Sights and landmarks in Milan
The largest urban area in Italy, as well as the country’s industrial, fashion and financial heart, Milan’s beauty can at times be overshadowed by its thriving metropolitan reputation. However, look a bit deeper with the help of this two-day itinerary and you’ll discover a city as rich in history, art and earthly delights as you would expect from the aesthetically inclined and epicurean Milanesi who inhabit it.
The first stop of the day is the Cimitero Monumentale, 20 minutes’ walk or 10 minutes by taxi from the hotel.
The final resting place for many of Milan’s most renowned and respected citizens, the Cimitero Monumentale is a hauntingly beautiful cemetery. With many tombs decorated by some of Italy’s finest craftsmen, a peaceful walk through the cemetery makes for a calming, cultural escape from the commotion of the city centre.
To get to Leonardo’s Last Supper, take a 15-minute taxi ride from the cemetery.
Leonardo’s Last Supper
The defining image of the Renaissance and an instantly recognisable painting the world over, Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” can be found on a wall in the refectory of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church. The mural has been carefully restored over the centuries, meaning Da Vinci’s masterpiece will be a powerful viewing experience for generations to come. Be sure to book in advance.
Then, take a 15-minute walk or five-minute taxi ride to get to Castello Sforzesco.
Built in the 15th century on the site of even older fortifications, Sforza Castle is one of Milan’s abiding architectural draws. Instantly recognisable by its still vibrant red brick exterior, today the castle is home to numerous museums and Michelangelo’s final work, “Pietà Rondanini”, an unfinished marble rendering of Christ and the Virgin Mary.
The penultimate stop of the day is the Pinacoteca di Brera, 10 minutes’ walk from the castle.
Pinacoteca di Brera
One of Milan’s hidden artistic sights, the Pinacoteca di Brera can be found in the trendy, historic Brera district. A colonnaded gallery surrounds this quaint plaza, which houses a selection of some of the finest religious and Renaissance art in Europe, including Andrea Mantegna’s “The Dead Christ and Three Mourners”.
Then, take a five-minute walk to get to the Teatro alla Scala for a night at the theatre.
Teatro alla Scala
As opera houses go, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala is without doubt one of the finest. For more than 200 years, the venue has hosted world-class performances of opera, ballet and classical music for the great and the good of the city, and some lucky visitors. The Museo Teatrale, with its roster of exhibitions and cultural activities, offers an edifying glimpse into the world of theatre.
A 20-minute walk or 15-minute taxi ride will then get you back to the hotel.
Start your second day in Milan with a visit to the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, a 15-minute walk or five-minute taxi ride from the hotel.
Galleria d’Arte Moderna Milano
Envisioned as an art collection for the Milanese citizens, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna can today be found in a lavish, historic 18th century villa. The gallery’s impressive collection, which includes masterpieces from artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Modigliani and Cézanne, has a comprehensive section dedicated to the 19th century, said to be the largest municipal collection of its kind.
Then, take a walk or taxi ride to the next stop of the day, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana; both journeys take approximately 20 minutes.
Founded in 1607 by Cardinal Federico Borromeo, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana is a world-renowned library, famous for its vast collection of historic books and manuscripts. The Ambrosiana Art Gallery adjacent to the library, meanwhile, houses an impressive selection of fine art, including pieces by da Vinci, Caravaggio and Brueghel.
A five-minute walk will then bring you to the Duomo di Milano.
Duomo di Milano
Looming majestically over the Piazza del Duomo (Milan’s main square), the Duomo di Milano is a fantastically intricate Gothic cathedral that took scores of architects over 500 years to complete. A must-visit when in Milan, climb the stairs to the roof terraces for a closer look at the architecture and remarkable views of the city below.
Then, stroll out of the Duomo and into the Piazza del Duomo.
Piazza del Duomo
At the heart of the city and surrounded by grand palaces, art galleries and Milan’s gothic cathedral, the Piazza del Duomo is the city’s frenetic centre; an architecturally and historically significant location in this ancient city. Trattorias and cafés cling to the edges of the grand square, perfect for a quick caffeine kick after a day of cultural exploration.
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is just a minute’s walk from the Piazza del Duomo.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
One of the oldest shopping malls in the world, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a multi-storey arcade, home to innumerable luxury boutiques and upscale cafés. Elegantly connecting the Piazza del Duomo and La Scala, the gallery is frequented by members of Milanese high society and happy people-watchers, shoppers, and architecture enthusiasts.
To get back to the hotel, take a 25-minute walk or a 10-minute journey by either taxi or metro.
All journey times are approximate and subject to variation.