With 1.3 million residents in the Milan metropolitan area and 3.2 million in the larger area around central Milan, Milan is a truly enormous city.
Archaeological discoveries from as far back as 222 BC show that there have been human settlements in the Milan area for thousands of years. Milan did in fact formerly act as the seat of the Western Roman Empire.
Due to its strategic location on the peninsula of Italy, Milan had immense prosperity throughout antiquity, the medieval ages, and afterward. Despite being damaged during World War II, the city has since rebuilt and seen a tremendous economic boom, which accounts for its rapid growth and expansion.
Today, Milan provides a beautiful blend of ancient buildings, contemporary skyscrapers, and the spice of Italian culture. The city is notably well-known for the stunning Milan Duomo Cathedral and its profusion of upscale clothing stores.
20 Best Things to do in Milan
Let’s discover the 20 top things to do in Milan.
1. Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper: Church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie
The huge six-sided dome of the Gothic brick church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie in the Corso Magenta was completed in 1465 by Bramante, one of Italy’s most notable Renaissance architects.
The nearby refectory where Leonardo da Vinci drew The Last Supper and the Santa Maria Delle Grazie church both sustained significant damage during World War II.
Old sgraffito paintings that were hidden inside the dome were discovered during restoration work. The altarpiece of the Madonna is in the Madonna Delle Grazie Baroque chapel, which lies near the end of the north aisle.
However, the famous Leonardo da Vinci painting that is on exhibit in the refectory of the former Dominican convent is Santa Maria Delle Grazie’s most well-liked tourist attraction. Between 1495 and 1497, the wall was tempera painted with the Cenacolo Vinciano, which is renowned in this place. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
2. Visit Milan Cathedral ( Duomo di Milano ): One of the best things to do in Milan
The Milan Cathedral ( ” Duomo di Milano ” in Italian ) is a truly colossal structure that took more than 600 years to create and is renowned for its exquisite architecture.
Although construction on the cathedral began in 1386, it wasn’t completed until 1965, and it is located in Milan’s self-described Piazza del Duomo. The front façade of the cathedral is particularly beautiful and features an Italian Gothic architecture along with a number of towers, statues, and ornaments.
In the interior, which is similarly attractive and has some stunning stained glass windows overflowing with colour, there is a fantastic collection of artwork as well as several exquisitely created statues that can be viewed between the central columns.
The city center is this enormous building, and visiting this city would not be complete without setting foot within its enormous doors. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
3. Visit La Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Visit the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, another popular destination in Milan, which is located right on the Piazza del Duomo, just outside the cathedral.
The spectacular arcades and majestic dome constructed of glass and iron make the location highly picturesque and brilliant- Not a shopping mall. Don’t skip the Galleria of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, also known as “Il Salotto,” while visiting Italy. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Europe.
Inside, you can find some of the most famous fashion designer’s boutiques, including Louis Vuitton and Prada, as well as many high-end eateries. If your significant other wants to go shopping, you should surely go there with a full wallet!
4. Shopping in Milan
Yes, we had to include a brief section in this post about shopping in Milan. After all, the city is known across the world as the capital of fashion and design! Make a walking tour to different shops to explore various types of things.
For those who love to shop, we recommend visiting the quadrilateral of fashion, or “Quadrilatero della Moda” in Italian, which is made up of the following four streets: Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Sant’Andrea, and Via Manzoni.
If you have a large budget, the stores of renowned Italian fashion houses like Versace and Gucci will have all you need. Additionally, this is where Milan Fashion Week is held. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
And those who wish to buy without ruining themselves might visit Milan’s The Highline Outlet. Numerous brands are offered at steep discounts. You can also visit Milan’s Chinatown, which is located north of the Arco della Pace.
5. Visit Milano Centrale Railway Station ( Milan central station )
The Milano Centrale Railway Station, which was built in 1939 and is still used as the primary entry and exit point for Northern Italy and Middle Europe, is a fascinating railroad station.
You can go to the station to see its lovely architecture. The outside corners and curving glass roof of this train station are just two of its many intriguing features. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
6. Explore Sforza Castle
The Sforza Castle, another famous Milan landmark, may be reached straight from the Piazza del Duomo by taking the Via Dante. In the city center stands this incredibly stunning castle.
The illustrious Visconzi family constructed it in 1358 to safeguard and defend the city from its adversary, Venice. It is well-known for having housed Leonardo DaVinci’s workshops during the Renaissance era despite having been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times.
The castle now houses various museums, including –
- The Museum of Ancient Art features numerous sculptures as well as Sforza family murals.
- The Archaeological Museum of Milan prehistoric collections. There, you can read about Lombardy’s history going back to the Neolithic.
- Decorative arts museum including the creations of stonemasons, weavers, and upholsterers
- The sarcophagi and mummy exhibits of the Egyptian Museum.
- More than 1500 pieces of artwork from the 13th to the 18th centuries are housed at the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco.
- the International Museum of Musical Instruments.
- Antique Furniture and Wooden Sculpture Museum.
The large interior courtyard of the castle is free to visit. Cultural activities are regularly held there. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
7. Piazza del Duomo
The Piazza del Duomo, which serves as Milan’s main square, is a sizable open area with some outstanding artwork and architecture.
This ought to be your first trip if you’re in Milan because you can see the magnificent Duomo and other adjacent buildings from here.
A majestic monument of Vittorio Emmanuel, the first King of a united Italy, stands in the centre of the square, which is flanked on one side by the splendid Royal palace.
Additionally, there are numerous high-end stores, eateries, and pubs to visit. Shop to your heart’s delight or sip coffee while seeing the throngs of visitors and locals going about their everyday lives. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
8. San Siro Stadium
Since its construction in 1926, the San Siro has been one of Italy’s premier sporting venues. It is also arguably one of the most recognisable and well-known stadiums in the world.
A little more than 80,000 people can fit within San Siro Stadium, one of Europe’s biggest stadiums. During the 34th and 90th World Cups, it was a significant stadium.
When you visit San Siro Stadium, you can see the famous round towers that are supporting the massive tiers and the huge roof that partly covering the ground.
Both AC Milan and Inter Milan play their home matches at the majestic San Siro stadium, which has an amazing atmosphere.
Be sure to visit the combined museum to learn additional information about the heritage of these two well-known Italian clubs. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
9. Pinacoteca di Brera ( Brera Art Gallery )
The Pinacoteca is a fine art gallery with a sizable collection of Italian art-work that is housed in the Palazzo Brera.
Prior to being transformed into a museum in the 19th century, the palace served as a national library and a monastery.
The works The Marriage of the Virgin by Raphael, Pieta by Bellini, The Last Supper by Rubens, and The Adoration of the Magi by Correggio may all be seen inside the gallery.
The Pinacoteca di Brera (” Brera Art Gallery ” in English ) is conveniently situated next to the Sforzesco Castle and the Piazza del Duomo. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
10. Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci Museum
More than just an artist, great visionary, inventor, and scholar, Leonardo da Vinci was a renowned figure of true genius.
It makes sense that Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci museum dedicated to him would house many of his creations as well as a huge collection of other significant scientific and technology exhibits.
You can anticipate finding collections like a multitude of model automobiles made from da Vinci drawings, replicas of his flying aircraft, and a plethora of his drawings, plans, and sketches at this most significant technology museum on the globe.
In addition to the author’s own works, there is a huge collection of significant scientific discoveries and ground-breaking technological advancements. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
11. La Scala Opera
Few structures have played host to as many legendary artists as the Scala Opera. The inside is world famous for being lavish, so if you get the chance to view it, take it.
La Scala theatre is one of the best in the world and is known for its acoustics and magnificence. It is situated to the north of the Milan Duomo and to the east of Castello Sforzesco.
The seats and stage in the main auditorium are incredibly decorated and grandiose, with 6 tiers of sitting and individual boxes surrounding the stage in a semicircle with the entire space covered in crimson velvet drapes and gold furniture.
There are guided tours of the Opera House available, but you should also think about getting tickets to the performance – it will be a thrilling and unforgettable evening! It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
12. Basilica di San Lorenzo
One of Milan’s more important religious buildings is the catholic Basilica of San Lorenzo. Italy’s capital city of Milan, it is located in the southwest corner.
One of Milan’s first churches is the Basilica, which was constructed in 402. Since then, it’s been around in some capacity.
A Maximian the Emperor statue stands in the courtyard and is framed by a number of colonnades. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
Although the inside is extremely gloomy and speaks of great age, there is a fantastic high altar, as well as the chapel of Saint Aquilino, which has stunning mosaics and ceiling art.
13. Visit the Cimitero Monumentale
You’re seeking a unique location in Milan to visit. The Milano Monumental Cemetery, or Cimitero Monumentale in English, is a must-see after that.
You now think I’m strange! Okay, let me tell you something: even though I enjoy reading about zombies, I don’t really enjoy taking walks around cemeteries at night. However, the Monumental Cemetery in Milan is certainly worth visiting because it is so unique.
It is much larger than a cemetery and features numerous artistic graves. The tombs of the nation’s most prominent citizens are located at the main entrance.
The most well-known tombs include a tomb in the shape of a marble four-poster bed, a pyramid, and a white tower. Rich families in Milan have fought hard to distinguish themselves, as evidenced by the numerous monuments or sculptures of angels.
Don’t forget to grab the cemetery map at the entry. This unexpected visit is something you don’t want to miss! It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
14. Basilica di Sant’ambrogio
After seeing the Museum of Science and Technology, you head over to the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio to take a look around.
The first church was erected there in 386 and was given the name of the city’s patron saint. One of the city’s oldest structures, the existing basilica, was finished in 1099.
The church’s facade is particularly distinctive, with two brick towers of varying heights and a lovely atrium. Tourists don’t seem to know much about this attraction, but it’s well worth a look. a wonderful chance to shoot beautiful shots!
You may see the Stilicon sarcophagus within, along with the crypt housing Saints Ambrose, Gervase, and Protasus’ remains. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
15. Parco Sempione
The city’s green lung may be found directly behind the Sforza castle. The greatest public park in Milan and a great location to unwind is called Parco Sempione (Simplon Park in English).
The 95-acre park, which was first built in 1888, has an amazing arch of peace. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
In addition to numerous walkways, bike routes, and woodland areas, this amazing location is also wonderfully landscaped and has numerous sculptures and elaborate fountains. The Parco Sempione is the ideal spot to unwind after being in a busy city.
Several structures to check out while exploring include:
- Milan’s Civic Aquarium and its attractive architecture. Because it’s so small, the visit isn’t really worthwhile.
- Italian architecture and the arts are celebrated at the Triennale.
- Sport events are held in the multipurpose Arena Civica, which opened in 1807.
- Milan’s triumphal arch, the Arco della Pace, was constructed to honour peace. The architecture was gorgeous!
16. Pirelli Hangar Bicocca
A former locomotive manufacturing plant has been transformed into a hub for modern art and cultural initiatives in one of the most vibrant and well-liked arts neighbourhoods rising from former industrial zones.
Two of the three galleries are occupied with shifting temporary exhibitions, and the third is home to the striking permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
Visitors are towered over by a group of concrete towers by German artist Anselm Kiefer, and the show is accompanied by “Bubbles” that contain in-depth texts, movies, audio, and interactive activities related to the exhibitions or to modern art.
17. Explore Navigli canals: One of the best things to do in Milan
The Navigli area of Milan, which is traversed by canals, is another location you shouldn’t miss. It is Milan’s most lovely area! Originally, this network of canals linked the Po to the local lakes. They carried supplies and delivered water to Milan.
Leonardo da Vinci created the dam and lock system that is currently in operation. These canals were utilised to convey even the marble that was required to build the Milan Cathedral.
Today, you can visit the Navigli neighbourhood, have a peaceful stroll along the canals, and eat or drink on a restaurant patio. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
The greatest time to visit is toward the end of the day when the sun is sinking. It’s a very charming area, especially at night when local life begins in the many bars and restaurants and lights reflect in the canals.
18. Piazza dei Mercanti
The Piazza dei Mercanti, which was once the heart of Milan during the Middle Ages, was a hive of commerce and trade marketplaces.
The main Milan attractions are all within walking distance of this square, which is situated between the Piazza dei Duomo and the Piazza Corduiso.
The Pallaza Della Ragione, the Pallaza delle Scuole Palatine, and the Loggia degli Osii are just a few of the significant structures that are situated on the square. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
Additionally, a number of significant statues and monuments, some of which have Roman origins, may be located here. Visit this square to take in the beautiful architecture and the history of this area of Milan.
19. San Maurizio and the Archaeology Museum
Many people consider the San Maurizio church’s interior to be the most beautiful in Milan. The whole interior of the church, which was constructed in the early 1500s as the church for a convent of Benedictine nuns, is decorated with paintings of biblical events.
These Italian paintings are not just by some of the best Lombard painters of the 16th century, primarily Bernardino Luini and his sons, but the colors seem to have just been painted yesterday. Two portions make up the long nave, with the back one allocated for the nuns’ choir.
Roman circus ruins and remnants of Roman fortifications were covered by the expansive monastery, which is now home to the Civico Museo Archeologico (Archaeology Museum), where you can view these unearthed relics of Roman Milan.
Along with the historical city’s history, you may also see Greek, Etruscan, and Roman artifacts from other parts of Italy, such as bronze and stone sculptures.
The bronze head, the female statue with folded draperies, and Maximilian’s sculpture from the third century are all excellent examples. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
20. Museo Bagatti Valsecchi
There are several reasons why it would be fascinating to visit this place. Two brothers spent all their life collecting furniture and ornaments to replicate the inside of their Renaissance palace in the 19th century.
You’ll see a home from that era that is truly livable, as opposed to just rooms packed with show cases and walls adorned with artwork.
You may discover more about their history of collecting thanks to the excellent English signage. Thus, the historical and artistic nuances of each piece are combined with the thrill of the pursuit.
The furniture, tapestries, glassware, books, kid’s stuff, and famous paintings by Renaissance masters are what I enjoy seeing most, though.
The museum is one of four prestigious mansions that make up the Circuito delle Case Museo di Milano, which may be entered with a single ticket. It is one of the best things to do in Milan.
There are many great things to do in Milan. From exploring the city’s rich history to enjoying its delicious food, there is something for everyone in Milan.
If you are looking for a unique travel experience, be sure to add Milan to your list of destinations.