No trip to Italy is really complete without a visit to Milan. While it is considered to be one of the fashion capitals of the world, this marvellous city has so much more to offer. It is filled with breathtaking architecture, beautiful parks and green spaces, and of course, restaurants and shopping opportunities for everyone. It’s the city in Europe that pleasantly surprised us the most with its diversity.
Here is our Milan travel guide to our favorite attractions in the city:
1.Duomo Di Milano
It may seem obvious, but you absolutely cannot leave Milan without setting your eyes on the Duomo. It is the second largest catholic cathedral in the world and is quite possibly the most beautiful. It also has a fascinating history behind it’s construction. It is nearly entirely made of a white marble with a pink hue that was mined from lake maggiore and the candoglia quarries located almost 90 km northwest of the city. To bring it all the way into milan, canals were constructed with the single purpose of allowing boats filled with the beautiful marble to reach the city. It took nearly six decades to complete the structure!
It is breathtaking from the outside as well as from the inside and, unlike most religious buildings, your entrance fee also grants you access to the roof. Once you get to the top, you’re rewarded with one of the best views of the entire city. Just like any popular attraction, it is always crowded. Therefore, if you wish to enter the Duomo (which we highly recommend), you should try to get there earlier in the day.
Another impressive structure that is an absolute must on our list is the Sforza Castle. During the renaissance, control over the city of Milan was contested between the Milanese, other Italian kingdoms and states, and some northern European countries, which led to a lot of warfare. For that reasons, the castle of Sforza was highly fortified. Milan used to be an entirely walled city during the Roman empire, and you can learn so much about it’s fascinating history when you visit this castle. Visiting the castle is free, but if you wish to find out even more about it, there is also a museum that is very reasonably priced.
We are both huge fans of big green spaces in the middle of developed cities, so it was a very pleasant surprise when we fell upon the parco Sempione. It is a massive green area where we saw people kicking the soccer ball around, playing basket-ball, sitting and having a picnic or simply taking relaxing and enjoy some sun. It was originally built to be a typical royal garden for the Sforza castle so it is truly beautiful to walk through. It is a great place to take a little break from the excitement of the city. We recommend walking through the entire park by entering through the Arco Della Pace and exiting at the Sforza Castle which is at the other end. This will also allow you to see the beautiful Arco Della Pace which used to be part of one of the main doors to enter the walled city of Milan. If you love history, walking through this part of the city will allow you to see old wall ruins dating from the roman empire and fulfill the history enthusiast in you.
If you enjoy older European architecture, you will love the Brera district! The streets are cobblestone and the houses and buildings all have such a charm! “Cute” really is the best way to describe it! It is also a great place to settle down for a nice dinner or a cup of amazing Italian coffee on a terrace.
As I mentioned earlier, canals were built in the center of the city in order to build the Duomo centuries ago. Today those canals are still there and they have become quite the attraction. The two main canals that remain are Naviglio grande and Naviglio Pavese. The area where those two meet is now called the Darsena neighborhood and it has become quite a hip and trendy part of the city. Along the canals, you can find restaurants and bars as well as small stands serving cheap drinks, so it’s a good time on any budget. We loved the atmosphere there and absolutely recommend spending an evening exploring the area when visiting Milan.
We hoped you enjoyed our Milan Guide and thanks for reading!
Lots of Love,
Ben and Bianca