Milan can boast a network of art, history and culture that will enrich the experience of all foreign guests: suffice it to note La Scala and the Piccolo Teatro, Da Vinci’s Last Supper and the Pinacoteca di Brera art Gallery.
The Duomo of Milano, the Cathedral at the heart of the city, is an architectural masterpiece that remains imprinted in the memory of all those who visit Milano. The thousands of intricately carved spires and statues are an awesome sight for those exiting the Metro or arriving from Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. It is not surprising to learn that its construction, which began in 1386 and lasted almost half a millennium, was commissioned by the Duke of Milano Gian Galeazzo Visconti as a symbol of the glory and grandeur of the city.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The elegance of the Milano Salotto par excellence, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, is a pleasure to walk through without haste, shielded by the glass and steel dome of its central Ottagono, enraptured by the charm of its stylish shop-windows.
The Teatro alla Scala, built in 1776 to a design by Giuseppe Piermarini, is one of Europe’s most prestigious opera houses. In keeping with traditional Italian theatre design, the auditorium is in a horseshoe arrangement, with four tiers of boxes, two galleries and a deep stage. Since 1778, operas and ballets at La Scala have provided exhilarating emotions for enraptured audiences: its famous stage has hosted the greatest conductors and artists – from Arturo Toscanini to Claudio Abbado, on to the magnificent voice of the iconic Maria Callas.
The Castle is a quadrilateral enclosing the Piazza delle Armi, with its central tower facing the city and two cylindrical towers covered with bosses on each side.
It has several museums with artwork and historical artifacts making it perfect for visiting Milan with kids.
Sforzesco Castle is adjacent to Parco Sempione – the largest city park in Milan. You can bike, hike, have a picnic, listen to street performers, buy ice cream or just plain walk around. You can also scale Torre Branca for a birds eye view of the city.
The Brera Art Gallery collection includes some of the greatest masterpieces of Italian art: not to be missed are magnificent works by Mantegna, Raphael, Bellini, Piero della Francesca, Caravaggio and Hayez, along with many others. The palace was erected over the remains of a 14th-century monastery. Several of the city’s cultural institutes (The Academy of Art, the Library, the Botanical Garden) are also housed here.
The Fashion District – Quadrilatero della moda
The heart of exclusive, high-end shopping in Milano is very close to the city centre – in the area bordered by via della Spiga, via Montenapoleone, via Manzoni and Corso Venezia: most of the designer labels that have made ltalian style and fashion famous all over the world will be found on these streets.
The Refectory of the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie hosts one of the greatest masterpieces of Italian art: Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. It was commissioned to Leonardo by Ludovico Sforza, known as Il Moro, who was then Duke of Milano.
Important places have their own Patron Saint or protector and Milano is certainly no exception: St. Ambrose, bishop of the city from 374 to 397, was one of the most important personalities of the 4th century Church. A visit to this church is definitely a must: the Sant’Ambrogio Basilica is the cradle of history and spirituality in Milano and a paradigm of the Romanesque style. Heartfelt popular devotion revolves around the basilica, which has always been a destination for pilgrims and visitors, as it does around the other churches founded by the holy Bishop: San Simpliciano and San Nazaro Maggiore.
The Navigli district
The Navigli district is the ideal place for a romantic evening stroll along the city’s waterways, as well as for a montly visit to the bustling antiques market, or chilling out at one of the many restaurants and bars.
Piazza Gae Aulenti
Milano’s state-of-the-art architecture and its vibrant nightlife scene come together among the skyscrapers of Piazza Gae Aulenti and Corso Como – the perfect place to gaze in awe at the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) tower and enjoy a happy hour with friends.