Milan in a Day ~ Sightseeing ~ Self Guided Walking Tour with Photos

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan | Source

Bucket List


Truthfully, whether I get to visit this fabulous cosmopolitan city of Milan, Italy this year or in years to come, just being introduced to it because of my husband's travels...it has made my personal bucket list of places that I wish to someday experience.

Milan has existed as a population center for centuries before the birth of Christ under the ruling dominion of different tribes of people and has survived everything from wars to epidemics.

Over the centuries it has morphed into a commercially prosperous city filled with historical churches and houses the third largest cathedral in the entire world. Milan also contains art galleries, gardens, the famous La Scala Opera House, a castle, the original Galleria and is a noted high fashion center among other things. It will be there when I make plans to follow in my husband's footsteps to Italy someday.

In this post I will share some of the photos he took while on a sightseeing self guided walking tour of Milan back in 2006 when he was taking a break from the wine business that took him to that metropolis.



Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan | Source

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Showing one of the frescoes and detail work (including the floors) inside of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Showing one of the frescoes and detail work inside of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Showing one of the frescoes and detail work inside of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II | Source
Shows the mosaics on the floor.
Shows the mosaics on the floor. | Source

What to see in Milan


Whether one is coming to Milan to check out some of the high designer clothing or just wish to sate one's appetite at a cafe or restaurant in what has become a favorite haunt of those who live in Milan, this architectural gem of a building...the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II...that connects two important plazas is sure to impress one upon seeing it for the first time as it did my husband.


The architect of this magnificent iron and glass domed structure, Giuseppe Mengoni, sadly fell to his death off of some scaffolding prior to its completion. There are frescoes and mosaics embellishing this stunning architectural beauty of a building.


It was opened two years after construction started in 1865 and took on the name of the king, Vittorio Emanuelle II.


The eye-catching and unique design of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II has inspired similar buildings around the world including a Galleria shopping center in Houston as well as one in Dallas, Texas. Having been in both of these Texas Galleria's, I had no idea that the original prototype design came from Italy.


The glass domed ceiling in Houston's Galleria looms above three stories with an ice skating rink at the lowest level. Balconies with railings allow shoppers and visitors to look down upon the ice skaters while also being able to enter all of the retail shops and restaurants which surround that portion of the Galleria.


In Milan, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II connects two important plazas, the Plaza del Duomo and the Plaza del Scala. Thus it becomes not only an attraction when wondering what to see in Milan, but also a gorgeous conduit between two of the other sites one should also visit while in that city.

The Duomo in Milan, Italy

The Duomo in Milan, Italy
The Duomo in Milan, Italy | Source

Duomo


Located in the historic city center of Milan, the Duomo is a gigantic cathedral of epic proportions. Only St. Peters in Rome and a cathedral in Seville and another one located on the Ivory Coast is larger.

Taking over five centuries to build and completed in 1813 upon the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte, the base of the cathedral is Baroque in style but was completed as Gothic.

Numerous spires lift towards the heavens in typical Gothic style and there are about 3,500 statues which range from saints to animals and even monsters.

A gilded 14 foot (4.16m) golden statue of the Madonna tops the tallest spire and it was sculpted by Giuseppe Bini in 1774. It weighs 3 tons and is called La Madonnina. It can be viewed better from the roof terraces where visitors can not only see it, but also the many other spires and buttresses of the cathedral...and even views of the Swiss Alps on a clear day. Needless-to-say, views of Milan from this perspective are also impressive.

Milan Cathedral, Italy (HD)

Duomo Cathedral in Milan, Italy

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo of some of the Gothic spires on the Duomo Cathedral.Inside of the Duomo cathedralStained glass window inside of the DuomoThe Duomo cathedral as seen from an approaching street.My hubby standing in the Plaza del Duomo with entrance to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II behind him.Plaza del Duomo - a look at some of the other buildings in the plaza.
Photo of some of the Gothic spires on the Duomo Cathedral.
Photo of some of the Gothic spires on the Duomo Cathedral. | Source
Inside of the Duomo cathedral
Inside of the Duomo cathedral | Source
Stained glass window inside of the Duomo
Stained glass window inside of the Duomo | Source
The Duomo cathedral as seen from an approaching street.
The Duomo cathedral as seen from an approaching street. | Source
My hubby standing in the Plaza del Duomo with entrance to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II behind him.
My hubby standing in the Plaza del Duomo with entrance to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II behind him. | Source
Plaza del Duomo - a look at some of the other buildings in the plaza.
Plaza del Duomo - a look at some of the other buildings in the plaza. | Source

Inside the Cathedral Duomo

Interior views of the Duomo are equally impressive. With five different aisles, 52 columns (piers) each decorated with a statue of a saint, elaborate and colorful stained glass windows depicting scenes from the Bible, and marble floors, there is much to catch the attention of a visitor or someone attending mass in that environs.


The cathedral can seat 40,000 people! That is like seating an entire medium to small town's population in one building!

The Duomo is filled with resplendent types of art and treasures such as can only be accumulated over many centuries and with dedicated effort. Obviously one could spend quite a bit of time exploring all of the nooks and crannies of this cathedral even including what lies below the main floor where one can see, among other things, ruins dating back to the 4th century.

This is definitely one of the sites to see as a visitor to Milan!

La Scala Opera House in Milan

La Scala Opera House in Milan
La Scala Opera House in Milan | Source

La Scala


Also located in Milan's historic center is the world famous La Scala theatre which has one of the largest stages in Italy measuring 13,000 square feet (1,200 square meters).

Located on the Plaza del Scala, the outside facade of this building ( judging from my husband's photo and others that I have viewed ) is not all that impressive. However that changes dramatically when one enters the interior spaces.

The auditorium can seat 2,015 people and the acoustics are reputed to be exceptional. Elaborately decorated with gilded stucco work, fine woods and warm colored red velvets, it along with the mirror-lined salon provides an elegant setting for watching operas and ballets.

It stands on the site of a former church called Santa Maria della Scala and derives its name from that. La Scala was built by Giuseppe Piermarini from the years 1776 to 1778 but sustained much damage from the bombing in World War 2. It was rebuilt and Arturo Toscanini played a memorable concert on that newly rebuilt stage in 1946 and once again this prestigious theater was delighting audiences from not only Italy, but from around the world.

I would love to be able to watch an opera or a ballet from one of the numerous boxes where one could look down upon the stage in style and comfort. Perhaps someday that wish will be fulfilled.


Palazzo Marino with statue of Leonardo da Vinci

Palazzo Marino with statue of Leonardo da Vinci
Palazzo Marino with statue of Leonardo da Vinci | Source

Palazzo Marino


This elaborately built and decorated palace for the Marino family dating back to its completion in 1563 is now the site of Milan's city hall since the year 1861. A statue of Leonardo da Vinci is situated in the Plaza del Scala. In the photo shown above, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the higher elevated building in the corner with the Palazzo Marino (city hall) located on the left side behind the statue.

Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Italy

Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Italy
Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Italy | Source

Castello Sforzesco

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Castello Sforzesco entranceCastello Sforzesco as seen in the distance.Castello Sforzesco
Castello Sforzesco entrance
Castello Sforzesco entrance | Source
Castello Sforzesco as seen in the distance.
Castello Sforzesco as seen in the distance. | Source
Castello Sforzesco
Castello Sforzesco | Source

Castello Sforzesco


This historic structure was built in 1368 by Galeazzo II Visconti as a fortress but was eventually transformed into a palace.

In intervening years it suffered damage from warring factions but upon Francesco Sforza becoming the lord of Milan in 1450, it was once again established as a magnificent palace.

Notable artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Bramante painted frescoes that remain there today even though the buildings reverted in later years back to serving as a military post.

Fortunately, when it was being considered for demolition, the architect Luca Beltrami came along and it was restored and by the year 1904 and onward, it has served Milan as a wonderful setting for a number of museums.

Art lovers as well as those who appreciate history by looking at artifacts could undoubtedly spend the better part of a day there viewing everything that there is on display.

Everything from ancient art to decorative arts; stamps and books; famous sculptures to furniture collections; old musical instruments to costumes, armour, tapestries and jewelry...that and much more could keep interested parties enthralled and learning about the past in this historic site.

I know that I would love spending time there!

Castello Sforzesco Milano

Some of the sites mentioned in this hub located in Milan, Italy.

show route and directions
A markerCastello Sforzesco in Milan -
Sforzesco Castle, Piazza Castello, 27100 Pavia, Italy
[get directions]

B markerLa Scala in Milan -
Piazza della Scala, 20121 Milan, Italy
[get directions]

C markerDuomo in Milan -
Duomo, 20121 Milan, Italy
[get directions]

Vacation in Milan


Obviously there is much more to enjoy if one plans a trip to Milan, Italy. The few things mentioned here just scratch the surface of what there is to do and see.

Milan is currently the second largest city in Italy and the capitol of the region of Lombardy.

It has much of historic interest dating back to even before the days when it became the capitol of the Roman Empire. From church history to military history, this city has gone though numerous changes through the ages. Interesting architecture as well as art abounds.

My husband did not have time to see Leonardo da Vinci's famous Last Supper painting because of his business schedule, but it will certainly be on my list of things to see.

That as well as other historic buildings, churches, museums, gardens, art galleries and shopping should keep me busy for awhile. Being a furniture as well as high fashion center, I may have to settle on window shopping due to the high prices of couture fashion. But that can be fun as well!

It is also nice to know that if I wish to see some of the lakes of northern Italy, there are many of these scenic beauties not far from Milan including Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Lake Garda among others.


The Last Supper painting by Leonardo da Vinci

Source

Does Milan look like a city in which you would enjoy a vacation?

  • Yes
  • Perhaps, after seeing other sites in Italy
  • No
  • Don't have to visit Milan since I live there!
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Where Milan is located in Italy

A markerMilan, Italy -
Milan, Italy
[get directions]

If you enjoyed this article, please some stars on it. Thank you!!!

5 out of 5 stars from 6 ratings of Sites in Milan, Italy

© 2012 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed. Thanks! 26 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello Cassidydt,

It must be fun living in Milan! I know what you mean about not rushing out and seeing local sites when you live in a place. We have recently been doing more sightseeing in our own city of Houston and it is fun and educational. Enjoy your time in Milan.


Cassidydt profile image

Cassidydt 2 years ago

I love Milan, have been living here for 3 months, though I haven't seen all that much just yet, which is bad, I know haha. Thanks for some insight, as I need to start making an effort to see things. I guess knowing I am going to be here for awhile gives me a reason not to hurry lol


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Kalmiya,

Nice that you have been to Milan and have gotten to see Leonardo's Last Supper in person. I don't think that my husband had a need to take the subway while there. Interesting that it is done in black. Wonder why? Thanks for your comment.


Kalmiya profile image

Kalmiya 3 years ago from North America

Hi Peggy, Thanks for your great photos of Milan which reminded me of my two visits there. I saw The Last Supper and it was an interesting experience. It is now in an air-controlled environment and they let in only small groups of people at a time through glass partition doors. The restoration work looks quite good. One thing I didn't like about Milan is that their subway system is entirely black colour! Thanks.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Vinaya,

Thanks for taking your armchair tour of walking and seeing some historic sites in Milan, Italy. Appreciate your comment.


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