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Ultimate Milan Guide

In this week’s episode of our Italian Life Podcast, we broke down the perfect day in Milan! As always, I’ll lay it all out here as well. 

Travel to Milan

Milan is one of the biggest Italian cities so I recommend taking the train from wherever you are staying. This is the site I use to plan and book my train tickets. Milan is so large that trying to take your car into the city might feel overwhelming. Spare yourself from that added unnecessary stress and utilize Milan’s wonderful and easy public transportation.

The Duomo

The first site you have to see once you arrive (and it’s quite impossible to miss) is the Duomo. This cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete: construction began in 1386, and the final details were completed in 1965. It is definitely one of the most infamous cathedrals in all of Italy, and dare I say…even the world.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Right next to the Duomo is another staple of Milan, the Galleria. This is Italy’s oldest active shopping gallery and a major landmark of Milan. Housed within a four-story double arcade in the center of town, the Galleria is named after Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy.

The Last Supper

The Last Supper is a mural by the Italian High Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, dated to c. 1495–1498. It’s  located inside Santa Maria delle Grazie. When you see it in person you might be surprised by a certain detail that is rarely talked about. We won’t spoil it, you’ll have to go see for yourself. (We’re sorry or you’re welcome.) 

Quadrilatero della Moda

The Quadrilatero della Moda, or Quad d’Oro, is an upscale shopping area in the Centro Storico district. The main drag, Via Monte Napoleone, is lined with designer fashion boutiques, antiques shops and posh cafes in neoclassical mansions. If you are in the mood for some serious designer shopping then make sure to stop by this neighborhood and get ready to shell out some cash. 

Sforzesco Castle

The Castello Sforzesco is a medieval fortification located in Milan, Northern Italy. It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, on the remnants of a 14th-century fortification. Later renovated and enlarged, in the 16th and 17th centuries it was one of the largest citadels in Europe.

Some of Michelangelo’s earliest works are inside the castle. I loved the tour of the castle and highly recommend getting a tour guide because there is so much to take in and you’ll want an expert to point out the most fascinating things.

Pinacoteca di Brera

The Pinacoteca di Brera is the main public gallery for paintings in Milan, Italy. It contains one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings from the 13th to the 20th century. For art lovers, this is a perfect place to wander through and soak up some of the most famous paintings you’ll ever see.

Ambrosian Library

The Ambrosian Library, founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo on September 7, 1607 and inaugurated on December 8, 1609, was one of the earliest libraries to grant access to all who could read and write. Visiting here feels like you are walking onto a movie set. Inside the library you will also find early works of DaVinci on display.

Teatro alla Scala

La Scala is a historic opera house in Milan, Italy. The theater was inaugurated on August 3, 1778. If you are lucky enough, you might be able to watch an actual opera being performed here. But at the very least you absolutely must stop by and take a tour. It’s one of the most beautiful performance spaces in the world.

Be sure to check out our full podcast episode to learn more about our Milan recommendations.


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