Six must-see monuments in Milan
Milan is one of the most beautiful and visited cities in Italy, and it is not difficult to understand why! Milan is a city that keeps its oldest traditions and mixes them with a modernism that fascinates. It is an active city, full of life and, of course, amazing must-see monuments! Today we will know the six must-see monuments in Milan. In this post, we are going to list the best of this city for those who have a little time here! So let’s find out the six must-see monuments in Milan! Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
Milan is one of the oldest cities in the world, it was founded around 590 B.C. and its name was Medhelan. The city was founded near a shrine of a Celtic tribe of the Insubri group, belonging to the Golasecca culture, but in 222 B.C. it was dominated by the Romans and was called Mediolanum. Over the centuries, Milan underwent great expansion and became the capital of the Western Roman Empire. It was also during this period that Milan granted all citizens, including Christians, freedom and the right to exercise their faith.
Main Italian Center
In recent decades, Milan has become an important commercial, financial and industrial center and has great importance not only for Italy, but also for the European Union and the rest of the world. Milan is also the main Italian center of fashion and design. Its financial importance is concentrated mainly because it is the city chosen to house the Italian Stock Exchange, which is located in Piazza degli Affari.
As if that wasn’t enough, Milan is one of the largest Italian university cities, publishing and television centers in Europe and is home to the Milan Fair, the largest exhibition area in all of Europe and which hosts events such as the Design Fair, Architecture, Motor Show and others. As we could notice, Milan is a city full of attractions and presents a multitude of options to its visitors in the most assorted areas. When we talk about monuments, six of them are a must-see and, next, we will know all of them!
1) Six must-see monuments in Milan: THE LAST SUPPER
Il Cenacolo (The Last Supper), Leonardo da Vinci – is one of the most famous works of art in the world and ‘lives’ in Milan. It is one of the most visited places in the city and it is essential to buy the ticket in advance to visit the place! No! I’m not exaggerating! The Cenacolo is a (impressive!) painting made on the wall of the old refectory of the convent adjacent to the sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie (Saint Mary of Grace). Read also: The Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci!
About the Painting
The painting was done with a dry painting technique on plaster and measures 460 × 880 cm. The work began in 1495 and was completed three years later, in 1498. They say it took so long because Da Vinci was a perfectionist and was not satisfied until he saw all the details the way he wanted, but when he finished the work, he noticed that the humidity of the place was already beginning to deteriorate his work.
In 1978 it began a restoration process that was considered the longest in the history of art, since the works were only finished in 1999. Because of its delicacy and artistic importance, it is forbidden to photograph the work and there is a limit of time to stay there (15 minutes), where groups of 25 people at a time are admitted. The work is, without a doubt, one of the most reproduced in the world and its beauty is really unique!
- Piazza Santa Maria Delle Grazie, 2 – Milan.
- Tuesdays to Sundays, from 8:15a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Closures days: Mondays, January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.
2) Six must-see monuments in Milan: DUOMO
Duomo di Milano- The Milan Cathedral: Its official name is the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Basilica of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but it is known as the Duomo di Milano (Dòmm de Milan in the Milanese dialect). The Duomo is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Milan; it is the main symbol of the Lombardy capital, located in the homonymous square in the center of the city. It is dedicated to Santa Maria and is one of the largest churches in Italy, being the fourth largest in the world in area and the sixth in volume. Read also: Why to visit the Duomo of Milan?
About the Duomo
The façade was originally designed by Pellegrino Tibaldi in 1580 and was based on two floors, with giant Corinthian style columns and with a niche in the central nave, flanked by obelisks; but when Carlo Borromeo died, in 1584, the design of his protégé, Pellegrino, went into the hands of his rival, Martino Bassi, who sent a new design for the façade to Pope Gregorio XIV.
In the 17th century the best architects available in Milan were summoned to continue the project. In the meantime, in 1628, the central portal was built and in 1638 the work on the façade continued with the aim of creating an effect inspired by St. Susanna of Rome. The drawings by Luigi Vanvitelli and Bernardo Antonio Vittone arrived in the 18th century and between 1765 and 1769. Francesco Croce completed the coronation of the lantern and the main tower, where an image of Our Lady, made of golden five years later and locally called Madunina; today, the image, is the symbol of the city.
Already in 1805, at the direct request of Napoleon Bonaparte, Giuseppe Zanoia started the works for the completion of the facade, because Bonaparte wanted to be crowned King of Italy in the new Cathedral. The coronation was on May 6, 1805, but the Duomo was completely concluded only in 1813, by Carlo Amati. During the entire 19th century, statues and towers were included, being the most ‘modern’ part of the construction. And it was during the 19th century that the first restoration works began in the inner part of the Cathedral, since, besides receiving many tourists, the subway, which passes to its surroundings, vibrated the structure.
In 1969, to avoid collapses and pieces of marble getting loose even more, since some pieces had already collapsed in the corridors, the area around the Duomo was closed and the subway line 1 needed to slow down when passing the area. Although it seems to be finished, the restoration works in the Cathedral are constant and continuous until today, even if they are not seen by the general public.
The Inside of the Cathedral
The interior of the Cathedral is divided into five naves and the transept into three; the presbytery is deep and surrounded by two sacristies that open. The central nave is twice as wide as the side corridors and the arches of the vaults illuminate the interior in a diffuse and soft way.
The Duomo has 52 pillars that divide the corridors and support the vaults with ribs painted in a Gothic tunnel. Monumental are the niches and cusps with their statues that decorate the pillars along the central nave, the transept and the apse. The floor, originally designed by Pellegrino Tibaldi, was initiated in 1584 and completed with some variations only between 1914 and 1940. It is a complex mosaic of light and dark marbles and the black marble of Varenna, the white and pink of Candoglia and the red of Arzo (today almost completely replaced by the red one from Verona) deserve mention.
- Piazza Duomo – Milan.
- Every day, from 08:00 a.m. to 7 p.m.
3) Six must-see monuments in Milan: SAN SIRO STADIUM
San Siro Stadium – Even if you don’t like soccer, a visit to the Milanese historical stadium is almost mandatory! The historic San Siro Stadium (for Milan team fans) or Giuseppe Meazza Stadium (for Internazionale team fans) is a reference for soccer world history. Read also: Let’s visit the San Siro Stadium in Milan!
The two teams divide the stadium in a friendly way and it all started in 1925, when the stadium was built. The president of Milan Piero Pirelli, at that time, decided to build a soccer stadium near the Hippodrome. He was the one who paid for the whole construction and, at its inauguration, the stadium had four rectilinear stands and sheltered up to 35.000 spectators. The inauguration was on September 19, 1926 and the match was a friendly game between Milan and Inter: Inter won! 6-3 on Milan! In 1935, the stadium was bought by the Milan City Council who decided to increase its capacity to 55.000 people.
Although it was built by the president of Milan, the stadium was not built for the team, so between 1926 and 1945, Milan started using the stadium as ‘home’ and it was there that the matches at the behest of the home team took place! In 1946, Inter didn’t have any stadium either, so they started to use the San Siro to host their home games as well as their rivals. Between 1935 and 1999, the clubs paid to use the stadium only on match days and in 2000, after entering into an agreement with the Milan City Council, it was decided that the teams would be responsible for the maintenance of the stadium, which happens until the present day. The museum is full of historical shirts and cups and the field, well conserved, impresses!
- Piazzale Angelo Moratti, 20151 – Milan.
- Every day, from 09:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- NOTE: The stadium does not open for visitation on match days.
4) Six must-see monuments in Milan: BRERA ART GALLERY
Pinacoteca Di Brera – It is, without a doubt, one of the most important and famous Pinacoteca in Italy. Pinacoteca di Brera is a gallery that gathers works of ancient and modern art, located in the homonymous palace. It has a total space of more than 24,000 square meters of surface and exhibits one of the most famous collections of painting in Italy, specialized in Venetian and Lombardy painting, with important pieces from other schools.
Thanks to donations from private collectors, it also proposes an exhibition route that goes from prehistory to contemporary art, with works by 20th century artists. In 2014, it was the 21st most visited Italian site, with 269.805 visitors and a total gross revenue of 882,866.20 Euros, while in 2016 it increased the number of visitors to 311.311! The Pinacoteca, also called the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, was founded in 1776 by decree of Empress Maria Teresa of Austria and is composed of several rooms, all very well organized.
- Via Brera, 28 – Milan.
- Tuesdays to Sundays, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m.
- Every third Wednesday of every month Brera/Musica takes place, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:15p.m..
- The Pinacoteca does not open Mondays nor on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.
5) Six must-see monuments in Milan: SFORZESCO CASTLE
Castello Sforzesco – One of the most fascinating Castles in Italy, Sforzesco Castle was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, who was Duke of Milan. The Castle was built on the remains of an ancient medieval fortification from the 14th century that was known as Castello di Porta Giovia (or Zobia) and was one of the four defensive castles of the Roman Empire.
About the Castle
Throughout the centuries, between XVI and XVII, the castle went through several changes and was one of the main military citadels in Europe. It was restored in historicist style by Luca Beltrami between 1890 and 1905, and today it houses cultural centers and important museums. It is one of the largest castles in Europe and one of the main symbols of Milan, since it is part of the city’s history.
The central tower is the highest in the castle and is where its main entrance is. It is known as the Torre del Filarete. It was destroyed by an explosion at the beginning of the 16th century and rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century. The castle houses works of art, exhibitions and various events, especially during the summer. It deserves a visit that should be done calmly, appreciating all the details of this magnificent construction!
- Piazza Castello, 20121 – Milan.
- The Castle is open every day, from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; the museums are open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. From Saturday the guided tours take place at 3 p.m.; Every first and third Tuesday of each month the entrance is free, from 2 p.m. and every first Sunday of each month the entrance is free all day.
6) Six must-see monuments in Milan: ATLANTIC CODE
Codex Atlanticus – Atlantic Code – “On the left, sixteen weapons mounted on a rotating system; on the right, wheelbarrow equipped with an instrument to measure miles and wheelbarrow equipped with an instrument to measure steps”. This is the brief, objective, clear and efficient description of just one of the projects that integrates one of Da Vinci’s most famous sets of documents, the Atlantic Code.
With twelve volumes, the work has 1.119 pages dating back several years, between 1478 and 1519. The fascination of this work includes anatomy, astronomy, botany, chemistry, geography, mathematics, mechanics, technological projects, flight studies and several architectural designs, proving Da Vinci’s mastermind and offering us a true masterpiece. The historical, cultural and artistic importance of this document is even greater because it contains the testimony of the time when Leonardo was in Milan. For these and other reasons, Codex Atlantic is one of the most important and well preserved writings of his time, and each line gives us a clear idea of how he was already avant-garde in a time where little was said about future and technology.
Doors to Knowledge
Leonardo da Vinci opened doors for us and offered us visions, ideas and very important projects, not to mention that he was the first to understand, highlight and show in practice the relevance of several experiments. He also combined knowledge and technical solutions, stating that, together, they can be organized, executed and still respect the rules, helping and adding efficiency, precision and excellence in various contexts and in all areas in the lives of men.
- Sala Federiciana, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana – Piazza Pio XI, 2 – Milan.
- From Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; it does not open on December 7 and from December 24 to January 6; it also does not open during Holy Week.
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The six must-see monuments in Milan offer us a perfect idea of we can find in the city! Milan is a city full of life, lively, elegant and, at the same time, simple! There is no one who doesn’t fall in love with its architecture, its beauties, its museums, squares and churches. It is a unique city, indeed!
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