You can read widely differing opinions about Milan. Some say it’s beautiful, others that it’s pretty crap and not worth anybody’s time . So I decided to see for myself how it is with this Milan and I will show you what to see there.
To be honest – Milan haven’t stole my heart, I’m not saying it’s bad and scary, but it’s just not my vibe. Milan is a bit pompous and dignified, and I feel better in crazier, hectic cities as well as more cosy and “homely”, such as the Tuscan ones. However, I don’t think that Milan must be avoided by any cost, in my opinion it’s worth devoting a bit of your attention to it and forming your own opinion about it – I would recommend you to spend a day there, or two at the most, if you want to walk around museums. A few places from the list below are definitely the standard “must see”, which you will find literally on every blog and in every guide, I hope that a few places will surprise you a bit!
Duomo di Milano – What to see in Milan?
To be in Milan and not to see the famous cathedral is like going to Paris and skip the Eiffel Tower. I must admit that the cathedral is really impressive! However, it’s far from most beautiful churches in Italy in my opinion – here the cathedral in Florence and the cathedral in Siena are leading. I heard that the cathedral is also amazing inside and It’s worth going to the observation deck. To be honest – I am a poorly ecclesiastical person, seeing the interiors of subsequent churches isn’t my favourite pastime, so I gave up the cathedral’s interior and instead sat down with a drink and a board of ham and cheese in the Obica Mozzarella bar and enjoyed the view of the Duomo from the terrace – much better experience for me! If you want to take pictures of the cathedral without a million people in the frame, go there just after sunrise.
Piazza del Duomo – What to see in Milan?
The square next to the cathedral, there is also the Royal Palace and the entrance to the Victor Emmanuel II Gallery. It’s best to come to the square in the early morning to avoid crowds if planning photos.
Victor Emmanuel II Gallery – What to see in Milan?
I honestly admit that Galleries such as the Victor Emmanuel II Gallery always arouse a lot of emotions in me. The gallery is simply delightful, full of splendour and architecturally refined. I would love to see it before Christmas when it’s all dressed up. I know it’s such a must-see place and many people don’t like it, but for me it is beautiful!
Brera district – What to see in Milan?
A district of Milan, walking through it, one could start appreciating the city bit more. Brera is home to the Pinacoteca di Brera art gallery, full of shops, luxury boutiques and eateries. The district supposedly starts to live at night, and at this time unfortunately I wasn’t there, so I will definitely check it out next time!
La Scala – What to see in Milan?
The famous La Scala Opera House is located in a very inconspicuous building. I hope to be able to go to an opera there one day and see this impressive place “in full swing”.
Sforza Castle- What to see in Milan?
Dating back to the 14th century, a blocky looking castle that is located in Parco Sempione. If you get tired of the crowds in the centre, I recommend going there, the entrance to the courtyard is free, and there are museums in the Castle. The castle houses the last, unfinished work of Michelangelo – Pieta Rondanini.
Parco Sempione – What to see in Milan?
I heard somewhere that Sempione Park is a moderately safe place, there are various types of unpleasant people and generally you have to be careful. We came across this type of place in Bologna, so overall I was prepared for the necessity to quickly withdraw and run away. As it turned out, Parco Sempione is a very friendly place, full of locals with dogs and bars where you can stop for a drink. I was there also in the early morning and I didn’t notice any homeless people who were main downside as per internet forums but a huge number of dogs and their owners. If you get tired of the city, I highly recommend this place, especially since, as I mentioned, you can also stop there for an Aperitivo.
Arco della Pace – What to see in Milan?
A triumphal arch located at the very end (coming from the Sforza Castle) of Parco Sempione, the construction of which began when Napoleon ruled the city in 1807. The arch is where the gate was located, followed by the road from Milan to Paris through the Alps. Arco della Pace is a great place to capture Milan’s characteristic old yellow trams.
Navigli – What to see in Milan?
Navigli is a tiny Venice of Milan, two canals to be exact. Navigli in the past was a system of canals in and around Milan used for the transport of goods, canals were established in the Middle Ages. Currently, the Navigli district is a lively place, especially in the evenings, locals flock there to eat in one of the many restaurants. I also recommend to eat there! There is also the Prada museum and the Armani museum in the area, the latter I planned to visit, but unfortunately it didn’t work out (the museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays).
Torre Velasca – What to see in Milan?
Milan boasts a fair amount of modernist architecture, one example being the Torre Velasca, a skyscraper built in 1954. Torre is perfectly visible from the cathedral terrace, unfortunately during my visit the tower was under renovation, so next time I’m there I definitely have to go to the cathedral terrace to see this impressive building.
Palazzo Invernizzi – What to see in Milan?
I won’t bother you with the palace itself, because it isn’t the palace which is special here, but the garden. But let’s start from the beginning – Palazzo Invernizzi is located in a part of Milan called Quadrangle of Silence. A place that developed especially in the nineteenth century, there are many beautiful buildings and palaces in the area. Mr. Romeo Invernizzi, who was a cheese tycoon, moved to Lombardy in the 20th century, lived in a palace, and brought a colony of … flamingos to the garden. And it’s for this garden that I recommend going there. On Mondays, the palace is unfortunately closed to visitors, but the garden and birds can be admired from the street.
Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the painting The Last Supper – What to see in Milan?
A place that I haven’t visited myself, but it shouldn’t be omitted to mention it. In the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie there is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci – The Last Supper. The sightseeing, however, takes place in small groups (even more restricted due to the virus), so booking tickets are required, which are said to be not so easy to obtain. There is a small pool of tickets at the on-site cash desk and there is no guarantee that you will be able to go inside without a reservation. The ticket price is 15e, booking online here you pay an additional 2 euros for booking online.
Bosco Verticale – What to see in Milan?
Bosco Verticale is a treat for lovers of modern architecture, and I must admit that although I am not an expert, I like to look at such buildings. Bosco Verticale is a truly remarkable architectural project, two towers were commissioned in 2014, and the project itself has been awarded many times with international prizes in the field of architecture. Bosco Verticale literally means “vertical forest” and it would be hard to describe this place differently! These are two towers, the balconies of which are full of trees and various plants, the whole thing looks really brilliant! The whole neighbourhood in the Porta Nuova district and Piazza Gae Aulenti is full of modern architecture, but also brilliantly fitted with greenery!
City Life – What to see in Milan?
Another modern design and spectacular buildings, City Life is not quite as impressive as Bosco Verticale, but lovers of modern architecture should check it out. There is also a shopping centre and a lot of pubs next to City Life.