Milan (Milano) is one of the world's fashion, art and culture centres. Its rich history dates back to ancient times, as the Celts founded it. Various civilizations and empires oversaw it, including the Romans, Visigoths, and Byzantines. It flourished during the Renaissance under the rule of the Sforza and Visconti families.
There are countless attractions within its "walls". The most famous is the Gothic-style Milano Cathedral (Duomo di Milano), a magnificent cathedral known for its intricate architecture and stunning views from the roof. But here you also find Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, The Last Supper.
Map - Where is Milan located?
Milan is located in the northern part of Italy, in the Lombardy region, in the Po Valley. It is about 50 kilometres south of the Italian Alps. The city lies on the banks of Olona and is surrounded by several smaller rivers and canals. It is the capital and centre of the region. It is known for its varied landscapes, such as Lake Como and Lake Garda.
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The Swiss border is about 50 kilometres to the north, making it easy to reach cities like Lugano or Zurich. The border with France is about 300 kilometres to the west, and Austria is 520 kilometres to the east.
Milan is one of Italy's main transport hubs. The city is served by three international airports: Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP), Milano Linate Airport (LIN) and Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport (BGY). It also has a well-developed rail network, with many train stations connecting it to other Italian cities and European destinations. Thanks to its extensive transport network, including airports, railways and motorways, it is well connected to other major cities in Italy.
- Distance to Venice: 3.5 hours / 280 km
- Distance to Verona: 2 hours / 160 km
- Distance to Lake Como: 1 hour / 50 km
- Distance to Lake Maggiore: 1 hour / 60 km
- Distance to Lake Garda: 1.5 hours / 120 km
- Distance to Rome: 6 hours / 580 km
Things to see
- Santa Maria delle Grazie: a church and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It houses Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, The Last Supper (Cenacolo Vinciano). Visitors can only see the iconic mural by appointment.
- Duomo di Milano: the Gothic-style Il Duomo, one of the city's most iconic landmarks. The church in the centre took several centuries to build. The cathedral is famous for its intricate architecture, with countless towers, statues and beautiful stained glass windows. You can climb up to the roof and enjoy a fabulous city view.
- Santa Maria Presso San Satiro: a small church near Milan Cathedral. It is known for its spectacular interior designed by the Renaissance architect Donato Bramante. The highlight of the church is the trompe-l'oeil (illusionist) apse.
- Sant'Eustorgio: the Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio is a church known for its religious and artistic importance. Its history dates back to the 4th century, and it is home to essential relics, including the Tomb of the Three Wise Men. The church has beautiful frescoes, sculptures and a peaceful cloister.
- Castello Sforzesco: The Sforzesco Castle is a giant medieval fortress near the centre. The powerful Sforza family built it in the 15th century, later becoming the residence of various rulers. Today, the castle houses several museums and art collections, including the Museum of Ancient Art, the Museum of Musical Instruments and the Egyptian Museum.
- Parco Sempione: a large park near the Sforzesco Castle. It offers a peaceful program in the city's heart, with green areas, walking paths, a lake and various monuments. The park is a popular place for locals and tourists to relax, picnic, and enjoy the fresh air.
- Pinacoteca di Brera: an art gallery located in the Brera district. It houses an impressive collection of Italian Renaissance and Baroque artworks, including masterpieces by renowned artists such as Caravaggio, Raffaello and Tintoretto. The gallery is a must-see for art lovers.
- Teatro alla Scala: one of the most famous opera houses in the world, renowned for its exceptional acoustics and performances. Its rich history dates back to 1778, providing a stage for many legendary opera singers and musicians. The theatre offers opera, ballet and classical music performances throughout the year. The opera house can be found in Piazza della Scala.
- Museo Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci: The Leonardo da Vinci National Science and Technology Museum is one of Europe's largest science and technology museums. It is dedicated to the famous Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci and presents his inventions, scientific discoveries and engineering designs. The museum also offers interactive exhibits on various science and technology topics.
- San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore: a church known for its Renaissance frescoes. The church contains intricate works depicting biblical scenes, often called " Milan's Sistine Chapel ". Next to the church is the Archaeological Museum, which presents archaeological finds and exhibitions of ancient civilizations.
- Museo Poldi Pezzoli: a private art exhibition where you can see paintings, sculptures, furniture, ceramics and decorative objects. Its collection spans different eras, from the Middle Ages to modern art, with significant works by Italian and European artists.
- Museo Bagatti Valsecchi: a historic house museum named after the Bagatti Valsecchi brothers, who collected and furnished the house with an extensive collection of art and decorative objects. The museum offers a glimpse into the daily life of a wealthy family in the late 19th century and displays exquisite furniture, paintings, textiles, armour and more.
- Arco della Pace: the Arch of Peace is a neoclassical monument located at the entrance to Parco Sempione. It was built at the beginning of the 19th century to celebrate the peace after the Napoleonic wars. The arch is decorated with sculptures and symbolises Milan's triumph and desire for peace.
- Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio: One of the oldest churches in Milan, dating back to the 4th century. It is dedicated to the city's patron saint, St. Ambrose, and is an important religious and historical site. The basilica displays various architectural styles and contains beautiful artworks and relics.
- Pirelli HangarBicocca: an art space dedicated to promoting and presenting contemporary art exhibitions and installations. Located in a former industrial complex, the collection shows large-scale works of art by international artists. The space offers a platform for innovative and experimental art projects.
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II:: an elegant shopping arcade near the Duomo. It is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world and is known for its stunning glass roofs, intricate mosaics and luxury shops, including high-end fashion brands and posh cafes.
- Vigna di Leonardo: Leonardo da Vinci's former vineyard near the church of San Vittore al Corpo. It is a re-created plantation that once paid homage to Leonardo da Vinci during the Renaissance. The vineyard features vines and plants typical of the period and provides an insight into da Vinci's interests in agriculture and viticulture.
The local cuisine is known for its rich flavours and hearty dishes. Some popular dishes include risotto alla Milanese (risotto with saffron), ossobuco (braised veal shanks) and panettone (traditional Italian Christmas cake). The city also offers a vibrant culinary scene with a wide range of international cuisine.
Milano is famous for its fashion industry and is home to some of the world's leading fashion houses, including Armani, Versace, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana. The city hosts the famous Milano Fashion Week twice a year, showcasing the latest trends in fashion and attracting designers, models and fashion enthusiasts from around the world.
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