Milan, 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 tranquil trips to nearby neighbouring areas like Lake Como or the wine areas of Franciacorta. If you’re lucky enough to spend several days in Milan, 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 fresco 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 art gallery
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.
- Casa Di Leonardo - Leonardo's Vineyard Museum
Another noteworthy treasure is the place where the artist cultivated his passion for viticulture and where he resided when he was completing the Last Supper.
BASILICAS, CHURCHES AND ANCIENT ART:
If you wish to admire the masterpieces of the greatest Renaissance artists and visit Milan in the time of the Roman Empire, the places par excellence 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 the Roman Empire period.
- 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 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.
CONTEMPORAARY ART MUSEUMS
During the 1900s, Milan became the Italian capital of modern art. The major museums conserve 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 permanent collection and contemporary exhibitions that have a strongly international slant.
- Hangar Bicocca
HangarBicocca is a major public exhibition complex with free entry. In addition to the permanent installations, the vastness of the former industrial plant lends itself to exhibitions of large-scale artworks.
MILAN’S DESIGN DISTRICTS
If you’re on the lookout for iconic and Insta-worthy places with the 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 conserves 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 cemetary
In addition to the impressive tombs dedicated to legendary characters in Milan’s history, the 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 and Porta Genova and Brera districts host many of the design week events, as do the studios of many important designers. The new collections and special events transform the areas into a totally unmissable extravaganza - ideal places for lunches, dinners, aperitifs and night-time entertainment!
Want to end your Milan stay in style? After a walk, enjoy an aperitif on the canals or in the dockland (Darsena) area at sunset.