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After reading this review, you will learn about the sights of Milan that every tourist should see. With them, your trip to the hospitable Italian city will be unforgettable. If you don’t know what to see in Milan, you should certainly take our recommendations into account when compiling an excursion route.
First things to see in Milan
Compiling your rating of “the most interesting places in Milan” , we took into account the reviews of experienced guides and the Italians themselves. In our general opinion, the best attractions in Milan are:
1. Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano), Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in Milan
The beautiful Milanese temple is included in all lists of “the main sights of Italy“. It can be compared with an elegant and at the same time monumental marble rock, towering over the entire city. The architectural style of the building, the construction of the second took 5 centuries, gothic. At the same time, the cathedral can accommodate up to 40,000 guests inside. Here you can see medieval stained-glass windows, powerful columns and unusually high ceilings. If you don't want to see the “eighth wonder of the world” from the inside, come and admire its majestic appearance: the white marble walls are decorated with thousands of sculptures depicting biblical scenes. On the central spire of the cathedral is a statue of the Virgin with gilding. Such excursions in Milan cannot be ignored.
Official website: https://www.duomomilano
2. Duomo Square
Piazza del Duomo – Milan's main square
If you do not know what to visit in Milan, come to its main and most famous Cathedral Square. This is the historical, social and geographical center of the city, on the territory of which there are many key attractions. Including, a monument to Victor Emmanuel II – the first ruler of the state. You can walk among the old buildings and buy memorable souvenirs.
3. Sforza Castle
Castello Sforzesco or Sforza Castle in Milan Fishponds1981
The most famous palace in the city, built in the 15th century. It can be compared in appearance with the Moscow Kremlin: the shape of the battlements on the walls and towers is similar. How can this striking resemblance be explained? The fact that the Moscow Kremlin was created in the image of this Milanese castle. Priceless items are kept inside the Castello Sforzesco: rare musical instruments, unique sculptures and canvases (including paintings by da Vinci) and busts of famous Italians.
Official website: https://www.milanocastello
4. Santa Maria delle Grazie
Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie Dominican monastery in Milan
The temple of the 15th century, inside which is the “Last Supper” – the legendary fresco by da Vinci, more than 4.5 meters high and about 9 meters long. The illustrious genius depicted Christ and the apostles in full growth. Due to the fact that the fresco was exhibited in the monastery refectory, the monks who gathered at the table to eat had the feeling that the heroes of the supper were next to them.
Official website: https://www.turismo.
5. Gallery of Victor Emmanuel II
Gallery of Victor Emmanuel II (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II) in Milan
A beautiful tunnel that connects Cathedral Square and La Scala Theater Square. The official opening of the passage took place at the end of the 19th century. The name of the gallery was given in honor of the first king of Italy, who was present at the solemn event. The structure, richly decorated with sculptures and mosaics, has the shape of a cross, each end of which has its own entrance.
Official website: https://www.turismo.milano
See the beautiful places in Milan in this wonderful video!
6. Royal Palace
Royal Palace in Milan Carnaval.com Studios
What to visit in Milan for fans of architecture and history? This residence of kings: at present, it has located on its vast territory the temple of the Royal Palace, the cathedral museum with rare exhibits and a cultural center. Everyone can stroll through the chic halls and look at rare interiors. Even the best hotels in Milan cannot boast such a magnificent view.
7. Branca Tower
Branca Tower (Torre Branca) in Milan
A 1933 construction made entirely of shining metal pipes and located in the central part of the city. An interesting fact that all guides in Milan love to tell about the construction: it took only 3 months to build a steel tower, a little less than 110 meters high. We recommend that you visit this site even if your trip to Italy is short.
8. Civica Arena
Arena Civica “Gianni Brera” in Milan
The very first stadium in the country, which was built in the early 19th century at the direction of Napoleon. The architect Civiki took the amphitheaters of ancient Rome as a model. The construction work took only two years. If you like sports, then you should definitely visit such sights in Milan.
9. Santa Maria della Passione
Church of Santa Maria della Passione in Milan Allan Parsons
The temple, created at the direction of Bishop Birago, is located in the central part of the city, and in its dimensions can be compared with the Cathedral. Initially, the majestic building was supposed to have the shape of a Greek cross. However, later several beautiful naves were added to the center of the object. The most remarkable element of della Passione is considered to be a huge dome with a polygon at the base. The facade of the building was decorated with sculptural groups, the interior is decorated with paintings by famous artists and ancient frescoes. This cathedral is one of the best things to see in Milan in 1 day.
10. Royal Villa of Monza
Royal Villa (Villa Reale di Monza) Monza
The construction of the historic villa lasted for three years, starting in 1777. The building is located in the Lombardy region, and was originally supposed to be a symbol of the greatness of the Habsburgs and the home of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand. Today it is one of the most visited and beautiful architectural sights of the city.
Official website: http://www.turismo.milan
Milan attractions: what else to visit in Milan?
We told you about the main attractions of Milan briefly. In addition to them, we recommend that you visit such interesting places and objects of the Italian city as:
11. Museum of Science and Technology of Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology Jakub Hałun
Having visited this original museum complex, you will learn about many unusual technical inventions and scientific discoveries. The center is divided into several thematic departments: with existing samples based on da Vinci's drawings, with sketches and projects of a brilliant master. Examples of museum exhibits are a robotic knight that can move, a self-propelled cart, an 8-seat tank, and a pyramidal parachute. As you know, some of Leonardo da Vinci's inventions were ahead of their time – you can see examples of them here. Separate discussion deserves interactive laboratories in which you will be asked to brew beer, make ink and soap bubbles that cannot burst.
Official website: http://www.museoscienza< /p>
12. St. Ambrose Basilica
Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio in Milan
An architectural masterpiece of the 4th century, which, according to researchers, was created with the participation of St. Ambrose. According to assumptions, the building was built on the territory where the first followers of Christianity died in torture. The object received its present form in the style of Romanism in the 11th century. Over the long history of its existence, the basilica has been destroyed more than once, but its medieval elements have managed to reach our time.
13. Monumental Cemetery
Monumental Cemetery (Cimitero Monumentale) in Milan
The complex is a sculpture park in an open area and the burial place of famous personalities of Italy. Artists, composers and writers have found their last refuge here. So. Here rests Giuseppe Verdi, one of the greatest musicians of the country. Tombstones and crypts can be confidently called works of art – they are elegant and beautiful.
Official website: https://www.comune.milano
14. Piazza Mercanti
Piazza Mercanti, Piazza dei Mercanti in Milan pedrik
What will everyone be interested in seeing in Milan? This shopping “truly Italian” area, equipped many years ago. You will see ancient castles, the facades of which are decorated with sculptures by J. P. Lasagna, a statue of a wild boar and the Palace of the Soviets with its monuments.
Official website: http://www.turismo.milano
15. Church of San Bernardino alle Ossa
Church of San Bernardino alle Ossa in Milan MarkusMark
Every ceiling and every wall of this temple is decorated with human bones. We can confidently say that this attraction is one of the darkest in the whole world. The date of construction of the building is the 11th century. The history of the unusual “decor” is simple: there was a cemetery and a hospital not far from the church. In the 13th century, Milan needed a new place for the burial of the townspeople, as the cemetery was overcrowded. The authorities decided to open up the old graves and store the bones from them in the temple. Visiting this church is not the best choice for where to go in Milan with children. However, for an adult, a visit here is interesting.
Official website: http://www.turism
16. La Scala Opera House
The world-famous opera house at La Scala in Milan
After exploring the sights of Rome, which has a fantastic cultural heritage, you can complete your experience in Milan by going to the La Scala Opera House, the world-famous center of opera culture. It was erected in 1778 on a small square on the site of an old church, from which it got its name. The theater building is decorated in a strict neoclassical style, and amazing acoustics have been created inside, which has become a real legend. It's all about the design of the hall, which is made in the shape of a huge horseshoe, so the sound reaches the viewer from everywhere equally beautifully and clearly, no matter what place he chooses – the gallery or the stalls. After a recent renovation, the theater has been transformed even more, a unique acoustic floor has been created, scenery and paintings have been restored, and two more towers have been completed. The opera hall for 2015 seats is decorated in noble red and gold colors, creating the impression of wealth and luxury.
Official website: http://www.teatroallascala
17. Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore
Monument to Constantine the Great against the backdrop of the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore in Milan
In Milan, one of the most modern cities in Italy, there are still places that testify to its rich history. One of them is the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore, built at the turn of the 4th-5th centuries. This is the second largest temple in Milan, consecrated in the name of St. Lawrence, and the ancient colonnade, which in ancient times adorned the Roman city of Mediolanum, testifies to the solid age of the building. All the restorations that affected the building did not change the classical Byzantine architecture too much; even the early Christian mosaics in the southern part of the basilica have been preserved. At the entrance, the fresco “The Last Supper” meets, the dome is decorated with paintings of the evangelists, the altar reliquary contains the relics of Saints Lawrence and Hippolytus. Directly in front of the basilica stands a statue of Emperor Constantine – it is believed that it was here that he declared the freedom of Christianity in the 4th century.
18. Ambrosian Pinakothek
Facade of the oldest public library in Europe in Milan Elekhh
Exhibits in the hall of the Art Museum – Ambrosian Pinakothek in Milan Riccardo Ortelli
Interior of the Ambrosian Pinakothek in Milan Alejandro
Almost in the very center of Milan is the Ambrosian Palace, inside which there is a museum and the ancient library of St. Ambrosius, where 700 thousand unique manuscripts and priceless books are stored. Contrary to the association of the Pinakothek with a dim room where the works of painters gather dust, the Ambrosiana is a large museum where you can see not only wonderful paintings, but also other masterpieces of art. The Pinakothek was founded at the beginning of the 17th century by Archbishop Borromeo, housed in a previously erected palace and named after the patron saint of the city, Saint Ambrosius. The collection is located on two floors of the palace in its 24 halls; here is a whole treasury of sculptures and paintings. One of the last collected copies is a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, painted for the monastery. There are also halls in the historical building, which today are used for celebrations and business events.
Official website: https://www.ambrosiana
19. Brera Pinacoteca
Milan's Brera Pinacoteca in the 16th-century palace Paolo da Reggio
Artistic canvases by Italian and European masters in the halls of the Pinakothek Brera
Milan is the cultural city of Italy, which stores great works of art, and one of the largest repositories of painting is located here – this is the Brera Pinacoteca. The name Brera itself reflects the location of the institution in the historic district of Milan with the same name. On the lower floor of this ancient institution, today there are educational premises of the Academy of Arts for practical classes. The second floor is occupied by the gallery of the Pinakothek itself, the official opening date of which is 1809. The main theme of most of the paintings presented is religious, because once the monastery of the Order of the Humble was located within the walls of the institution. At the same time, in 38 halls of the gallery, landscapes of Venice, and portraiture, and the most valuable frescoes and sculptures, and of course, ancient icons are presented – each of the creations represents a certain school of painting.
Official website : https://pinacotecabrera
20. Poldi Pezzoli Museum
A large collection of weapons and armor at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum Museo Poldi pezzoli
Visiting museums will diversify and add excitement to any vacation spent in such a wonderful Italian city as Milan. The museums of the city present masterpieces of Italian and world culture of the Renaissance and the modern avant-garde. The Poldi Pezzoli Museum is one of the richest galleries in Europe with a private collection of works of art, ancient weapons, jewelry and various antiques. Once this collection belonged to one noble representative of the Poldi-Pezzoli family, who traveled a lot and was engaged in collecting. In the middle of the 19th century, he inherited a family nest, in which he decided to equip the museum. All exhibits are presented in several rooms – the Armory with armor and weapons deserves attention, the Dante Gallery, the black room in the style of the Northern Renaissance, the Yellow room in the rococo style, the Gold room in the Renaissance style.
Official site : http://www.museopoldipezzoli
21. Villa Reale
Neoclassical Villa Reale in a landscaped park in Milan Sailko
Italian villas adorn its magnificent cities like gems. All of them are unique in their own way and have their own atmosphere. When choosing what to see in Milan and the surrounding area, it is worth staying at one of the villas – such as Villa Reale. It is a beautiful palace and park ensemble of the Classicism era, which attracts lovers of walks and admirers of picturesque architecture. This complex is especially appreciated for its landscape park in the English style, with romantic bridges and beautiful pavilions in the shade of sprawling trees, neat paths and well-groomed flower beds. The villa has repeatedly attracted famous European people with its beauty, among which was Napoleon himself, who wanted to equip this place with his residence. Later, museum exhibitions appeared in the halls of the palace – today you can see the works of Van Gogh, Picasso, Manet and other famous masters here.
22. Velasca Tower
Cityscape with 106 – a meter-long Velasca tower against the blue sky in Milan
In Italy, skyscrapers are not welcome – they do not fit into the traditional historical buildings of most cities, but in Milan, progress has nevertheless affected urban architecture. Where are the skyscrapers in Milan? Most of them are located in the historical center – here, for example, you can see the unique complex “Vertical Scaffolding”, the first skyscraper in Milan – the Pirelli Tower, as well as the Velasca Tower, which caused the greatest resonance in society. Velasca was built in the 50s of the last century in the Art Nouveau style; its architects, inspired by industrial architecture, tried to combine its features with the traditions of decorating ancient fortresses. As a result, a creation with a controversial architecture came out, it caused a lot of criticism and even became one of the most gloomy and ugly buildings. But this does not detract from the demand for the Velasca Tower – today its lower floors are occupied by offices and shops, and the upper floors are residential premises.
23. Monument to the Middle Finger
Monument to the Middle Finger in Piazza Affari in the historic center of Milan Paolobon140
If the sights of Venice, where the water streets smoothly cut through the gondolas and the domes of the cathedrals shine in the sunset rays, are the lot of sublime and romantic souls, then Milan sometimes surprises with truly scandalous objects – such as the monument to the Middle Finger, located in the historical center. Yes, this monument depicts the very indecent gesture. An unusual attraction appeared in 2010 in front of the stock exchange building, and the main idea of this creation, as expected, was a protest against the financial stratification of society. Initially, a huge fist with a thrown back finger was supposed to stand here for two days, but apparently the inhabitants of the city liked the idea of sending stock exchange tycoons, and the monument still remains in its original place. The shocking sculpture has truly gigantic dimensions – the height of the fist with a finger is 4 meters, the pedestal is 7 meters.
24. Sempione Park
Vacationers in the famous picturesque Sempione Park in Milan
Sempione Park, created at the end of the 19th century on the site of the former square of the Sforza Castle, is designed on the model of English landscape parks and occupies an impressive area – almost 400 thousand square meters. In late spring, when well-groomed lawns still delight with fresh greenery, it is especially pleasant to have a picnic on one of them under the rays of the warm sun. May vegetation, walking paths, shady places to relax, a lake and fountains, flower beds and majestic plane trees – in short, this is the perfect option to see Milan in May. Tourists are especially fond of Sempione, because there are museums of decorative and ancient art, a gallery of musical instruments. Architectural creations are also eye-catching, for example, the cast-iron bridge of the Mermaids with four figures of sea maidens, the openwork steel tower of Branca. The park is located near the central Piazza Duomo, Milan, and the road to the park passes through the Sforza Castle.
25. Naviglio Grand Canal
Naviglio Grand Canal or Grand Canal in Milan in the evening
Naviglio is the most romantic and beautiful area of Milan, imbued with the spirit of creativity. Nightlife is in full swing here, and on weekends young people and bohemians flock to its streets. Once upon a time, it was planned to build a network of canals in Naviglio and turn the city into a second Venice, but to this day only three canals remain from the extensive water network, the most picturesque of which is Naviglio Grand. Along it, many pedestrian bridges, churches, antique shops, artists' workshops, as well as the atmospheric Prachek Lane have been preserved. The suburban part of the canal is crowned with magnificent villas with flowering gardens. In the warm season, sightseeing trams run on the water, so a boat trip along the Naviglio Grand canal is the perfect way to build a route through the most beautiful places in Milan, when the city opens up from a new angle, in all its splendor.
We hope that those sights of Milan, photos with names and descriptions of which we have given, you will want to see personally. Read also about the sights of Naples and be inspired to travel further in Italy.