Milan, located in Northern Italy, is the second largest city in the country, after Rome, of course. It is considered the economic capital of Italy. If Rome represents the old, the ancient with its ruins, buildings, and churches, Milan is the new, the now, a cosmopolitan city of the present with skyscrapers and ever rushing people. It is mostly known for its fashion, football teams and the Dome (Il Duomo). There is not so much to see here, in terms of architecture or historical sites, like we are used to in other Italian cities, but you can and should sit back and enjoy the friendliness of the locals, the remarkable cuisine at a nice ristorante and just breathe in the atmosphere of the city.
Things to see and do in Milan
The Dome is the third largest church in Europe, looking over the Piazza del Duomo (Dome Square). They started building the dome in 1396, but it was sanctified only in the 20th century. The facade of the building is really breathtaking with its 135 towers and 2245 statues. The church was built in Gothic, Renaissance and neoclassical styles. You can go up on the roof of the dome and experience the beautiful view of the city when the sky is clear you can even see the Alps on the horizon. The entrance fee to the dome and crypt is 2,20 EUR. If you decide to go up on the roof, you may take the stairs for 9 EUR or the elevator for 13 EUR. Children between 6 and 12 only pay half the price, and children under 6 are allowed in free of charge.
On the dome square, there are some more things to visit, like the Palazzo Reale, the Royal Palace, the Palazzo Arcivescovile and the gallery of modern arts, the Museo del Novecento. In the Royal Palace, you can find the museum that tells the story of the dome and also different temporary exhibitions.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II
The predecessor of shopping malls was built between 1865 and 1877. The street connecting the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza Della Scala is covered with a cast iron and glass arcade-like roof. There are two arcades connecting in an octagon that is topped with a glass dome. World famous designer shops were opened here, like Gucci, Prada or Louis Vuitton. You will also find here some of the oldest restaurants in the city like the Biffy Cafe opened in 1867 or the Savini Restaurant.
Teatro alla Scala
The world famous Teatro alla Scala was opened in 1778 and owned the biggest stage in Europe for a long time. Pavarotti and Maria Callas are among the artists who performed here. You can visit every day between 9 and 17.30, for a price of 7 EUR.
The Santa Maria delle Grazie
This church is important partly because it houses the fascinating painting of Leonardo da Vinci: The Last Supper. He never finished painting Jesus on this painting, because he did not feel worthy of the task. The entrance fee is 12 EUR, 7 EUR for ages between 18 and 25, and 2 EUR for ages under 18.
The Sant’Ambrogio Basilica
One of the oldest and most beautiful churches in Milan, built between 379-386. I strongly recommend you to visit this church, you can feel the 2000 year old history of the church within its walls. The entrance is free, visiting hours are: Monday – Saturday from 10 am to 12 pm and from 2.30 pm to 6 pm, Sunday from 3 pm to 5 pm.
Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
A beautiful church built at the beggining of the 15th century. Its inner walls are filled with fascinating frescoes. Since it is close to the Dome Square and there is no entrance fee either, you can easily step in for a quick glance, especially if you like art and beautiful churches. Many say it is the Sistine Chapel of Milan.
The Castello Sforzesco was the residence of the dukes of Milan. It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza. Today it is the home of many museums. The entrance fee to the museums is 5 EUR, entrance is free under 18. Tuesdays from 2pm the entrance is free for everyone. Watch out: the museums are closed on Mondays.
San Siro Stadium
It is a must for all football fans, since it is the home stadium of two famous football clubs AC Milan and FC Internazionale. Its official name is Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. A tour in the stadium and the museum costs 17 EUR.
Typical travel costs
A double room in a 3 star hotel is somewhere between 50-100 EUR depending on location, services included and the season you’re looking to travel in.