The main attraction of Milan is the famous Duomo di Milano cathedral, but this is where our knowledge usually ends. However, Milan has so much more to offer and more interesting places to see. The city offers a number of religious monuments as well as museums with rich collections and traces of ancient history. Interestingly, Milan is not a perfect example of typically Italian architecture, despite being the second largest city in Italy.
This place will surely delight sightseeing lovers, but also art enthusiasts and, above all, people who like Italian fashion. There are plenty of luxury shops and well-known clothing brands here.
So let’s start exploring Milan with its monuments and tourist attractions.
Sightseeing in Milan
The attractions of Milan include mainly visiting the top-class monuments, including admiring works dating back to the times of Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo. The historical part of the city itself, which is within the walls that existed in the Middle Ages, is not extensive. You can easily visit it on foot. Other places can be easily reached by local transport, which in Milan includes metro lines, buses and trams.
If we come across favorable weather conditions, you can also consider renting city bikes.
Two days are needed to visit Milan. So this city is the perfect place for a weekend getaway. The more so as you can often find airline tickets at bargain prices when it comes to flights to Milan. Although the city is quite large, seeing its greatest attractions will not take more time than these two days.
If someone is more inquiring whether they want to see something more than the flagship monuments of Milan, then it is better to reserve these 4-5 days.
The best time to visit Milan is April, May and mid-September and October. Many people also appreciate trips to this city in March and November, but you have to remember that Milan is located in northern Italy, where the climate is quite different from the hot South. Late fall, winter or the beginning of spring are not the most favorable times to visit this place. Then it can be cool, foggy and rainy.
On the other hand, if someone does not like crowds and is not bothered by lower temperatures, then they can consider staying in Milan. In turn, the most crowded date, similar to other cities in Europe, is the holiday period – that is, July and August, when it is also a real Italian heat.
Sights in Milan
Let’s start visiting Milan with the most important and famous monuments of Milan.
Duomo cathedral in Milan
By far the biggest and most recognizable monument in Milan is the Duomo Cathedral. It is an outstanding example of Gothic architecture, built for over five centuries. The Cathedral of Milan is one of the largest religious buildings of this type in the world.
It delights not only with its external marble facade, decorated with hundreds of spiers and thousands of statues, but also its interior is very impressive.
Inside, you can admire some of the largest stained glass windows depicting biblical scenes, as well as a 4th century baptistery and many other sculptures and statues of saints. An interesting figure worth paying attention to in the cathedral is St. Bartholomew, who died a martyr’s death, flayed.
His statue shows the saint wrapped in his own skin, like a cloth scarf. However, the most interesting point of visiting the cathedral is the entrance to its roof.
It is here that you can admire the numerous bas-reliefs, turrets and gargoyles up close and look at the panorama of the entire Milan.
See on the map of Milan where the Duomo is located:
While staying at the Duomo Cathedral in Milan, it is impossible to miss the equally famous square – Piazza del Duomo, on which it stands. This place is practically crowded all year round, it is bustling with life until late at night. It is the main square in Milan, connected to popular shopping streets, also frequented by tourists. It is in Piazza del Duomo that all kinds of events and cultural events are organized, including the Christmas market. It is also worth taking a look at the official website of the cathedral.
There are two metro lines under the square, so there is no problem to get here. However, it is worth being careful here when it comes to nagging street traders selling all kinds of goods.
A bird’s-eye view of Milan:
Basilica of Santa Maria della Grazie
Another must-see on the map of monuments in Milan is the Basilica of Santa Maria della Grazie. It is, in turn, an excellent example of Renaissance architecture, built in the 15th century. However, the most interesting place here is the monastery refectory, where you can see the original fresco painted on one of the walls. More widely known in the world as the “Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci himself.
This work was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Basilica of Santa Maria della Grazie itself can be visited here daily at scheduled times.
However, Leonardo’s painting is already available to tourists, after booking a visit. They take place in groups of 25, and the whole tour, or rather admiring the work, takes about 15 minutes.
These are not all the monuments and attractions of Milan yet.
Tourist attractions of Milan
Let us direct our steps towards the greatest tourist attractions located in Milan.
Victor Emmanuel II Gallery
One of the greatest attractions in Milan, perhaps to the surprise of many people, is the shopping mall – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It is an elegant arcade with very luxurious shops, which is both a real monument and one of the oldest facilities of this type in the world. It is here, under a glass roof with a dome, that famous fashion designers, jewelers and art galleries sell their goods.
There are also expensive restaurants, a luxury hotel or even a bookstore. The Victor Emmanuel II Gallery is a true symbol of Milan, where there are always crowds of tourists, not always interested in shopping. The building itself is like a fragment of an elegant street, covered with a glass roof.
Even the extremely ornate floor is impressive here, with the coat of arms of the rival city of Turin on which there is a bull.
According to the urban tradition, it is precisely in the nature of this animal that we need to make three turns to the right on the heel to bring us happiness.
See on the map of Milan attractions how to get to the gallery of Victor Emmanuel II:
One of the most important art galleries, not only in Milan, but all over Europe is Pinacoteca di Brera. It is located in the 18th-century palace, where the confiscated works of art were collected by Napoleon himself. At present, it houses the most important works by artists, such as: “Supper in Emmaus” by Caravaggio, “Pieta” by Bellini or “The Marriage of Mary with Joseph” by Raphael.
In addition, you can admire works by Titian, Tintoretto, Rubens and Picasso. In turn, in the courtyard you can see a bronze statue of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Another attraction for tourists in Milan is Castello Sforzesco, a fortress built of red bricks with towers and defensive walls. The history of Sforza Castle dates back to the 15th century, but over the years it was rebuilt and renovated many times.
Currently, there is a museum complex here, which includes: the Museum of Ancient Art, Pinacoteca Castello Sforzesco, the Museum of Applied Arts, the Museum of Musical Instruments, the Egyptian Museum and the Prehistoric Museum. Entrance to them is of course payable, only the courtyard and the buildings itself can be viewed for free.
However, it is worth buying a ticket to see works such as frescoes by Bramante or Leonardo da Vinci, as well as a real gem which is the last, unfinished work of Michelangelo – “Pieta Rondanini”.
What’s worth seeing in Milan?
Let’s check what is worth seeing and visiting in Milan while spending our time in this city.
Sempione Park with the Arch of Peace
One of the places worth seeing in Milan is Parco Sempione. It is a vast green area decorated in the English style, located next to the Sforza Castle, in the very center of the city. There are numerous walking paths, fountains, a playground and a small lake on its territory.
At the heart of the Sempione Park is a vast stretch of meadow that serves as a meeting and picnic area on warmer days. Also here is the famous Arch of Peace – Porta Sempione, whose originator was Napoleon Bonaparte. This gate was placed towards the capital of France – Paris. Parco Sempione is the perfect place to escape and take a break while exploring Milan, especially on hot days.
These are not all interesting places in Milan that are worth seeing and visiting.
La Scala Theater
A place that is definitely worth seeing in Milan is the famous La Scala Theater. It is here that the best opera performances, known all over the world, are organized. The La Scala building itself was erected in a neoclassical style in the mid-18th century. There can be 3,600 people inside, but the purchase of expensive tickets is said to be a miracle.
The interior of La Scala with its splendor resembles royal palaces more than public buildings. However, it is worth visiting the local museum, which has been collecting exhibits related to opera performances for years. See how to get to La Scala Theater:
St. Ambrose’s Basilica
Another place worth seeing in Milan is the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio. This is one of the oldest churches in the city, dating back to the 4th century. St. Ambrose was built in the Romanesque style and is named after the patron saint of Milan. The initiator of the entire construction was Bishop Ambrose himself, who was buried here after his death.
Inside, it is worth paying attention to the golden altar and altar mosaics, as well as a carved sarcophagus, a pulpit and a marble bishop’s throne.
Interesting places in Milan
There were tourist attractions and monuments. Now it’s time for interesting places in Milan.
San Siro Stadium
An interesting place in Milan, especially for football fans, is the San Siro Stadium. It is one of the largest facilities of this type in the world, where almost 85,000 fans can watch a live match here. Two teams from Milan – Inter Milan and AC Milan use the San Siro stadium.
For tourists, special sightseeing routes have been created here, thanks to which, apart from the pitch, you can also see the stands, VIP boxes, as well as the changing rooms of players and a conference room.
Each of these routes also includes a visit to the local museum. Visiting the San Siro stadium is possible only in groups, under the supervision of a guide.
See how to get to San Siro Stadium in Milan:
Church of San Bernardino alle Ossa
An interesting, but still a bit dark place in Milan is the Church of San Bernardino alle Ossa – the Church of St. Bernardine of Bones. Built in 1269, it does not stand out from the outside with anything special. However, there is a small ossarium inside, the walls of which are covered with skulls and bones.
There used to be a cemetery next to it, from where human remains were moved. This place is interesting, but definitely not for everyone.
One of the most interesting neighborhoods in Milan is Naviglio. This is where you can feel a bit like in Venice, because of the water channels. Along them, charming boulevards for walkers, as well as numerous restaurants and bars were created. The buildings located just above the canals also house small antique shops and mini galleries. There are also recreational areas, benches, piers and walking avenues.
Interestingly, all five canals were created artificially – they were simply dug.
In this way, the entire Naviglio district has become more atmospheric and fashionable, not only among the residents of Milan, but also tourists.
Take a look at the official website of Milan to learn more about the city besides the attractions and monuments.
Tourist map of Milan attractions
On the map of attractions below you will find all the interesting places and monuments in Milan: