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How to Explore Milan in One or Two Days

Explore Milan Italy
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Milan is one of the most popular tourist destinations and one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It is the second-largest city in the country and has a rich history and culture that is reflected in its architecture, cuisine, art, and fashion. There is a lot of history in this city, but it also has some modern aspects as well. If you like to see historical buildings with new architecture and lots of style, then Milan is the best place for you to visit! Whether you come to Milan for a day, a week, or a year, this city offers a lot to explore and experience. Let’s get started!

Duomo di Milano

Duomo di Milano
Duomo di Milano

A visit to Milan should start at the Duomo di Milano, which is the main cathedral in the city. The Duomo was built in 1386, and it is considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe. In fact, the dome of the cathedral took over 100 years to build, and it is the largest in Italy. The Duomo has over 3,400 statues, 700 figures, and 135 gargoyles.

Duomo di Milano Rooftops

Also, you must visit the rooftops, which provide wonderful views of Milan. A stroll among the Duomo spires is such a unique and unforgettable experience you can’t miss when exploring Milan. Most ticket options include the cathedral interior and rooftops. You can also purchase the option to access the rooftops by elevator or lift for an additional fee, just be prepared to walk down the stairs.

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Royal Palace

Royal Palace Milan
Royal Palace of Milan

Across the street from the Duomo, you’ll find the Royal Palace of Milan. This palace was built by Francesco Sforza in 1450 to serve as his residence and seat of government. It has been home to many celebrated Italian figures such as Ludovico il Moro, Beatrice d’Este, Maximilian I, and Napoleon Bonaparte. Today, it serves as a cultural center hosting several international art exhibitions.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Galleria Vittorio Enamuele II
Galleria Vittorio Enanuele II

Walk across the Piazza del Duomo (cathedral square), and you’ll find Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which was opened in 1877. The Galleria has many restaurants, cafes, and shops including major luxury fashion labels such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci. As one of the most popular tourist attractions in Milan, the Galleria is known for its unique architecture and beautiful art. It is also the oldest of its kind in the city.

Quick Bites Tip: If you are in the mood for some gelato, stop by Cioccolati Italiani on Via S. Raffaele, just a few steps from the Galleria. You can get a cone with any type of melted chocolate you want on the bottom. Also, walk over to Panzerotti Luini on Via Santa Radegonda, where you can get the best panzerotti turnovers in Milan for less than €3 each.

La Scala Opera House and Leonardo da Vinci Museum

La Scala Opera House in Milan
La Scala Opera House

Just a few steps from Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, you will find La Scala opera house and the Leonardo da Vinci museum. La Scala opera house is one of the most famous buildings in Milan. It was designed by architect Giuseppe Piermarini in 1778 and has been home to some of the world’s most famous operas since that time.

The Leonardo da Vinci museum was opened in 2001, and it houses over 20,000 exhibits from Da Vinci’s life and works. It also includes a reconstruction of his workshop so visitors can get an idea of how he would have worked on his projects.

Sforzesco Castle

Sforza Castle in Milan
Castello Sforzesco

The Sforzesco castle is a must-see if you are visiting Milan. This castle was built by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, and served as a military fortress and residence for the ruling families of Milan until 1806. It has been preserved beautifully with two courtyards, gardens, and an impressive palace.

The Castello Sforzesco museum displays paintings by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Andrea Mantegna, Titian, Correggio, Caravaggio, and Bernini among others. The museum also houses an armory with suits of armor from medieval times to the 19th century on display.

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Navigli

Navigli neighborhood in Milan
Navigli District

Navigli is one of the most popular and quirky neighborhoods in Milan. Built around canals that date back to the middle ages, this neighborhood is still one of the most beautiful places to see in Milan today.

One of the things that makes Navigli such a popular neighborhood is its nightlife. This neighborhood is lined with riverfront shops, buzzing restaurants, and eclectic cafés that are perfect for an evening with friends. Some restaurants may even offer a free buffet with the purchase of a cocktail or drink, so just be on the lookout for these offers as you explore Milan.

Shopping in Milan: Piazza del Duomo and Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Shopping in Milan
Piazza del Duomo Shopping

A trip to Milan wouldn’t be complete without doing some shopping. After all, Milan is known as the fashion capital of the world. If you are in the city center, head over to Piazza del Duomo where you will find plenty of stores for all types of budgets. Some of the popular stores at the Piazza include H&M, Lush, and La Rinascente, a department store with designer brands, gourmet food, and a rooftop restaurant with amazing views.

Keep walking and head over to Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, a mostly pedestrian street close to the Duomo. Here you will find affordable brands and popular shops such as Zara, Sephora, Mango, Bershka, and more.

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Milan is a city that can definitely be explored in a day or two, but don’t be surprised if you end up falling in love with it and extending your trip. With so much to see and do, you will definitely find new places to explore, new dishes to try, and new experiences at every corner.

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