“Milan, for me, is a city of discovery. You can find some amazing gardens behind some great houses; I also love finding beautiful galleries and incredible shops, but you have to explore. And the food is amazing”Francisco Costa
1. Duomo Cathedral
You simply cannot miss visiting the magnificent Duomo Cathedral at the city center. It’s inevitable as the exit of the underground station goes directly towards the cathedral. Milan is a city which has a quite well-established public transport network and I would advise you to use this network as much as you can – it will definitely make your commute a lot more convenient and efficient since there are underground stations close to the most of the city’s attractions. It can get quite crowded at the piazza in front of the cathedral so it would be a very good idea to go as early as possible in order to be able to take good pictures. We spent 48 hours in the city and we went to the cathedral three times but unfortunately we couldn’t go inside as it was closed for two days due to a funeral. Nevertheless, the Duomo di Milano remains one of the most beautiful cathedrals that I have seen in my life. Maybe its magnificence is due to the different architecture styles that are incorporated in the cathedral’s exterior and interior.
You can visit the Milan Cathedral for €3 and the terraces for €9 (on foot) or €14 (by lift). More information (including the different tickets, opening hours, and a map of the cathedral) you can find here.
2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
After a good half an hour gazing at the Cathedral, you can continue your walk right on the left of the Duomo through the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, named after the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. The gallery is one of the oldest shopping malls and it houses some of the most luxurious and high-end brands. As a shopping enthusiast I could not resist the urge to do some window shopping (admiring some of my favorite bloggers’ picks) and hope that one day I will be able to splurge on a designer handbag. Of course, if you are not so much into fashion you can still admire the beautiful architecture and especially the huge iron-and-glass roof that provides so much light at the center of the gallery.
3. Teatro alla Scala
This has been a dream of mine for quite a long time and I am more than happy to share that I accomplished it last week! Teatro alla Scala is indeed the most spectacular theater that I have visited in my life. Unfortunately, however, the theater is now closed for performances and only tourist tours are available during the month of August. Still, this was one of my top experiences during our stay in Milan – the rich velvet interior of the opera house leaves you speechless as you admire it from above. The La Scala Museum also offers a huge collection of posters, paintings, statues, and other documents concerning the rich history of the theater. In general, I am convinced that I will visit the theater again and this time I will see a live performance.
You can visit the La Scala Museum for just €9 which will offer you access to the museum and a spectacular view over the stage. More information (including the 2017/2018 season) is available here.
4. Navigli District
It is not a well-know fact that actually Milan boasts five wide canals which are mainly used for irrigation but two of them (the Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese) are actually worth the visit. They are not so popular with the tourists so you will not see crowds of people walking towards them; hence, you would be able to take lots of beautiful photos with the canal as a background. On the contrary, they are popular with the locals as they have become something like a nightlife pole – there are numerous restaurants, bars, and clubs along the Naviglio Grande and at nighttime you would be surprised as how crowded the two narrow paths along the canal can get. Certainly, the Naviglio Grande cannot be compared in any way with the canals in Venice but if you haven’t got the chance to visit Venice, the Navigli district is quite a good substitute.
What I liked the most in the district, is the unique atmosphere that characterizes this area of Milan. It is an up-and-coming neighborhood and you can enjoy small art galleries, vintage shops, exquisite restaurants and bars that serve the popular Aperitivo, and some huge cathedrals that would take your breath away. It is extremely romantic and, as the crowds are missing, he walk with your loved one will become one of your holiday’s highlights, I am sure.
The walk along the canals is free and if you have enough time to enjoy a meal at one of the numerous restaurants, you can get a decent pasta and a drink for about €20.
5. Parco Sempione and Arco della Pace
The Sempione park is one of the largest public parks in Milan and it offers vast panoramic views encompassing two of the main landmarks of the city – The Arch of Peace at the one end of the park and the Sforza Castle at the other end (more about the castle in the next point). The park is a great idea for walks especially in the long hot summer days. It also boasts numerous picturesque locations for the perfect vacation shots at the green background of the gardens and the huge lake in the middle of the park. The magnificent Arch of Peace, on the other hand, is impressive and even reminds me somehow of Paris, and as we all know, Paris is always a good idea. It is a fairly quiet area which contributes to the general relaxing feel and vibe of the whole park.
6. The Sforza Castle
While the Sforza Castle is not the most beautiful castle that I have visited in my life, it is one of the richest in terms of museum and art exhibitions. There are 18 museums, art galleries, archives, and libraries, including Michelangelo’s final artistic expression, the Rondanini Pieta. The castle and its museums are a compulsory element in every art lover’s itinerary, for sure. The main gate leads to a large court which can get quite sunny and hot during the summer but still is a great place for pictures and selfies.
The admission to the museums is only €5 and on Tuesdays from 14h it is free. You can enjoy the exterior of the castle, including the large court, for free. More information can be found here.
7. Get lost in the small streets
This was my favorite one! Almost all Italian cities are famous for their small cross streets that provide a unique atmosphere and a cool background for your pictures and Milan is not an exception. Every turn holds a surprise waiting to be discovered and we were more than ready to embark on this exploration. There are tonnes of little alleyways and small pedestrian-only streets that you could get lost in for hours. These streets were my favorite part of Milan; there was so much lively culture and history with every step I took. While you’re in Milan, spend some time exploring these little streets off the city center and off the Naviglio Grande where you could stop for some gelato, a coffee, an aperol spritz, or a crepe.
Have you ever been to Milan?
See you soon.