Are you passing through Milan for a day and you don’t know how to orient yourself and what to visit? Or do you live in Milan and want to spend a Sunday outdoors, perhaps rediscovering the beauties of your city?
Here is a 9-stage tour , to be covered on foot or by bicycle, through all the most characteristic neighborhoods and monuments of the city.
Piazza del Duomo
The tour of the symbolic places of Milan could only start from Piazza del Duomo, the commercial center and meeting point of the city for more than seven centuries. In addition to the historic Cathedral, of which it is worth visiting not only the interior, but also the terraces, Piazza del Duomo is home to some of the most important monuments and buildings of the city: Palazzo Reale , the Museo del Novecento , the equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery .
Piazza della Scala
Walking through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II to the end, you arrive in piazza della Scala. First, however, a stop is a must: about halfway through you will surely come across a group of people who, with their heels resting on the emblem of a bull (symbol of the city of Turin), engage in funny turns. In fact, tradition has it that making a full circle trampling the “attributes” of the animal with the right foot brings good luck.
After this superstitious rite, you can leave the Gallery, where the Teatro alla Scala opens up in front of you in all its majesty: a marvelous neoclassical style building designed by Giuseppe Piermarini and inaugurated in 1778.
Brera and Piazza Gae Aulenti
Walking along the right side of the theater and going straight on, you cross the Brera area , also known as the artists’ quarter of Milan. The cobbled streets, the hidden courtyards, the street artists, the many clubs with outdoor tables: walking through these streets you will almost feel like you are in a small Paris.
Continuing for a couple of kilometers, you finally reach the very modern Piazza Gae Aulenti . Here you can breathe a whole different atmosphere: with its futuristic buildings and trendy shops, it is the symbol of the Milan of the future.
Arch of Peace
From piazza Gae Aulenti, taking corso Como and then corso Garibaldi (historical landmarks of the Milanese nightlife ) you arrive in via della Moscova. From here, passing through via di Porta Tenaglia you will find yourself near Parco Sempione.
Continuing straight along viale Elvezia and skirting the park for about a kilometer, you will see the Arco della Pace in front of you . Built in the neoclassical period, with three arches bordered by Corinthian columns and bas-relief decorations, it is inspired by the Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome.
Just behind the Arco della Pace lies one of the most famous and loved places in Milan: Parco Sempione. In addition to being one of the main green lungs of the city, it is also very important from a cultural and architectural point of view. Here, in fact, walking through its countless paths, you will come across some particular installations and architectural works, inheritance of the Triennial Exhibitions that took place during the twentieth century.
Among these there is also the Bar Bianco , which dates back to 1954: the ideal place to take a break and have a bite to eat before resuming the tour!
Leaving the Sempione Park and proceeding in the diametrically opposite direction to the Arco della Pace you will find yourself in Piazza Castello. The imposing building that gives the square its name was built by Francesco Sforza in the 15th century on the remains of an older fortification and later underwent further modifications.
Today it is the seat of the Pinacoteca del Castello , which houses important paintings by Andrea Mantegna, Tiepolo, Canaletto, Antonello da Messina. It also houses other interesting museums such as the Egyptian museum, the museum of prehistory, the Pietà Rodanini museum and more.
Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Last Supper
Going towards Piazza Cadorna and then taking Corso Magenta you will find yourself in front of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie . This building is both a basilica and a convent and belongs to the Dominican Order. The refectory of the convent, located on the south side, houses the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci , the famous fresco better known as the Last Supper. A stop here is a must, but we advise anyone who wants to visit it to book well in advance to avoid the endless queues at the entrance.
Columns of San Lorenzo
Heading towards Sant’Ambrogio, taking via Zenale and then via San Vittore you reach another of the symbolic places of Milan: the Columns of San Lorenzo , one of the very few remains of the late Roman period still present in the city. These are sixteen columns over seven meters high, located in front of the homonymous basilica. The square in front today is one of the most important meeting points for the Milanese, especially at night. Here, in fact, especially during the summer weekends, hundreds of young people gather.
The best way to end our tour is to enjoy an aperitif in one of the most famous districts of the Milanese nightlife: the Navigli. To get there, you just have to walk the entire course of Porta Ticinese, until you find yourself in Piazza XXIV Maggio. In this area, the Darsena is certainly worth a stop: the ancient port of Milan, the meeting point between the Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese , in 2015 was the subject of an impressive urban redevelopment work on the occasion of Expo.
Palestro and the Quadrilateral of silence
In addition to the famous Quadrilatero della Moda in Milan, where the most important fashion shops show off their windows, there is also the Quadrilatero del Silenzio, a place to reflect and enjoy nature, the architectural beauties and the magic of some glimpses of Milan. unknown to most.
They range from the Public Gardens of Palestro , famous for their paths and artificial views, such as caves and ponds, to the Garden of Villa Reale , today a Gallery of Modern Art. Attention: inside the wonderful garden of the villa an old law still in force today allows entry only to adults accompanied by children under 12 years old!
The neighborhood is full of stately villas and private streets, where the noisy traffic of the metropolis seems to disappear. If you take one of these secondary streets, via dei Cappuccini, you will be able to admire the Instagram stars of Milan: the pink flamingos of Villa Invernizzi !