5 Places to Visit in Milan

What to do, where to go in Milan?

Milan is the financial and fashion centre of Italy. It can’t compete with the historical sites of Rome or Florence, so it is often added to an itinerary on the second or third visit to Italy or as a stop on the way to Lake Como. I’m not sure why this happens. Milan is one of my favourite Italian cities to which I return year after year.

Here is my list of the top five places to visit in Milan.

1. The Duomo
Because of its position in the heart of Milan, the Duomo is usually the first stop when visiting the city. Don’t miss a walk on the roof, wandering among the spires and statues and taking in the breathtaking views.
You can read about the Duomo here.

The Duomo in Milan

The Duomo

2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
This 18th century glass and iron covered gallery is home to many beautiful shops, restaurants and cafes. Look up to see the magnificent central dome. Look down to see the emblems on the mosaic floor representing the cities of Milan, Rome, Florence and Turin. If you want to return to Milan you are supposed to place your heel on the emblem of Turin -the bull- and rotate clockwise!

Galleria Vittoria Emanuele, Milan

Galleria Vittoria Emanuele

The Dome of the Galleria Vittoria Emanuele in Milan

The Dome of the Galleria

Gucci Cafe at the Galleria Vittoria Emanuele in Milan

Gucci Cafe at the Galleria

3. La Scala
It’s an easy walk from the Duomo, through the Galleria and on to La Scala, Milan’s famous opera house which opened in 1778. Here some of the world’s best singers and orchestras can be heard and famous ballets seen. If you cannot book tickets to one of the performances, a visit to the Museo Teatrale alla Scala ( Museum) also includes a visit to one of the boxes where you can look down on the stage. If the theatre is being used, you may not be able to go into the box, so check on the board outside or ask when you buy your tickets

Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Rows of private theatre boxes line the walls of La Scala, Milan

Rows of private theatre boxes line the walls of La Scala

Foyer off the boxes at La Scala, Milan

Foyer at La Scala

Poster advertising Romeo et Juliette at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Poster advertising Romeo et Juliette

4. The Last Supper
Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, “The Last Supper”, is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It covers a wall in the former dining hall of the monastery attached to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. In order to reduce deterioration, admission is strictly limited to 25 people every fifteen minutes. Tickets are often sold out months in advance, so buy them here as soon as you know you are visiting Milan.

Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan

Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie

Bramante's Dome on the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Mila

Bramante Dome

Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" in Milan

Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”

On you way back from here, stop at Peck’s in Via Spadari, to see Milan’s best food store

5. Visit the Golden Triangle
This is the name given to Milan’s famous shopping streets, Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga and those that run between them, Via San’t Andrea, Via Gesù, Via Borgospesso. Home to the country’s famous designer shops, you should come here to window shop even if buying is not for you.
There are also some wonderful shop interiors and window displays to be seen

Gucci on Via Montenapoleone, Milan

Gucci on Via Montenapoleone

Window at Prada in Milan

Window at Prada

Sergio Rossi window on Via Montenapoleone in Milan

Sergio Rossi window on Via Montenapoleone

Lanvin shop on Via della Spiga, Milan

Lanvin shop on Via della Spiga

Hungry! Near here is Paper Moon, a popular restaurant for pizza, salad or three courses in Via Bagutta.


You may also like:

When in Milan Order the Risotto
Secrets of the Brera
Milan’s Magnificent Duomo
Postcard from Milan


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28 Responses to 5 Places to Visit in Milan

  1. bagnidilucca September 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    I love Milano too. I haven’t seen the Last Supper yet – one day. There is a lot to see and do in lovely Milano,your tips are a great start.

    • Jenny September 5, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

      You always need to stay longer than you have planned. The Last Supper is a must see but you need to plan ahead and book your tickets well in advance.

  2. jennygold September 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    What a great post, so useful, thankyou. Cant wait to get there now.

    • Jenny September 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

      You’ll have the best time, Jen.

  3. Asad September 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    i visited Milan in Aug. 2008. it was my business visit, i really liked this city and will prefer to revisit. i stayed in Rosa Star hotel near to Duomo and i really enjoyed every second of my stay in the city, i walked around Duomo, Galleria, last supper. traveled in metro, went of shopping, wandering. it was really a nice place to visit.
    i wonder if there is any change now. if some body can shed some light on it.
    i am planning to visit again next year in May.

    • Jenny September 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

      Hi Asad. Milan is a great city. The centre of the city doesn’t change much apart from new restaurants, bars and hotels opening. Have you been to the Navigli, Porta Ticinese area. It’s a fun area to wander and enjoy the shops and restaurants and is probably very different now to 2008. Hope you get to visit Milan.

      • Asad October 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

        Hi Jenny, sorry for late reply , in fact i was out in remote areas for official assignments. i did not visit the places you have mentioned, probably i was not guided during my last visit. now i want to explore this city in detail with my wife. is it Ok to stay there for 6 days?. i am planning to visit Rome, Florence and Venice too.

        • Jenny October 4, 2011 at 12:04 am #

          Hi Asad. I personally think 6 days may be too long. 4 or 5 nights would be good giving you 3 or 4 full days for exploring the city. You may even have time to go to Lake Como for lunch! It also depends on how long you want to be away as the other cities need as much time if not more (Florence a bit less unless you want to do day trips from there). Hope this helps.

  4. Asad October 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Thanks jenny, for sure it helps a lot. last time i visited Milan in August. it was not too hot at that time or may be i did not feel it since i am living in one of the hottest country in middle east. It was also moderately crowded at that time, and i really liked the both, i mean the weather and the crowd. i wondered why shops are closed so early in the evening, only restaurants and bars were open till late night, is there any particular reason for that or this is routine. i am saying this because whenever i finished my official meetings and got back to hotel , i found most of the shops started their shutter down.now only you can enjoy pubs and wandering, what is the most suitable day/time for shopping. last time i think it was Saturday (i do not remember 100%) when we finished earlier and i went for shopping in the afternoon. that was really good experience. are there good parks to visit.
    is it OK to be there in May.

    • Jenny October 5, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

      Hi Asad. August is holiday time in Italy and most people leave the city at this time hence the reason the crowds were less. A lot of restaurants and shops close for holidays at this time as well. Usually shops close around 7.30pm. A lot also close between 1pm and 3.30 each day and until 3.30 on Mondays, so shopping can be fitted in around this time.
      May is a great time to travel- certainly cooler

  5. jan December 29, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    We were in Milan in 2010 and loved it. All the things listed above are wonderful. The Navigli district is worth visiting. Our hotel manageress insisted that we should go there and we were glad we did. Also visited the Sforzesco Castle and also enjoyed walking around and discovering places ourselves.

    • atasteoftravel December 31, 2011 at 11:27 am #

      I also love the Navigli area. There are some fabulous bars and restaurants in the area, aren’t there. We usually stay near the Castle but believe it or not, we still haven’t been there! Always seem to be too busy checking out the old familiar haunts!

  6. Johanna April 2, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    Great tips on were to visit, and the photographs make me want to hop on a plane right now.

    • [email protected] April 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

      Thanks Jo. Milan’s a great city and there’s more to do than most people think.

  7. Simon October 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Milan is not an easy city to appreciate, and most visitors coming to Italy just drop it because they think there’s nothing interesting.
    Indeed, there’s a lot to do and see, but it’s more difficult to find out. All 5 places you mentioned as must-see, and there are more to add to this list, like the awesome S. Ambrogio and S. Maria delle Grazie churches, The Biennale and Novecento Museums and the list could go on 🙂

    • [email protected] October 11, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

      Thanks for your suggestions Simon. It’s a shame that people do not realise that Milan is a fabulous city to visit and that there is indeed so much to see. Most may visit Milan on the second or third trips and sometimes only on the way to Lake Como. I t would be great if it was up there on the list with Rome, Florence and Venice.

  8. Miret November 9, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    Milano, Milano… My slightly biased opinion: Most amazing city on earth! 😉

    • [email protected] November 9, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      Slightly biased but… you’re allowed to be Miret!it’s a great city and I look forward to catching up with you there one day!

  9. Jackie Smith November 12, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    Oh you captured the highlights so well! I’ve been getting ready to write a similar post as we spent two nights there on our recent trip and were reminded of all the things we love about this city. I agree with you on the nights needed to see what there is to see while there. One back up possibility for those wanting to see The Last Supper and who didn’t buy tickets in advance. . .check with the concierge at your hotel. On our visit before this one we hadn’t even thought of being able to get tickets on such late notice and our concierge produced them without problem (of course we adjusted our schedule to fit the time of the tickets, but that was a small price to pay for having the opportunity to see the painting).

    • [email protected] November 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      Thanks Jackie. Milan is a fabulous city and it’s disappointing that many people overlook it. A great tip re seeing the Last Supper. Thank heavens you were able to see it.

  10. TennisWeBlog.com February 20, 2013 at 1:48 am #

    For anyone going to milan sometime soon, go, at least once, for a walk during the night. When it gets dark, Milan changes to an even more beautiful city, so make sure to try it out 😉

    • [email protected] February 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

      A great suggestion, Marco. Milan is stunning at night..the Duomo looks completely different!

  11. Nicole @ Suitcase Stories May 2, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Milan has been on my list for a very long time and Im happy to say we will be heading there in August! I will keep this bookmarked for then. Thanks for the tips!

    • Jenny Freedman May 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

      Milan is one of my favourite cities…I love getting lost in the Brera! The canals is also a fun area to explore. Have the best time Nicole!

  12. Sarah May 15, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Great place for a great holiday. As you mentioned above, lot of amazing places are there in milan that makes it a perfect holiday destinations. Anyone visiting milan definitely brings home a never forgettable experience.

    • Jenny Freedman May 16, 2013 at 12:00 am #

      Thanks Sarah. Milan is a fabulous city. More people should add it to their itineraries! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  13. nika January 21, 2014 at 12:56 am #

    Hi I am planning on traveling to Italy soon and since it’ll be my first trip that I plan to take on on my own I was hoping you could give me a few good tips and also suggest a few not so expensive places to live at.

    • Jenny Freedman January 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

      Hi Nika. Where in Italy are you planning to go? I would be looking at hostels where you can meet up with other people who are travelling on their own. Apart from the Beehive in Rome, I do not personally know of many as we stay in hotels. You’re going to love Italy. Have fun!

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