Milan is Italy’s thriving city that’s the centre of the country’s stock exchange, an industrial powerhouse, and international trendsetter in design and fashion. The city’s historical past, contemporary fashion, and remarkable arts makes Milan a joy to experience, and one of the most popular vacation spots in Europe. We won’t be able to cover everything there is to see in this article, but here are some ideas and travelling tips on things to do in Milan, Italy.
Historical Buildings and Art
At the heart of bustling Milan sits Duomo, a cathedral that began construction in 1386. The construction of the building was dubbed “an impossible task” by the locals, as it dragged on for centuries until work was finally completed nearly 600 years later. For those who enjoy sightseeing: the most spectacular view is through the countless marble spires that decorate the rooftop. If you’re lucky, you can see the Alps on a clear day!
Many of da Vinci’s renowned works can be found in Milan too. The city’s most famous mural, The Last Supper, is hidden away on a wall of the refectory adjoining the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. Castello Sforzesco on the other hand is a Visconti fortress turned museum and currently houses many pieces of art. The most interesting section of all is the Museum of Ancient Art (Civiche Raccolta d’Arte Antica), displayed in its apartments which was housed by da Vinci himself.
Museo Poldi Pezzoli is another local art museum that was once home to Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli. Pezzoli inherited his fortune and from his mother at a young age of 24. In one of his extensive European trips to London, he was inspired by the concept of a house museum, and thus transformed his apartments into themed rooms based on great art periods.
If street art more of your thing, the number one spot to go to is Milan’s Quartiere Isola. Isola (literally “island”) was a district built for low income families, until it became isolated from the rest of the city by the train tracks. Now it has embraced street art in an attempt to combat bad graffiti, hosting many murals often visited by locals and tourists.
Cafés and Restaurants
Feeling hungry while you’re enjoying the great works of art? Drop by and indulge in both art and food at Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia. The contemporary Italian restaurant has been serving Italian fare for more than 50 years by owners Aimo and Nadia. But If you’re seeking the true Milanese flavour, Trattoria del Nuovo Macello is the place to go. Located in the old meat district to Nuovo Macello it has an understated industrial vibe to go with the traditional menu.
Tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood is Cantina Della Vetra. This warm, cosy Italian restaurant is a popular spot during lunchtime, and is just as lovely come evening. Understandably so as their excellent service and good selection of dishes marked at reasonable prices make this restaurant an easy recommendation.
If you’re not up for meals that are too fancy, Giulio Pane e Ojo is known for its $11 menu. The pastas are of high quality, and if the noise and busy environment proves too much, nearby Abbottega and Casa Tua is a more relaxed restaurant from the same family.
Italy is also renowned to be home for great coffee. When you need a good pick-me-up, head over to Biancolatte. It has a homey yet contemporary feel, offering a great range of speciality coffees. But for the finest of Arabica coffee, Café Trussardi promises ingredients of the freshest and highest quality in their coffees.
Football and Cars
The Italians pride their football as much as they pride their local supercar maker, Ferrari. It wouldn’t be the best city guide if we didn’t mention them! Home to the two local teams AC and Inter Milan, the San Siro Stadium hosts the home games as well as summer concerts. Die hard fans will want to give the locker rooms a visit.
While you might not drive home a Rosso Ferrari of your own, the Ferrari Store is still one you should not miss. There’s also a Formula 1 simulator to let you indulge your need for speed.
Fashion and Shopping
What’s Italy without a bit of shopping, especially when you’re in a place surrounded by Italian design and fashion goodness! One of the most exciting things to do in Milan is to visit many of its branded boutique stores such as the 8000 square feet Armani Superstore with brands suitable for both male and female shoppers. But if you want a one-stop experience, look no further than 10 Corso Como. It’s been the go-to destination of high fashion since 1991, with few equals anywhere in the world. Another alternative is Brian & Barry in San Babila. This 12-storey store is home to multiple brands, an art gallery, a restaurant, and 3-room boutique hotel!
There’s a whole lot more to see and experience in Milan. Share your stories and tell us what you love about Milan in the comments section below!