The Best of Milano in March

Spring blooms in Leonardo’s old neighborhood and great exhibits open: the places and the events that cannot be missed


Spring in Milano blossoms around where Leonardo used to live and work. In March, the start of the new season is announced by the flowering of the magnolias in Piazza Tommaseo, just a stone's throw from the Last Supper and his home, Casa degli Atellani in what is now Corso Magenta. And March not only brings flowers but also great new exhibits and additional opportunities to discover Milano's vast artistic heritage, thanks to MuseoCity. Here's what is not to be missed.

Magnolias and peachy blooms

Piazza Tommaseo is one of the most beautiful squares in Milano to see the spring approaching. Its pink magnolias are usually the first to bloom, something which invariably attracts admirers of urban nature, ready to capture the first shot of the spring on social media. Tip for a good pic? Aim for the pink buds, looking towards the building on the corner with Via Mascheroni.

A short walk from Piazza Tommaseo, you will find the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which guards and preserves one of the world’s most famous paintings: the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, painted on the wall of the Refectory.

The Last Supper and the Cloister of the Frogs

To see the Last Supper, Leonardo's most important work along the Mona Lisa, you need to book in advance. In fact, reservations are allocated on a quarterly basis (for example, reservations from March 20 until the end of July 2024 are opening from March 20 at 12:00 pm), but every Wednesday at noon additional tickets are put on sale, exclusively online, for the subsequent week.


Once you have marveled at how Leonardo preternaturally portrayed Jesus and his apostles, you must fill your belly with the delicious pastry shops on Corso Magenta and the visit the church: don't miss the Cloister of the Frogs, which takes its name from the sculptures that adorn its fountain, while the flowering of the white magnolias makes this place even more magical.

The Leonardo Galleries at the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci

If you want to learn more about Leonardo's genius, there’s more than the Last Supper. Not far away, there is the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci (M2 S. Ambrogio), which houses the largest collection of models and machines created from the drawings of this Italian and European genius. The Leonardo da Vinci Galleries, thanks to the evocative layout enriched by multimedia and audiovisual installations, lead the visitor to retrace the biography of the great artist and polymath: from his training in Verrocchio's workshop in Florence, to his military and hydraulic engineering projects as he worked in Milano for his patron Ludovico il Moro, the last Sforza duke.

Leonardo's imprint

Among the engineering innovations designed by Leonardo, there are the “chiusini", small underwater hatches on the Navigli canals that can be operated by hand to make the water flow more slowly. One of the locks built as instructed by Leonardo is still visible today, in Via San Marco in the Brera district, at Ponte delle Gabelle. It’s called Conca dell'Incoronata, but the water no longer flows there and it has been turned into a garden below the street. It is a dry stretch of the Naviglio Martesana canal that flows further north, and all around there are some of the best bars and restaurants in Milano, where you can also have lunch outdoors in fair weather.

Sketches and blueprints of chiuse leonardesche are collected in Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus, which you can admire at Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (M1 Cordusio), together with the famous Portrait of a Musician, the only oil painting by the Renaissance genius remaining in Milano.

Exhibitions to see in March

from March 2

Spring is also blooming the back of the Duomo cathedral and two of the most eagerly awaited exhibitions of the year are about to be inaugurated at Palazzo Reale (M1 Duomo).


“Cézanne and Renoir” opens from March 19. From the collections of Musée d'Orsay, fifty-two masterpieces comparing the works and careers of the two maestros with still lifes, landscapes, portraits and nudes. Starting on March 2, as part of MuseoCity, visit the exhibit “Contemporary Museum Watching. Alex Trusty”, dedicated to the photographer who has immortalized museum visitors around the world, catching them in contemplation of major art works.


On the opposite side of Piazza Duomo, there is the majestic arcade of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where starting on March 7 you can visit, in the spaces of the Osservatorio Prada, "Miranda July: New Society”, on the US film director. From March 20, PAC, the center for contemporary art in Via Palestro, you can watch “Race Traitor”, the first European retrospective on the work of Adrian Piper, the philosopher and conceptual artist active in New York from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, whose work denounces racism, misogyny and social injustice.


The work of Pino Pascali, a maestro of Arte Povera, is shown at the Fondazione Prada from March 28, while at Pirelli HangarBicocca the exhibit “Rallying Cry” by Chiara Camoni is ongoing. Subtitled “Sisters. Moths and flames. Bones of lionesses, stones and snakes", the show features the Italian contemporary artist offering her reflection on the feminine and the relation between culture, history and daily gestures. The other half of Pirelli HangarBicocca will instead be occupied by the giant monumental works of Nari Ward, starting on March 28.


March 1-5

Anticipating the opening of the major exhibitions, and also the arrival of the miart fair and the Milano Art Week in April, there is MuseoCity on March 1-5: this year’s edition is devoted to “Mondi di Milano” (Worlds of Milano). The event involves over 100 participating museums and cultural institutions, which open their doors to the public and offer them hundreds of events including guided tours, workshops for children, conferences, and special initiatives, such as "Yoga at the Museum of Novecento” (M1/M3 Duomo, March 5), Stefania Tansini's contemporary dance performance at PAC (M1 Palestro, March 2-3), the open studio of artist Gabriella Benedini at Fabbrica del Vapore (M5 Monumentale, March 1-5).

Engeki Quest in Milan

Until May 7

Speaking of unusual initiatives at museums, there is the Japanese art collective orangcosong, founded in Yokohama by Chikara Fujiwara and Minori Sumiyoshiyama, who have a developed a creative project for Triennale Milano (M1/M2 Cadorna FN). Until May 7, for the whole duration of the Fog performing arts festival, you can buy their “Engeki Quest in Milan” from the museum ticket office, an interactive book of adventures in which the artistic collective has collected secrets and mysteries of the city. You start from Triennale and, by reading the instructions and answering the questions, you will begin a self-guided tour for the discovery of the hidden side of Milano, wandering around the city like a present-day flâneur.