Milano, the world capital of fashion, is a city where the allure of tradition meets modern innovation. Every type of traveller is catered for. Whether you are looking for ancient history, modern and contemporary art, historic buildings, skyscrapers, shopping, good food, Italian design, sport, or relaxing trips to nearby areas like Lake Como or the wine areas of Franciacorta. If you are lucky enough to spend several days in Milano, rest assured that the city has so much to offer that, whatever your interests are, you can count on a wide range of activities and experiences.
Below are the best suggestions for thematic areas of interest:
LEONARDO DA VINCI
Top of everyone’s list is the unmissable Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous Last Supper wall painting but if you also want to find out more about the famous Italian master, here are the best places to visit:
- The National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci
The museum houses the largest permanent exhibition in the world dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci’s technical and scientific studies with over 170 items (70 models and historical replicas, 33 natural specimens, 18 ancient volumes, 17 casts, 14 frescos and paintings, 6 ancient artefacts, 13 historical facsimiles) and 39 multimedia installations.
- The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana
Step inside to admire some of Leonardo's paintings, as well as notes and drawings from his working sketch book and diary, the famous Codex Atlanticus.
BASILICAS, CHURCHES AND ANCIENT ART:
If you wish to admire the masterpieces of the greatest Renaissance artists and visit Milano’s Roman Empire legacy, the places to see are:
- Basilica of San Lorenzo
The Basilica of San Lorenzo has a centuries-old history and overlooks one of the most beautiful piazzas in the city, characterized by the tall Corinthian colonnade, dating back to Roman times.
- Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio
One of Milan’s iconic symbols, an impressive Romanesque church with 1000 years of history dedicated to the city’s Patron saint.
- Church of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
Also known as the Sistine Chapel of Milan, this church close to the historic centre is known for its breath-taking artwork, awe-inspiring frescos and luxurious gold embellished interior.
CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUMS
During the 1900s, Milano became the Italian capital of modern art. The major museums house works from the most important contemporary Italian artists.
- Museo del Novecento
The Museo del Novecento, overlooking Piazza Duomo, is a wonderful place to admire masterpieces by great Italian twentieth-century artists from Modigliani to De Chirico, Fontana and Manzoni. Bonus: the view of the city and the Duomo from the window is spectacular!
- Fondazione Prada (Prada Foundation)
This art venue is an architectural gem; it re-imagines the museum experience with a permanent collection and contemporary exhibitions that have a markedly international slant.
- Hangar Bicocca
HangarBicocca is a free entry major public exhibition complex. In addition to the permanent art installations, the vastness of the former industrial plant lends itself to the exhibition of large-scale artworks.
ARCHITECTURE AND ICONIC PLACES
If you are on the lookout for iconic and Insta-worthy places with a wow factor, you’ll be enraptured by the magnificence of these Milanese gems.
- Castello Sforzesco
The Castle, located in the city centre, was the citadel of power of the ancient lords of Milan. With over 600 years of history, it houses artistic treasures by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. The grounds and large internal courtyards are also easily accessible on foot and give a wonderful view of Parco Sempione and the neoclassical Arch of Peace.
- Monumental Cemetery
In addition to the impressive tombs dedicated to celebrated personalities of Milano’s history, the cemetery, which indeed qualifies as an open-air museum, is adorned with stunning sculptures and gardens.
- City Life
A new and extremely modern district characterized by three towers by great international archistars, all with a very particular shape: the straight, the crooked and the concave.
MILAN’S DESIGN DISTRICTS
If you want to discover the history of Milanese design and admire some of the most iconic pieces, don’t miss the Triennale di Milano museum, overlooking Parco Sempione.
Milan’s Design Week has achieved global fame: the Salone del Mobile trade fair and the satellite FuoriSalone events premiere the latest trends and transform the city into the most creative, innovative and interesting design experience ever.
The Navigli, Tortona, Porta Genova and Brera districtshost many of the design week events, as do the studios of many important designers. The new collections and special events transform the areas into an unmissable extravaganza – full of ideal spots for lunches, dinners, aperitifs and night-time entertainment.
Want to end your Milan stay in style? After a walk, enjoy an aperitif on the Navigli or in the dockland area (Darsena) at sunset.