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Top 8 Things to Do in Milan, Italy

To really get a sense of Italian life and understand Italian culture, it’s important to visit the exciting city of Milan. One of Italy’s top travel destinations, Milan is most famous for the Duomo and “The Last Supper,” but it is also a world-renowned fashion destination and a beloved place among foodies and wine enthusiasts. For a well-rounded and totally engaging trip to Italy, check out these top things to do in Milan.

See di Vinci’s “The Last Supper” The Last Supper is inside the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie
Credit: The Last Supper is inside the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie by © Ekaterinabelova - Dreamstime.com

See di Vinci’s “The Last Supper”

What Is It?: “The Last Supper” is one of artist Leonardo di Vinci’s most famous works, and it is on display in the dining room of the Santa Maria delle Grazie. This is a former Dominican convent, and the painting is a huge artistic masterpiece that was created between 1494 and 1498. Restorations have been made since that time to preserve this painting that depicts the last time that Jesus dined with his disciples.

Why Do It?: This is one of the most famous pieces of artwork of all time and has influenced artists around the world for many generations.

Good to Know: The availability of tickets to see “The Last Supper” is limited, so definitely make reservations weeks or months in advance. Many visitors book a guided tour that includes seeing the painting and other iconic attractions.

See the Churches and Cathedrals Duomo Milan cathedral, Milan
Credit: Duomo Milan cathedral, Milan by © Neo Arts - Dreamstime.com

See the Churches and Cathedrals

What Is It?: Milan’s epic churches and cathedrals are among the top draws to the city, especially the Duomo. You can explore inside the Duomo cathedral or visit the roof of it for amazing views of the city. The Basilica of San Lorenzo is another significant church in Milan to see.

Why Do It?: The Duomo’s architecture is absolutely stunning and magnificent to see with its decorations, towers, statues, and stained-glass windows.

Good to Know: The Piazza del Duomo is a huge open space around the cathedral and the central plaza in the city. This is a popular tourist area with plenty of upscale restaurants and shops to check out.

Enjoy a Public Park Sforza Castle Castello Sforzesco, view from Parco Sempione
Credit: Sforza Castle Castello Sforzesco, view from Parco Sempione by © Fabrizio Robba - Dreamstime.com

Enjoy a Public Park

What Is It?: Milan also has some beautiful green spaces that are beautifully landscaped and havens for recreation and relaxation. Parco Sempione is a popular park behind Sforzesco Castle.

Why Do It?: Milan’s parks allow you to take a break from busy sightseeing days and slow down your pace of travel. Relax and enjoy these green spaces to observe daily life in Milan to conserve energy for upcoming travel days.

Good to Know: Visit this park on a weekend to experience its fun vibe with street performers, kids playing, and vendors selling snacks.

Shop Around the Quadrilatero d'Oro Shopping in Milan
Credit: Shopping in Milan by © Rosshelen - Dreamstime.com

Shop Around the Quadrilatero d'Oro

What Is It?: Quadrilatero d’Oro is a famous shopping district in Milan that is upscale, elegant, and situated along quaint cobbled streets. Shopping here is definitely a splurge, but you can also just check out the window displays and do some people-watching in Quadrilatero d’Oro.

Why Do It?: Shopping and fashion are synonymous with Milan, so walking around here is a great way to get to know this stylish city and its luxury Italian designs.

Good to Know: Popular highlights here are Berluti on Via Sant’Andrea for shoes, the Gucci flagship store, the Armani store on Via Alessandro Manzoni, and the Dolce & Gabbana boutiques on Via Della Spiga. You can even book a local shopping guide who’s a fashion expert to provide a personalized experience.

Savor Traditional Italian Cuisine Lasagna with minced meat and parmesan, traditional Italian cuisine
Credit: Lasagna with minced meat and parmesan, traditional Italian cuisine by © Abrilla - Dreamstime.com

Savor Traditional Italian Cuisine

What Is It?: Some of the most traditional dishes in Milan are risotto alla Milanese, minestrone, veal, ossobuco, and polenta. Although Milan has a diverse array of dining establishments, there are definitely certain local foods that you should try in Milan.

Why Do It?: It’s fun to try famous local dishes here and take a food tour with a local guide to understand what you are eating and why it is significant to the culture.

Good to Know: Many Milanese dishes are meat-heavy and butter-heavy, often making traditional cuisine rich and comforting.

Check Out Milan's Museums Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Milan
Credit: Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Milan by © Michal Bednarek - Dreamstime.com

Check Out Milan's Museums

What Is It?: Milan has many fascinating museums where you can learn about local art, history, and culture. For example, the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology displays this legend’s works beyond just being an artist. Meanwhile, the Milan Archaeology Museum teaches visitors about the history of the city.

Why Do It?: Milan’s museums offer great opportunities to learn new things about the city and country so that you better understand the place you’re traveling in.

Good to Know: It’s impossible to see all of Milan’s museums in just one trip to the city, so pick just a couple that interest you and stick to those. Tours of the La Scala Theatre and theater museum are especially popular among tour groups.

Do a Wine Tasting or Tour Italian red wine tasting
Credit: Italian red wine tasting by © Stokkete - Dreamstime.com

Do a Wine Tasting or Tour

What Is It?: To drink locally while you’re in Milan, choose wines that come from the Lombardy region. Popular wines here include sparkling white wines, robust red wines, and orange wines made from white grapes.

Why Do It?: Wine is very important in Milan’s cuisine and in Italian culture, so it’s beneficial to learn a bit about the local wines and how they are produced.

Good to Know: To avoid transportation hassles, book a guided wine tour in the Milan region to do a couple of tastings. The hills of Monferrato and Langhe make for a great wine-filled day trip.

Take a Day Trip to Lake Como Beautiful landscape on Lake Como
Credit: Beautiful landscape on Lake Como by © Lukaszimilena - Dreamstime.com

Take a Day Trip to Lake Como

What Is It?: Lake Como is a beautiful region near Milan and a great day trip to take if you have a few days to spend in the region.

Why Do It?: This natural area offers scenic views, mountains, and lakeside villas to get you out of the city for a bit and give you a broader perspective of the region.

Good to Know: It’s easy to get from Milan to Lake Como by train in a little under or over an hour, depending on whether you take a slower or faster train with more or fewer stops. Guided day trips include a cruise on the lake and gondola rides in the winter.

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