What to do and see in Milan
Updated: Oct 11, 2022
So, this was a tough one to write. There are so many choices and so many things to see (we may have to write another post on this...). We have decided to include a mix of activities and sights and have covered the following:
As with many major European cities, one activity that we haven't included is simply discovering the hidden gems of a city where settlements date back to 600BC. There are so so many historic relics to find - so grab a coffee and pastry and wander the capital-city of Lombardy.
Duomo...for the Milanese Masterpiece
One of the great masterpieces in any city, the Duomo is THE sight that should be firmly at the top of your list. Its spires reach around the street corners as you near it you breath deeply to take it all in.
Josh's Recommendation: We definitely recommend climbing it. There are fabulous views of the city and you get to see the architectural detail close up and appreciate the Duomo even more. To access via its steps its 9/4.50€ adult/child - via a tiny elevator its 13/7€ adult/child - we recommend the steps as its quicker.
Getting there: Geographically, everything revolves around the Duomo. By Metro, it's accessible via the M1 (red) and M3 (yellow) Lines.
Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore...for Religion
After gawping at the Duomo, head through the cobbled winding streets and piazzas and find yourself in the Navigli district to the Basilica San Lorenzo. Walk through the 16 standing remains of Roman columns that stand imposingly outside - it's free entry. Once in, you'll find far fewer people than the Duomo and marvel at the three adjoining octagonal chapels, dating to the 4th century.
Getting there: It's a 15 minute leisurely walk from the Duomo. Otherwise, catch Tram 3 to Via Molino delle Armi.
Castello Sforzesco...for History
A masterpiece in the Brera district, the castle is an imposing force in the city. The castle itself was designed in 1452 for the Sforza dynasty who ruled Renaissance Milan. Elements were decorated by Leonardo Da Vinci's - but we'll leave you to find out for yourself.
Sasha's tip: At night, the castle and its ground light up ominously. Head to Piazza Castello and view the structure behind its water found for one of the elegant sights in Milan.
Sasha's second tip: Roam Parco Sempione, situated behind the castle, the hunting grounds of the Sforza dukes in the 1890s, a family-friendly area with winding paths and ponds.
Getting there: 15-minute walk west of the Duomo. By Metro, M1 (red line) to Cairoli or M2 (green Line) to Lanza or Cadorna.
Piazza Gae Aulenti...for Modern Milan
A modern landmark this piazza juxtaposes your experience of Milan. After roaming ancient squares, explore this modern piazza enveloped by glass and crystal structures. Named after Italy's most revered female architect, the piazza and surrounding district is a combination of extraordinary pieces, a circular circular reflecting pool, Italy's largest skyscraper in Italy, an unblemished landscaped park, and the greenest (environmentally-speaking) buildings in Europe - the Bosco Verticale.
Sasha's tip: Don't eat in the area - it's full of tourist joints with poor service. Have a picnic with stunning produce from nearby Eataly, or head to Corso Garibaldi to one of the many osteries.
Getting there: It's a 30-minute walk from the Duomo. By metro, M2 (green line) or M5 (purple line) to Garibaldi. By tram, catch the 10 or 33 to Stazione Garibaldi.
Ponte Vetero - Milan - Italy.
Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli...for Greenery
A serene park for the locals away from the crowds, with cute paths meandering through ponds and gardens.
Sasha's tip: There's plenty of shade, so there's nothing to worry about if you go at the hottest part of the day.
Getting there: It's a 20-minute walk from Duomo, but make it 30 and waltz through the shopping streets in Porta Venezia and Quadrilatero della moda. By metro, M1 (red line) to either Palestro or Porta Venezia, or M3 (yellow line) to Turati. There are too many tram stops to be specific, but you'll be fine with 1, 9, 10 or 33 to Via Lazzaretto.
San Siro...for Something different
For football/soccer lovers out there, the San Siro stadium is one of the sport's cathedrals, home to Milan's rival teams - AC Milan and Internazionale. It's definitely an experience to attend a game and/or a tour of the stadium - you can buy a ticket online or at the stadium.
Josh's recommendation: The suburb itself, also called San Siro, is largely residential and doesn't require much attention - check out nearby City Life for modern architecture and cool cafes.
Getting there: Catch the M5 (Purple) Line to, westwards, to the end of the line.