Top 20 places to visit in Milan

Knowing about Milan only that it is one of the world's fashion centers and the financial capital of Italy, you risk missing out on all the most interesting things. This city has a rich and ancient history and is literally filled with works of art and architectural masterpieces that must be visited.
02 december 2021

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tripmydream has compiled the top 20 beautiful places in Milan that will enchant you at first sight and forever.

1. Milan Cathedral

This majestic Gothic building is rightly the symbol of Milan and one of its main decorations.

Milan Cathedral - visit
Photo author - Gosi4k

Rarely a tourist passes by this giant building and does not go to see it, because the cathedral is beautiful both inside and outside: soaring island arches, columns and sculptures, luxurious paintings - you cannot take your eyes off the decoration of the Duomo. It seems as if you have fallen into another dimension. Just look at the fantastically beautiful stained glass windows, the oldest of which is over 500 years old!

In the cathedral you can also read the names of all the archbishops of Milan (since the first century) carved in stone, see the tombstones of the saints decorated with paintings from the life of St. Ambrosius, and listen to one of the best organs in the world.

Duomo is open daily from 09:00 to 18:00 (12:00 to 14:30 - break). Entrance is free.

2. Sforza Castle

Perhaps the most popular among tourists Milanese castle to visit, built in the XV century as the residence of the Milanese dukes of the dynasty of the same name. Today it is open to visitors who wish to explore not only the life of the nobility of those times, but also the works of art of the famous Italians.

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Sforza Castle - Milan
Photo author - valerioallievi

Paying 15 euros gives you access to the castle's museum, where furniture and housewares are on display, as well as an art gallery with paintings by painters such as Mantegna, Bellini and Correggio. There is a separate room dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci (who, incidentally, was personally involved in decorating the castle). The Archaeological Museum is also worth a look.

Sforza Castle is open to the public from 07:00 to 19:30. It is free to enter the grounds, only the museums have a fee.

The museums are open Tuesday through Sunday from 09:00 to 17:30. The ticket price is €8 (until 10.01.2016 according to the official site).

The castle can be reached by streetcars #1, 2, 4, 12, 14, 19 or by buses #18, 37, 50, 58, 61, 94.

3. Pinacoteca di Brera

Milan itself is a work of art, let alone its museums and galleries! To be here and not visit at least some of their attractions of riches? That's impossible!

The best place to see masterpieces by Italian (and not only) masters is the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan's largest museum. It has one of the largest collections of Italian paintings from the 14th to 19th centuries, as well as a collection of European paintings from the 15th to 17th centuries. Van Dyck, El Greco, Goya, Rembrandt, Caravaggio - these names sound like music to the ears of lovers of beauty. But even if you're not one of them, a visit to the Pinakothek is still worthwhile!

Note: on Fridays after 2 p.m., the museum is open to the public free of charge.

Pinacoteca di Brera - Milan
Photo author - Barbara Arioli
St. Ambrose Basilica
Photo author - Mario Gabrieli

The Pinacoteca is located at Via Brera, 28. You can get there by bus numbers 61 and 97. Opening hours are Tues-Fri, Fri, and Sat: 08:30-19:15. Saturday - from 08:30 to 23:00. A ticket costs €10.

4. Basilica of St. Ambrosius

Make time to visit the Basilica of St. Ambrose and see this building, which is almost a thousand years old. The ancient building is steeped in history and the spirit of bygone ages: beautiful murals, religious paintings, church utensils - there is much to admire! A wonderful place to take in the atmosphere of antiquity and peace.

  • Basilica is located at Piazza Sant'Ambrogio, 15.
  • Open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 14:30 to 18:00. On Sundays from 15:00 to 17:00.
  • The basilica's website doesn't list the entrance fee, so we have to assume it's free.

5. Brera Quarter

The Brera Quarter is one of the places a tourist in Milan should go on the hunt for an experience. The quarter is famous not only for its proximity to the Duomo and the Pinacoteca, but for its unique flavor.

The Brera quarter in Milan
Photo author - Ian Withnall

Walk through the colorful maze of streets, sit on the terrace of a cozy cafe, or stop to listen to a street musician. Or maybe you want to find out your destiny? No problem! There are fortune-tellers here too.

The Brera neighborhood is a pedestrian-only zone (only residents are allowed to enter). So - minimum traffic and maximum freedom of movement. And, of course, lots of interesting places and great photos to go with it!

The Brera quarter is surrounded by Via Pontaccio, Via Borgonuovo, Via del Lauro and Via Monte di Pieta, and Via Mercato. The nearest metro stations are Lanza, Cairoli and Montenapoleone.

6. Church of San Maurizio

The Church of San Maurizio is a case where you don't judge a book by its cover. A basilica that looks unremarkable is instantly different once you enter. Inside, visitors will find a magnificent interior with frescoes dating back to the 16th century and painted by some of the best artists in Lombardy.

Church of San Maurizio - Milan
Photo author - MITO SettembreMusica

Also next to the church, in the halls of the former monastery, is the Museum of Archaeology with a rich collection of weapons (Celtic, Etruscan and Roman), jewelry, ceramics and everyday objects.

  • Entry to the church is free.
  • Open hours: Mon-Sat - 09:30-17:30.
  • To get here you can take the metro (get off at the station Cadorna Fn. line 2 or Cairoli line 1).

7. Museo Poldi Pezzoli

Another Milanese treasure trove that is must visit. The Museo Poldi Pezzoli displays the private collection of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli, which includes works of art, old weapons, jewelry and antiques collected by the owner during his lifetime. Here, among others, you can see paintings by Botticelli, Bellini, Mantegna and many other maestros of Italian painting.

Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan
Photo author - Corrado Formenti
  • The museum is located at Via Alessandro Manzoni, 12 and is open Wednesday through Monday from 10:00 to 18:00.
  • Ticket price is €8.
  • To get here you can take the metro (line M3, stop Montenapoleone or Duomo and line M1, stop Duomo).

8. Naviglio Grande

Are you aware that Milan has its own Grand Canal? Well, the Naviglio Grande is not just any canal, but the oldest canal in Europe (built in the 12th century) with a length of 48 kilometers. It connects Milan with the town of Tornavento.

Naviglio Grande in Milan.
Photo author - Andrey Salikov

Today, Naviglio Grande is not only an incredibly beautiful place to stroll around (especially in the evening), but also the center of the city's nightlife. A great number of bars and restaurants to suit every taste attract lovers of active nightlife, and the famous aperitivo (happy hour) allows you to taste the local cuisine for almost nothing (the principle of aperitivo - you pay only for a drink, and a free buffet - in addition). There is also a large flea market along the Naviglio Grande every last Sunday of the month.

Tip: the canal is often drained in the spring for cleaning, so keep that fact in mind if you want to see it in all its glory.

The closest metro station to the canal is Porta Genova F.s., and it's a 15-minute walk from Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore.

9. Parco Sempione

One of Milan's favorite places to relax, Parco Sempione is an amazing and beautiful piece of wildlife in the middle of the busy city. It's a good place to come after a long walk through the city, to stroll through the shady alleys, to look at the graceful statues or to feed the ducks and swans by the pond. And if you want, go to the aquarium (entrance is free). For outdoor enthusiasts, the park has bike tracks and sports fields, and the park's observation tower offers impressive views of the city.

Parco Sempione in Milan
Photo author - Catalyst_Print_Project
  • The park is open daily from 06:30 to 22:00 (summer) and from 06:30 to 20:00 (winter)
  • The park can be reached by metro (Lanza Brero Piccolo or Teatro Cairoli Castello station)
  • Trams 12, 14 (stop Bramante Lega Lombarda)

10. Museum of Science and Technology

This is probably one of the most informative museums to go to in Milan: three floors dedicated to all kinds of technical inventions of man! Here you'll find everything from the steam engine to the submarine. Radio waves and electricity, television and telegraph, clocks and astronomical instruments - both adults and children will find it interesting here. And of course, be sure to check out Leonardo's inventions - maybe you'll be able to unravel the mystery of the great genius.

Museum of Science and Technology in Milan
Photo author - Andrea Volpato
  • The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 09:30 to 17:00. On Saturdays and holidays - from 09:30 to 18:30. On Mondays, as well as December 25 and January 1, the museum is closed
  • Ticket prices are €10 (full) and €7.50 for young people under 25 (passport required), children from 3 to 13, pensioners over 65 and groups of 10. For children under 3 years old and people with disabilities (together with a companion) admission is free.
  • The address of the museum is Via San Vittore, 21. The museum is accessible by buses 50, 58, 94

11. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Even if your plans don't include mind-blowing shopping, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II simply must be on your list to visit in Milan. The mosaic decorations, sculptures, statues, frescoes that adorn the gallery, the famous glass dome - it's like being inside a giant kaleidoscope! The gallery also offers access to two of Milan's famous landmarks, the Duomo and La Scala.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Photo author - Juan Antonio Martinez

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is located in Piazza del Duomo and is open 24 hours a day (unlike the stores, which close at 22:00), so you can wander around this mini-museum anytime.

12. Ambrosian Gallery

For those who haven't yet quenched their thirst for the beautiful, the Ambrosiana Art Gallery should be the next destination on your list of interesting places to visit in Milan. Considered the very first museum in Milan, the gallery was founded in the early 17th century and its collection is the envy of any museum in the world. In addition to paintings by masters such as Raphael, Titian and Caravaggio, there is an entire exhibition dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci, with paintings and original manuscripts by the genius.

Amvrosian Gallery in Milan
Photo author - Martin Conde

The gallery can be visited Tuesday through Sunday from 09:00 to 19:00. The museum is closed on Easter and Christmas Day, as well as January 1 and May 1. The ticket price is €15. The address is Piazza Pio XI, 2.

13. Gallery of Modern Art of Milan

To diversify your cultural tour of Milan, make time for the Gallery of Modern Art. Its collection includes more than 2,500 works of art by both Italian (you can't go without them!) and French masters of the 18th and 20th centuries. Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Modigliani, Canova, Boccioni - and this is not a complete list. And if you get tired of the abundance of beautiful things, take a break in the cozy garden around the gallery building.

Contemporary Art Gallery of Milan
Photo author - Nicola Borzi
  • The gallery is located at Via Palestro, 16
  • The nearest metro station is Palestro (branch M1)
  • Opening hours: Tues-Fri - from 09:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:30
  • Entry is free

14. Igrosso neighborhood

Milan is usually visited either for the cultural program, for the nearby lakes Como and Garda, or for shopping. If you're one of the latter, the Ingrosso district is the place to go. Here, in the streets between Milano Centrale station and Republica metro station, there are various boutiques and outlets where you can find interesting and inexpensive items from young designers, and if you're lucky, vintage pieces from famous fashion houses.

But there are nuances - for example, it's not always possible to find something worthwhile on the spot. That's why most Ingrosso stores have the foresight to produce a general brochure with information on all upcoming events, discounts and sales, as well as opening hours during Fashion Weeks and holidays. You can get it at any boutique, you just have to ask.

15. Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie

This church is popular primarily because it's home to Leonardo do Vinci's famous Last Supper. Although the fresco is not actually located in the church itself, but on the back wall of the refectory, in the former Dominican monastery, which is nearby.

Church of Santa Maria delle Graziez in Milan
Photo author - Andrey Salikov

Nevertheless, even if you didn't buy your ticket a couple months (or at least weeks) in advance to see the masterpiece, don't worry. The church itself is well worth a tour, too. Inside it's certainly not as large as the Duomo, but that smallness combined with the painted ceilings, columns and graceful arches creates a wonderful atmosphere of peace and lightness.

  • The church is located at Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie, 2
  • Open Tuesday through Sunday from 08:00 to 19:30
  • Entry to the church is free

16. Toy Museum

What to see in Milan with kids? The Toy Museum, of course! And then, who says that toys are interesting only for children? Adults are just as fascinated by them! And even if you're not 5 or even 8 years old anymore, go to the Toy Museum in Milan.

There you'll find more than 2,000 ancient and modern toys of all colors and colors, from those played with by 18th-century children to the more familiar "childhood friends" of the 1960s. It's a great place to sink into a pleasant nostalgia for childhood and find out what the children of the past centuries lived.

The museum is located at Via Gianni Rodari, 3 and is open from September through May, Monday through Saturday. Tickets cost €8.

17. Pizzeria Spontini

What to eat in Milan? Paintings, palaces and fancy shopping are all well and good, of course. But what's Italy without pizza? We advise you to taste this national cuisine treasure in the pizzeria Spontini, because here it is prepared according to the original recipe, which has not changed since 1953. True, they cook here only "Margarita", but what kind! You'll love it. And you will ask for more. And the price is quite democratic (around €5). So here are the coordinates: Milano, Corso Buenos Aires, 60. Buon appetito!

In the heart of Milan, you can take a real culinary tour through the regions of Italy. Walk through the beautiful streets and historic districts of the city, see the architecture and stop at the best spots in Milan where you will taste traditional local cuisine, sample the best wines and get valuable tips from the sommeliers.

Pizzeria Spontini in Milan.
Photo author - Corriere

18. Cafe Chocolat

And while we're on the subject of gastronomic delights, be sure to try the traditional Italian gelatto! And where better to do it than at Milan's best ice cream cafe, Emporio Chocolat. It's just a few steps from Piazza Castello and Sforza Castle (Via Giovanni Boccaccio,9).

Cafe Chocolat in Milan
Photo author - Chocolatmilano

For a reasonable price (small portion €2.50, medium €3), you'll find a huge selection of your favorite treat, as well as pastries, coffee and hot chocolate.

19. Piazza Mercanti

In Milan, Piazza Mercanti is located on Via Orefici. What is it famous for, you ask? Well, at least because it is the heart of old Milan. It is also surrounded by four beautiful palaces: Palazzo della Ragione (or City Hall), Palazzo dei Notai, Palazzo delle Scuole Palatine and Loggia degli Osii. This is where you can see the architecture of XIII, XIV and XV centuries at once! Perhaps that's why the spirit of ancient Italy still reigns here, attracting travelers.

Piazza Mercanti
Photo author - Weatlas

Piazza Mercanti can be reached from Milano Centrale by metro (line M3 from Centrale Fs station to Duomo) or on foot in 40 minutes.

20. La Scala Theater

Who hasn't heard of the famous La Scala Theater? Everyone has heard of it. The world's best opera performers are honored to perform on its stage. But even if a night at the theater isn't on your bucket list, you can't pass up a tour of the theater museum.

La Scala Theater
Photo author - Daniel Pasternak

Enjoy the colorful atmosphere of theatrical life among the costumes of divas, musical instruments and a collection of porcelain figurines of characters from the Commedia dell'Arte.

  • The museum is located at Piazza Scala, Largo Ghiringhelli,1
  • Open daily from 09:00 to 12:30 and 13:30 to 17:30. Not open on December 7, 24-26, 31, as well as January 1, May 1 and August 15
  • Tickets cost €7, €5 for groups, students and pensioners over 65. Children under 12 and people with disabilities can enter for free

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