You are here
Home > Travel Guides > 20 Things to do in Milan Italy Travel Guide

20 Things to do in Milan Italy Travel Guide

Well, welcome to Italy! This week we’re exploring the fashion capital of Europe. We’re here in Milan. But of course there is more to do in Milan than just go shopping. So we’re going to be showing you 20 attractions around town. We had 3 days in Milan so we hit the ground running and tried to see and do as much as possible. We made time for major attractions like Il Duomo, Sforza Castle, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, but we also veered away from the crowds in search of street art and interesting neighborhoods. This being Italy, we also tried to prioritize meals, sampling everything from pizza to risotto, and cappuccinos to aperitivos.

The following travel guide will highlight 20 things to do when you visit Milan, Italy Our first stop was Il Duomo, which is the most recognized attraction in the city. The cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete and the exterior is covered in Candoglia marble, which gives it its off-white pinkish colour. So I’m pretty excited because we’re standing right behind Il Duomo and we have tickets to go up to the rooftop, to the terrace, where you get some pretty cool views of the old town.

So let’s go in. Climbing up to the cathedral’s rooftop was one of the coolest things we did in Milan. We got some great views of the city and it was also really nice getting a closer look at the architecture. So a fun little fact we just learned. If you donate enough money you can get one of those church spires all to yourself. Now we weren’t entirely sure what an Italian breakfast looks like so we did a bit of research and asked around and apparently it is just a coffee and anything sweet. So that could be pastries, bread with jam, cake or cookies. So we’ve sat down at a little cafe and we’re going to have our first Italian breakfast. So my beverage of choice today is the cappuccino because it is a very cold day. And why not have some frothy coffee.

It’s a cold day. When is fifteen degrees considered cold? Look at the way I’m dressed. I’m cold okay? Ooh, that is nice. Excellent cappuccino. Nice and rich and frothy? Mmmm. Indeed. Wanna try some? And this pastry here I’ve selected, I honestly don’t really know what it is. What made me select it was that I saw walnut bits. And hey, I’m a huge fan of walnuts so I don’t know what is inside. It looks like it might be apple. Let’s find out. I thought it was going to be prunes. Mmmm. No, no no. That is like pecan pie. That’s pecan filling inside. Let’s see the inside. Oh wow! That is so delicious. Oh, it’s like having pecan pie. Pie for breakfast. He’s a happy boy. Something that surprised us about Milan is that there is a castle right in the middle of the city. Sforza Castle was built in the 15th century by the Duke of Milan, and it then underwent several restorations and expansions in the following centuries. Today it houses several of the city’s most prized art possessions, including frescoes by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo’s very last sculpture.

For some upscale designer shopping, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the place to be. It is considered one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful shopping malls, and its most impressive feature is an arching glass and cast iron roof. Well good evening from Milan. It is our first full day here and it is now dinner time. So we just found a local little restaurant and we’re going to be trying a traditional dish that is very popular in this city and in the Lombardy region. We are going to have Risotto alla Milanese . So my Risotto alla Milanese has arrived. And in case you’re not too familiar with risotto it is basically a type of rice that is very thick, very starchy and it absorbs a lot of liquids. So this should be good. It almost looks a little soupy and creamy. And also my Risotto alla Milanese gets its color from saffron.

So saffron is a bit of a reddish orange color when it is dry but when you stick it and mix it with the rice it turns it yellow. So enough about that let’s try it. Surprise! Mmmmm. Do you like that? Oh, wow! That is so good. And it is already cheesy. I mean I know I added a lot of cheese but I think they had already melted some cheese and mixed it in. So yeah, very cheesy and very buttery. You can never get too much cheese.

That is so good. You’re going to like this. Milan has a lot of really cool street art and you’ll often stumble upon it when you’re not even looking. We spotted some really cool pieces around Porta Ticinese. The Colonne di San Lorenzo are the remains of Roman ruins that date back to the 2nd century. They are believed to have been part of a bath house before they were moved to their current location at some point during the 4th century. Another fun activity to try in Milan is a boat tour of the canals. The city’s canals are attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci, who in 1482 was called over by the Duke of Milan to help renovate the city’s canal system. So cruise on down knowing that Da Vinci once strolled the same neighbourhood you are visiting. Milan’s Navigli District is one of the liveliest parts of town especially when the sun goes down. We recommend finding a little restaurant along the water’s edge and enjoying a proper Italian meal al fresco. So we’ve gone out for our first Italian Aperitivo. Which is kind of like a pre-dinner drinking tradition. Basically, you get yourself a cocktail for about 10 Euros and that gives you access to this massive buffet of like pizzas, pastas, olives.

Anything you could possibly imagine. And this is what comes before dinner. So I have to admit I was expecting very simple food for the Aperitivo. I thought maybe they would just give us some prosciutto cheese and olives. You know, pretty cheap simple food. But instead what we’ve found was this. So I’ve got lasagna, I’ve got ravioli. I have have stir-fried veggies. And even french fries which are not Italian but I had to grab a few anyways since they were available. And because Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world. You couldn’t come to this city and not go shopping. Right now we are walking along Via Torino which boasts lots of different boutiques but there is several different areas around the city that you can check out. So we thought we’d show you some of the distinct neighborhoods in the city.

This is Chinatown and we’ve noticed tonnes of Chinese restaurants. And I think you can pick up some really good food here. Another thing we noticed about Milan is that locals bike everywhere. So if you want to do as locals do, consider hiring a bike for the day to help you get familiarized with the city. So it is lunchtime here in Milan and we figured why not have pizza when in Italy. I’ve only had pizza once the whole time I’ve been here and it was time to try a few others. So we’ve been walking around the city and we walked by this one shop and we saw they had like these extra thick slices of pizza.

It almost looked like a focaccia bread with toppings. So we went in there and grabbed two slices. Okay, so tell us what did you get for yourself? So I got the one that had salami and mozzarella. And this reminds me a lot of the pizza I had in Buenos Aires in Argentina. These massive thick slices that you would just go into a shop and order. And I think this is going to be delicious. Ooh, time for the first bite. And I like that has already been pre-sliced into small little pieces for us.

Perfect for lunch at the park. That’s really good. Tasty? Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Gooey cheese? Oh, yeah. I don’t even have anything to say. Hahaha. What did you get on yours? Okay, so mine has what I believe in mozzarella and some small tomatoes and basil leaves. So it looks really good. And I was asking the guy who served our pizza, you know, what kind of pizza is it? What style is it? And he called it pizza al trancio. And I looked that up and it basically means pizza by the piece or pizza by the slice. And as you can see it has already been pre-sliced into little portions, so it is perfect for you know just getting it to go, having lunch at a park or eating it outdoors. Yeah, we’re having it in a park now as it just starts to rain. So time to try this. It looks wonderful. Oh my goodness. Wow! Is that good? Oh, yeah. So the dough, I mean it is really thick but it also has a bit of a fluffy quality to it and that is like a thick layer of cheese as well.

Like that is a generous amount of cheese. Check this out? Look at all that cheese. It kind of reminds me of Chicago Deep Dish style as well. Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio We also visited the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio, which is believed to have once held the relics of the Three Magi. If you didn’t get enough of the Duomo and the rooftop terrace, you can also visit the Duomo Museum, which covers the cathedrals history and art a little more in depth. Like most European cities, Milan is steeped in history but that doesn’t mean there aren’t newer parts with modern architecture. We made some time to take a Hop-On-Hop-Off tour of the city, and that helped us see a different side of Milan. We also dropped by the Museum of Natural History, which is probably geared more towards children, but we were still curious to see their dinosaur displays. Lastly, on our final night in Milan we went out for one last stroll around the city to enjoy some nighttime views.

Swing by Il Duomo if you get a chance – it feels completely different when the lights come on and the crowds disperse. And that’s all for our visit to Milan. We hope this video will give you some cool ideas of sights and attractions to check out around town, and if you have any other suggestions for travellers, feel free to add those to the comments below..

As found on Youtube

Wanna Go?