Milan is an outright mammoth of a city. It is home to the most inhabited metropolitan area in the country, with slightly above 1.2 million people and slightly above 3.1 million in the expansive area neighboring central Milan. According to the archaeological findings that stretch back to 222 BC, there is sufficient evidence that the region of Milan has experienced some form of human settlement for thousands of years. This metropolitan city was once the Capital of the Western Roman Empire.
Milan has enormously flourished from the ancient past and the middle ages to modern times because of its dominant location in mainland Italy. While the city was devastated during World War II, it bounced back and experienced significant economic success, responsible for its huge growth and expansion.
Currently, Milan offers a great blend of historical architecture and contemporary high-rise skyscrapers combined with a touch of Italian culture. The city, in particular, is renowned for its plenty of premium fashion retailers and the sublime Duomo Cathedral.
Let’s look at the most promising things to do in Milan:
1. Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral is a historic building famous for its beautiful architecture and took more than 600 years to assemble.
Completed in 1965, 600 years after its construction, the cathedral is located in downtown Milan in the purported Piazza del Duomo. The exterior face of the cathedral is simply impressive owing to the Italian Gothic style and numerous sculptures, decorations, and towers crowning it.
The inside of the cathedral is beautiful as well and contains several charming stained glass windows filled with color. On top of that, there is a fabulous artwork display and a couple of beautifully detailed statues in the middle of the central columns.
This massive building is actually the hub of Milan, and the trip to this city is incomplete without setting foot inside its voluminous doors.
2. Church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie
While the outer surface of this church is not that notable, it still possesses a particular allure and elegance. This church was constructed in 1497 and encompassed a Gothic style coupled with red bricks and an extensive rear basilica.
The church is located at the Corso Magenta and stands on the flip side of Milan to the Duomo.
The church houses one of the most remarkable artistic showpieces in the world, “The Last Supper ” by Leonard di Vinci.
Honored as a beautiful piece of artwork, this portrait illustrates the scene of the Last Supper as discussed in the holy scripture.
Over the years, this piece of artwork has been reviewed and examined for its undisclosed meanings and intent.
Visit the building, explore this incredible artwork, and admire the detail and importance of this historical depiction.
3. Pinacoteca di Brera
Situated at the Palazzo Brera, the Pinacoteca is an excellent Art Gallery with a huge Italian artwork collection.
Initially, the Pinacoteca di Brera acted as a convert and national library, and it wasn’t until the 19th century that it transformed into a museum.
The gallery houses various fine artworks, including the Last Supper, the Adoration of the Magi, Marriage of the Virgin, and Pieta by Rubens, Correggio, Raphael, and Bellini, respectively.
The Pinacoteca di Brera is quite accessible due to its closeness to the Piazza del Duomo and the Sforzesco Castle.
Make arrangements to visit this remarkable art gallery and explore its huge collection of Italian art.
4. Sant Ambrogio
Constructed by St. Ambrose in 379 AD, this ancient building stands as one of the oldest buildings in Milan.
Romanesque design, the original style of Sant Ambrogio, has slightly changed since its establishment, and the city of Milan was created around it, as it acted as a hub for the locals.
The front face of the church is framed by two large towers, while the central courtyard is framed by a set of ornate arches.
As a result of its age, the inner side of the church contains some attractive mosaics and artwork which includes the appealing depiction of Christ on either of the domes and the ceiling of the Oratory.
A guided tour of this church is worthwhile as it will provide a detailed understanding of the history of Milan and its religious significance.
5. Piazza Dei Mercanti
Piazza Dei Mercanti, a former center of Milan during the Middle Ages, was definitely a core of activity and plenty of merchant activities took place here, including the trade markets.
Centrally located between the Piazza Corduiso and Piazza Dei Duomo, this square is not far from the notable sights of Milan.
The Pallaza Della Scuole Palatine, the Loggia degli Osii, and the Pallaza Della Ragione are some of the remarkable buildings standing in the square.
Moreover, additional significant statues and monuments are located here, with some having Roman origins.
Schedule a tour of the square, marvel at its exceptional architecture, and explore this antiquity part of Milan.
6. Milan Archaeology Museum
This museum is devoted to the history of ancient Milan and is very informative as it offers a brief insight into a time long past.
The museum has two parts; the first covers the history of ancient Mediolanum, situated at the Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, and the second contains a collection of artwork and sculptures located in the basement.
The extensive collection features different theatrical masks, armour, pottery, and archaeological remains.
This intriguing museum details various ages of Milan, such as the Middle Ages, ancient Greeks, and influences stemming from the Etruscan civilization.
7. Piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo is a massive open public space that contains various magnificent architecture and statues in addition to being the Central Piazza of Milan.
If you are heading to Milan for a vacation or lone adventure, Piazza del Duomo should be among the first destinations on your travel list. While here, you can have a better view of the gorgeous Duomo and the neighboring buildings.
In the middle of the square is a beautiful statue of Vittorio Emmanuel, the first king of United Italy, while on the opposite side relies the majestic Royale palace.
Moreover, there are plenty of premium shops, pubs, and restaurants where you can buy and enjoy drinks or your favorite dish while watching the tourists throng the space to marvel at the impressive architecture and sculptures.
8. AC Milan San Siro Stadium
Probably one of the world’s most famous and prominent stadiums, the San Siro has remained one of the leading top-tier sporting venues in Italy since 1926.
With a capacity of slightly above 80,000, San Siro ranks among the largest stadiums in the world and was widely used during the 1934 and 1990 World Cup tournaments held in Italy. While on a tour of the stadium, you will discover the recognizable circular towers that support the enormous tiers and the immense roof that partly covers the ground.
The stadium is home to the AC Milan and Inter Milan Football Clubs, and the atmosphere is quite impressive during their home games.
Remember to take a guided tour of the joint museum to get insight into the history of these two prominent Italian clubs.
9. Parco Sempione
Parco Sempione, one of the leading parks in Milan, is a huge public space and garden at the back of the Sforzesco Castle.
Initially built in 1888, the park occupies 95 acres and holds the wonderful arch of peace.
This magnificent place is stunningly landscaped and features a great number of bike trails, footpaths, and wooded areas, along with multiple sculptures and ornate fountains.
Also found in the park are a museum and the Torre Branca, which is a massive watchtower that offers all-around views of Milan.
If you are looking for a venue to breathe fresh air away from the bustling city, Parco Sempione is the ideal destination.
10. Basilica di San Lorenzo
The Basilica of San Lorenzo is one of the most highly regarded church buildings in Milan and is situated in the southwestern part of central Milan.
Since it was established in 402, little has changed, as the church remains one of the oldest religious buildings in Milan.
The church’s main entrance is surrounded by several colonnades, and standing in the courtyard is the statue of Emperor Maximian.
Inside, the interior displays the marks of old age, and the coloration is pretty dull; nevertheless, there is a wonderful elevated altar as well as the chapel of Saint Aquilino, which possesses several eye-catching ceiling artwork and mosaics.
11. Torre Branca
Situated inside the Parco Sempione, the Torre Branca is a huge watch tower standing 108.6m high.
Designed by Gio Ponti and constructed in 1933, the tower was initially labeled the Torre Littoria.
The tower was closed for the better part of the 70s for refurbishment but was later reopened to the public.
Board the lift all the way to the top of this stunning structure and step into the apex of the tower, and have panoramic views of the city of Milan.
During fine weather days, it is easy to see the Apennines and Alps along with the extensive city laid out underneath your eyes.