Milan Tourist Activities
Milan tourist attractions encompass the ancient and the modern in equal measures, allowing visitors to indulge in glamorous shopping sprees in the 19th century arcades of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, marvel at Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting The Last Supper in an ancient church, pop across to the Pirelli Building, a 1960’s icon of Italian architecture and stand in one of Europe’s largest Gothic Cathedrals in the space of just one day.
The Duomo di Milano, perennially listed among the top ten Milan tourist attractions and beloved by Milanese residents, is a good starting point for a walking tour of historic Milan. The elaborately decorated, white marble façade and delicate spires of this late Gothic marvel are at their most glorious in winter, when the annual Christmas Market takes place just outside the Cathedral’s ornately carved portals. An enormous tree heralds the start of festivities that last well into January.
The Duomo is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Located at one of Milan’s most picturesque Piazzas, Milan Cathedral dates back to 1386 and from its rooftop visitors can enjoy one of the finest views of the city centre.
Within easy walking distance of the Cathedral the shops, galleries and chic boutiques of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele are reknown the world over by fashionistas, upwardly mobile business travellers and anyone in love with style and design. Equally wonderful for shopping but also interesting for its lovely historic buildings is the Via della Spiga, a pedestrianized street with high-end, luxury designer stores and fine examples of 18th and 19th century architecture on both sides of the street.
Here shoppers will find internationally important brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari, Cerruti, Giorgio Armani, Miu Miu, Moschino, Prada and many others famous for their style, chic and timeless elegance of design. Fashion and art are, naturally, two of Milan’s most famous tourist attractions!
Close by, on the south side of the Duomo, visitors on a walking tour will find the Royal Palace, which houses other important works of art. At the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, which displays Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper, tickets for the church exhibition must be purchased at least several months in advance of travelling to Italy, such is the demand for Milan tourist attractions that were created by the hands of one of the world’s greatest artists.
The equally imposing Byzantine/Romanesque Basilica of Saint Ambrose and 4th century San Lorenzo Basilica are must-see churches on the Milan tourist trail and should not be missed, no matter how crowded they might be during the summer months.
It’s easy to get around central Milan on foot, but for the footsore there are also bright orange tram cars zick-zacking the heart of the city and silver-coloured Radiobuses that ferry business travellers and tourists on a budget to the most important sites. Among the most famous art galleries in Europe and certainly a highlight on the Milan tourist attraction trail, the Pinacoteca di Brera in Via Brera is located just by the Piccolo Teatro subway station. Brera is home to one of the most important Italian art collections on the planet.
The Pinacoteca di Brera showcases Italian paintings in the wonderful surroundings of the 17th century Palazzo di Brera. Open from 8.30 am to 7.15 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays, the collection at Brera incorporates important 19th century works from Giovanni Estienne, Giovanni Frattori, Mosè Bianchi, Gerolamo Induno and Francesco Hayez among others.
Milan tourist attractions like the impressive medieval Sforzesco Castle double up as art gallery, city museum and serve as home to the city’s Egyptian art collection as well as being a fun place to visit with older children. Easily reached by bus, subway or tram, the castle also boasts a fascinating collection of historical instruments, a must-see for any music lover planning to enjoy a night out at La Scala, Milan’s famous opera house.
Leonardo da Vinci, one of the world’s most famous painters and Renaissance man extraordinaire, sports his very own museum, namely the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology in S. Vittore Street near Sant’ Ambroglio subway station. It is in fact Italy’s largest museum dedicated to science and technology, displaying more than 10,000 exhibits.
The artist was born in 1452 and moved to Milan in 1482; he has since become one of the most popular and enduring Milan tourist attractions, responsible for works of art and science that include drawings and manuscripts he made in his capacity as engineer, sculptor and architect during the time he spent with various rich patrons such as Lorenzo de Medici or Milan’s very own patron of the arts, Ludovico il Moro, at the Court of Milan.
There are even compositions Leonardo made in the guise of a musician! From his famous flying machine to war machinery, catapults and anatomical drawings, Leonardo tried his hand at everything that can have an effect on the human condition or delight the eye with timeless beauty.
Milan tourist attractions located outside of the city limits are equally fantastic places to visit. With a hire car it’s easy to spend a day at wonderful destinations such as beautiful Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano or to pop across into neighbouring country Switzerland for a day’s shopping and sight-seeing trip.
These timeless, nature-made Milan tourist attractions can easily be reached via the aptly named Autostrada dei Laghi or A9, an eight-lane motorway that connects Milan with Northern Italy’s most important lakes.