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Top Things To Do in Milan

By: Cityseeker
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A leading city in northern Italy, Milan is a delightful mix of fashion, art, and luxury. Works of art such as the Duomo and Leonardo's The Last Supper, high-end hotels, seemingly infinite avenues for shopping and great food are just some of the top draws of this cosmopolitan city.


Teatro alla Scala

Dating back to 1778 as a fitting replacement for the Teatro Ducale, the stately Teatro Alla Scala has since come to be one of opera's most legendary venues. The historic theater has hosted most of Italy's operatic masters alongside renowned international artists. Designed by noted architect, Giuseppe Piermarini, the theater's neoclassical facade has a palatial theater with six tiers of private boxes, topped by an intricate ceiling. Home to the prestigious La Scala Theater Orchestra, La Scala Theater Ballet and La Scala Theater Chorus, it remains one of the city's liveliest cultural venues. Apart from operas, the theater also hosts plays, ballet shows and numerous other cultural events throughout the year.

Via Filodrammatici 2, Milan, Italy, 20121
Castello Sforzesco

Once the palatial symbol of Visconti nobility, the Sforzesco Castle was reconstructed by Francesco Sforza, the duke of Milan in the 15th Century. He rebuilt parts of the original fortification, including the Torre del Filarete that towered 70 meters (230 feet) above other small towers. Deemed to be one of the largest bastions in Europe, this monumental citadel underwent several expansions and changes in the years that followed. When under Spanish rule, it was largely used as a barrack, before parts of it were demolished by Napoleon's troops. In the 19th Century, it was salvaged by architect Luca Beltrami. He rebuilt several parts of the castle, including the towers, the moat and even restored the historic Torre del Filarete to its former glory. The castle's archways give way to the regal courtyards of Rocchetta and Ducal, which house several archaeological and art museums.

Piazza Castello 3, Milan, Italy, 20121
Milan Cathedral

Watched over by the Madonnina, the cathedral's high marble spires represent the city's most famous artistic and religious monument. The dimensions of Christendom's third-biggest church are still awe-inspiring, spanning 108 meters (354.3 feet) high and 158 meters (518.3 feet) long. A range of architectural styles feature the doorways of the 17th Century, the central balcony from the late 18th Century and the three main upper windows which are early 19th Century pieces by Carlo Amati. The Gothic cathedral's vast interior is grand with its impressive pillars, vaults, streamlined arches and wonderful statuary surrounding the nave. Light filters in through a crevice in the wall, positioning itself on the sundial that frames its main entrance. Gleaming statues carved out of Condoglian marble are perched atop its spires. Whether one is seeking religious fulfillment or is simply sightseeing, the Duomo leaves one spellbound.

Piazza del Duomo 1, Milan, Italy, 20122
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Construction of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a 19th-century shopping arcade and one of the oldest in the world, began in 1865 following a design competition won by Giuseppe Mengoni. Its soaring 47-meter-high dome is made of iron and glass and is supported by impressive plaster eagles. The interior boasts intricate Neo-Renaissance stucco work and mosaic floor designs, showcasing the emblems of Italian cities. Restored in 1966, the mosaic floor further adds a touch of artistry to the elegant shopping destination.

Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Italy, 20121
Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci

Founded in 1953, the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci includes 28 distinct galleries dedicated to all aspects of science and technology, including the spectacular collection of the creations of Leonardo da Vinci. From transportation to astronomy and modern high technology, the scope of this museum ranks it among the most important in the world. The artifacts inside this museum provide a fascinating look into physical sciences.

Via San Vittore 21, Milan, Italy, 20123
Parco Sempione

Characterized by still ponds, emerald green grass and exhilarating views of the main landmarks of the city, the Sforza Castle, the Arch of Peace and the Palazzo dell'Arte, Sempione Park offers some of the best visual experiences in Milan. Designed by architect Emilio Alemagna, the park is nothing short of a landscaping marvel. The Arena Civica, the Neptune-guarding public aquarium and the Torre Branca tower are also part of this expansive park. To add to its charm, visitors can also see permanent sculptures by Arman, Francesco Barzaghi and Giorgio de Chirico.

Piazza Sempione, Milan, Italy, 20154
Piazza del Duomo

The sprawling expanse of the Piazza del Duomo forms the heart of the city of Milan, both geographically and in terms of its cultural significance. While the site has always been an important reference point for town planners, the origins of this public square can be traced back to the 14th Century. It was Azzone Visconti who demanded the removal of the taverns that surrounded the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Basilica of Santa Tecla, thus creating one of Italy's most iconic squares. Although both churches were eventually demolished to make way for the ambitiously designed Duomo, their foundations are still visible to this day. Today, the vast open space is crowned by the Duomo on one side and the Royal Palace on the other. Alongside them are sweeping arcades designed by Giuseppe Mengoni. A space surrounded by some of Italy's most recognizable structures, the Piazza del Duomo has rightly been termed as the focal point of Milan.

Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Italy, 20121
Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie

Commissioned by Ludovico Sforza, the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie was designed by Guiniforte Solari. While the Sforzas may have envisioned it playing a role in their family's legacy, it primarily served as a functioning church. The adjoining Dominican convent, with its cloister and sacristy, received later renovations by the renowned architect Bramante. Notably, the church's terracotta ornamentation became a significant influence in northern Italian Renaissance architecture. The most famous artwork housed within the church is Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, "The Last Supper."

Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie 2, Milan, Italy, 20123
Cimitero Monumentale di Milano

Beautiful sculptures adorn the graves of those interred at the Monumental Cemetery. Originally laid out in the 19th Century, the cemetery encompasses a staggering collection of sculptural and architectural gems, each gracing the burial site of some of the country's most prominent families and individuals. The Famedio, or Temple of Fame, is one of its most distinctive features. Originally designed to serve as a church, the neo-Medieval structure now has the sarcophagus of the novelist, Alessandro Manzoni. The tomb of the Campari family is adorned by a large, bronze version of the Last Supper, while that of Arturo Toscanini is a masterpiece fashioned by the sculptor, Leonardo Bistolfi. Marvelous funerary art and ornamentation abound at the Monumental Cemetery, a favorite among art lovers.

Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, Italy, 20154
Pinacoteca di Brera

The Pinacoteca di Brera is housed within a grand 1615 building designed by architect Francesco Maria Richini. Founded in 1776, the gallery offers an extensive collection of Italian and foreign masterpieces from the 14th to the 19th centuries. You can admire works by renowned artists like Vincenzo Foppa, Lorenzo Lotto, Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, and many more. Some of the Pinacoteca's highlights include Raffaello's Sposalizio della Vergine, Andrea Mantegna's Cristo morto, Piero della Francesca's Madonna and Saints, and Ercole Dè Roberti's Madonna in trono e Santi. The venue also boasts a bookstore, cafeteria, and guided tours.

Via Brera 28, Milan, Italy, 20121
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