Discover the top 5 must-see travel places and attractions in Milan.
A thriving metropolis in Northern Italy’s Lombardy region, Milan is known as the world’s fashion capital for good reason. Milan, the fashion capital of the world, draws millions of visitors every year from all over the globe. Many travelers flock to Milan to shop in the metropolis’ renowned retail districts, which include Prada, Armani as well as Versace stores. Milan is Italy’s third most visited city, behind Rome and Venice, owing to attractions such as Duomo Cathedral and Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. In spite of its status as a true cultural powerhouse, Milan, with its wealth of museums, restaurants, and things to do, is a city that keeps its secrets close to its chest.
Milan’s attractions, apart from some few splashy trademarks such as the Duomo and Castello Sforzesco, aren’t necessarily eye-catching. But, a visit to one of Milan’s majestic palazzos, however, will reveal some of the city’s most stunning architecture as well as a wealth of Renaissance art. Similarly, the glittering new high-rise buildings in Milan are a reflection of the city’s vitality and innovative approach to urban planning. This might not be the very obvious Italian city at first appearance, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find a treasure trove of hidden gems. If you want to learn more about Milan’s cultural history and tradition, there are innumerable attractions to choose from. Let’s get a strong foothold on your trip by checking out our list of the best six must-see places to visit in Milan.
Milan Cathedral (II Duomo)
The enormous Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, whom the Milanese call simply “Il Duomo,” is one of the world’s largest and most majestic buildings, and the ultimate expression of the Flamboyant Gothic architecture. Even though construction began in the fourteenth century, it wasn’t completed until Napoleon’s reign in the early 1800s. 135 beautifully carved stone pinnacles crown the roof, and 2,245 marble figurines embellish the exterior. This church has the world’s greatest stained-glass window collection (mostly from the 15th and 16th centuries), with the earliest being in the South Aisle in the nave. The treasury, located in the south sacristy, has silver and gold work from as far back as the fourth century. On clear days, the snow-covered Alps may be seen from the cathedral’s top, which is a stunning sight to see. All but the final 73 steps towards the deck of the dome are accessed via an elevator.
You can also take an audio-guided tour of Vox City to the second-largest cathedral in the world, and one of Italy’s most awe-inspiring monuments. With a little exploration, you can learn about the building’s intriguing past. This self-guided audio tour app allows you to explore the Milan Cathedral or Duomo at your own pace. Once you download our App, you can begin your journey at any time and from any location.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
As one of Italy’s most prominent Renaissance architects, Bramante was responsible for designing the huge six-sided dome of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a Gothic brick church located in the Corso Magenta neighborhood of Venice. As part of restoration work on the church and the adjoining refectory, which houses Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, antique sgraffito artwork in the dome were discovered. There is a baroque chapel dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie at the northern end of the church with an altarpiece depicting the Virgin Mary. A dramatic portrayal of Christ’s last lunch with his followers by Leonardo da Vinci contrasts with earlier static depictions. This was a radical departure for its time and a major step forward in the evolution of art.
You may also reap the benefits of this once-in-a-lifetime chance of your life by taking a self-guided tour of two classic Milan locations, Sforza Castle as well as Leonardo’s Vineyard, with entry included. Vox City offers a gratis Milan Self-Guided Tour as an additional perk for their customers. Leonardo’s Vineyard is the first stop on this journey. Find out the forgotten narrative of a vineyard and how it connects Leonardo da Vinci to Milan, only possible with a reserved ticket.
Castello Sforzesco (Milan Castle)
Originally constructed in 1368 and reconstructed in 1450, Castello Sforzesco was home to the Visconti and Sforza dynasties who governed Milan from 1277 to 1447 and also from 1450 to 1535, respectively. The original gate-tower, the 70-meter Torre de Filarete, was replicated in 1905. Musei del Castello Sforzesco, a collection of museums, one of which showcases sculpture, are housed in the Castello. The collection includes Michelangelo’s final masterpiece, the Pietà Rondanini, which was moved here from Rome in 1953. Additionally, there are museums devoted solely to decorative arts, prehistoric and Egyptian artifacts, musical instruments, and armies with weaponry and armor from many periods of history.
The collection is particularly strong in artworks by northern Italian artists. There is a statue of Napoleon I by Canova in the courtyard that greets you upon entry.
Our self-guided audio tour of the Sforza Castle and Milan can also be used when visiting this location, allowing you to experience limitless solo touring. Your smartphone voucher can be exchanged for the Sforza Castle entrance ticket by visiting our meeting point in front of the castle. You may identify our employees by their blue vests and VOX folders.
St. Ambrose, the Milanese patron saint and founder of the church of Sant’Ambrogio, laid the foundation stone in 386. The current church, a gem of Romanesque architecture, was constructed in the twelfth century around the choir of an earlier church dating from the 9th century and is a must visit place. Starting with the ninth-century portico to the atrium’s intricately carved capital stones and gateway, it ranks among Europe’s finest Romanesque examples of the era.
The audio commentary provided by Vox City in a fully self-guided tour of Milan is an excellent resource for learning about tourist attractions. You can listen in at any time or stop and listen when you like.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, designed by Giuseppe Mengoni and erected between 1865 and 1877, encompasses one side of Piazza del Duomo and opens to Piazza della Scala. In its heyday, it was Europe’s largest shopping mall, with a dome rising 48 meters above the mosaic floor below it. Modern architectural Italy began here, and today it serves as a stunning example of industrialized iron rammed with glass building from that era. There are still many locals who gather for lunch and otherwise coffee in its exquisite cafes and shop for luxury goods in its boutiques.
You can also take a guided tour from Vox City when you arrive at this station in Milan to learn about the city’s most famous landmarks without any fuss. As soon as you’re ready, map out your subsequent walking route through Milan, jot down your favorite sites, and hunt for the greatest photo ops.
Closure Tip: When planning a vacation to Milan, travelers should remember the fact that several businesses or shops remain closed within the month of August. It’s common for locals and business owners to take vacations during the hottest months of the year.