Visiting Milan - What to See and Do
(Milan Linate Airport LIN, Italy)
Even though Milan
is famous for fashion and football, there are plenty of other marvels scattered throughout this commercial, cosmopolitan metropolis. Even Rome
concedes to Milan's modern landscape, which boasts the sky-scraping district of Porta Nuova - Italy's wealthiest business district. Nevertheless, tourists also have plenty of historical attractions to behold.
The city's crème de la crème of sights is the grand Duomo, which is arguably Europe's most spectacular Gothic structure. The piazza slated before the cathedral is the heart and soul of medieval Milan, and is sure to impress. In addition, Italian Renaissance thrives in many of the city's majestic museums. Not bad for Italy's 'capital of commerce'.
Tourists shouldn't just stop at the sightseeing highlights. Experience the thrill of Italian football at its best, or enjoy a night out in the Navigli quarter. Be seen in one of the high-end fashion strips like Vittorio Emanuele Street, or take the weight off in a Piazza Duomo café and watch the world pass by. The magnificence of Milan brings out the best in an Italian getaway.
Ten things you must do in Milan
- Dominating the many landmarks of Milan is the Duomo. This 14th-century Gothic cathedral is almost too majestic for words. The white marble facade is dominated by many dozens of spires, making the cathedral look more dazzling when illuminated at night. The observation terrace on the rooftop is spectacular and can be reached via an interior lift.
- Saint Mary of the Graces (Santa Maria delle Grazie) may be a stunning Gothic church, but it is the interior draws that take much of the attention from tourists. Inside lays the original fresco of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. It is possible to pick up tickets at the church, but only those from cancellations. Tourists wanting to catch a glimpse of Da Vinci's masterpiece must book well in advance.
- The 14th-century Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco) is one of the largest star-forts in Europe, and among Milan's most popular tourist attractions. Today, the stunning walls are just a taste of the intriguing sites within. The Museum of Ancient Art and the Egyptian collection of the Archaeological Museum are two cultural attractions hidden within the castle.
- Surrounding Sforza Castle is a compelling green space known as Sempione Park. Everything about this place is quintessentially Milano, including its comfortable cafés, trendy bars, architectural marvels and relaxing spaces of peace and tranquility. It is the ideal location for a stroll with a loved-one, or a picnic with the family.
- The 19th-century palace, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, is no ordinary landmark. Inside the beautiful facade of the palace lies Milan's grandest upscale shopping mall. Unfortunately, the stunning mosaics and glistening roof are overshadowed by stores like Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Restaurants, bookstores, art galleries and a tremendous range of cafés are also spotted inside.
- Two of Europe's greatest football teams, AC Milan and Inter Milan, square off several times a year in a fiery football encounter. It would be a travesty if tourists are in the city at the same time and didn't travel to San Siro (the local stadium) to catch the epic annual struggle for intra-city footballing glory. At least head to a local pub to watch the game if tickets are sold out.
- When up to 85,000 fans are not screaming for football blood, San Siro is quite a fascinating place. The stadium's museum is a much-loved attraction within the city. Complete with video footage, life-size paper-mache footballer replicas and collections of memorabilia, the museum is the highlight of a San Siro Stadium (officially known as the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza) tour.
- Shopping is a grand feature of Milan's culture, so visiting the Via Dante is recommended. Lined with luscious cafés, scrumptious restaurants, high-end shops and even surprising street vendors, the Via Dante will capture the heart of shopaholics and non-shopaholics alike. Visitors should not overlook a performance at the Piccolo Theatre (Piccolo Teatro) too. It rests upon this avant-garde pedestrian mall.
- In Navigli are the canal districts, and very much worth visiting after the sun goes down. Many of Milan's major night spots are found around the Naviglio Grande or the Naviglio Pavese. For those not willing to dance or drink 'til dawn, there are plenty of art galleries, restaurants, boutique shops and artisans plying their trades until late. An antiques market is the centre of attention on Sundays.
- For a taste of both old and new architecture, plus a host of fabulous shops, head to Corso Buenos Aires. This is Europe's longest shopping strip and home to a wonderful array of modern shops like Adidas, Calvin Klein, United Colors of Benetton and Swarovski. Get the credit cards warmed up before arriving, as window shopping never lasts.