The city of Milan has always been the economic and industrial capital of Italy, a modern and avant-garde city that provides evidence of its glorious past.
Visiting this its historic centre is a unique eXPerience and there is a lot to see and do: from the history of art to the design and high fashion, up to the technology. Milan boasts important historical sites, collections of art masterpieces, but also lots of places for incredible shopping sessions.
Choosing the major attractions in Milan is not an easy task as there is so much to round out. However, ItalyXP has tried to make a list of the 10 (+1) essential places you cannot miss if is your first time visiting this amazing city.
You certainly cannot go to Milan and not run into the Duomo, the Gothic cathedral, splendid example of Italian architecture, located within thesplendid Piazza del Duomo. As soon as you’ll exit the subway (“Duomo” station) you’ll face this breathtaking spectacle: your eyes will be immediately caught by the magnificence of this immense work of art, and you can observe the perfection and accuracy of this architectural work lasted centuries.
This majestic construction in white marble seems to be lifted up towards the sky with its endless spires, and the light that filters through the beautiful stained glass windows creates a magical atmosphere inside. Definitely recommended the tour of the cathedral on the terrace from which you can admire an amazing view of the entire city of Milan.
The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie holds within it a work of great fame and the immeasurable artistic value: the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci. It’s considered the most famous and important representation of the biblical event of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, in which he announced the betrayal of one of his apostles.
The painting has a powerful symbolic and iconographic value, the master Leonardo Da Vinci was able to depict the intimate feeling and emotional religious episode. Moreover, every detail and every object painting were studied perfectly to complete and balance the composition. This is what makes the Last Supper a work of high quality, better to be admired with a guided tour.
A tour of the Sforza Castle (“Castello Sforesco”) is a must for anyone visiting Milan. Visiting this beautiful monument is a travel back in time, in an era of medieval knights and castles, right in the very heart of the historic centre.
The fortress as we admire today is the result of countless interventions from the 14th century to today. Inside, there are many museums to visit, including the Egyptian Museum and the Art Gallery. It’s the perfect place to indulge in a relaxing walk around the massive walls or inside the internal park, when you want to disconnect from the noise of the city.
The Brera Art Gallery (also known as the Brera Pinacoteca) is a national gallery that combines ancient and modern art, and is housed in a former 14th century convent. Originally, it was founded to house the works in support of the students of the art academy, but later it became an exhibition space thanks to the many donations. Today the museum has the house universally-famous works through which you’ll understand the talent and splendor of Italian art.
Among the most famous masterpieces preserved in the gallery you’ll see works of Caravaggio, Bellini, Hayez, Piero della Francesca, Raphael and Bramante. Obviously, this place is better to be visited with a guided tour.
Undoubtedly the second most important church of Milan, is considered a historical, inviolable monument, sacred symbol of medieval and early Christian history and a magnificent example of Romanesque architecture.
The Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio is dedicated to the patron saint of the city, lesser-known than the Duomo, but surely just as impressive and admirable. In its interior you can admire the solemn golden altar and the relics of the saints with the garments of Sanint Ambrogio. Not-to-be-missed is also the dome of the chapel of San Vittore in Ciel d'Oro, characterized by the beautiful colorful mosaics.
A visit to the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio is mandatory for those who want to go into an atmosphere not only sacred and solemn, but also historical and authentic.
Who has not heard of the Teatro La Scala? An excellence in the theatre architecture, it welcomes every year splendid performances of various kinds, from ballet to opera, from symphony to chamber music. You’ll be fascinated by the elegance of this theater, unique and timeless.
From the outside it might look like a common building, but as you get inside you’ll be enchanted by the great architecture and interior decorations. Everything is perfectly ordered and luxurious: velvets, stucco, crystal chandeliers, gleaming marble are the ingredients that make the atmosphere of La Scala magic.
Today La Scala is open for guided tours, which will allow you not only to admire the interior, but also to visit the legendary La Scala Theatre Museum: a unique opportunity to discover an authentic piece of the history of Milan.
The Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery is a covered walkway. Elegant and charming, this monument is beautiful both from the outside and the inside: a true jewel of Milan.
The Gallery is located in the centre of Milan, connecting Piazza Duomo to the Scala Theatre and crossing it you’ll admire luxurious hotels, bars and restaurants! Thanks to its many fine shops and high-class, is considered as Via Montenapoleone, one of the most fashionable shopping destination.
Also, make sure to take part at the Milanese good-luck tradition of spinning on the bull mosaic. The proper way to do it to place your heel firmly in the bull’s groin and turn backwards three times!
The Royal Palace of Milan has a very deep historical value, as for many years it was used as the seat of city government. Now it has the privilege of hosting wonderful exhibitions of different artists, and has become a renowned cultural center. It’s located in front of the right side of the Duomo, opposite the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, and complete the magnificence and importance of Piazza Duomo.
The Royal Palace is a charming and modern cultural center that have been honored with exhibitions of magnificent works of Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso, but also beautiful sculptures.
If you have a passion for fashion and high-class brands, the fashion district of Milan is the ideal destination for you. It is one of the most elegant areas of the city, consisting of four famous streets that allow you to fulfill all your desire about shopping and fashion.
These elegant streets are dotted with several shops of prestigious designers, luxurious jewelers and chic boutiques. The heart of the quadrilateral is Via Montenapoleone, famous and renowned throughout the world for being the most expensive shopping street in Milan.
The Navigli district, during the day is a very tranquil area that exudes a magical atmosphere, full of shops of all kinds, but in the evening, it turns in the heart of the nightlife in Milan. The picturesque alleys and the water canals will remind you of an old Milan. Walking illuminated by the light of the many local restaurants and reflecting on the water is something fascinating and relaxing.
Ideal for a romantic dinner or for a drink after a day's work. Not to be missed: a walking tour of the Navigli, a special and different activity in the city, through which you’ll discover the history and legends of these enchanting canals of Milan!
It is one of the six main gates of the city, in the past had a fundamental role, defending the city. It was recently renovated, but over the centuries has undergone several changes. Today, Porta Nuova shows a new face, made of skyscrapers and futuristic buildings: here stands the Unicredit Tower, the tallest building in Italy; the Piazza Gae Aulenti, a circular square adorned with fountains and topped with skyscrapers; the Vertical Forest, two towers ecologically sustainable.
Visiting the area of Porta Nuova with a guided tour is a unique eXPerience, a journey from the history of Milan to its immediate future. With our tours you will have the opportunity to visit this area to admire its futuristic splendor.