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5 Things To See In Milan, Italy

Updated on October 19, 2009

Things To See In Milan

If you are spending the weekend in Milan there are a few things that you definitely need to see. It will not take you too long to see the most important sights of the city and it doesn’t have to cost you the earth.

If you are doing a tour of Europe, then you should make a short stop in Milan, which has some of the most stylishly dressed people around. This is not surprising since you will find all the big Italian fashion houses here such as Gucci, Versace and Prada.

Whatever you do, don’t forget your dark sunglasses and comfortable shoes. Here are the top five things to see in Milan:

  • The Duomo
  • La Scala
  • Castello Sforzesco
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanule ll
  • Leonardo Da Vinci’s Painting of The Last Supper

The Duomo, Milan
The Duomo, Milan

The Duomo

The Duomo is the most famous landmark of the city.

This gothic cathedral took 5 centuries to complete. There are steps up to the roof of the cathedral where you can get a wonderful view of the piazza below.

For those who can’t manage the stairs there is a lift that you can take however, you really do feel a sense of achievement when you climb all 463 steps then you can bask in the sun on the roof.

Don't forget your camera.

La Scala, Milan
La Scala, Milan

La Scala

In Italian this is called the Teatro alla Scala, which is a world famous opera house in Milan. It was named after Regina della Scala who was the wife of a Duke of Milan.

It was completed in 1778 when it was first known as the New Royal Theatre of La Scala.  During World War II there was extensive bomb damage but the building was restored to its former glory.

If you can you should try and see an opera or a ballet here so that you can enjoy the interior of the building.

There is now a school associated with the theatre which teaches music, dance and stage management. 

Castello Sforzesco, Milan
Castello Sforzesco, Milan

Castello Sforzesco

This is one of the oldest castles in Italy. It was originally built by the Viscontis and Sforzas and has been rebuilt and added to many times during the course of time. There are lots of different areas to visit with different exhibitions on offer.

One of the most outstanding things that everyone who visits should see is the works of art that was created by Michaelangelo as well as the painted ceiling that was done by Leonardo da Vinci. This depicts a forest scene with intertwining vines and a plethora of green leaves of differing shades.

Galleria Vittoria Emanuele ll, Milan
Galleria Vittoria Emanuele ll, Milan

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

This is the main shopping centre in Milan where you will find all the big famous designer stores and you can shop to your hearts content.  The galleria was named after the first King of the united Italy Vittorio Emauele and was built between 1865 and 1877.

The arcaded is covered with a glass dome in the shape of an octagon.  If you can not afford to shop, you should still visit the arcade in order to take part in one of the traditions that involves placing your heel onto the testicles of a bull that is on the tiled floor and spinning around. This is done in order to ensure good luck. 

Guiseppe Mengoni, the architect of the centre fell to his death from the building in 1877 shortly after completion. Legend states that if you do not want the bad luck that he had, step on the balls of the bull and you will be protected.

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Painting of The Last Supper

If you want to see one of Italy’s most famous paintings, The Last Supper, you will need to book your tickets at least 2 months in advance of your visit to Milan.

The painting is in the Santa Mariadella Grazie Church and your visit is set to a maximum of 20 minutes.

There is a convey belt like system in order to view the portrait and if you miss your allotted slot, your ticket will be resold and you will not be able to gain admission at a later time.

Navigli, Milan
Navigli, Milan
photo credit: Groume

Visit Navigli, Milan

These are the main things to see if you are on a short stay in Milan. If you have a chance, go to Navigli, which is the alternative area of Milan.

This is similar to Camden where there are lots of shops, restaurants and bars that are lined up along the banks of the canal. This is a really nice place to hang out in the evening and a great way to mix with the locals.


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