Milan, before being the capital of fashion and finance in Italy, is a city of art and culture with an ancient history and a lively nightlife. Milan is a concentration of avant-garde history and architecture that coexist lovingly. There are many things to see in the city and many curious corners to discover. With this guide we want to give you the best tips for a smart, wise and convenient trip to Milan. Let’s get started!
The Milan Cathedral is the symbol of the city. It was built in the first half of the 1300 by the will of a Visconti and is the only building in which the Gothic style of Northern Europe blends with the Lombard elements. In the Duomo of Milan there are 3,500 statues to be seen! -
THE NAVIGLI DI MILANO
The canals that allowed navigation from Milan to Lake Como have a system of locks designed in the '400 by Leonardo da Vinci, still visible. They were in the past area of markets and craft shops. After a long period of neglect, today they gather exclusive bars and restaurants next to which the old artisan shops and modest buildings coexist.
The Sforzesco Castle, long a symbol for the Milanese of the repressive power of foreign lords and masters, became a place of culture in the 20th century. On the ground floor of the Ducal Court there is the Museum of Ancient Art, on the first floor the Art Gallery, and then there are the Museum of Musical Instruments, the Museum of Prehistory and Protohistory and the Egyptian Museum (open from 7:00 am to 6 pm : 00 in winter and from 7:00 to 19:00 in summer). Admission to the Castle is free while admission to the museums costs 3 euros.
BRERA 'S PICTURE GALLERY
In 1700, the building that now houses the Pinacoteca became a cultural center in which works of art were made for educational and cultural purposes. Over time, the collection gained more and more weight until the 70s of the last century, when it was enriched with collections of amazing beauty of the most important artists of the early twentieth century, such as Modigliani, Morandi, Carrà and Braque. It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 am to 7:15 pm. Full ticket € 10, reduced € 7, 50.
VITTORIO EMANUELE II GALLERY
The famous Gallery connects Piazza Duomo to Piazza dellaScala and was built in the 19th century when Milan looked to the other European capitals with envy and wanted to live up to it. Today it is considered the living room of Milan with shops and bars.
BRERA IN MILAN
Brera is the historic district with typical narrow streets and alleys. What to see in Brera in Milan? In Brera there are the famous Via Brera and the Pinacoteca. It is the right place for aperitifs in Milan.
The Monumental Cemetery of Milan is an open-air museum in which important sculptures watch over famous and not-so-famous deceased. Here rest Alessandro Manzoni and Carlo Cattaneo and many other famous names of our history and culture.
CRYPT OF SAN SEPOLCRO
The crypt of San Sepolcro has only recently been reopened to the public. It is found in what a few thousand years ago was the Roman Milan. St. Charles Borromeo had called it the navel of the city and had chosen it as a personal place of prayer.
DARSENA OF MILAN
Milan is a fluvial city and the Darsena is its symbol. In the past the Darsena of Milan (up to the 60s) was a very important commercial port, totally ruined with the birth of meganavi for the transport of goods. On the occasion of Expo the area has been redeveloped and the Darsena has become a meeting place with a large covered market, bars, clubs and large spaces to relax. The New Darsena of Milan is located in PortaTicinese area and can be reached by underground M2 Green going down to PortaGenova.
MUSEUM OF THE NOVECENTO
The MuseodelNovecento in Milan is a permanent exhibition of 20th-century works of art housed in the Palazzo dell'Arengario and the Palazzo Reale in Milan. A spiral staircase leads to the top floor directly from the Duomo metro stop. The top floor of the museum overlooks a large window on the Piazza del Duomo. The museum is connected to the Royal Palace by a suspended external walkway.Curious places in Milan There are curious and spectacular places that deserve a visit to Milan and often not even those who live there know. One of these is the crypt of San Bernardino delle Ossa where the bones were used to create decorations in a macabre and unusual atmosphere. The Palazzo Sola Brusca is one of the most beautiful of the Milan Liberty. Walking through the QuadrilaterodelSilenzio you will also find an ear. At Bar Luce, in the Prada Foundation, you will feel like you are in a Wes Anderson film shot in Milan. The oldest typography in Milan is the right place to feel in a place of other times.
Where to eat in Milan
The Fioraio Bianchi caffè is a special place to have an original aperitif, in a florist that is also a bar. CascinaCuccagna is a restaurant, a bar and a garden where it seems to be in the countryside while being in the center of Milan. The Jamaica bar in Brera is one of the historic trattorias of Milan that still resists in this neighborhood that has changed its face in recent years.
Hotels in Milan: where to stay
If you are on a budget you should definitely look for an accommodation in an outlying area and avoid the main city center. The most important thing is that the area you choose is well-connected with the public transport.
Here comes a short list of the best area of Milan where you can stay and what you will find there!
Staying in central Milan (Duomo area)
The Duomo, Piazza dellaScala, Palazzo Reale, the CastelloSforzesco ... as in every city, in the center of Milan there are some of the major tourist attractions. This is definitely a good reason to choose the center as a place to sleep in Milan.
Especially if you are planning a short stay, sleep in Milan center will allow you to walk around, without needing (among other things) to spend money on travel. If, on the contrary, you need to move, you are spoiled for choice between subway (two lines), trams, taxis and bike sharing.
Where to eat: in the center there are many proposals for eating, but I advise you to open your eyes and avoid too touristy places where the exorbitant prices often do not correspond to a great quality.
Jarit's proposal in Piazza Santo Stefano is interesting, with the proposals of the great chefs in glass jars! Gourmet address in San Babila, inside the Brian & Berry Building, is Asola by the chef MatteoTorretta.
Do not miss: in addition to the most famous monuments, if you love contemporary art, do not miss the MuseodelNovecento.
Staying in central Milan (Brera - Moscova)
From a bohemian neighborhood to a chic district, Brera remains one of the most popular areas of the city and certainly one of the places to stay in Milan. You walk through the narrow alleys of via FioriChiari and via FioriScuri, including restaurants, big names and high craftsmanship. In the evening the neighborhood comes alive with street-side aperitifs and legendary fortune tellers!
It is just a few-minutes-walk from the Duomo, and in just a short time you move to the Moscova area, less chic but no less interesting, with trendy restaurants and bars.
Where to eat: the area is lively, I point out Obicà, mozzarella bar in Via Mercato where you can taste exceptional mozzarella, but also cold cuts, pizzas, salads and much more. For a sweet break, in Moscova in Corso Garibaldi there is Tasta, a 'natural ice cream shop' that offers excellent ice creams and granitas, as well as cannoli and other delights. From Moscova moving towards Porta Volta, Gialle& Co is very tasty, the Italian potato cropped format, also ideal for brunch.
Do not miss: it is forbidden to leave Milan without having visited the Brera art gallery, for me the most beautiful in Italy. Among others, here you can admire Pierodella Francesca's Pala Montefeltro, Bellini's Pala San Marco, and Hayez's Kiss.
Staying in Milan central station area
Did you know that the Central Station of Milan is a real architectural masterpiece? I swear, I do not say that because I'm biased! Built in 1931, it is the most important example of eclectic-rationalist architecture, inspired by the Washington Union Station. An architecture of absolute grandeur that today, after a much-awaited redevelopment, hosts many shops including clothing, restaurants, bookshops, accessories and much more.
Needless to say, sleeping in Milan area station is very convenient if your arrival is scheduled by train! With two metro lines and different surface vehicles you can easily move around, but although there are no dangerous areas in Milan, the evening here may not be pleasant.
Where to eat: get away from the station, look around with curiosity and you will find interesting solutions. If you like real Chinese cuisine, a few minutes-walk from Central Station is Mu Dim Sum, excellent cuisine and nice atmosphere!
Not to be missed: a visit to the Station Track 21, a sad testimony to the departures of the deportees during the Second World War.
Staying in Milan in the Navigli area
The 'old Milan', but also the Milan of nightlife. The Navigli are both the past and the present of the city, particularly pleasant to live with the beautiful season. There are not many hotels in the area, but many solutions of rooms. If you are deciding where to sleep in Milan, consider the Navigli if you like the idea of being in a very lively area, especially in the evening. On the contrary, avoid it if you are looking for a quiet area.
The Darsena area has recently been redeveloped and is one of the most popular areas of the city.
Do not miss: vicodeiLavandai, a gem of old Milan.
Where to eat: as in all tourist areas, the 'risk' is to come across proposals that are not 'genuine', but there is no lack of variety so ... open eyes and enjoy it!
Dos and Don’ts for a smart and safe trip to Milan
1. Beware of pickpockets
As in all the crowded places of every big city, in Milan you may run into some bad-intentioned pickpockets. The precautions are the classic ones that we have already suggested at other times: do not wear special chains, bracelets, rings; do not leave the bag open around; do not keep the wallet in the back pocket of the trousers; do not carry a lot of cash, etc.
2. Do not drive around the city by car
The historic center of Milan must be visited on foot. Alternatively, use public transport in the capital of Lombardy which is punctual and frequent. Leave the car in the hotel or, better still at home, that between ZTL, pedestrian areas and blue stripes there is a serious risk of ruining your holiday. Furthermore, renouncing the car means contributing to the lowering of air pollution, a phenomenon with which the city administration has been reckoning for years putting in place all possible measures and initiatives to improve the healthiness of the air.
3. Do not wear inappropriate clothes to visit churches and museums
Even if the heat does not give truce, you do not enter the Cathedral with obvious necklines or in shorts and slippers. Neither at the Duomo, nor at Sant'Ambrogio and more generally in all symbolic places, even non-religious, of Milan (museums, for example). Also avoid taking pictures, at least during religious celebrations.