Milan or Milano, is located in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy and is the capital of the province. With so much breathtaking scenery and cultural landmarks throughout the city, it can be difficult narrowing down your itinerary - but don't worry! If you are planning to travel to Milan, Italy, here are some ideas of things you can do and see whether it's your first time there or you are an annual visitor like me.
Milan is a truly unique destination. The city is home to magnificent ancient architecture, cutting-edge high-rise skyscrapers, and a world-renowned fashion and design industry. From its world-famous museums and art galleries to its beautiful parks and gardens, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Milan.
Milan is a colossal metropolis, with 1.3 million inhabitants in the core area and 3.2 million people in the wider area surrounding Milan. Archaeological discoveries date back to 222 BC, and Milan was once the Western Roman Empire’s capital.
- Where is Milan located?
- How to get around Milan?
- When is Milan fashion week 2023?
- Where to stay in Milan?
- What are the best things to do in Milan?
- 2. Admire the architecture of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II:
- 3. Visit the Duomo:
- 4. Have a drink at one of the many rooftop bars:
- 5. Take a walk through the Brera district:
- 6. Visit the Pinacoteca di Brera:
- 7. See the Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie:
- 8. Stroll through Navigli
- 9. Checkout the “smallest bar in the world”
- 10. Visit the Teatro alla Scala:
- 11. Go shopping on Via Montenapoleone:
- 12. Go to San Bernardino alle Ossa:
- 13. Checkout Eataly:
- 14. Take the train over to Lake Como
- 15. Go clubbing
- 16.Starbucks Reserve Roastery
- 17.Visit the Armani Museum
- 18.Dinner at Osteria Serafina
- 19.Lunch at Osteria da Fortunata
- 20.Mercato Centrale
- 21.Visit Roman sites
- 22.Visit Brera Art Gallery
- 23. Visit Corso Como 10
- 24. Have aperitivo at Bar Basso
- 25. Explore Parco Sempione
- 26. Take a tour of Cimiterio Monumentale di Milano
- 27. Catch a game at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
- 28. Attend an event at Teatro all’aperto dei giardini Livia Monti
- 29. Shop at Rinascente
- 30. Visit Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio –
- 31. Sample local dishes
- 32. Take a stroll through Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli
- 33. Attend a classical music concert at Teatro Dal Verme
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Where is Milan located?
Italy has 20 admissible regions, and Lombardia is the fifth biggest by area. Lombardia has a long, jagged shape that hugs the Swiss border in the north before narrowing and curving down to touch the Po River Delta in the south.
It’s here where you’ll find Milan, Italy’s second-largest city after Rome and its capital of business and finance. Essentially it is in the northern region of Italy a few hours from Venice and near the southern coast of France.
How to get around Milan?
There are numerous ways of getting around Milan. Public transport includes an efficient metro system, buses, and trams. You can also hop on the back of a bicycle with one of the many bike-sharing schemes operating in the city.
If you’re feeling energetic, then why not walk? I typically take the train to Porta Garibaldi and from there walk all over. It is a big city, but depending on where you are located you can also take the metro.
When is Milan fashion week 2023?
Milan Fashion Week 2023 will take place from February 24th to March 3rd.
Since Milan is the biggest fashion hub in the world, they always host fashion weeks there. The city is typically filled with big names and boujee events. So Milan fashion week is a semi-annual clothing trade show held in Milan, Italy. The event is held in February and September of every year. The next scheduled dates for Milan fashion week are as follows:
Where to stay in Milan?
Because Milan is such a huge city, I have some recommendations for my favorite areas to stay.
- If you want to be right in the center of the city near the Duomo, I recommend you stay in the Brera district. This area is full of narrow, cobbled streets and beautiful renaissance buildings.
- If you’re looking for a more modern neighborhood, then I suggest staying in Navigli. This area is full of cool bars, restaurants, and cafes.
- And finally, if you want to be close to the fashion district, then stay in the Quadrilatero d’Oro.
What are the best things to do in Milan?
1. Visit the Sforza Castle:
The Sforza Castle is one of the most iconic landmarks in Milan. The castle was built in the 15th century by Duke Francesco Sforza, and it has been home to some of the most important families in Milan over the centuries. Today, the castle houses several museums and art galleries, as well as a beautiful park.
The castle is huge and so beautiful to walk around. If you are looking to relax and have a picnic, they have a massive park that you can go and relax at. If you like running they also have some running trails. On a beautiful summer day, this park is a perfect place to enjoy.
2. Admire the architecture of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II:
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. The glass-roofed arcade was built in the late 19th century and is home to high-end stores, cafes, and restaurants. The gallery is also famous for its beautiful architecture, and it’s a great place to people watch.
It’s also a nice location to take pictures so please don’t forget to check it out. It’s not hard to miss because it is directly to the left of the Duomo.
3. Visit the Duomo:
Speaking of the Duomo…the Duomo is arguably the most beautiful and well-known building in all of Milan. Anyone who has a little knowledge of Milan has heard of the Duomo. Like the Eiffel Tower, the Duomo is a very famous landmark. It is also the third largest cathedral in the world! The Duomo took nearly six centuries to complete and is a must-see for any visitors to Milan.
You can even tour the inside of the cathedral, and if you’re feeling ambitious, you can climb all the way to the top for some stunning views of the city.
4. Have a drink at one of the many rooftop bars:
Milan has some pretty amazing rooftop bars with stunning views of the city. So if you are someone who does not want to climb to the top of the Duomo, I recommend getting drinks/food at the rooftop bars nearby. I like Terrazza Aperol – Il Mercato del Duomo, and La Rinascente Rooftop Bar.
5. Take a walk through the Brera district:
The Brera district is one of the most beautiful and atmospheric areas in Milan. The streets are lined with beautiful Renaissance buildings, and it’s a great place to people-watch and do some window shopping.
It’s overall a very clean and classic Italian-looking area that is great to just walk through and enjoy.
6. Visit the Pinacoteca di Brera:
The Pinacoteca di Brera is one of the most important art galleries in Italy. It houses an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and prints, including works by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Titian.
If you’re an art lover, then this is a must-see. Even if you’re not that interested in art, it’s still worth a visit to see some of the most famous works of Italian Renaissance art. The building itself is beautiful and if you don’t want to go in, at least admire the amazing architecture.
7. See the Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie:
The Santa Maria delle Grazie is a church in Milan that houses one of the most famous paintings in the world: Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
The painting is in a pretty bad state of repair, but it’s still an incredible work of art to see. If you’re interested in art or history, then this is a must-see. Even if you’re not that interested, it’s still worth a visit to see one of the most famous paintings in the world.
8. Stroll through Navigli
The Navigli District, shaped in a triangle by the illustrious Naviglio Grande and Parvese canals, has been revitalized with exquisite cafés, pubs, eateries, art galleries, design stores and bookshops.
Navigli is a lovely area of Milan that is situated on a network of canals. In the past, the canals were used for transport and commerce, but today they are mainly used for leisure.
The Navigli area is a great place to take a stroll, have a coffee or drink, and people watch. It’s also a popular spot for nightlife, so if you’re looking for a place to go out, this is a good area to check out. In my opinion it has a lot of trendy little restaurants to see and it is filled with a younger crowd.
For an unforgettable evening, I highly suggest going to Navigli at sunset and enjoying a refreshing Aperol Spritz while taking in the sights of the canal.
9. Checkout the “smallest bar in the world”
BackDoor 43 is self proclaimed as the smallest bar in the world, and it’s definitely worth a visit. The bar is just 43 square feet, and it’s pretty cozy inside.
It’s a great place to have a drink and meet some locals. The bartenders are very friendly and they make great cocktails.
10. Visit the Teatro alla Scala:
The Teatro alla Scala is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. Even if you’re not interested in opera, the theater itself is stunning. This is a pretty big venue, with an average of 20 concerts each night. Some of the greatest singers of the past two centuries have all performed here. If you’re interested in classical music or opera, then this is a must-see. Even if you’re not that interested, it’s still worth a visit to see one of the most beautiful theaters in the world.
11. Go shopping on Via Montenapoleone:
Via Montenapoleone is one of the most famous shopping streets in the world. The street is lined with designer stores like Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s still fun to window shop and people-watch. If you’re looking to do some high-end shopping, then this is the place to go.
The street itself is very boujee and you never know who you could bump into there. The whole area feels expensive, it’s like walking through luxury. You can smell the high-end perfume in the air and feel the wealth all around you.
12. Go to San Bernardino alle Ossa:
San Bernardino alle Ossa is a church in Milan that is known for its bone chapel. The chapel is decorated with the bones of over 5,000 people. It’s free to walk in so you don’t have to worry about any fees.I definitely think it is a little creepy, but hey, it’s history!
So a little background of the church… So in 1145, a hospital and cemetery were built close to the Basilica of Santo Stefano Maggiore. By the mid-twelfth century, the cemetery was already overflowing, and a hall had to be built to gather the remains of the dead. The Basilica San Bernardino alle Ossa was constructed next to this hall in 1269. So basically that’s how all the bones got in there.
13. Checkout Eataly:
If you love food, then Eataly is a paradise for you. It’s a huge Italian food market with restaurants, cafes, and shops. You can find pretty much anything Italian here, from pasta to cheese to wine. They have 40 locations around the world, I have been to 6 of the locations including Milan, so if you have a chance to see this market, I recommend stopping by.
Overall it’s a great place to go if you want to try some traditional Italian food or do some grocery shopping. The market is huge so it’s easy to spend a few hours here.
14. Take the train over to Lake Como
I know this is not something directly in Milan, but I have to mention it. If you have the time and you want to visit a beautiful area very close by, please go to Lake Como. Essentially it is a very large lake surrounded by huge mountains and small villages and towns.
What I like about Como is that it’s a very authentic Italian city and it is a lot less touristy compared to other major cities in Italy. In the summer it is a popular spot for people to swim at or tan along the shore. Surrounded by the lake there are so many breathtaking villas. George Clooney even owns a villa there!
I would recommend going to the town of Bellagio which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Lake Como. The views are absolutely breathtaking and it’s a great place to relax. The town is small but it’s very cute and there are plenty of places to eat and drink.
There are boat tours that you can take around the lake which is a great way to see everything. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even rent your own boat!
In the winter, it is a great place to go for a ski trip as well. So whatever season you visit Milan in, make sure to try and go to Lake Como!
15. Go clubbing
Clubbing in Milan is a unique experience that you won't find anywhere else. The city is known for its lively nightlife, packed with some of the best clubs and lounges in Italy. When it comes to music styles, there's something here for everyone, from house and techno to hip-hop and EDM.
Some clubs I recommend are:
- Just Cavalli
- Old Fashion
- The Club
16.Starbucks Reserve Roastery
The Starbucks reserve roastery is a must-see when in Milan. It is a huge 30,000-square-foot facility with 6 different rooms that each have their own unique designs and experiences. You can explore the whole place from the ground-floor cafe to the loft lounge on the third floor.
The Starbucks reserve roastery also has its very own coffee bar that serves some of the best coffee in the world. There is also a bakery where you can get fresh pastries and desserts. And if you want something more substantial, there are delicious food options available too.
When you get there, there is typically a line outside the door because they only let in a certain amount of people. Once you step inside, the beauty of this place will take your breath away. You won't feel as if you are in a typical Starbucks - instead, it has its unique atmosphere and beverage offerings that set it apart from any other cafe.
17.Visit the Armani Museum
The Armani Museum is worth a visit if you are interested in fashion. The museum showcases the best of Giorgio Armani's work as well as his vision and philosophy. It provides an insight into the mind of one of Italy’s greatest designers.
The museum features special exhibitions, interactive experiences, and displays of Armani’s work, making it the perfect place to explore and get inspired. You can also find clothing, accessories, and artwork from the designer in its boutique.
18.Dinner at Osteria Serafina
If you’re looking for a great place to eat, Osteria Serafina is the one. This popular Italian restaurant is located in the heart of Milan and has been serving authentic dishes since 2004. The menu features traditional favorites like pizza, pasta, and risotto as well as more modern fare like gourmet sandwiches and salads.
Osteria Serafina also offers a great selection of wines and spirits to complement your meal. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, with an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs prepare your food.
19.Lunch at Osteria da Fortunata
If you’re looking for a more casual lunch spot, try Osteria da Fortunata. This restaurant serves delicious Italian dishes in a relaxed setting. The menu features traditional favorites like bruschetta, pasta, and pizza as well as vegetarian options. And they have the best pasta!
Mercato Centrale is a great place to explore for food lovers. This two-floor market has everything from fresh produce and meats to cheeses and Italian pastries. It’s the perfect spot to pick up some ingredients for a homemade meal or snack on something delicious while exploring the city.
21.Visit Roman sites
As the Western Roman Empire's capital city, Milan (Mediolanum) was one of the most renowned and thriving cities in Italy during its time as part of the expansive Roman Empire.
A fine example of Roman archeology can be found in the Colonne di San Lorenzo, located at the front of Basilica di San Lorenzo. These grand Corinthian columns date back to around 2nd century and may have once formed a part of either an ancient temple or public bath house.
Also worth noting is what remains from Palazzo Imperiale di Massimiano - giving us a glimpse into how majestic this imperial palace must have been centuries ago!
22.Visit Brera Art Gallery
The prestigious Pinacoteca di Brera is one of Milan’s most renowned art galleries, and houses work from some of Italy’s greatest artists including Raphael and Caravaggio.
The museum was established in the early 19th century and became a State Museum in 1809. The gallery is home to an impressive collection of Old Master paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and photographs depicting different periods in Italian art history.
23. Visit Corso Como 10
This is a unique 4-story concept store that houses fashion, design, and architecture under one roof. This four-story building offers fashion, design, and architecture all in one place. Founded by Carla Sozzani in 1991, the Corso Como 10 is a must-visit while exploring the city.
24. Have aperitivo at Bar Basso
For the traditional Italian evening tradition of aperitivo, head to Bar Basso for all your favorite pre-dinner drinks and snacks!
25. Explore Parco Sempione
Located just steps away from the historic city center, Parco Sempione offers visitors lush green space complete with walking paths and monuments such as Castello Sforzesco and Arco della Pace.
26. Take a tour of Cimiterio Monumentale di Milano
This solemn cemetery was established in 1866 as an answer to overcrowding problems within Milan's other cemeteries due to the growing population size within the city limits.
27. Catch a game at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
Also known as the San Siro, this stadium is home to both AC Milan and Inter Milan football clubs and offers visitors a thrilling match day experience.
The famous venue was first opened in 1926 and has since hosted some of the most memorable football matches in history. It is also home to two of Italy's top football clubs: AC Milan and Inter Milan. The stadium has a capacity of over 80,000 people and is one of the largest in Europe.
Its iconic red-brick facade is instantly recognizable to millions of fans around the world. San Siro also hosts numerous other sporting events such as concerts and international athletics competitions. Over the years, several important matches have taken place at the stadium, including the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final.
They now have a museum dedicated to the stadium, which gives visitors an insight into its history. The museum takes you around the grounds and provides a detailed explanation of its key features. It also showcases some of the most iconic moments that have taken place at San Siro over the years. The tour is a must for any football fan visiting Milan.
28. Attend an event at Teatro all’aperto dei giardini Livia Monti
This open-air theatre offers performances of operas, ballets and concerts from late spring to early autumn.
29. Shop at Rinascente
The largest department store in Milan with departments covering fashion, beauty, home decor, and more!
30. Visit Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio –
Built-in 379 AD, this majestic basilica is one of Milan’s oldest religious buildings and houses many important works of art from throughout the centuries.
31. Sample local dishes
Here are some examples of traditional Milanese dishes that you can find in the city:
- Cotoletta alla Milanese – This is a fried veal cutlet that is usually served with lemon or butter and sage sauce.
- Risotto alla Milanese – Made with beef marrow, saffron, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, this is a creamy and flavorful dish.
- Ossobuco alla Milanese – This popular dish consists of cross-cut veal shanks that are slow cooked in tomato sauce and white wine.
- Polenta e Brasato – Polenta is combined with braised beef for this hearty classic.
32. Take a stroll through Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli
These beautiful gardens have been around since 1784 and are home to over 700 different varieties of plants and trees that provide visitors with a peaceful atmosphere for exploring nature. There is also a small lake, as well as an outdoor cafe for resting after a long day of sightseeing.
33. Attend a classical music concert at Teatro Dal Verme
This 19th century opera house is home to the Orchestra Sinfonica della Scala, one of Italy's most famous orchestras and renowned for its performances of classical music. The building itself was designed by architect Luca Beltrami and boasts a classic Italian Renaissance style with frescoed walls and ornate furniture.
Milan is well known for its fashion, art and culture. It is the home of renowned Italian fashion labels such as Prada, Versace and Gucci. Milan also has an impressive array of museums, galleries and historic sites including The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci in Santa Maria delle Grazie, La Scala opera house, Sforza Castle and the Duomo di Milano.
100% yes. Milan is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that offers something for everyone. From fashion and art to food and culture, Milan is one of the most diverse cities in Italy. It also has a great nightlife with bars, clubs and restaurants offering all kinds of cuisine from traditional Italian to international dishes.
Milan and Rome are two completely different cities with different experiences to offer. Rome is known for its ancient history and monuments, while Milan is a hub of the modern world that’s known for its fashion and culture. Both are beautiful cities worth visiting, but it depends on what type of atmosphere you prefer.
Milan is one of the wealthiest cities in Italy and it is a major economic and financial center. It is home to Italy’s largest stock exchange, the world’s largest fashion district, and numerous luxury shops. Milan also contains some of Europe’s largest corporations including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Eni Group and Telecom Italia. These factors make Milan one of the richest cities in Italy.
Yes, Milan is quite an expensive city to visit and live in. The cost of living is high due to the high demand for real estate and luxury goods. Prices can be especially expensive during peak tourist season when tourists from all over the world flock to the city. Accommodation, food and entertainment can all be quite expensive in Milan. However, with careful budgeting it is possible to enjoy a wonderful experience without breaking the bank.
The best time to visit Milan largely depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to experience the city’s fashion and cultural scenes, then consider visiting during spring or autumn when temperatures are milder and festivals take place. For a more relaxed atmosphere, visit in the summer months when temperatures are higher but the tourist flow is less. Winter is also a great time to visit for the Christmas markets.