What to do in Milan as a teenager

Hi I’m Jorik, 17 years-old, and I am taking you with me in my experience in Milan. I will give you tips, which may be interesting for you as a teenager. Besides the city centre, I think there are some beautiful places in Milan to discover. Milan is a city full of hidden treasures. Every district has another atmosphere which make Milan one big city out of different smaller ones. I will just give you my experience of it!

At first I would recommend doing a Milan bike tour at BikeTheCity, since it gives a good overview of the city. This is what I did too. After doing the tour I wanted to discover some parts of the city extra, and I know where I still really wanted to go to.

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What to do in Milan as a teenager: discover the CityLife district

CityLife is a residential, commercial and business district situated in a short distance from the old city centre. Within the district, you can really see the differences between the older parts of the city and the newer parts. CityLife was designed by famous architects like Zaha Hadid, Arata Isozaki and Daniel Libeskind. You can easily come here by using the purple metro line (M5) or the red metro line (M1).

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Parco Tre Torri is a beautiful park just under the three skyscrapers which mark this area. Talking about these skyscrapers, did you know these actually have nicknames? There is the ‘The Straight One’, ‘The Twisted One’ and ‘The Curved One’. Now you can figure out which name belongs to which building. Back to Parco Tre Torri, this is a perfect park to hang out, and chill a little. Imagine yourself sitting here in the grass, eating a gelato with the sun on your skin. Sounds good, right?

After enjoying Parco Tre Torri, I would definitely recommend going to the ‘House of Cards’. Castello Pozzi, which is the real name of the villa, is a larger-than-life house of a former fashion designer. You will be amazed by a huge house of cards that stands right in front of the front facade of the building. The large artwork is the work of Rinaldo Denti, the owner of the castle, and Elio Fiorucci, the well-known stylist. It is presented as a suggestive and colourful touch of art in the midst of the greyness of the city. At night the house of cards will be lit up by colourful neon lights.

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If you are a real shopper, CityLife is the place to be for you. The CityLife Shopping District is partly indoors, which makes it also a good option to go to when the weather isn’t amazing. In the CityLife Shopping District, you can find shops like Sephora, Snipes and Adidas. Also, there are plenty of (take-away) restaurants, so you can definitely spend some time here!

What to do in Milan as a teenager: shopping

Besides the big chain stores, there are plenty of shops in Milan which are very original. In this part of the blog I will give you some shops you may like.

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Lego® store – San Bablia

Right next to the station San Bablia at the end of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, you can find the Lego® store. Lego is a real childhood sentiment for me. When I was little, I always used to play with Lego. This made me go to the Lego® store. The store had every kind of Lego you can imagine. Lego for adults but also for smaller kids. Within the shop you can make yourself as a Lego doll, which I thought was really fun. I chose to put Milano 2022 on my t-shirt. I think this is a really original souvenir you can get from Milano!

Eataly – Porta Garibaldi

Eataly is a grocery store which sells all kinds of Italian products. But it’s not a normal grocery store you would think of. As they say on the website, “the store is a forum where to eat, buy and learn”. Normally I would think, why should I go to a grocery store while I’m on a city trip? But believe me, this store is different. You can buy real Italian, pastas, focaccias, cannoli, and so on. I am definitely taking this home, so I can still enjoy the taste of Italy when I’m at home.

Vintage shopping

Milan is one of the best cities in the world to do vintage shopping. The city has plenty of thrift shops, like Bivio Milano or Cavalli e Nastri Mora. Within these thrift shops you can score beautiful (designer) items for good prices. And say it yourself, who doesn’t like that. The smaller boutiques, in which these stores are located, are beautifully decorated. And in most of them you not only find clothes, but also vintage home decorations.

What to do in Milan as a teenager: getting the best gelato in Milan

You can’t leave Italy without eating a gelato. I tasted lots of different ice creams in the city. In this part I will tell you, which are approved by me: these are the best gelaterie in Milan.

Grom – Il Gelato come una volta

Grom is a shop which has plenty of locations throughout the city. They have a wide assortment of flavours. My personal favourites at Grom are tiramisu and stracciatella.

Venchi Cioccolato e Gelato

Venchi is an Italian food company which is specialised in the production and sale of chocolate. My favourite flavour at Venchi was Cioccolato (chocolate). What I like about Venchi is that you can have extra melted chocolate on your cone. They have a chocolate tap constantly giving chocolate, this is a dream right.

Amorino

At Amorino you can get your gelato in the most beautiful roses of ice cream. I personally loved the food flavours at Amorino. Also these colours look just very nice in your rose.

What to do in Milan as a teenager: restaurants

Osteria Da Fortunata

Brera is one of my favourite areas in the city to eat. Originally, Brera was a so-called artists’ quarter in Milan. Osteria Da Fortunata on Via Fiori Chiari, which is a really idyllic street in the area. According to me, Osteria Da Fortunata has one of the best pastas and tiramisu in the city! Something fun to mention too is that the pasta is made within the restaurant. While eating, you can see your pasta being made. It is good to mention that at dinner there is a queue for the restaurant, but I think it is totally worth it!

Carlsberg Øl

This restaurant is one of the cutest restaurants I’ve been to in my life. The atmosphere is just so nice. For a good price, you can eat really tasty food here. Also, for an aperitivo, this is a perfect spot. With a nice terrace and good food, I think you can enjoy yourself until late in the evening.

Spontini

If you are a thick pizza lover, you should definetly go here! This (take-away) restaurant has one of the best pizzas in the city. Since the restaurant is a little crowded, I recommend taking your pizza in a box and eating it on one of the beautiful squares Milan has!!

Aroma Napoletano

For the best breakfast in Milan, you need to be here. This place sells the best filled croissants ever! The colours are already amazing, but after tasting them, you will be amazed even more. And that for only 2 euros. Normally there is a queue for the store, but again this is definitely worth it!

Starbucks Reserve Roastery

This is the place to be if you are a Starbucks lover. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery is an immersive coffee experience that celebrates the company’s heritage and serves as a tribute to the roasting and craft of coffee. The store has everything you can imagine on Starbucks merchandise. But also their best coffees and sweets are served here. It’s located on Via Cordusio which is the easiest to go by foot from Piazza del Duomo.

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Lake Como on ferry boat

If you have enough time, I definetly recommend you to go to Lake Como on ferry boat or train. Instead of going to the city Como, I’ve been to the smaller towns of Varenna and Bellagio. Every hour there goes a train from Milano Centrale to Varenna-Esino. A return only costs around 13 euros. In Varenna you should definetly go to Villa Monastero. This was litteraly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. From Varenna you can take the ferry boat to Bellagio. Bellagio is a town with some more shops, so you can do good souvenirs shopping here! Keep in mind it may be a little busy here, since this is a place where many tourists come. But the views here are amazing, so again this is a good recommendation!

What to do in Milan as a teenager: museums in the city

If you are more of an art and museum lover, this part is for you! I will tell you some museums which may be interesting for you.

Museo del Novecento

‘Museo del Novecento’ actually means: the 20th century museum. Within this museum you can find art of the 20th century. There are for example some Picasso’s, but also Piet Mondrian. It displays about 400 works and most of them are Italian. The museum is housed in Palazzo dell’Arengario. In the highest part of the museum, you have a beautiful view over Piazza del Duomo!

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Civic Aquarium of Milan

This museum is an aquarium, but not just an aquarium; it is the third oldest aquarium in Europe! It was built on the occasion of Milan International in 1906. The Civic Aquarium is the only
surviving building from the event. The museum takes you through the watercyclus, from sea water to rain. Also, it shows the ecosystems of sea coasts, lakes and rivers.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Vineyard

The Vineyard was a gift from the Duke of Milan Ludovico Maria Sforza to Leonardo da Vinci for all the work he had done. It was given in 1498 while Da Vinci was still working on the Last Supper, which is on the other side of Via Magenta. The vineyard has a beautiful, romantic atmosphere. Scientists actually discovered by DNA research which exact type of grapes were cultivated in the vineyard. It was the Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, which they replanted in the yard. On September 12th 2018, the grapes were harvested for the very first time.

Things to do in Milan as a teenager: visiting Brera

Brera is one of my favourite areas in the city. The idyllic streets and the best restaurants are located in this part of the city. And not to forget the Palazzo Brera, this beautiful building is home to some prestigious institutions.

The Orto Botanico di Brera is a Botanical garden which you can reach by walking through the corridors of Palazzo Brera. The Orto Botanico has beautiful plants, which may be even more beautiful when they are in full bloom. You can’t really see from the streets that there is a garden like this. This makes the botanical garden of Brera a real hidden treasure of the city.

I would say you go to Brera in the late afternoon. You can have an aperitivo or even apericena (an aperitivo and dinner together). The little boutiques, restaurants and small markets make Brera a beautiful area to go to. So put this on your list. This is something which needs to be on your Milan itinerary!

Things to do in Milan as a teenager: discover the hidden spots of the city

Il Dito

In front of the Palazzo Mezzanotte, you can find Il Dito. Il Dito is a statue of a middle finger and it is the work of Maurizio Cattelan. It receives the name of L.O.V.E., but Italians decided to call it Il Dito. It was Inaugurated in September 2010 as a temporary art installation. But the city liked it so much, that it’s still there. The actual name is L.O.V.E., which stands for Libertà, Odio, Vendetta, Eternità (Freedom, Hate, Vengeance, Eternity in Italian). I think this is something you definetly want to see in the city!

Orto Botanico di Brera

As I already mentioned earlier, the Botanical Garden of Brera is a real hidden hotspot in the city. Within the garden it is so quiet, you can’t even imagine you’re in such a big city. The Orto Botanico di Brera is located behind Palazzo Brera and is operated by the University of Milan. The garden was established in 1774 by Abbot Fulgenzio Vitmam under the direction of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, transforming an existing Jesuit garden to serve students of medicine and pharmacology. The garden is open on weekdays without charge.

Villa Invernizzi

Did you know there actually are flamingo’s in Milan? I also didn’t know this. In the garden of Villa Invernizzi, in the middle of the city right behind Corso Venezia, you can find flamingos. The Villa is a private property of the Invernizzi’s family, so it’s not allowed to enter the garden. Still, it is possible to see the flamingos from the outside of the garden. Normally, you would see them bathing while standing on one leg.

Read also: What to do in Milan in one day

What to do in Milan in one day

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What to do in Milan in one day? How can you make a stopover in Milan an unforgettable mini-vacation?

One day is not enough for visiting any city but with the right tips you will get the most and the best out of Milan also in a very short time and it will seem to you that you had spent much more time here.

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Courtesy @desmaakvanitalie
📸 by @sofiedelauw 🙌
thanks to Ilaria Fiorillo @milanoinbicicletta for joining the shooting

Where to start to enjoy one day in Milan

Nothing is better to quickly get to know a city than to hop on one of our bikes for a guided bike tour.

The bike tour will give you a complete overview of all the main neighbourhoods of the city so that you can enjoy one day in Milan: Brera district, Porta Nuova/Garibaldi district, Sempione district, Sant’Ambrogio district and Ticinese district. You will learn a lot about the history, culture and lifestyle of the city while having fun in great company. Or you can also book a private tour to better tailor-made your experience in terms of timing and route and have dedicated attention from the local guide.

Milan in a day: lunch

Ending the tour in the Ticinese district, you will have plenty of opportunities to taste amazing food and savour the authentic and picturesque atmosphere of the nearby area of the Navigli Canals.

So here’s the tip to have a great lunch for your visit of Milan in a day: from our shop, you can head to Darsena, which is within a walking distance, where you can have a quick lunch eating street food at the market or sitting at one of the cafes.

But you can also head directly to the Naviglio Grande, one of the three main canals still open in Milan.

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A lot of people don’t know that Milan had a port and still has canals. The Darsena was actually the city port, actually one of the most important in Italy and the main getaway for people and goods that were transported in and out of the city on barges through the canals.

You can also plan to come back in the evening if you like the area knowing that, if Piazza del Duomo is the centre of daily life, the Naviglio Grande is a place for the evening and nightlife with also very cocktail bars like Rita, just to mention on of them.

During the day you will better appreciate the beauty of old alleys such as the “Vicolo dei Lavandai” with a narrow stream of water in which the inhabitants used to wash their clothes.

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

Courtesy @desmaakvanitalie
📸 by @sofiedelauw 🙌
thanks to Ilaria Fiorillo @milanoinbicicletta for joining the shooting

What to do in Milan in one day: afternoon

After lunch, head to Corso Magenta for discovering the Magenta district.

This district placed in the historic centre of Milan, with its elegant, quiet and reserved mood, shields some of the most amazing treasures of the city. Some are very well known, others are much more secret and equally rich in beauty and charm.

Things to do in Milan in one day: Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Last Supper, Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie

If you’re looking for things to do in Milan in one day for sure one unmissable attraction is Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Last Supper by the genius Leonardo Vinci, which do not need any introductions because, together with the Duomo, they are the best known and most visited attractions for travellers from all over the world! So it is very important to book a lot in advance. Here is the link to the online ticket shop: Cenacolo Vinciano.

 

Things to do in Milan in one day: Casa degli Atellani and Leonardo’s Vineyard, Corso Magenta 65.

Always about the things to do in Milan in one day consider that a few steps away from the Basilica of Santa Maria Delle Grazie, behind the Renaissance residence of the Atellani, there was a vineyard that Ludovico il Moro donated to Leonardo da Vinci in 1498, while he was still working on the Last Supper, as a gesture of gratitude for ‘the various and admirable works he performed for the duke’

In 2018 for the first time, it was possible to harvest the reborn Leonardo’s Vineyard thanks to a scientific project curated by the University of Milan. La Malvasia di Milano, Year I – was bottled in exclusive 330 Decanters inspired by the drawing by Leonardo da Vinci present in folio 12.690 of the Windsor Codex manuscript.

 

What to see in Milan in one day: Church of San Maurizio at the Maggiore Monastery, Corso Magenta 15.

If you are wondering what to see in Milan in one day you have to enter here for the first time to remain speechless. Because it is impossible to imagine the spectacle behind that anonymous facade of Corso Magenta. The show is given above all by the decoration. Paintings, stuccos, and frescoes cover every space, both in the public part and in the Nuns’ Choir. The main artist here is Bernardino Luini, who worked here with his school from 1522 to 1529. Defined by many as ‘the Sistine Chapel of Milan‘ it is a real charm not to be missed beyond any comparison.

The main points of interest in the Magenta district are all within walking distance. To move to other districts, our advice is always to go by bike but we also recommend the experience of the Milanese tram, the protagonist in Corso Magenta and an icon of mobility and Milanese elegance.

Last but not least, do not leave the Magenta district before stopping at the Bar Magenta with its centenarian history and its legendary sandwiches and beers.

Now you can head to another famous district but before you arrive in CityLife, if in springtime don’t miss Piazza Tommaseo one of the most beautiful corners of Milan in bloom. The pink magnolias are driving crazy Milanese and travellers.

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Places to visit in Milan in 1 day: CityLife and the House of Cards

You can’t leave this city without doing some shopping so, regarding the places to visit in Milan in 1 day, you can’t miss CityLife. So be in the mood for shopping and visit a new area.

CityLife is the former historic hub of Milan’s fairgrounds and it is home to residential and business complexes designed by archistars like Zaha Hadid, Arata Isozaki and Daniel Libeskind. The three skyscrapers have very funny nicknames ‘The Straight One’, ‘The Twisted One’, ‘The Curved One’.

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You can enjoy the awarded park, enriched with a lot of public art installations or you can reach the elegant shopping mall and have also an amazing gelato at CioccolatiItaliani a very good gelateria in the food hall on the first floor.

Don’t miss also the Milanese ‘House of Cards’ by Rinaldo Denti and Elio FiorucciCastello Pozzi, a prestigious Villa built in 1929 and the house of a former fashion designer. During the evening, the cards with baroque designs light up thanks to fun neon games which make the view even more exciting.

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1 day in Milan: dinner and night

To complete your 1 day in Milan you can choose between an elegant restaurant in Brera or a traditional trattoria in the Isola district or an apericena (aperitif + dinner) in the crowded and fancy area of Corso Garibaldi.

You will go back to your room not having visited just one but a multitude of cities because Milan is so polyhedric and vibrant that your day in Milan, I bet, will be an appetizer for a much longer stay next time!

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

Read also: What to do in Milan in 2 days

The five best gelaterie in Milan

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When you are a day or a weekend in Milan you definitely have to eat at least one gelato, or ice cream. In this article we list what we consider the best gelateria in Milan. Especially when you’ve done a bike tour through Milan with us, you deserve one!

The best gelateria in the centre of Milan: Ciacco

The ice cream shop Ciacco is just a stone’s throw away from Piazza the Duomo. It is situated in Via Spadari, the street that is known for the famous store Peck, a historic gastronomical heaven. By the way, Peck is worth a visit, even more when you do love good food or like to bring back home a great bottle of wine. However, consider that the prices at Peck are in the higher range.

Ok, back to Ciacco. We consider this the best ice cream shop in the centre of Milan. The flavors that Ciacco offers are delicious and very original. As are the names. Order for example a cone with Principe Bugré (salted caramel) or a Quasi Cheesecake (quasi=almost). Stefano, the founder and ice cream maker is (one of) the first that created a seasoned ice cream (gelato barricato): ice cream that stayed in wooden barrels (the ones they use in the wine making process) for some time. Maybe this all makes sense when we tell you that the gelataio Stefano studied chemistry….

The different flavors are all made with high-quality ingredients and without additives. And more good news: they always have a wide-range of flavors that are made without lactose or products that derive from animals. So this is also the place to be when you are intolerant for lactose or when you follow a vegan diet.

Ciacco, gelato senz’altro

Via Spadari 13
https://www.ciaccolab.it/

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Artico, delicious ice cream in the Brera district

Artico is slowly becoming an institute in Milan. They’ve opened their first store in Isola, the district that also hosts the Artico Academy. A few years later they opened a second store in Via Dogana (we cross this street during our bike tours through Milan), only one minute away from the Piazza del Duomo. The store in Brera has opened in Spring 2021.

You can choose here between different varieties of chocolate-flavored ice cream as for example dark chocolate, bacio (milk chocolate with hazelnuts), salted chocolate, and so on. These flavors go well in combination with pistacchio di Bronte, salted caramel or almond. However, if you prefer fruit flavored ice cream, then be prepared to have more ‘heavy’ choices like red fruits or mango. Are you in difficulty choosing? Then just ask to try a teaspoon of one or two of the flavors. It might help you to make a decision.

Artico Gelateria – Brera

Via Brera 29
https://www.gruppoartico.com/le-gelaterie/

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Toldo, ice cream with a view (on Bosco Verticale)

Toldo is the oldest ice cream shop in this list of five best gelaterie in Milan. They have two stores, the first one opened in the fifties of the last century in Brera. The second one, in Isola, opened only a few years ago, when this neighborhood became more popular by both Milanese and tourists.

Besides ice cream, Toldo also offers coffee and sweet pastries. Meaning that you can go here all day. In the (early) morning one enjoys a breakfast with a cappuccino and a delicious homemade brioche. Later in the morning or half-way the afternoon it is the place to have a piece of cake or a coppetta di gelato. Like the gelateria named above, also Toldo is specialised in ice cream made with chocolate flavors in combination with different ingredients.

In the gelateria in Isola you can choose from 10 flavors. It might sound limited, but it means that you always eat fresh ice cream as the turnover is quick. What are you waiting for?

Toldo
Via Pietro Borsieri 7

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In the Porta Venezia district? Go out-of-the-box!

In the upcoming area of Porta Venezia, next to the beautiful Liberty facade of Casa Galimberti, the ice cream store Out-of-the-box. Also this one is relatively new. The laboratorio, where the ice cream is prepared, is visible to the clients so that everyone can enjoy the production process.

The flavors change here every day and are very original. Have you ever tried an ice cream made from raw chocolate? Or icecream with salted cshews? If you can’t make a choice, then order a ‘box’ with six small containers of ice cream. This is also very useful for take-away ice cream and can be enjoyed while walking.

If you want to take a souvenir from this ice cream experience, then don’t hesitate to take some of the postcards that do not only explain the flavors but also the ingredients that have been used to make this cold delicacy. It might inspire you for some home-cooking….

Via Malpighi 7
https://www.facebook.com/outofthebox.gelato

Stroll along the Navigli with an ice cream from Latteneve

The area around the Naviglio Grande is one of the most popular areas in the centre of Milan. It is just a 10 minutes walk from the endpoint of our bike tours through Milan and definitely worth a visit! Along the canal are cool boutiques and lot’s of bars and restaurants. However, if you want to eat a good ice cream you need to move-away a little from the water. To be more precise, you have to go to Via Vigevano. Don’t worry, it is close-by and it will take you only a few minutes to get back to the Naviglio area.

Latteneve produces ice cream with original and qualitative products, preferably organic and local. The flavors are made for example with single-origin chocolate, liquorice from Calabria and PGI hazelnuts from Piemonte. Order a cono or coppetta, ask for it to be filled with the flavors of your choice and enjoy it while strolling along the Naviglio.

Latteneve

Via Vigevano 27
https://www.facebook.com/Gelateria-Latteneve-783293678378154

What to do in Milan in 2 days

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This is the perfect city for a weekend getaway. Or the perfect addition to your Italian vacation. With 2 days in Milan, you’ll be able to enjoy the main sights of the city -and to find a few hidden spots.

Your weekend getaway should be packed with fun things to do, to see it all from a different perspective.

What to do in Milan in 2 days: the highlights

You might already have a list of activities and sites, but here are a few that you just can’t miss.

  • Get on the saddle with our bike tour through the main sights of Milan
  • Grab a cocktail at the Walden, in the Ticinese neighborhood
  • Visit Milan’s very own Sistine Chapel
  • Time to discover vineyard of Da Vinci. Yes, you read that right.
  • Grab breakfast at the Pasticceria Marchesi
  • Try something different at Panzarotto Luini
  • Time for lunch at Peck
  • Enjoy an evening in Corso Como and Garibaldi

Sounds fun? Well, these are just the highlights.

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

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Leonardo Da Vinci Vineyard

What to see in milan in 2 days, Day 1

Stretch your legs and get ready: this day is filled with fun!

  • Get to the main sights right away with our bike tour. We will pedal through the highlights of Milan. Gorgeous indeed.
  • The Walden is the perfect place to grab a drink or espresso. It’s a bar and a bookstore, a bistrot and a cocktail lab. This hotspot is trendy and eco-friendly. What’s better?
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Walden

 

  • At San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, you will find Milan’s Sistine Chapel. Painted by Bernardino Luini, between 1522 and 1529.
  • So Leonardo Da Vinci had a vineyard. He was Italian, after all. In the Casa degli Atellani you will find a secret garden and an oasis in the chaotic metropolis. It was gifted to the artist in 1498 so this is an ancient vineyard. Surrounded by art and whispers.
  • In your 2-days in Milan itinerary, you have to enjoy an aperitif or dinner at the Darsena or Navigli neighborhoods. We especially recommend the RITA for a drink. For dinner, the choices are endless. This part of town is full of fun and relaxing vibes. And of different gastronomies.

Dance the night away. This Italian city is unique and should make the most of your two days.

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San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore – Photo by Andrea Cherchi

What to do in milan for 2 days, Day 2

This is your last morning in the city. Ditch the hotel’s buffet breakfast and instead…

  • Enjoy breakfast at Pasticceria Marchesi. This is a historic and delicious bakery, where you can fuel up for your day. Founded in 1824, you will enjoy a vintage vibe while sipping cappuccino and eating a perfect Italian pastry.
  • You have seen the city from the bike. Time to see from the high ground. Or the high terrace of the Dome, where history surrounds. While the city winks at you from below.
  • If all the exploring has made you hungry, you can try a panzerotto at the world-famous Luini. A family from Puglia founded it in 1949. It’s the gastronomic and hopeful history Italy after World War II.
  • Looking for more art? Check out the Ambrosiana Cartone by the artist Raffaello and Leonardo. Or perhaps you are looking for a souvenir. Do some shopping. You are in the city of fashion, it’s time to see what that’s all about!
  • In the list of things to do in Milan in 2 days, you can’t miss lunch at the Peck. It’s an elegant restaurant and the menu focuses on traditional dishes. You can also grab brunch, with specialty food such as hamburgers, bagels, and omelettes.
  • Full tummy? Unwind with a relaxing stroll around the Quadrilatero of Silence. Or explore the Liberty style and architecture in the neighborhood of Porta Venezia.
  • It’s your last night in Milan. There is no better way to spend than with a cocktail and dinner in Corso Como and in Garibaldi area. You are in the chic and hip part of town. Time to celebrate your Italian getaway.
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Duomo Terrace – Photo by Andrea Cherchi

 

So, discovering Milan is doable in two days. There are many things to do, even away from the beaten path. Get that itinerary ready!

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

Read also: Things to do in Milan for couples.

What to do in Milan in 3 days

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Do you need all this time to explore the city? Yes, here there are more things to see than the Dome. With 3 days in Milan, you will discover every aspect of it. From the rooftop aperitifs to the relaxing SPAs. Not to mention the art and history.

This modern city has something for every type of traveler. It’s time to uncover its secrets.

What to do in Milan in 3 days, the highlights

These are the sights and activities you can’t miss.

  • Our bike tour to explore the main attractions of the city. From a new perspective
  • Take your lunch break in the Ticinese neighborhood, full of gardens and courtyards
  • See Milan up high from the Dome’s terrace and the Gallery’s Highline
  • Enjoy the original aperitif at Camparino
  • Have a special dinner or night at the Arco della Pace
  • Find glamour at the Quadrilatero della Moda
  • Liven your evening at the Navigli
  • Have you ever heard of the Silence quadrilatero?
  • Discover the Liberty heritage
  • 10 Corso Como is an address you can’t miss
  • A cocktail and snack at Moscova

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

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Highlight of Milan Bike Tour

What to do in Milan in 3 days – Day 1

The first day in a new place is the day of exploring. This is when you see the main sights, while looking for alternative activities. And we know the best way to combine both.

  • Join our bike tour, aka The Highlights of Milan. We will ride through the main sites while enjoying the city on a different, fun angle.
  • Hungry after all the biking? The Ticinese neighborhood is filled with delicious restaurants with gardens and tiny oasis. For a taste of Japanese cuisine, try Tenoha, while Trattoria Madonnina offers traditional gastronomy.
  • Talking about different perspectives, you can head up to the Dome’s terrace. There, you are surrounded by history. For more unforgettable views, you can also head up to the Highline of the Galleria.
  • Play the game of the broken telephone in Mercanti Square, which has a very particular acoustics. In your 3 days in Milan, you won’t miss peculiar things. Like the Stretta of Via Bagnera, the city’s tinies street with a tragic past.
  • The Camparino is more than a bar. It’s a historic place, founded in 1915. Here, you can try the innovative concept of Cocktail & Food Pairing, like the delicious risotto with Campari. Bottoms up, indeed!
  • There is no better way to end your first day in Milan with a chic dinner in a stunning location. Like the Arco della Pace, the Arch of Peace with the six bronze sculptures of horses turning away from France. In the book of Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast, there is a reference about the belief that the statues of Arco della Pace are aligned with those of the Arco di Trionfo of Carrousel and the Arco di Trionfo of the Etoile of Paris. Legend has it that the Sestiga (the horses statues) was originally facing France but then the Ausburg turned it facing Milan to mock the French. This legend doesn’t consider that the Sestiga is not from the same age of the Arco della Pace, because it was put there in 1837 during the Ausburg kingdom. Still, its current position, turned to the city, symbolizes Peace entering Milan.

Enjoy your sleep, because in the morning, the city awaits.

Cenacolo Vinciano

What to see in milan in 3 days – Day 2

It’s time to wake up and get a filling and delicious breakfast to start the day.

  • Breakfast at the bakery Pasticceria Marchesi in Corso Magenta. Pair your favorite coffee with your favorite croissant. Make it two, since there’s lots to do today.
  • If you love art, you can’t miss Milan’s very own Sistine Chapel in San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore. The colors and details will leave your speechless.
  • You’ve heard of Leonardo Da Vinci. Now, watch his genius in person at the museum Cenacolo Vinciano. Here, you can admire the painting “The Last Supper.” From there, you can visit Leonardo’s ancient vineyard in the Casa degli Atellani. It dates back to 1498.
  • For lunch, head to the artsy neighborhood of Brera for traditional food. Reviewers especially love the Ristorante Nabucco.
  • After your Italian lunch, you can take a relaxing stroll through the Quadrilatero della Moda, the rectangle of fashion. Take a walk through Via Montenapoleone, the street with the fifth highest rents, worldwide.
  • Before dinner, get an aperitif or a drink at the Navigli. If you are looking for a cocktail, try the RITA. This neighborhood has an authentic vibe. It reflects the city’s past on water, through glamorous canals.

You can spend all night at the Navigli but don’t stay up too late. There is still one more day of exploring.

Quadrilatero della Moda

3 days in Milan, an itinerary – Day 3

It’s the last day. A bit nostalgic, but still: there is much to do. Time to get moving!

  • Get breakfast at Villa Necchi Campiglio, where you can also stroll around the garden and park. It’s a good warm up before your day.
  • During your 3 days in Milan, you can’t miss the Quadrilatero del Silenzio, the rectangle of silence. This is a quirky and curious part of town, where you can admire pink flamingos and heritage from the Austro Hungarian past. You will discover hidden gardens and weird sculptures, like the ones from Adolfo Wildt.
  • Move up through the architecture and arts eras by exploring the Liberty at Porta Venezia. You can’t miss the Art Decò and beauty. Since you are here, head to Panino Giusto, to try a 100% Italian sandwich.
  • What’s a last day without some shopping? Head to the BAM shopping area in the modern Gae Aulenti square. You will be surrounded by innovative architecture and trendy boutiques.
  • For your 3 day-itinerary in Milan, note this address: 10 Corso Como. You will find an innovative space with a courtyard, boutiques, a bar, a bookstore -and much more.
  • If you want to work up your appetite, take a stroll through Corso Garibaldi.
  • Then, for an aperitif head to Moscova district, in particular to Radetzky and Princi.
  • Close your last day in Milan with a typical dinner in the Isola neighborhood, full of traditional spots.

With this three-day itinerary in Milan, you will see every face of this city. It’s artsy, foodie, and trendy. It’s surprising, for sure.

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

Read also: Things to do in Milan for couples.

Things to do in Milan for couples

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Milan might not have the reputation of being a romantic city. An Italian honeymoon includes Venice, the Amalfi Coast, and perhaps Rome. But Milan? Is it romantic?

The answer is yes. This can be a city for lovebirds. You only need to look deep enough, with big, loving eyes. Like the emoji.

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Sunset Bike Tour

Things to do in Millan for couples: the highlights

  • Our Sunset bike tour
  • Hop on a tram for the ATMosfera dinner and a tour
  • Dance as close as you want at the Balera
  • Is there anything sexier than clandestine Tango?
  • Admire love at the Pinacoteca di Brera
  • Two romantic Villas, two romantic activities
  • Buy a gift at the antique market of the
  • Romantic picnic at Sempione Park
  • Dress fancy for an evening at the Scala Theater
  • Shopping at the elegant fashion Quadrilatero

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

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Villa Necchi

Things to do in Milan for young couples: the morning

After a strong espresso and a chocolate croissant, it’s time to wear comfortable shoes and discover the city.

  • At the Pinacoteca di Brera, you can find two romantic paintings. One is the Kiss by Francesco Hayez, which portrays two lovers kissing. The other is the Sposalizio della Vergine (The Virgin’s Wedding) by Raffaello, which depicts Mary and Joseph.
  • The city has two antique mansions: the Villa Necchi and the Villa Invernizzi. The former has a gorgeous dehor, a perfect setting for a snack or lunch. At the latter, you can see the flamingos.
  • Every last Sunday of the month at the Navigli, there is an Antiques Fair. There are over 380 sellers in two kilometers of stands. Here, you can find a unique gift for your partner.
  • How about giving up on hotel breakfast for once? One of the fun things to do in Milan for young couples is a picnic in Sempione Park. Lay a blanket next to the Sirenette Bridge and enjoy the day.
  • The Quadrilatero is the rectangle of streets dedicated to fashion. Here, you can find luxury stores and boutiques, for a morning of shopping.
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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Romantic things to do in Milan: the afternoon

After a morning of exploring, it’s time for lunch and to relax, before getting ready for dinner and an evening out.

  • Hungry after all that shopping? Grab a slice of pizza by Davide Longoni at the Santa Maria del Suffragio. If you prefer something sweeter, grab a bite at the Knam in Anfossi Street. After, stroll through the colorful neighborhood in Lincoln Street.
  • Take a romantic stroll with your partner in the artistic Brera neighborhood.
  • Do you need to relax in Milan? The QC Terme SPA is a great destination for couples. You can get treatments all in one unique place: on a tram.
  • One of the fun things to do for couples in Milan is visiting the Villa Reale. Here, you can enjoy a break at the LùBar, which is both an art gallery and a bistro.
  • Welcome the evening with our Sunset Bike Tour. We will pedal through wineries, cocktail bars, and through the city’s highlights.
Darsena

Fun things to do in Milan for couples: alternative dinner & aperitif

After our Sunset bike tour, why not enjoy more of Milan’s nightlife? You can get another aperitivo while you wait for dinner and a night of fun activities.

  • Have dinner at the ATMosfera. You will enjoy a meal on a city’s tram. But it’s not just dinner. It’s a tour of Milan too, passing by the Dome, the Castle, and the Navigli.
  • For another alternative dinner spot, you can choose The Small. It’s a tiny bistrot with Italian cuisine and a very intimate vibe.
  • If you are in a pizza mood, try the original (and different) chef Cracco restaurant by the Dome. Central and delicious.
  • Grab a drink at the Highline Galleria, where you can enjoy a rooftop view and a cocktail.
  • Not afraid of heights? Head to Rooftop Terrazza Martini to enjoy a typical Italian aperitif or a snack before dinner.
  • The Darsena is the city old harbor. It’s a gorgeous location that beams with lights at night. Your choices of bars and restaurants are endless. It’s definitely a fun thing to do for couples.
  • The Nottingham Forest is a cocktail bar in Milan where you can enjoy the after dinner with your partner. After your drink, you are ready for your last activity of the day.
Navigli

Romantic things to do in Milan: the after dinner

If you are looking for a different way to spend your night, here are the best activities for couples.

  • The Balera of the Ortica neighborhood has tons of fun things to do. Here, you can dine, play bowls, and enjoy the dance sessions. Hug your partner close during ballroom dancing or dance the worries away with Boogie Woogie.
  • Tango is sexy, isn’t it? Immagine it if its is illegal. Even sexier. In Piazza Affari, a secret mailing list gathers to dance the night away. They are the tangueros of the Guerrilla Tanguera, a group of passion.
  • Enjoy a show at the classical Scala Theater. Dress up and enjoy a night in one of the most popular and famous Italian theaters.

Milan is a city for lovebirds. Are you convinced yet? The list of fun things to do for couples in Milan is endless. And they are all romantic.
More info on our bike tour in Milan.

Read also: Fun Things To Do In Milan.

Fun Things To Do In Milan

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Traveling is about fun. You are discovering a new place and it’s all exciting. Milan is a city where you can have fun – not just in the nightclubs.

It’s the enjoyment of trying something you’ve never tried before. It’s time to enjoy this city through a different light.

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Piazza Mercanti

Fun things to do in Milan: the highlights

If your time is limited, these are the activities you can’t miss:

  • Our bike tour to see the city from a different perspective
  • Play the broken telephone at Mercanti Square
  • Are you afraid of the tiny Stretta Bagnera?
  • Experience the Fuorisalone of the Milano Design Week
  • Face vertigo at the Branca Tower or at the Lombardy Palace
  • Experience the street food and beer of the Darsena
  • Stroll around the East Market
  • The Critical Mass, aka cyclists on the loose
  • Have you ever heard of aerogravity?
  • Check out the street art at Ortica and the Navigli
  • Discover Sempione Park on a rickshaw
  • Shopping time at CityLife

 

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

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Stretta Bagnera – Photo by Andrea Cherchi

A boost of adrenaline: fun things to do in Milan

Traveling is about experimenting. It’s time to experience new activities, to bring home unforgettable memories and weird pictures.

  • Our bike tour takes you through the highlights of the city.
  • The Stretta Bagnera has a dark history, so walking through this tiny street isn’t fair to the faint of heart. In the 1800s murderer Antonio Boggia lived here and here, he found his victims. Do you have the courage to walk though the Bagnera?
  • Perhaps you are brave enough for the Stretta, but heights are another story. The Branca Tower is 100-meters high and you can go up, overcoming the breath-taking vertigo.
  • Mark your calendar: every Thursday evening from the Piazza Mercanti, you will experience one of the funniest things to do in Milan. It’s the Critical Mass, a wave of people that take over the city. There are only two rules: no engines and no walking.
  • The Aero Gravity is the “the largest vertical wind tunnel in the world and the only one in Italy.” You will actually fly in an 8-metre tall crystal cylinder.
  • Is there a better souvenir than a tattoo? Gianmaurizio Fercioni is the most long-lived tattoo artist in town. In his studio, he has also created a museum for all the lovers.
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Torre Branca

Fun things to do in Milan for the foodies

Nothing screams of Italian vacation more than delicious food in an Instagrammable spot. Here are the top experiences for all the foodies out there.

  • At the Darsena, the old city’s harbor, you can enjoy the best street food next to a glass of beer, with the added bonus of a gorgeous view. At the butcher’s shop Popolare di Zen you will find hamburgers and the lampredotto, a sandwich with the stomach of the cow. If you prefer seafood, you can try the fried options at the Pescheria Il Kiosko.
  • There is nothing more Milan than the cotoletta, a veal breaded cutlet, although it looks like an elephant’s ear. The best restaurant to try is the Ratanà, nestled in a historic home.
  • Before dinner, you need an aperitif, in perfect Italian style. Time to head to the Navigli neighborhood to grab a cocktail at the Rita, the MAG, or the 1930 speakeasy.
  • For dinner, join a flashmob. Once a year, crowds dressed in total white and total black enjoy a secret dinner.
  • If you are looking for an alternative place for dinner or cocktails, you can head to these neighborhoods: Isola, Garibaldi, and Arco della Pace. Here, you’ll find the trendiest spots in town.
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Fuorisalone

Fun things to do in Milan for the fashionistas

You are in the city of fashion. It’s time to turn the streets into your catwalk.

  • The Fuorisalone of the Milano Design Week includes events and special collections. During the Vogue Fashion Night, every store and boutique of the city is open and the streets become a party.
  • At the East Market, you can find it all. It’s a space dedicated to hobbyists and private vendors who sell their crafts.
  • The CityLife is a shopping district with modern skyscrapers and endless shopping opportunities.
  • Need more shopping? Every corner of the city is trendy and glamorous. Is your wallet ready?
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Ortica street art – Photo by Andrea Cherchi

Having fun in Milan: the things even grandma will enjoy

If you are traveling with your family, it’s important to find activities that everyone can enjoy. With this list, the kids won’t be bored and grandma won’t complain.

  • Do you remember the game of the broken telephone? You form a line. The first says something and then whisper’s into the one nearby and so on, until the last one says the words out lout. It’s never the correct one, is it? You can play it in Mercanti Square thanks to the particular acoustics.
  • Is it the apse of San Satiro church really there?
  • If grandma drags you to the museum, drag her to the street art of the neighborhoods of Ortica and Navigli. You will find some of the most colorful graffiti of Milan.
  • At the Bar Bianco in Sempione Park, you can rent rickshaws to explore the grounds. The shop has three of them that fit six people. Time to race!
  • In summer, life in the city is outdoors. One of the fun things to do in Milan are live concerts. The most popular venues are Carroponte and the Magnolia, in the Idroscalo neighborhood.
  • After a day of shopping, one of the fun things to do is getting a drink at the Spirit de Milan, which also features a restaurant, and a quirky store. It’s a club, where grandma can show off her moves.

“I love Milan. It’s a city that gives me a great sense of euphoria. I feel a special energy there”, said Shawn Mendez. Feel the euphoria with these fun things to do in Milan.

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

Read also: Unique things to do in Milan.

Unique things to do in Milan

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Milan, the city of fashion, of the Duomo, and of the Scala. It’s also, the city of the unusual. You’ve seen pictures of the Sforza Castle, but have you seen pictures of the church of bones? There are many unique things to do in Milan beside the classic landmarks: do you know them?

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Fountain of Bagni Misteriosi – Photo by Andrea Cherchi

Unique things to do in Milan

  • De Chirico’s mystery
  • The secret of San Satiro church
  • A horned Virgin
  • The ear intercom
  • The Statue of Liberty
  • The Walk of Fame
  • Admire Milan’s OTHER dome
  • The neighborhood of cheese makers
  • Our bike tour, pedaling through the highlights of the city
  • Dialogue in the dark
  • The Dramatram
  • The 1930 Speakeasy
  • Relax at the SPA, inside a tram

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

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Horned Virgin – Photo by Andrea Cherchi

Unusual things to do in Milan: for the arts lovers

  • The shirtless swimmers of the Fountain of Bagni Misteriosi aren’t everyone’s type. The Italian artist Giorgio De Chirico recreated a swimming pool setting at the Triennale. There is even a floating and colorful swan, the ancestor of Instagram’s floating flamingo.
  • The famous Pietà (Piety) of Michelangelo is at the Vatican Museums. A lesser known version is at the Sforza Castle. Officially known as the “Pietà Rondanini”, this unfinished sculpture is one of the last masterpieces of the artist.
  • Even the masters have to make drafts. At the Ambrosiana, you can admire Raffaello’s drawing of the “The School of Athens,” created between 1509 and 1511. Raffaello died nine years later and rumor has it, the Pope kissed his hand before the burial in Rome’s Pantheon.
  • Milan was the city of artists. Donato Bramante was the architect of the San Satiro church and he put an optic illusion. Is the apse truly there?
  • One church with an illusion, another that is all too real. At San Bernardino delle Ossa, the walls are covered in bones and skulls because the priests ran out of space.
  • The Horned Virgin with scary hornes a unique character in the fresco at the Sant’Eustorgio Cathedral. A ghost might reveal the reasons. Her name is Guglielmina la Boema and, after her death, she was labeled heretic. Obviously, she didn’t take it too well.

These are some of the most unusual things to do in Milan. Let’s jump to the quirky ones.

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Ear intercom

Quirky things to do in Milan: the weirdness even kids will enjoy

  • The first Italian intercom was created in Milan in 1930 and it’s shaped like an ear. It’s a bronze sculpture located in the “Ca ‘de l’Oreggia” (House of the Ear). At least it’s coherent.
  • Milan is quirky, like the naked statues of the “cà di ciapp” in Palazzo Castiglioni. It’s a sexy couple on a balcony. *wink wink*
  • The Statue of Liberty in New York City has a twin and it lives in the facade of the Dome. While there is a whole debate on the inspiration, the Italian twin is 70 years younger than the American sibling.
  • Forget the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In Milan, celebrities have left their mark in Corso Vittorio Emanuele. You will find the prints of Patrick Swayzer, Sylvester Stallone, and Sharon Stone.
  • The Omenoni statues, or big men, are worth a picture. If you are looking for the specific civic number, beware. The palace still retains the old, sculpted Augsburg numeration in the thousands.
  • Whoever told that there is only one Dome in Milan was lying. In Via Pitteri you will find the replica of the Cathedral’s interior. And it’s a gorgeous 23 meter-high murales.
  • If you are looking for an Instagrammable spot, you can’t miss the colorful houses of Via Lincoln, the Italian Notting Hill.
  • You’ve never experienced anything like “Dialogue in the dark.” For one hour, you will be guided through different rooms that will experience only with touch, smell, hearing, and taste. The Italian Association of Blind People organizes this activity to bring awareness.
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Statue of Liberty – Photo by Andrea Cherchi

Unusual things to do in Milan: travel back in time

  • In 1848, the Augsburg Empire ruled the city. In march, a five-day rebellion ensued. Centuries later, you can still see the signs of the cannonballs in Via della Spiga.
  • When World War II broke, no city was safe. You can visit the underground anti-aircraft shelters and the Tower of Mermaids, an above-ground refuge. Here, the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini hid before fleeing.
  • Morning baths became a trend in the 1910s, long before SPAs were glamorous. In a hidden Milan, you will find the underground Albergo Diurno with Art Deco style.
  • The “Burg dè furmagiatt” translates to the neighborhood of the cheesemakers. The name dates back to the era of trade on the river when cheese was one of the top imports. Does the Navigli still smell of gorgonzola?
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Omenoni

Alternative activities: time to have fun

  • Our Bike Tour Highlights of Milan, to explore from the saddle. We will ride through the city’s eras.
  • If you are a dramamama, you will love the DramaTram. It’s a theater inside a city tour, onboard a 1920s tram. Note that the show is every last Wednesday of the month.
  • Have you ever wished to travel back in time? At the 1930 bar, you are in a Speakeasy during the era of Prohibition. The 1930 has the same jazz vibes, low lights, and shelves of bottles.
  • The Navigli of the city speak to the past of Milan. You can hop on a ferry in the “Itinerario delle Conche” to discover the city by water.
  • Take a look behind the scenes of the Teatro La Scala. Thanks to the alternative experience “Laboratori Scala Ansaldo,” you will see the theater’s labs. It’s a whole world behind the heavy, red curtains.
  • If you need a break after a day of exploring, you can head to the QC Terme, a SPA inside a tram. You will be surrounded by the Spanish walls of the 1500s and by the Liberty style of the complex. The SPA takes inspiration from the ancient Roman baths.

Like a true metropolis, Milan hides secrets and it’s your time to reveal them: enjoy to find all the unique things to do in Milan.

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

Read also: Milan’s Porta Nuova District.

Milan’s Porta Nuova District

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Literally meaning new gate, the Porta Nuova district of Milan is the main business area in the city. This part of Milan was still farmland in the 19th century, only becoming truly popular after an urban regeneration project launched in 2004 to put a new face on the districts of Garibaldi, Isola, and Varesine.

It is a main hub for transport lines in Milan, having been the location of the first train stations in the city. The district now covers an area from the Porta Garibaldi train station to the Piazza della Repubblica and from Porta Nuova to the Palazzo Lombardia.

After 16 years of construction in an area rife with urban decay, the new Porta Nuova district is now a high-tech, affluent zone, converting Milan into the city with the highest GDP in Europe. This industrialization initiative resuscitated a declining part of the city by bringing in various international companies such as Alfa Romeo, Pirelli, and Techint, as well as other significant fashion manufacturers.

Some of Milan’s more modern tourist attractions can be found in this area as well as places loved by the Milanese locals too. These include the country’s tallest skyscraper: the Unicredit Tower and the city’s green lung: the Biblioteca degli Alberi public park.

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

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Piazza Gae Aulenti

On December 8, 2012, Milan stood still for a moment during the inauguration of the futuristic Piazza Gae Aulenti. Designed by the architect Cesar Pelli, this square has since been named one of the most beautiful in the world by the Landscape Institute. In the heart of the business district, connecting the newest additions to the historic center, the piazza aims to serve as a symbol of Milan as a city of innovation and modernity.

One of the liveliest places in Milan, the piazza offers visitors and locals an array of restaurants, clubs, bars, shops, and the city’s most prestigious events. The square comes to life after dark with a light spectacle on the fountain accompanied by music.

The ‘Egg’ installation is a permanent artwork by Alberto Garutti at the base of the Unicredit Tower. It consists of 23 brass tubes vertically aligned, extending four floors up, to allow passers-by to consider the voices and sounds of the city.

The square was created with an elevated circular structure, from which visitors can view many of the elements of the city skyline including the Garibaldi towers and get a sense of this fresh, pioneering metropolis.

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Bosco Verticale

One of the more curious sights in the Porta Nuova district is the Bosco Verticale or vertical forest. Admired greatly by tourists, these two towers were completed in 2014 as VIP residences with a difference. Covered with a total of 800 trees, 5000 bushes, and 15,000 smaller plants, the Bosco Verticale towers, of 80 and 112 meters, are examples of what designer Stefano Boeri refers to as Urban Forestry. The towers represent another innovative idea in the modern district working toward sustainable constructions for city centers.

The Bosco Verticale has won awards since its inauguration including the International Highrise Award in 2014 and two in 2015: the Best European Architecture Award and The Best Tall Building Worldwide from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats of Chicago. In 2019 the CTBUHC listed the Bosco Verticale in the top 50 most iconic skyscrapers in the world.

An extravagant natural oasis in the middle of a grey jungle, the Bosco Verticale is tended to by flying arboriculturists. These acrobatic gardeners keep the plants and trees in order and take care of the wildlife that has made the two towers their home.

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Palazzo Lombardia

At 161 meters tall, the Palazzo Lombardia is another of the high-rise icons of the city in the Porta Nuova district. Visitors can take a trip up to the 39th floor and gaze out on incredible views of Milan and the surrounding areas.

At the foot of this towering construction, visitors can find the Piazza Città di Lombardia, the largest covered square in Europe, where popular festivals and events takes place each year.

As one of the most recent buildings added to the area, it won awards for design, sustainability and innovation, being named the Best Skyscraper in Europe in 2012 from the prestigious Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in Chicago.

With so many reputable architectural and artistic marvels in the city, it is no surprise that Milan is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Europe.

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

Read also: The Bridges of Verona.

Roman Milan

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Milan is a city that oozes history. Around every corner something can be discovered with thousands of years of stories to tell. Some of the city’s most famous attractions include Il Duomo and La Scala Theatre, but none go back quite as far as the Roman elements.

Founded by Gauls in 590 BC Milan was then known as Medhelan. Some time later, the Romans came to know this ancient city as Mediolanum in Latin. Milan was then as it is today, a vibrant metropolis of political, religious and social life.

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

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Timeline of Mediolanum

It began as simply a Roman occupied area inhabited by Insubres, a fused population made up of Celts, Ligures, and Gauls. But shortly after it became one of the most important cities in the empire. It was conquered in 222 BC and incorporated as part of the region of Gallia Cisalpina.

Under the reign of Julius Cesar, from 100 BC – 44 BC, the city was made a municipal, which gave them a certain amount of autonomy under Roman ruling. Citizens were obliged to pay taxes and perform military service but were not given Roman citizenship and thus did not have the right to vote.

The status of Milan changed drastically when it became home to Maximian. As a friend to the superior Roman emperor Diocletian, who in 286 AD decided to split the empire into East and West, Maximian named Mediolanum capital of the West Roman Empire, which it remained until 402 AD.

In 306 AD, both Maximian and Diocletian renounced their respective positions of power. Mediolanum, modern-day Milan, then fell victim to a series of wars of succession to the throne.

Finally, in the 5th century AD, as the Roman empire was falling, Mediolanum was besieged first by the Visigoths and later the Huns.

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Roman Sites Still Standing in the City of Milan

In 390 AD, Decimo Magno Ausonio, the poet, wrote famously of the Roman city of Mediolanum that it was grand and noble and there were many sites to be seen. Several of these can still be visited today, nearly two millennia later. Exploring Milan gives tourists an opportunity to experience a true adventure through time.

San Lorenzo Basilica

The stunning Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore is one of the oldest churches, dating between the 4th and the 5th century AD. It is a Catholic church built with materials from other Roman constructions in the area and frequented by Emperors, most likely due to its proximity to the Imperial Palace and amphitheatre.

Over the centuries, the church suffered numerous disasters including fires and earthquakes that destroyed various of the origin elements. Some parts were rebuilt throughout the medieval era.

In front of the church, there are the remains of an earlier Roman construction from the 2nd/3rd century. Known as the Colonne di San Lorenzo, there are 16 Corinthian columns standing within what is now a park. It is believed that they were moved here when the Basilica di San Lorenzo was built from a previous pagan temple or public baths.

Via Brisa and the Palazzo Imperiale

Close to the bustling street of Corso Magenta, the quieter zone of Via Brisa hides a significant part of Milan’s past beneath what was until recently a decaying area used mainly for parking. Due to the World War 2 bombings in Milan, an area of Imperial Palace ruins was discovered under the street. In the post-war period, archaeologists began studying the structures that had survived. The excavation took place from 1951 to 1962.

Next to a refurbished medieval tower, there is now an area where visitors can take a look at the remains of the foundations of part of this once enormous aristocratic residence.

Built for Maximian during the city’s reign as capital of the West Roman Empire, the house included administrative, military, and political offices, private baths and lodgings, as well as a direct access to the Circo Romano. It took up a large portion of the city of Mediolanum.

Sant’Ambrogio Basilica

Another of the remarkable Roman churches still standing in modern Milan is the Sant’Ambrogio Basilica. Build by St. Ambrose, the archbishop of Milan, it is known as a church of martyrs due to the high number of persecuted Catholic converts who were buried here.

St. Ambrose was one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century AD who constructed several churches in the area to give a Christian mark to the city. It was transformed into a nucleus for religious life and ended up hosting two separate religious communities, Christian monks and Canons Regular.

This basilica was later restored in the 12th century in Romanesque style.

Other sites from Roman Mediolanum include the Roman walls, forum, amphitheatre and the remains of the Terme Erculee, public baths named after Maximian. Taking a Roman tour through Milan, it is clear to see that the city was a thriving hub of commerce, celebration and entertainment, similar to the Milan of today.

More info on our bike tour in Milan.

Read also: Turin: The Road to Egypt.

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