Milan is art, culture, fashion and entertainment . The golden Madonnina that stands on the Duomo in the heart of the city is famous all over the world. It is one of the most exciting and interesting metropolises for its museums, historic buildings, but also for the events that animate it every evening and for the nightlife spots frequented by young and old. Milan is made up of a thousand faces that are always different from each other.
Given its size, visiting it in a short time is not so simple, but if you are in the Lombard capital even for a few hours there are some things that you just cannot miss. Here is our itinerary of Milan in one day.
One day itinerary in Milan
The itinerary includes the main stops in Milan, excluding museums and attractions that would take too long.
The itinerary starts from the must par excellence of Milan: the Duomo ! Visit it both inside and on the terraces to admire the view, then cross the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and finish the morning by visiting the Teatro Alla Scala , one of the most famous theaters in Italy!
After lunch, it’s time to visit another symbol of Milan, the famous and imposing Castello Sforzesco, one of the largest castles in Europe, today a real cultural center. Finally, enjoy the last part of the afternoon in Parco Sempione, the most important in Milan, which extends right behind the Castle.
And to end the day in the best possible way, you can only reach the Navigli , one of the places of the Milanese nightlife. Enjoy a stroll along the canal, dine in one of the many restaurants and finally mingle with locals and tourists for a night of fun.
- Morning : Milan Cathedral (€ 2.00 / terraces from € 8.00), Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (free), Teatro Alla Scala (€ 25.00)
- Afternoon : Palazzo Sforzesco (€ 5.00), Sempione Park (free)
- Evening : Navigli (free)
- Distance covered : 5.3 km
- Where to eat: Lunch at Salsamenteria di Parma, Via Ponte Vetero 11 ( Get directions ) / Dinner at Osteria Al Coniglio Bianco, Alzaia Naviglio Grande 12 ( Get directions )
First time in Milan? To optimize times and have a first approach to the city, we recommend that you book a guided walking tour with a local guide or a tour in an open-top panoramic bus .
1 – Piazza Duomo and Milan Cathedral
The day can only start from the famous Milan Cathedral, the symbol of the city par excellence . We can say without a doubt that it is one of the Italian symbols in the world! The construction of this imposing church began in 1386 and is characterized by its unmistakable Gothic style , with high spiers that can be admired up close while walking on the terraces.
In fact, we advise you to visit it thoroughly, visiting both the interior and going up on the wonderful terraces, from which you can also admire a beautiful view over the whole city. Inside and on the facades, there are over 3,400 statues representing numerous illustrious personalities, including lay people! Among these, the undisputed symbol is the famous Madonnina, a 4 m golden statue located on the highest spire.
Info on the visit : open every day 8: 00-21: 00, in October until 20:00. Ascent to the terrace with lift € 13.00, reduced € 7.00. Ascent on foot € 8.00, reduced € 4.00.
Buy your ticket in advance : it is one of the most visited attractions in Milan so we recommend that you visit it at opening hours and buy your ticket in advance to avoid queues
2 – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
At the end of the visit to the Duomo, go through the wonderful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, with an entrance right in Piazza Duomo and that goes up to Piazza della Scala, where you will find the last stop of your morning. But first take some time to admire the beauty of this unique gallery !
It is a real meeting and meeting place for Milanese, university students and tourists: here you can find historic cafes, high fashion boutiques, fast food chains and numerous shops. In addition, here you will find one of the must do in Milan: on the floor of the Octagon there is the mosaic of the coat of arms of the city of Turin, here you will have toturn three times on yourself with the right heel pointed on the private parts of the bull , this will bring you good luck!
Enjoy a spritz with a view of the Duomo : coming from Piazza Duomo, be sure to go up to the local Terrazza Aperol, which enjoys a wonderful terrace overlooking the Duomo! It is a truly instagrammable place, as well as being a really great venue, not to be missed!
3 – Teatro Alla Scala
Finally, end the morning with a visit to the world-famous Teatro Alla Scala, one of the temples of Italian opera . From the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II you can really easily reach it on foot, in just two minutes (120 m away). You will recognize the building immediately, for its marvelous imposing architecture.
The first musical season was held in 1778 with the music of Antonio Salieri and from that year several shows were staged on the stage, until the Second World War when the theater was destroyed and then rebuilt in record time. During the guided tour you will be able to see the interior, admire the stage, discover all the secrets of this incredible place and also visit the museum about its history, not to be missed!
Info on the visit : guided tours starting at 9:00, last tour based on the program of the shows. Full admission € 25.00, reduced € 15.00, including admission to the Scala Museum.
Take a guided tour : the theater can only be visited through guided tours. We advise you to book as soon as poss
4 – Sforzesco Castle and Sempione Park
Once you have had lunch, you can reach in a few minutes on foot the Sforzesco Castle, another undisputed symbol of Milan , absolutely not to be missed regardless of the time available! Built between 1358 and 1368 initially as a military stronghold, today it is a very important center of culture, as well as being one of the largest castles in Europe . Inside it houses immense treasures, such as some of the most famous Italian works of art, the most important is certainly Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini ! Given its size, the best solution is to take part in a guided tour , thus not missing the most important parts.
After the visit, finish the afternoon in the nearby Parco Sempione. This is thereal green lung of Milan and extends over an area of 386,000 square meters! Here you can walk, rest on a bench or reach the Arco della Pace at the end of the park to take a picture!
Info on the visit : Castello Sforzesco open every day, winter 7: 00-18: 00, summer 7: 00-19: 00. Admission € 5.00, reduced € 3.00.
Activities and ideas for alternative itineraries
Milan is a city rich in history and art. If you have already visited the Castello Sforzesco, alternatively you could discover the Museum of the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci , where the wonderful Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci is located (€ 15.00, visit to be booked at least a month in advance).
Other alternatives of interest are the Royal Palace (€ 14.00, minimum visit time 3 h), the Museo del Novecento (€ 10.00, minimum visit time 2 h), the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (€ 15.00, 24 exhibition halls) and the Brera Art Gallery (€ 12.00, at least 3 hours of visit).
The football lovers may visit the Stadium and Museum San Siro(at least half a day). The architecture lovers may explore neighborhoods like City Life (where the Generali Tower), or Island (where the Unicredit Tower and Vertical Forest). For shopping lovers we recommend a tour of Corso Buenos Aires and the ” Quadrilatero della Moda ” (via Montenapoleone, via Manzoni, via della Spiga and Corso Venezia). Finally, families with children may prefer to stroll in green oases such as the Monumental Cemetery and the Indro Montanelli Gardens .
- City tour with the family : morning visit to the Duomo with ascent to the terraces, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Parco Sempione. Afternoon visit to the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology. Evening historical center.
- Leonardo da Vinci tour : morning Pinacoteca Ambrosiana and Last Supper. Afternoon visit to the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology. Evening Navigli
- Free attractions itinerary : morning from outside Milan Cathedral, Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery and Quadrilatero della Moda. Afternoon Monumental Cemetery and Sempione Park. Evening Navigli
- Tour among the artistic beauties : morning visit of the Duomo and Last Supper. Afternoon Brera Art Gallery. Evening historic center or Navigli
- Historical itinerary in Milan : morning visit to the Duomo and the Museo del Novecento. Afternoon visit to the Sforzesco Castle. Evening historic center or Navigli
- In the footsteps of Milan football : morning San Siro stadium and Milan home by panoramic bus . Afternoon visit of the historic center, with Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Milan Cathedral. Evening Navigli
- Must + afternoon of shopping : morning visit to the Duomo with ascent to the terraces, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Parco Sempione. Afternoon of shopping in the Fashion District and Corso Buenos Aires. Evening historic center or Navigli
Before leaving: useful tips
- Move on foot or by public transport : depending on the itinerary you will organize, we recommend that you move on foot or with the efficient metro. In this case, consider purchasing the day ticket (from € 7.00)
- Avoid the car : Milan is known for its heavy traffic, so we recommend that you absolutely avoid the car! Instead, park it in one of the many underground car parks in the city
- Buy skip-the-line : Milan is a city full of tourists all year round! It is therefore essential to skip the queues to save precious time, so we recommend that you consider purchasing priority and skip-the-line admissions
- Evaluate the period of the visit : Milan is characterized by some exceptional events such as the Fashion Week, the Design Week, the Derby di San Siro or the Prima alla Scala. Evaluate when to visit based on the events of your interest
- Taste the typical specialties : cutlet, risotto and much more. Stop in typical restaurants to get to know the aromas and flavors of Milanese cuisine -\