Milan, Italy

Milan is incredible city in northern Italy, which is not only the capital of fashion, but also one of the famous tourist cities. Milan perfectly combines the modernity bright and colorful history of Italy. This is a place that catches the eye not only by chic boutiques, but also by beautiful cathedrals, temples and other architectural monuments.

That’s why Milan was point №1 of our “Italian holidays.”

Places to visit in Milan you can see in our video below:

If you get to Milan by plane, the shuttle will take you to the Milano Centrale railway station (Stazione di Milano Central). The station is beautiful and made in the style of Art Deco, some elements of station are reconstructed in style of «Union Station» in Washington.

train station milan

train station milan

 Milan is a modern megapolis, which impresses with its style and architecture. 
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milan
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A few blocks from the train station is the famous opera house “La Scala», which was built on the site of the church of Santa Maria della Scala, the theater named after.

la scala

Opposite the theater is the La Scala Square (Piazza della Scala), where is the monument of Leonardo da Vinci, made by Pietro Magni. And that’s not the only mention of the legendary da Vinci.

leonardo monument
galleria vittorio

From the square is famous in Milan and one of the first in Europe arcade – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, named after one of the Italian kings.

This amazing Galleria built by Giuseppe Menhoni’s project and has the shape of a Latin cross, the center of which is decorated with various mosaics. There are the arms of Rome, Turin, Florence and Milan also laid by mosaics.

There is a fun tradition with the arms of Turin – you should step by your heel on genitals of bull depicted on the arms, make a wish and whirl on the site 3 times. This tradition is very popular, therefore the place where you should step is looked like hole.

Raise your glance up and you can see the beautiful glass dome. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the famous place of the city and a popular tourist attraction as there are famous brand shops (Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton), exquisite cafes and restaurants.

galleria vittorio
bull milan
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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II connects the La Scala Square with the Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo), where the Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano) is situated. This white marble cathedral with spires for height of 106 meters, made in the Gothic style, impresses with its majesty and size. No wonder, it is the fifth largest cathedral in the world, and can accommodate about 40 thousand people.
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The main decoration of the cathedral is gold statue of St. Mary (La Madonnina), in whose honor the cathedral was built. In general, there are 3400 statues outside cathedral (especially on terrace) and inside the cathedral. Entrance to the cathedral and museum costs about 2 €, and entrance to the terrace – 8 €. If you want to use an elevator, you will have to pay a few euros more.

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There is breathetaking view on the city from the terrace of Milan Cathedral.

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Near the cathedral is another charming building – the Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale di Milano). During the reign of Francesco Sforza the government met here, but now there is a museum where you can enter with a ticket to the Duomo. This allows visitors to admire the halls of the Palace Museum and discover the four seasons of the historic Palazzo: the era Teresiana and Neoclassical, the Napoleonic era, the Restoration and the Unification of Italy.

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At Cathedral Square is a monument of Vittorio Emanuele II sitting on horse. You can sit on monument’s ledges and enjoy wonderful views of the cathedral tasting the amazing Italian gelato. Fortunately, there are a lot of places where you can buy this sweet, for example, IL Mercato del Duomo, Grom and Amorino Gelato. If you’re hungry, you can taste a delicious Italian pizza in a fast food restaurant Spizzico.

italian gelato
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One of the main symbols of Milan is the Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco). The castle was built in the XV century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, in place of the previous fortifications, and was one of the major military citadels in Europe. Now the castle is a popular tourist attraction of Milan, and contains several museums.

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sforza castle 1
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Near the castle is a large Sempione Park (Parco Sempione), which is 386 thousand square meters. In park on the opposite to the castle side is the Arch of Peace (Arco della Pace). There is the entrance fee to the museums, but the territory of castle or park you can visit for free.

Did I write that we will meet Leonardo da Vinci again? So, in the Santa Maria delle Grazie, the main church of the Dominican monastery in the western part of Milan, is  the legendary mural of  Leonardo da Vinci – “Last Supper.” To see the mural you must order a ticket in advance, which costs about 12 €. In the church you also can look at reproductions of several paintings and go inside the church for free. An interesting fact is that the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie holds musical evenings, where you can hear performances of symphonic ensembles.

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Another architectural monument of Milan  is the St. Ambrose Basilica (Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio).  It also called the Martyrs Basilica (Basilica Martyrum), because it is built on the place of burial of the early Christian martyrs. Basilica is famous by the skillfully executed mosaics, especially the V century mosaics “Golden Sky» (Ciel d’Oro) in the San Vitor Capelli. There is a long atrium and two towers before the basilica. Towers are different in heights. Strict tower on the right side is called “Tower of the Monks” (Torre dei Monaci) and a higher and more graceful left tower – “the cannon’s bell tower”.

basilica basilica 2

All of these locations can be reached on foot or by subway. The average cost of metro ticket for 90 minutes is 1,5 €.

As for accommodation, the night in a hotel room for two costs at least € 45.  Similar pricing is for apartments in AirBnb (private room or apartment near the city cost 30 $ per night). Free method to find the place for night is couchsurfing. We used this method in Milan – we stayed for free at Diego’s apartment and met new people – tourists from Poland and the USA.

couchsurfing

As you can see, Milan is a charming city which successfully combines history and elegant architecture with modern style and rhythm of the megaopolis.

The next destination is the romantic Venice, about which you’ll can read soon.

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