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Milan

About Milan

Milan (aka Milano) the capital of Lombardy, which is one of the 20 administrative sections of Italy. There are about 1,3 million people living in Milan, which makes it the second biggest city in Italy. Milan is a world famous metropolis in the fields of culture, media and fashion. The city also has the third biggest economy among the European capital cities and even the biggest economy, if you count in the European non-capital cities.

The Italian metropolis is a tourist magnet that attracts millions of tourists each year. Milan is a hub for the rail network and the highway, so it's easy to travel to other Italian cities nearby. There are also three international airports, so you can often grab a direct flight to Milan.

As a tourist you can choose out of many interesting attractions. You should make a list of things you want to see in this beautiful city before you get there, because there are just so many different sights. In the following we want to give you an overview of the main points of interest.

On this page:

  • 1. Milan Cathedral
  • 2. Castello Sforzesco
  • 3. Navigli
  • 4. La Rinascente
  • 5. Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie
  • 6. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • 7. Teatro alla Scala
  • 8. Castle Park Sempione Park

Milan Cathedral

Milan Cathedral

Even if you don't believe in god, it would be a sin not to visit the Milan Cathedral, if you spent your vacation in Milan. It's located in the city center and to be more exact in the heart of the Piazza del Duomo. The historic church is the second largest church in Italy and the 5th-largest church in the world. The construction of the Milan Cathedral started in 1386 and it was finally finished in the last century.

The cathedral with the official name "Santa Maria Nascente" has a length of 157 meters and a width of 109 meters. The colorful glass panels of the building belong to the largest of their kind in the world and look really impressive. There are also more than 4000 statues inside the church and on the roof.

Just like the floor of the church and most of the statues inside and outside the building, the roof was built with high quality marble. You shouldn't miss going up to the roof because there you can see 135 impressive spires and have a fantastic view over the whole city. If the weather is good, you can even see the Alps.

There is an entrance fee for the roof, which amounts to 8 EUR per person. But that's only if you take the 200 steps. If you take the lift, the entrance fee is 13 EUR. There are lower prices for groups.

Castello Sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco is a castle in Milan, which can be found in the northwest of the old town. It's considered one of the most important landmarks of the city. The castle was built in 1450 at the same place where the Visconti family previously had their castle.

Over time, the fortress was destroyed more than once but restored each time. This is why just a small part of the castle is a ruin. Most of it has a quite good condition. Lots of famous sculptors, architects and painters contributed to the massive construction, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Cesare Cesariano.

Today, there are several museums in the impressive halls of the fortress and in the following we want to give you an overview:

 

Museum of Ancient Art

The Museum of Ancient Art consists of seven halls of ancient art from painters that lived between the 13th and 18th century. In addition, you can see exhibits from famous artists, such as Antonello da Messina, Andrea Mantegna and Canaletto. The portrait of Galeazzo Maria Sforza can also be found in this museum. The most interesting room is the "Sala delle Asse", which used to be the private room of Beatrice d'Este, before Leonardo Da Vince decorated it with a breathtaking ceiling fresco.

You can also see the last work of Michelangelo in the Museum of Ancient Art. It's a not fully finished marble statue called Pietà Rondanini, which shows Jesus together with his mother after taken down from the cross.

 

Pinacoteca (art museum)

The Pinacoteca is an art museum with about 230 works of art from well-known painters like Foppa, Cerano and Antonello da Messina.

 

Museum of Musical Instruments

The Museum of Musical Instruments is one of the largest museums of its kind in Europe and the second largest in Italy. It houses lots of interesting musical instruments from the 16th century until the second half of the previous century.

 

Furniture Museum

The Furniture Museum is all about the history of furniture coming from the "Lombard" region. What you can see mostly in this museum are Genoese and Roman Baroque furniture’s from the Venetian 18th century.

 

Museum for Pre- and Early History

The Museum for Pre- and Early History takes you back in time. The main attractions in this museum are about 7000 years old.

 

Egyptian Museum

Another museum in the Castello Sforzesco is the Egyptian Museum. This museum contains about 250 exhibits dealing with the society and life in the ancient Egypt.

 

Collections of applied art

The Collections of applied art houses furniture, ceramics, weapons and more. The objects were created in a period between the Middle Ages and the 20th century.

Navigli

Navigli

Navigli is the name of the artificial canals in Milan, which were built over a period of 700 years and help reaching the Adriatic Sea pretty fast with a boat.

Tourists should concentrate on the sections Naviglio Pavese and Naviglio Grande, which are located in the south of the city. The Naviglio Grande is the oldest canal of Milan and has a length of about 50 km.

In the past typical working-class people lived around the canals in the previously mentioned sections but today there are mainly small restaurants, nice bars and fancy shops.

La Rinascente

La Rinascente is a retailer operating high class department stores. The building has eight floors and is located on the Piazza del Duome, just a few steps away from the Milan Cathedral. There are lots of stores with clothing from well-known designers, like Versace Donnatella and Stefano Gabbana but you can also find places to buy beauty products, home-wares, perfumes and souvenirs.

After an exhausting shopping day it is a good idea to eat a tasty meal in one of the small restaurants in the seventh floor. You can also just have a drink in one of the bars.

You have a great view of the Cathedral and the city center of Milan when you go to the roof terrace on the eight floor.

Santa Maria delle Grazie Basilica

Santa Maria delle Grazie Basilica

The Santa Maria delle Grazie Basilica is a Dominican church that was built from 1463 to 1482 in a late Gothic style. The church is included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list and houses the painted artwork "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci.

Since this famous mural is one of the most popular attractions in the city, it's almost impossible to enter the church without a reservation. So if you plan to see this sight, book your tickets as early as possible!

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

It was the first King of Italy Victor Emmanuel II who opened the shopping center Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in 1867. The old shopping mall can be found at Piazza del Duome, near the cathedral and La Rinascente.

The passage consists of two glass-vaulted arcades and a center that is topped with an impressive glass roof.

On the main floor of this luxurious mall you can find cafes, bookstores and shops with very expensive clothing. For lots of people it's irritating but there is also a fast food restaurant in the center of the passage. In the upper floors there are mostly offices.

 

Teatro alla Scala

Teatro alla Scala

The Teatro alla Scala is located next to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II on the Piazza della Scala. While the stage equipment and the acoustic meet modern standards, the foyer and the auditorium still have their original flair from 1778. The mixture between new technology and historic charm works just perfectly and creates a unique style.

If you plan to visit the Teatro alla Scala, get your tickets as early as possible in advance. Otherwise you might end up paying much more than the original price of the tickets or not be able to get them.

Castle Park Sempione Park

Castle Park Sempione Park

You can find the Castle Park Sempione Park behind the Castello Sforzesco. It's a romantic looking English garden and very popular in Milan. But since the garden has wide roads and large green meadows, it's never over-crowded.

There are several things you can do in this park. You can visit a Cafe and sip a cappuccino, read a book or sit down on a park bench and simply enjoy the nice weather! You also see lots of families and couples having a picnic.

You can also explore some monuments in the park. One of those monuments is the Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace), which was built under Napoleon. The little bridge "Ponte delle Sirenette" is also worth a visit.

There are also two museums in the Castle Park Sempione Park: The Marine Museum Acquario Civico and Triennale Design Museum. In the Marine Museum Acquario Civico you can watch at exotic marine species from tropical waters and in the Triennale Design Museum there are permanent and changing art exhibitions.

In the summer you can enjoy listening to open air concerts and visit public exhibitions.

In the winter, the park is open daily from 6.30 am to 20.00 pm and in the summer months from 6.30 am until 23.00 pm. There is no entry fee.