October 5, 2020

City Guide: 7 Must-see Attractions in Milan

Milan is more famously known as one of the fashion capitals of the world. But more than its glitz and glamour, it is home to a share of attractions and history. It also holds a workaholic reputation since it is the money and business centre of Italy. With an influential past and a rich cultural heritage, the second-largest city in the country is a haven for tourists, featuring stunning architecture, an excellent public transport system, exceptional works of art, and tons of designer boutiques.

Top reasons to visit Milan

1. It’s one of the world’s fashion capitals

a woman carrying shopping bags in the street of Milan

Milan is recognized as a centre for fashion and design. The city bursts with luxury boutiques and fashion labels such as Gucci and Armani. Every February, it holds the Milan Fashion Week that attracts designers from all over the world. However, unlike most other countries with this celebration, Milan holds its Fashion Week two times a year to fully accommodate all fashion designers and fashion houses all over the world. With many local and international fashion brands in Milan, the city is rightfully one of the world’s best places for shopping.

2. It has excellent museums and historical attractions

You cannot underestimate the colourful history of Milan, especially as it has been around for around 2,000 years already. There are many spots to discover such as the Civico Museo Archeologico, the medieval Sforza Castle, and its 19th-century mansions.

3. Superb food and drinks

Milan: A cone of ice cream with three colors is raised

Aside from a shimmering fashion scene, the city is also well-loved for its amazing food scene. Its overflowing eateries for all budget types allow visitors to enjoy exceptional dining without hurting their pockets. You can choose from a range of sidewalk stalls to fine-dining restaurants and still enjoy the best of Milan.

4. Milan has a wealth of artistic treasures and architecture

Coming to Milan is like being in a different era and place. Gorgeous sights are everywhere including the Duomo and the masterpieces of the Pinacoteca di Brera. Visit the churches, and you’ll be fascinated to see magnificent paintings like those of Leonardo da Vinci’s. Milan is the perfect destination for every art lover.

Top destinations to see in Milan

If you’re planning on visiting Milan, make sure to include these sites in your itinerary to fully experience the best of this vibrant city.

1. Duomo di Milano

Milan: The Duomo with beautiful red flowers on its foreground

Every visitor to Milan should see the Duomo di Milano. The second-largest cathedral in the world has a gothic architecture whose façade is as awe-inspiring as its interior. This amazing masterpiece took 6 years to complete, offering fabulous views of the city and the Alps to the north. Its roof has 135 delicately carved stone pinnacles, while its interior boasts 2,245 marble statues. Not to miss also are its stained-glass windows, which are among the largest in the world.

2. The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

the facade of the cathedral with the combination of brown and peach colours

If you’ve only seen The Last Supper on TV and in books, then, you’ve got to see the authentic one that’s known all over the world. To do this, you need to travel over an hour and thirty minutes to the Dominican church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a 15th-century convent. It is in its refectory where the great genius painted The Last Supper, commissioned by the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. Though replicas are scattered around the world, the original painting is guarded closely, and the number of visitors is limited, making it a real treat when you come to Milan.

3. Teatro Alla Scala

Interested in operas? Come to La Scala to personally see one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses. It has seen some of the world’s greatest performances and was once the stomping grounds for the elites of Milano. Today, the theatre welcomes a wider variety of genres and numerous guests from all walks of life to let them experience the interesting Italian culture. And if you want to see the lavish costumes of the traditional days of the performing arts, visit the adjoining museum.

4. La Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

a worm's eye view of the dome in the galleria

Situated right outside the cathedral in Piazza del Duomo is another top attraction in Milan. By saying a gallery, we mean a place where you can find some of the world’s most famous fashion designer stores like Prada and Vuitton. High-end restaurants also offer a fabulous dining experience for all visitors. In terms of its architecture, you’ll be delighted to see a superb dome made of glass and iron and magnificent arcades that make the place generally photogenic and luxurious.

5. Sforza Castle

Milan: a beautiful lighted fountain at dusk

Take Via Dante from Piazza del Duomo to arrive directly at the main entrance of the Sforza Castle. Located in the centre of the city and built by the Visconzi family in 1358, the place is famous for hosting Leonardo da Vinci’s workshops during the Renaissance period. Go around the castle and see a plethora of museums including the Museum of Ancient Art, the prehistoric collections of the Archaeological Museum of Milan, Museum of Decorative Arts, The Egyptian Museum, the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, the Museum of Musical Instruments, and the Antique Furniture and Wooden Sculpture Museum.

6. Parco Sempione

Milan: a sunny day in the park with trees and a walking path

While in the Sforza Castle, make sure to see the green lung of the city, the Parco Sempione, or Simplon Park in English. Being the largest park in Milan, it offers the perfect refuge for rest after a day of exploring the city. Within the park are buildings such as the Civic Aquarium of Milan, the Triennale, the Arena Civica, and the Arco Della Pace.

7. Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio

Milan: A sunny day in the basilica that's a combination of brown and white colours

The Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio was named after the city’s patron saint, and the first church was built on-site in 386. The current basilica was completed in 1099 and is one of the oldest in the city. From the outside, you can easily spot the two brick towers with different heights and its atrium that is quite unusual. Going inside, you can see the crypt where the remains of Saint Ambrose are located, as well as the sarcophagus of Stilicon.

These are not the only sights to enjoy in Milan. There are tons more waiting for your discovery. Of course, don’t miss to explore the city’s fashion side. After all, it’s one of the world’s best shopping destinations.

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