.50 fee) / audio guide $3.50 euros
- Schedules: tours available from 8:15 am to 6:45 pm
- Reservations: Make your reservation through from the official website (in Italian or English)
- Milan Last Supper Guided Tour
- Milan: The Last Supper Guided Tour
- The Last Supper and Milan Sightseeing Tour
- Milan: Skip-the-Line Last Supper Walking Tour
- Best of Milan: Walking Tour and Last Supper Ticket
- Milan: Da Vinci's Last Supper Guided Tour
- Milan: 3 hours Last Supper & Wine Tasting Tour
- Ticket and Tour Da Vinci's Last Supper
- milan halfday history tour and the last supper
- Milan: Art Tour and the Last Supper
- Da Vinci's Last Supper: Skip the Line and Guided Tour
O Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci was founded in 1953 and is the Italy's largest science and technology museum. The excellent collection is divided into 7 departments: materials, transport, energy, communication, Leonardo da Vinci – Art and Science, new frontiers, and science for young people. We love the area dedicated to the great da Vinci, full of inventions of this genius. The transport area is fantastic, with aircraft, locomotives and many fascinating items.
- Address: Via San Vittore, 21, 20123 Milan, Italy
- Schedules: Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 am to 5 pm / Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm / closed on Mondays
- Entrance: €10 – buy online here
15. SAN SIRO STADIUM
Football lovers should try to fit a game at the San Siro into their schedule! This is the name of Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan's main stadium and home to the big clubs Internazionale de Milan and AC Milan. It was founded in 1926, it hosted important matches of the 1990 World Cup and European Championship matches. We watched a match from the 2013 Italian championship and it was really cool. Seats are tighter than we expected, but it was very exciting. In addition to games, there is also a Museum, which tells the success story of the two clubs. It is also possible to take tours of the stadium. It is possible to do guided tours and private by the stadium (including in Portuguese), but it is mandatory to make reservations in advance.
- Address: Piazzale Angelo Moratti, 20151 Milan, Italy
- Schedules: daily March to September 9:30am to 6pm / October to April 9:30am to 5pm (may vary on match days)
- Museum + Tour: € 17
- Museum only: € 7
TOURS AND EXCURSIONS IN MILAN
There are many guided tours, tours and excursions in and around Milan. Click on the picture for more information about the tour and prices.
- Hop-on Hop-off Bus Milan: 1-Day or 48-Hour Ticket
- Milan Hop-On Hop-Off Circuit: 1 or 2 Day Ticket
- Milan Essentials: 3-Hour Private Walking Tour
- milan 3hour city center walking tour
- milan by night 2hour walking tour
- Milan Rickshaw Tour with Entrance to Milan Cathedral
- Milan Highlights Private 3 hours Walking Tour
- Milan walking tour
- milan two and a half hour tram tour
- Milan in 1 Day: Milan Cathedral Tour and More
- Best of Milan Tour and The Last Supper Ticket
- Milan Highlights Tour with Last Supper
- Historic Milan by Segway: Three and a Half Hour Afternoon Tour
- Segway tour in Milan
- milan 3hour cultural bike tour
- milan 3hour da vinci footsteps art tour
- Renaissance Art and Architecture: Milan Walking Tour
- milan private tour and cooking class
- Milan food and secrets tour
- Food and art in Milan – 4-hour private guided tour
- Italy Lombardy Milan Milan 3.5Hour Traditional and Modern Food Tour
- Cooking class, market tour and food experience
- Milan: Market Tour and Lunch or Dinner at Cesarina's House
ECONOMY TIP: MILAN CARD
MilanoCard, the tourist card that offers free public transport, discounts from 10% to 100% at select museums, access to private chauffeur services and much more. The card is available in 3 versions: 24h, 48h or 72h. see more information in this link.
WHERE TO EAT IN MILAN
One thing you can't complain about in Italy is the amazing food! Pasta, ice cream, wines…With that in mind, we’ve put together a series of special gastronomic tips in the post “Italy: Tips for restaurants in Milan“.
WHERE TO STAY IN MILAN
Lodging options abound in Milan! Below, check out varied options for all pockets and tastes. Take the opportunity to choose the option that best suits your profile and budget. We wrote a dedicated post about our accommodation in the city, close to the Sforzesco Castle.
BOOK NOW your hotel and save up to 50%. Travelers readers are with a SUPER DISCOUNT! And the best, with FREE CANCELLATION*!
*check the hotels with free cancellation on the website
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See more tips for destinations in Italy:
- Florence: Italy: What to do in Florence – 3 days itinerary
- Venice: Italy: What to do in Venice – 3 days itinerary
- Genoa: Italy: What to do in Genoa – land of Christopher Columbus
- Turin: Italy: Turin – The City of the Holy Shroud
- Cinque Terre: Italy: The wonderful Cinque Terre
- Step: Italy: An afternoon in Pisa
- Pomegranate: Italy: 10 must-see attractions in Rome
- San Gimignano: Italy: San Gimignano and its medieval towers in Tuscany