What to Do in Milan

The title of this post, “What to do in Milan,” is the exact search I typed into Google several weeks ago. I was planning a trip north to see Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy and Diana of A Certain Simplicity and Piemontescapes and would have one day in Milan — and I didn’t want to miss anything huge.

Castello Sforzesco, Milano

Castello Sforzesco, Milano

It turns out that the best online resource for what to do in Milan can be found on fellow Eye on Italy podcast host’s Jessica’s Why Go Italy, so do have a look there if you’re headed to Milan yourself. You can also find and book Milan hotels through EasytoBook.com if you’re not lucky enough to score a spot on Sara’s pull-out couch. But back to the sightseeing.

Pinacoteca di Brera, Milano

Pinacoteca di Brera, Milano

Snowy rooftop of Pinacoteca di Brera, Milano

Snowy rooftop of Pinacoteca di Brera, Milano

I’m sorry to say I did miss out on The Last Supper (you need to book ahead, and although it’s often booked for months in advance there were actually available spots for the day *after* I was leaving Milan), but I think I packed a lot into my day in Milan thanks to Sara, including a luncheon at the Obikà mozzarella bar next to the Duomo with several people I hadn’t yet met in person.

It was truly a wonderful 10 or so hours in Milan despite the snow and rain, which did subside for some golden sunshine later in the day.

Il Duomo, Milano

Il Duomo, Milano

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milano

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milano

All in all, an action-packed jaunt around this bustling northern Italy city, which to be honest felt more American than any Italian location I’ve been. Visiting cities is always sensory overload for me, so I’d love to go back with more time to just soak in more of the atmosphere and see if my first impressions hold true. For now, though, there are more photos in my Milano Flickr set — and lots more tales to tell behind the photos as well. Stay tuned!

Have you been to Milan? What do you recommend first-time visitors see and do?

7 Beans of Wisdom to “What to Do in Milan”
  1. For first timers, I always take folks to the top of the Duomo, my favourite experience and of course there is Da Vinci’s Last Supper (which needs to be booked in advance), aperitivo on the Navigli and (window) shopping on Montenapoleone.

    Thanks for the advice Joanne! I really wanted to see the Navigli and Last Supper…next time!

  2. A good friend from Milan said, “Milan is an European city, Rome is an Italian city and Florence is an American city.”

    I would like to go back to Milan as well. I was there for only 24 hours a few years ago.

    I loved the Duomo and 10 Corso Como.

    Hope you get back there too…maybe next time I’m there 🙂

  3. awedree

    I was taken aback by all the beautiful and sharply dressed people in true Milanese style. My recommendation is to order an espresso drink of your choice at one of the bars in Duomo square, sit back and take in the moda italiana!

    Great advice Awedree, thanks!

  4. 12.23.2010

    I can’t believe I spent 12 days in Italy but didn’t make it to Milan. These pics are lovely! Will bookmark this post for my next trip! 🙂

    Milan is usually a second or third time in Italy trip…plenty of time Bren!

  5. Gil

    We never made it to Milan. I think it might be that we heard that it is a big industrial city like NYC used to be. Mt wife loves Florence and likes Umbria. Me Naples and South!

    If one has limited time in Italy, yeah Milan probably doesn’t make the list, but it’s certainly an interesting day or two 🙂

  6. 12.28.2010

    I grew up in Milan, and even though it does not stand the comparison with other Italian cities, and even though I don’t love it, there are a couple of beautiful spots. For instance the church very close to the Last Supper, Santa Maria Delle Grazie, is quite nice on its own, and it has a very intimate kiosk in the middle of a noisy zone. I also love Sant’Ambrogio, another very old and very distinctive church. What really makes Milan worth a visit is shopping, however!

    Excellent suggestions, C! Thanks for stopping in; always nice to “see” you 🙂

  7. 02.11.2011

    I will be going back to Italy for the 11th time this summer. Yay!! Almost every trip, I fly into Malpensa but then I never stay in Milan. I did spend a few hours with a friend many years ago in Milan but not long enough to see more than just the Duomo. I have been tossing around different spots for my first couple of nights before visiting my friends the past couple of weeks and just tonight finally decided on Milan. My inspiration was this blog post. Thank you!! My hotel is booked and I am ready to plan my stay. I am so excited to see the castle, eat at the Obikà mozzarella bar, hopefully reserve a spot to see the Last Supper, and see the Duomo nice and shiny!

    Oh I hope you enjoy as much as I did! Buon viaggio!



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