explore Milan, Italy

Monuments in Milan, Italy

  • Castello Sforzesco courtyard
  • The main chapel of the Cimitero Monumentale
  • Tiepolo’s frescoes on Palazzo Clerici
  • The Hall of Mirrors in Palazzo Litta
  • La Scala Opera house
  • Sala Alessi in Palazzo Marino
  • main portal of Renaissance Ca’ Granda
  • the Neoclassical Arco della Pace
  • the Milanese Liberty style Casa Galimberti

The Castello Sforzesco: Where the Sforza-Visconti ruling families of Milan resided. Later it was the Austrian governor’s residence, when Lombardy was part of the Hapsburg Empire. It houses several museums.

La Scala Theatre, Via Filodrammatici 2. One of the most renowned opera houses in the world. It first opened in 1778 and re-opened in 2004 after extensive renovation. It has seen performances by stars such as Maria Callas and Pavarotti.

Cimitero Monumentale — Milan’s old cemetery in Art Nouveau/Liberty style. It is definitely a must see. 250000 square meters of monumental tombs and sculpture makes of it the biggest Art Nouveau museum in the World. It is arguably the most beautiful cemetery in the Planet. It is filled with lavish sculptures, impressive mausoleums and monuments. Well worth a visit. Always visit it with a good camera, remember: the trip’s best pictures may be taken here.

Ca’ Granda Old Hospital— now the Public University, once it was a Renaissance hospital built by the Renaissance genius Filarete. It is one of the most interesting renaissance public building in Europe. Don’t miss a visit to the gorgeous cloisters.

La Rotonda della Besana — An 18th Century Neoclassical complex. It is now an exhibition space.

Palazzo Clerici— one of the finest “palazzo Gentilizio” in Milan, it shows the amazing “mirror gallery” with a vault painted by the great artist Tiepolo.

Palazzo Litta— very elegant baroque palace filled with frescoes. Interesting sculptured main portal you can corso Magenta near San Maurizio church.

Palazzo Marino— the finest courtyard in the city. Built in mannerist style, it is perhaps the city’s most amazing palace.

Palazzo Serbelloni— one of the most beautiful neoclassical palaces of Milan, settled in Corso Venezia.

Palazzo Rocca Saporiti— another huge neoclassical palace along Corso Venezia neoclassical district.

Palazzo Bolagnos— Known also as Palazzo Visconti da Grazzano or Palazzo Visconti di Modrone, is considered to be the most beautiful Rococo palace in Milan, very beautiful is the elliptical courtyard.

Palazzo Borromeo one of the most ancient palaces in Milan and dateing back to the XIII century. The Gothic courtyard and main portal are very important. It also contains medieval frescoes.

Palazzo Fontana Silvestri built between XII and XIV century, it used to show decorations on the facade by Donato Bramante. Very beautiful are the Renaissance main portal and the elegant courtyard.

Palazzo Dugnani Rococò palazzo containing many frescoes, two of them painted by Tiepolo.

Palazzo Durini built in XVII century by architect Richini. The portal is a masterpiece.

Villa Simonetta— A renaissance palace with a very harmonical facade composed by three orders of columnades

Palazzo Cusani— Roman baroque palace in Milan, dating back to the XVII century

Palazzo Arcivescovile— One of the most imposing courtyard of Milan. Inside you’ll find the marvelous San Carlo’s frescoed chapel and a very huge collection of paintings. It has been built by Pellegrino Tibaldi and Giuseppe Piermarini.

Palazzo Sormani— Probably the most beautiful baroque facade of Milan. The back facade is even better.

Bicocca degli Arcimboldi— Once a rural Renaissance villa built in XV century, now it shows a very important collection of early Renaissance frescoes.

Arco della Pace— one of the finest neoclassical triumphal arch in Europe, it has been projected by Luigi Cagnola in the early XIX century to celebrate Napoleon’s victory. It is located in Sempione park, at the opposite side of the castle.

Porta Ticinese— another neoclassical City Gate projected by Luigi Cagnola.

Porta Romana— the original XVI century Gate of the city walls.

Arena Civica— neoclassical arena built by great architect Luigi Cagnola in 1807. It is located in Sempione park.

Casa Campanini— one of the best palazzo built in Milan according the Art Nouveau/Stile Liberty fashon of early XX century. The portal is a masterpiece.

Casa Galimberti— Very decorated exterior, with painted ceramic panels and ironwork balconies.

Casa Laugier— an elegant attempt to unify exuberant Stile Liberty with the classicist issue of the Milanese Tradition. Very interesting the carvings and the chromatic effect.

Casa Guazzoni— the most exhuberant Stile Liberty building in Milan. The ironwork balconies are just extraordinary.

Villa Necchi Campiglio— one of Piero Portaluppi’s masterpieces. A manifesto of the Novecento architectural style. Really a must see XX century monumental house rich of contemporary paintings.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele — The mother of all shopping malls: upscale shops in a splendid 19th century palace of a mall, with a stunning mosaic floor, and wonderful glass roof and cupola. Contains boutiques such as Louis Vuitton and Prada, a silverware store called Bernasconi, and eating places such as the Zucca in Galleria, Biffi or a Gucci cafe (and loads more, notably art galleries, fashion boutiques, bookstores and restaurants). At Christmas time, it becomes an enchanting place, with beautiful lights and glitzy decorations.

Piazza del Duomo — the grandest square in the city, the Piazza del Duomo is the cultural and social heart of Milan, and contains several of its most famous sights. Of course, the majestic cathedral and classy Galleria are there, but there also is the Royal Palace, a fine 18th century building which is currently an art exhibition centre, and several big, austere, old buildings. The street, with its huge lights, enormous statue of King Victor, huge buildings, and dark floor does at first sight seem quite overwhelming and overly majestic, but with its lovely cafes, top-quality restaurants and shops, constant flow of pigeons, and the presence of people make it an extremely appealing and interesting place. Since lots of the main streets and sights are or are routed from this place, you can’t really miss it.

Piazza Mercanti — a truly enchanting and tiny medieval square, hidden by the grand palaces in the central part of Milan. Here, in “Merchants’ Square” you get lovely Gothic and Renaissance-porticoed houses, and a well right in the middle. At Christmas time, it fills up with markets selling local produce, including mouth-watering panettone, sweets, bonbons and souvenirs.

Cinque Vie historical district Really a must see! It is the most ancient part of Milan, enclosed by via Meravigli, piazza Cordusio, via Orefici, via del Torchio, via Circo, via Cappuccio and via Luini. the Cinque Vie it’s a five street crossing: via Sant’Orsola, via Santa Marta, via del Bollo, via Bocchetto and via Santa Maria Fulcorina. This crossing it is at the center of this district that it is the best preserved in the city. It is where the original Roman Imperial era Milan was settled, with the ancient located in piazza San Sepolcro. In this area you’ll find lots of roman archeological sites, like the one dedicated to the circus, the theater, the imperial palace and the imperial coin. In this area you’ll find lots of ancient churches, like Santa Maria alla Porta (Baroque jewel, facade by Richini), San Sebastiano civic temple, San Giorgio al Palazzo, Santa Maria Podone, San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, the Archeological Museum and its ancient roman wall tower, San Sepolcro and San Sisto.

Piazza Belgiojoso — a small, yet very impressive square, which hosts the magnificent neoclassical Belgiojoso Palace, built by Milanese noblemen in the late 1700s, and the House of Manzoni, where notable Italian writer and literary figure Alessandro Manzoni lived, and which today hosts a library and the Centro Nazionale di Studi Manzoniani (National Centre of Manzoni-related studies).

Biblioteca Ambrosiana — Historical library with treasures such as Leonardo Atlantic Codex.

Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense — A library established in 1770 by the Austrian governor. It has since acquired other historical collections and the archives of RAI (Italy’s state television). It is very active in organizing workshops and debates on new media and new technologies.

Via della Spiga is a lovely and classy little cobblestone street, with some beautiful ancient buildings. The street and its neighborhood are more famous for the center of high-class shopping, where almost every luxury brand can be found.

Corso Vittorio Emanuele — near to the Duomo, this is one of the most popular high street shopping arteries in the city. It has a very elegant modern appearance, but too has some well-preserved grand 18th and 19th century buildings, including the wonderful rotunda-like neoclassical church of San Carlo al Corso. The Corso contains some great retail stores, including big shopping centres, fashionable outlets, and youthful, sporty designer boutiques.

Via Montenapoleone is Milan‘s top high fashion shopping street. It contains many of the biggest names in fashion, and some of the trendiest and famous emporia and designer stores in the world. Today, despite containing mainly fashion boutiques, there are also some jewelry shops and cafes scattered here and there.

Via Dante — one of the grandest and most frequented fashionable high streets in Milan. The Via Dante, named after the poet, is a beautiful and debonair pedestrian avenue which goes from the busy Piazzale Cordusio, all the way to the Largo Cairoli, just in front of the city castle. With loads of street vendors, restaurant and cafe tables, and often, street art, glamorous boutiques and often bustling with people, it’s great for anyone who wants to get to the Sforzesco Castle, but who also wants to do some high-class shopping, observe at some glorious Milanese palaces, and possibly sip at a coffee in one of the many open-air bars. It also contains the Piccolo Teatro, a renowned local theatre. At times, especially Christmas and some of the holidays, it can be chokingly filled with locals, shoppers and tourists.

Via Manzoni is an impressive refined-air street lined with aristocratic apartment blocks and opulent churches. It also hosts the Poldi Pezzoldi museum. Today, it is also one of the city’s premier shopping streets, and is noted for containing the Armani Megastore. It is very close to La Scala opera house.

Corso di Porta Venezia is considered one of the finest and most beautiful streets in the city. Right near the glitzy Montenapoleone area, it is flanked by a series of beautiful villas, museums and palazzi, from all eras. It also contains parts of the Giardini Pubblici, an old and leafy garden and park. On addition to being an aristocratic-aired place, today, several elegant boutiques have opened up here, so it’s great for both sight-seeing and designer shopping.

Corso Magenta is an elegant and aristocratic street in the north-western part of Milan. It contains sophisticated cafes and shops, and also some fine, mainly Baroque, palaces, notably the Palazzo Litta, one of the best examples of 18th century Milanese architecture, and also a place in which Napoleon I spent some time. The famous Santa Maria delle Grazie church and convent, where Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper can be found, is very close to the Corso.

Piazza Cadorna is a medium-sized, normal square in central Milan with the funky modern North Station and some fine buildings, but notably a set of peculiar modern sculptures in the middle.

Piazza Duca d’Aosta is a very big, relatively modern and busy square in the north-east of Milan, famous for hosting the city’s majestic central station, and the Pirelli skyscraper. The Piazza is generally bustling with people, and is at the heart of Milan’s economic and business district. It is where you’ll end up if you need to go to the central station, but it is also a good place to go because it boasts some excellent examples of post-Second World War modern architecture, such as the Pirelli building, and some elegant hotels, such as the Hotel Excelsior Gallia.

The Pirelli building, one of the most interesting and elegant skyscraper in Europe, by architect Giò Ponti.

The Porta Nuova, a city gate which marks the end of the fashionable Via Manzoni.

Piazza della Repubblica is a modern and very busy square north-west of Milan. It contains some of the most important office blocks and company buildings in the country, and boasts some good examples of 1950s and 60s Italian architecture. The square in itself is an important one for transportation, and contains some grand hotels. It is also close to the Piazza Duca d’Aosta and the city Central station.

Milan skyline, one of the finest in Europe. The downtown is located very near to the historical centre, between Garibaldi, Repubblica and Porta Nuova districts.

Torre Velasca is a tall, huge, castle-like skyscraper built in the 1950s, and one of the first in Italy. Stunning modern architecture.

Piazzale Cordusio is a central and busy square in Milan, right near the Duomo. It boasts some grand and beautiful late-19th century architecture. Once, and to some extent still today, it was an economic hub of the city, with the headquarters of several companies, and big banks and postal offices.

Corso Buenos Aires is one of the longest shopping streets in Italy and Europe. It is a large avenue, who, at first, is quite old, but the buildings gradually become newer further along. Today, it contains loads, loads and loads of shops, such as Swarovsky, H&M, Milano House of Cashmere, Calzedonia, Outlet, United Colors of Benetton, Adidas, Nike, Calvin Klein, Zara, Luisa Spagnoli, and a good number more.

Porta Ticinese and the surrounding area is a very old-fashioned quarter nearly untouched by WWII bombings. At night Milanese people like to have a walk near Colonne di San Lorenzo (S.Lawrence’s columns).

Piazza San Babila is a busy and modern square just north of the cathedral and near the city’s fashion district. Architecturally, Piazza San Babila’s buildings are virtually all Art-Deco office blocks from the 1930s, but it has a trendy business and cosmopolitan feel to it, and despite being very modern, boasts a very old sight, San Babila, a tiny, pretty, Romanesque church standing shadowed away by the huge modern skyscrapers. Piazza San Babila also contains numerous banks, post offices, fast-food restaurants and today also a touch of some funky designer stores too. Conveniance wise, it’s a great place to go, because it connects the Montenapoleone shopping area, with the more central Duomo zone.

Piazza del Liberty is a small square, which however, is noted for a stunning Art Nouveau palace today called the Hotel del Corso, but once the Trianon. You reach it just off a tiny opening at the beginning of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele.

Piazza Della Scala — The location of the Statue of Leonardo Da Vinci and La Scala theatre. It is a small, but grand square flanked by fine palaces, such as the city hall and the commercial and the bank. Great place for a photograph and right next to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Ticket office is underground in the Duomo Metropolitana stop.

I Navigli — Once the hubs of the city’s commercial life (the industrial canals), after years of abandonment, these pretty and “quintessentially Milanese” places are currently the location where many night spots are open until late, and today, there is a nice mix of old-world ancient shops and cafes, and funky bars and fashion boutiques. I Navigli (or The Canals) consist of Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese. On the last Sunday of every month there is an antiques market along the Naviglio Grande.

San Siro Stadium  — The famous stadium of Milan, home to AC Milan and Internazionale, two of the most famous and successful football(soccer) clubs in Italy.

Leonardo’s Horse — A bronze sculpture realized according to an original project of Leonardo da Vinci. It is on the courtyard of the race-track of San Siro, just behind the Stadium. The race-track is open on race days but the courtyard is open every day.