Milan, Italy – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main attractions of Milan with descriptions, guides and maps.
The city of Milan (Italy).
Milan is the main city of Northern Italy and the capital of the region of Lombardy. It is a modern metropolis, which is considered the business and financial center of the country. Milan is the capital of fashion and business, the most stylish, expensive and wealthy city in Italy, which ranks on par with Paris and London for entertainment and shopping. But not only that the capital of Lombardy is famous for. You can see such famous sights as: the magnificent Duomo, Sforza Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where the legendary fresco “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci is located, and many other no less interesting historical and cultural monuments.
If Rome is “old Italy”, then Milan is its modern symbol. Despite some similarities with typical Italian cities, it is very different architecturally and atmospherically. In Milan a different rhythm of life, the city itself is quite gray, as many buildings are built from limestone or dark stone, and in the architecture is noticeable influence of Austrian and French styles. But for all its seriousness Milan is still a fun and emotional Italy!
Things to do (Milan):
€160 per tour.
A walk through the eras of Milan
Discover the history, culture and authentic beauty of the city on a guided tour with an art historian
€125 per tour
First tour of Milan
See the main sights and taste the excellent panzerotti on a sightseeing stroll
Geography and climate
Milan is located in northern Italy between the Po valley to the south and the foothills of the Alps to the north. In the immediate vicinity there are large picturesque lakes: Lake Como, Lugano and Maggiore.
The streets of Milan
The climate is humid subtropical. Summer is hot, autumn is rainy, and winter is fairly mild with some frosts. In cold weather fogs are fairly common.
- Population – 1 366 thousand people.
- Area – 181.8 square kilometers.
- Official language is Italian.
- Currency – euros.
- Visa – Schengen.
- Time – Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.
- Museums and tourist attractions do not open on Mondays.
- The end of July-the first half of August is the traditional vacation time. At this time some small establishments and stores may close.
Best time to visit
Milan can be visited all year round. Despite the fact that in late fall and winter it is quite foggy and rainy. Very cool the city looks in the Christmas period. In summer Milan is quite hot and humid, so if you do not like the heat, it is better to choose spring or autumn to visit the main city of Lombardy.
Milan became part of the Roman Empire in the 2nd century BC. At that time the city was called Mediolanus. In the 4th century it competed with Rome for supremacy in the Western Roman Empire. But after a while it was destroyed by the Huns and the Ostgoths and fell into decline. In the 6th century the ancient Germanic tribe of Lombards settled there, which gave the name of the future region – Lombardy.
In the 11th century the importance of Milan increased again. It became the capital of an independent state. The strengthening of its position in the region did not please Frederick Barbarossa, who ravaged the city in 1162. Despite this, in 1176 the German king and Holy Roman Emperor was defeated and Milan received privileges which allowed it to become one of the richest cities in Europe. In 1277 the Guelphs and Ghibellines were victorious in the confrontation between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. Milan became a monarchy, with the Visconti family as ruling dynasty, succeeded by the Sforza family in 1450. During the Sforza period, the great Leonardo da Vinci and Bramante worked and lived in Milan.
In the 15th century the Duchy of Milan was under the rule of the French, from 1540 to 1706 under the Spanish Kingdom. During this period there was economic and cultural stagnation. In the 18th century the city became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was (with a short break) ruled by the Habsburgs until 1859. Milan became part of Italy in 1861. It was even wanted to make it the capital, but in the end the ancient Rome was chosen. During World War II the city was pretty much destroyed.
How to get there
Milan has two international airports: Linate and Malpensa. The main international airport is Malpensa. From there you can get to the city center by train. Some budget airlines fly to Bergamo Airport.
Milan Central Station receives trains from most major cities in Italy: Turin, Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice as well as from many European capitals and cities: Barcelona, Zurich, Geneva, Paris, Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna, Prague. The railway station has access to the subway. Another important railway station is Cadorna. The express train from Malpensa airport stops here and also has subway access.
Streets of Milan
There is a popular saying that “all roads lead to Rome”. Well, all roads in northern Italy lead to Milan. The city has excellent transport accessibility. But it should be noted that the highways are toll roads.
Milan has a well-developed system of public transport: metro, streetcars and buses. There is a single ticket, which can be bought in special vending machines and tobacco kiosks. The fare is 1.5 euros. There are 4 metro lines: red, green, yellow and purple.
Milan is one of the main centers of world shopping and fashion. Here you can find everything from fashionable brands to the products of small design studios. The main shopping quarter is the Fashion Quadrangle, which is located between the Duomo, Piazza Cavour and Piazza San Babila. Most of the famous boutiques can be found in Via Montenapoleone, Della Spiga, Vittorio Emanuele, Sant’ Andrea, Porta Venezia and Manzoni. Near Milan there are five large outlet stores, where you can buy designer and branded goods with large discounts. The largest outlet is Serravalle. It is located an hour’s drive from Milan. Buses leave from the Sforza Castle.
Outlets in the outskirts of Milan
Although Milan often follows fashion and modern trends, it is one of the outposts of traditional Italian cuisine. Avoid restaurants around the Duomo; they tend to be popular tourist spots, with low-quality food at inflated prices. Keep in mind that most restaurants charge an additional “service charge,” approximately 2 euros per customer.
Although Milan is not the first city with which many tourists associate Italy, it boasts some remarkable sights and cultural monuments. For all its serious reputation as the fashionable, business and financial center of the country, it is a city rich in history and cultural heritage.
The Duomo, or cathedral of Santa Maria Nacente, is the symbol of Milan, located in the heart of the city in the square of the same name. It is one of the largest religious buildings in the world (holds about 40,000 people) and probably the most beautiful church in the Gothic style. The Duomo was built over 4 centuries from the 14th century. Its roof is topped with 135 spires and its facade is decorated with 2,245 marble statues. The modest interior, in striking contrast to the shiny and richly patterned exterior, makes a strong impression with its 52 giant columns. The Duomo’s stained glass windows and nave are the largest in the world. Inside you can see the 1200 bronze candelabrum, the tomb of Giacomo de Medici and the reliquary of San Carlo Borromeo. A very atmospheric walk on the roof of the Duomo, from where on clear days one can see the snow-capped peaks of the Alps. Near the central aisle is the entrance under the ground where you can see the foundations of an ancient 4th century basilica and baptistery, discovered during the construction of the subway. Entrance to the Cathedral is free. Important: It is forbidden to wear short skirts, shorts or open shoulders.
Gallery of Victor Emmanuel II
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – located a bit away from the Duomo and connects the cathedral square with Piazza La Scala. It was built in the 1970s and at the time was the largest shopping gallery in Europe. There are expensive boutiques and elegant cafes. The gallery is a magnificent example of 19th century architecture.
La Scala – one of the most famous opera houses in the world is located in a rather inconspicuous building on a small square. Accommodates 2,800 spectators. Season lasts from December to May.
Santa Maria delle Grazie
Santa Maria delle Grazie is a 15th-century brick Gothic church with an early Bramante Renaissance dome. It is world famous for Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco The Last Supper. Unfortunately, the church and the fresco were damaged in bombing raids during World War II. Leonardo’s fresco was painted in the refectory of the former Dominican monastery in the late 15th century. Unfortunately, Da Vinci’s fresco is constantly being destroyed and restored (Leonardo painted the fresco on damp plaster).
Sforza Castle is one of the main attractions of Milan, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The castle was built in the 14th century and was the main residence of the rulers of Milan – Visconti and Sforza. Now there is a magnificent museum with such rarities as the last masterpiece by Michelangelo, paintings by Bellini, Correggio, Mantegna, Berggone, Foppa, Lotto, Tintoretto, Egyptian and other antiquities, medieval weapons. In front of the 70-meter high Torre de Filaret is a large fountain built under Mussolini. Behind the castle is the large neoclassical Park Sempione, one of the favorite places of Milanese.
Cinque Vie historic district
The historic district of Cinque Vie is the oldest part of Milan, located between Piazza Cordusio, Via Meravigli and Via Orefici. In this area you can find many Roman archaeological sites, such as the theater, the imperial palace and the imperial mint. Moreover, there are many ancient churches, such as Santa Maria alla Porta (Baroque gem of Milan), San Sebastiano, San Giorgio el Palazzo, Santa Maria Podone, San Maurizio el Monastero Maggiore.
Church of San Maurizio
San Maurizio is a Baroque church whose interior is considered the most beautiful among the religious structures of Milan. It was built in the early 16th century for a Benedictine convent. Inside the church is painted with beautiful frescoes by the best masters of Lombardy. The monastery was built on the ruins of the ancient Roman circus and walls. There is now an archaeological museum that introduces Milan of the Roman period.
The Pinacoteca Brera is a 17th-century Renaissance palace that originally housed a Jesuit school. Now it is one of the best art museums in Italy. Paintings by the best artists of Lombardy and disciples of da Vinci, Venetian masters, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Picasso and many others are on display here.
Sant’Ambrogio is one of the oldest churches of Milan, founded in the 4th century by St. Ambrose, who is the patron of the city. The church is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. It was built in the 12th century around the choir of an earlier ninth-century church. Notable is the ancient 9th century altar, located among those built during the Carolingian period.
Monument of Chimitero
The Cimitero Monument is a monumental late 18th century cemetery known for its rich tombstones and Art Nouveau sculptures.
Da Vinci Museum
The Da Vinci Museum is the national museum of science and technology located in a former monastery building. Of particular interest is the Leonardo da Vinci gallery with working models of many of his inventions and machines created from his drawings and blueprints. Also on display here are the instruments used by Galileo, Newton and Volta.
Naviglio is an atmospheric place in the canal area of the same name with many restaurants and clubs.
Sant’Eustorgio is a 12th century Romanesque basilica with a beautiful high bell tower. Nearby is another church, San Lorenzo Maggiore, dating from the early Christian period. The Renaissance dome was added in 1574, the mosaics in the chapel of St. Aquilinas date back to the 4th century. In front of the church is a portico of sixteen Corinthian columns, which is the largest surviving monument of the Roman period.
The Arch of Peace
The Arch of Peace is an interesting example of Neoclassical architecture. This triumphal arch was built in the first half of the 18th century and is located in the center of a large square behind the Sforza Castle and Park. Construction of the arch was begun under Napoleon Bonaparte, but was completed after his defeat at Waterloo by the Austrian monarch Francis I, who dedicated it to peace.
Church of Santa Maria del Carmine
Santa Maria del Carmine is a red-brick church of the Carmelite order built in the 13th century. The church was destroyed in a fire in the 14th century and abandoned. It was rebuilt in the 15th century by Antonio Solari. It is an interesting example of Lombard neo-Gothic.
Basilica of San Lorenzo
The Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore (St. Lawrence) is a Renaissance style church with an ancient baptistery and a 12th century Romanesque bell tower. The church was founded in the 4th century and is one of the oldest in Milan. There are late antique mosaics and some Roman columns.
Church of San Babila
San Babila is a brick church founded in the 11th century. The baroque 16th-century building was rebuilt in the 19th century in the style of the original medieval appearance. The neo-Romanesque bell tower was completed in the 1930s of the 20th century.
The Velasca Tower is an interesting example of civil engineering. It is a 106-meter skyscraper with an unusual architectural form.
€165 per excursion
The Da Vinci Code: unraveling Leonardo’s Milan
Exploring the city and its attractions through the artist’s legacy
€85 per tour
Milan Express Stroll
The main sights, the history of the city and valuable tips on a one-hour walking tour
Milan travel guide.
Italy is a country that stands out in every way. You can admire France, Germany, England, Greece or Spain for a long time, but you can not fail to recognize the fact that all the fashion for everything in the world comes from Italy and not from any of the above listed countries. And the most famous center of all this world fashion is the Italian city of Milan. However, not only for its fashion Milan is famous, but also for a large number of various historical monuments and all sorts of cultural attractions, very interesting for tourists from all over the world.
Milan travel guide.
Milan is located in northern Italy, in the Po River valley, and is the second largest and most important city in Italy. The area of the city is more than 180 square kilometers, and it is now home to 1,350,000 people.
The city is the largest financial, industrial and cultural center of the country. Milan is famous for its truly unique monuments of ancient and medieval architecture, museums, theaters. There are very few people who have not heard about the great opera house – La Scala, located in the city. In addition to the city of Milan, as mentioned above, is the so-called capital of Italian fashion, and this is no accident. In this city there are the most famous and prestigious stores, which are represented things of world famous fashion designers.
Milan travel guide.
Milan, like many other famous Italian cities, was not part of the Roman Empire; it was a Celtic city and was conquered only in 223 B.C. when the militant Romans began to expand their influence in northern Italy. This was largely due to the convenient location of the city, which allowed trade with neighboring cities, as well as controlling them. After all, it was through Milan that the most important road leading to the north of the peninsula passed at that time.
Immediately after the Roman Empire ceased to exist, power in the city repeatedly, and even regularly, changed hands between the rulers of different states. The history of Milan is quite extensive and is associated with many very, very famous names. At one time the city belonged to the Austrian government, was conquered by the Spaniards, and then by Napoleon. For a time, Milan was the home of Leonardo da Vinci, and it was in this city that many masterpieces of the great Florentine painter, architect and scientist were born. Only in 1859, during the struggle for the unification of Italy (Risorgimento) the city became Italian again.
The modern appearance of Milan. As in ancient times, nowadays Milan is one of the most important economic and political centers of Italy. Thanks to the initiative and hard work of its people Milan is much faster than other Italian cities. This city is the most important railway and road center, which has, among other things, a lot of intellectually important objects – scientific institutions, laboratories, etc.. Thanks to a well-developed financial system and a large number of banks in Milan the most important conferences, symposia and exhibitions are held. Subjects of exhibitions may vary from toys and food products to environmental issues. These exhibitions are popular, and that is why, if you have a desire to visit them, then about booking a hotel room should be taken care of in advance. It should not come as a surprise that at the time of the exhibitions most hotels deliberately raise the prices for their services.
Modern Milan attracts not only businessmen and tourists who are admirers of cultural values. Sports enthusiasts from all over the world flock to the city, where the San Siro stadium is home to some formidable soccer matches and the Monza stadium is home to Formula 1 racing.
The city’s varied restaurants offer a wealth of delicious Italian cuisine and the city’s varied nightclubs and bars are a treat for activity lovers. However, most of all Milan attracts by the presence of fashion boutiques, which represent almost all known national and international brands. Milan has long ago gained fame as the capital of Italian fashion.
Attractions in Milan
One of the main cultural and historical attractions is the Basilica of Sant Ambroglio, which was built in the 14th century. The oldest church in Milan is famous for housing the sarcophagi of St. Ambroglio, the bishop (in whose honor the basilica was named), Stilichon, the Roman general, as well as its altar and chapel made of gold.
Attractions in Milan
Of notable importance is also Santa Maria de la Grazia, the church from the 15th century that houses the world famous “Last Supper” fresco by Leonardo da Vinci. Unfortunately, this masterpiece has been badly damaged many times and has undergone many restorations, so it bears little resemblance to the fresco by the great Florentine.
Milan Cathedral (or Duomo) can be considered the most famous monument of all the available monuments of architecture in Milan. The construction of this cathedral was carried out almost 4.5 centuries. And at present this splendor of Gothic style is occasionally updated, because of what he dubbed “eternal building”. The cathedral is faced with valuable white marble and richly decorated with numerous carved cornices, towers and spires, which gives a sense of lace elegance and weightlessness of this structure.
The building of the Royal Palace, on the right side of the Cathedral of Milan, also catches the attention of tourists. In 1943, the palace was badly damaged by bombing. After the war it was completely rebuilt and now houses a famous museum of modern art. The palace is remarkable in that it is an almost replica of the Moscow Kremlin, and therefore it is often called the Kremlin of Milan.
Milan is quite a controversial city. In Milan there is a place for everyone: those who come to develop their business, and those who want to have fun and of course connoisseurs of architecture. In any case, Milan always welcomes visitors and hospitably opens its arms to everyone who wants to join, albeit briefly, its life.
The story about one of the most significant economic and cultural centers of Italy – Milan, about its geographical position, history and main tourist attractions.