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Local Things To Do In Milan, Italy

Milan Cathedral

Looking for local things to do in Milan for yourself and loved ones? Look no further! Our post shares the top local places to see and fun things to try while visiting this gorgeous Italian city. Milan has a lot to offer, from famous cathedrals to local pasta making classes. There’s something on this list for everyone to explore and enjoy. Keep reading to find out more and get inspired!

Local Things To Do In Milan, Italy

See below our collaboration of texts sharing top places to see, iconic buildings in Milan, places to eat and a few hidden gems!

Santa Maria delle Grazie

Compared to the spectacular Duomo di Milano, the church and convent Santa Maria Delle Grazie appears inconspicuous. But don’t get fooled by its rather simple construction because it holds one of the most famous and remarkable paintings of the world: The Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci.

The masterpiece was finished in 1497 as a mural, painted directly on the wall. Despite heavy bombing during WWII and many – unfortunately often failed – restoration attempts, the painting is still intact, even though not in its original state.

The church Santa Maria Delle Grazie, the convent, and of course Leonardo da Vinci’s painting are a UNESCO Heritage Site and shouldn’t been missing on anyone’s Milan bucket list. But don’t make the mistake to head straight to the famous mural and ignore the rest of the complex. The church is a beautiful example of the northern Italian Renaissance architecture and the adjacent cloister are also well worth a visit.

Written by Lena from Salut From Paris

Milan Cathedral

Duomo di Milano is the iconic landmark in Italy. This is the largest cathedral in Italy (not considering the St Peter’s Basilica which is in the Vatican), and the third-largest in the world, making it one of the must-add stops to your one day in Milan itinerary.

Milan Cathedral dates back to the 14th century, and the entire structure took about 600 years to complete. The lovely piazza is a wonderful spot to spend a lovely morning or evening to soak in the vibe of Milan. A mandatory must-see for your things to do in Milan list. 

There is an entry fee to enter the cathedral for sightseeing purposes, including accessing the stunning rooftop terrace. Highly recommend heading to the rooftop, as you can get a nice view of the piazza and the entire city of Milan from up above.

Other than the terrace, there is an underground archeological site and museum, which is definitely worth a visit. There are additional entry fees to access the museums, in addition to the rooftop tickets.

By Mayuri from To Some Place New

Pasta Making Classes

One of the best things to do in Milan has to be eating homemade pasta.  Even better than that, how about taking a class to show you how to make it yourself?  There are several options available online for taking a pasta making class in Milan, ranging in price from around €70 to €100 and above.

Many of the classes also include other experiences such as a market tour while buying the ingredients, and learning to make other traditional Italian dishes such as tiramisu and several kinds of pasta.

Learning how to make delicious food with a local teacher is a great way to immerse yourself in Milanese culture, and of course you get enjoy the fruits of your labour with a tasty meal of everything you just made.

It’s a fabulous experience that you will remember for years to come, and you’ll be able to make the dishes again at home for family and friends while you reminisce about your Italian adventure!

Written by Claire from This Travel Lover

Sforzesco Castle

While Milan’s Gothic Duomo may hold the spot for the city’s most iconic monument, the Castello Sforzesco, a medieval fortress that sits just a short distance from the Duomo firmly holds second place. This grand red-bricked fortress has played many roles in the city’s history; a fortress, palace and stately residence, military barrack, and now home to some of Milan’s most important museums of culture.

The castle is open all year round, and its courtyard can be visited free of charge. Walk through it and admire the architecture before heading to the Parco Sempione in the summer or head here in the winter for one of Milan’s Christmas Markets.

However, if you’re a museumgoer, you’ll want to reserve at least half a day to explore its multiple museums that costs 10 Euros per person for admission. Visit the fascinating Egyptian Museum, the Museum of Musical Instruments, or steady yourself to be immersed into a mega amount of art. In fact, the Castello is home to one of Milan’s most extensive art collections with masterpieces by Bellini, Correggio, and Tintoretto. For many, its highlight is the famous statue, The Rondanini Pietà, which is said to be the last unfinished work by Michelangelo. A must-see for your things to do in Milan list. 

Written by Samantha from The Wandering Wanderluster

Aperitivo at Arco della Pace

If you’re looking for the best local things to do in Milan, you have to add trying an “aperitivo”, or “apericena” as they call it in Milan, to your bucket list. What exactly is an apericena you might be wondering?

An apericena is when a bar charges a fixed price for a drink, regardless of whether it’s a bottle of water or alcoholic cocktail, and serves you a variety of food with your drink. This usually happens from 5PM onwards almost every day, although the exact schedule will vary from bar to bar.

Most bars will offer a buffet, while others will bring a big platter with a bit of everything at your table. Apericenas usually offer pretty much everything, including cold pastas, focaccias, pizzas, salads and more. If you want to have an aperitivo the traditional Milanese way, then you should order an Aperol Spritz as drink.  

While bars all over the city offer aperitivo, the best place to do so is Arco della Pace. The road leading up to Arco della Pace is lined with countless bars offering apericena, so that you can choose the one that strikes your fancy the most.

Here you can enjoy a delicious cocktail and tasty Italian cuisine while admiring one of the most iconic sights in Milan, surrounded by local Milanese people enjoying an aperitivo.

Written by Greta from Greta’s Travels

Lunch & Italian Food Shopping at Eataly

Nothing screams Italy like it’s rich food! Taking the food experience one step further, no Milan trip is complete without a visit to Eataly. A foodie’s paradise, Eataly, which is located in the Garibaldi neighbourhood, is 4 heavenly floors of restaurants and food produce from all over the country.

Head there for a spot of lunch or aperitif and choose from one of the many restaurants serving a variety of foods such as oysters, freshly baked pizza, pasta and other local favourites. If the weather allows, the few restaurants on the ground floor include outdoor seating, perfect for your aperol and people watching over the piazza.

After your meal, get ready to shop with the locals as you browse the insane variety of gourmet Italian products the store has to offer, including half a floor just for cured meats! Whether you’re looking for some handmade pasta to bring home with you or that perfect Italian espresso bean, you’ll find it here!

Written by Barbora from Often Out Of Office

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Visiting Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II is one of the best things to do in Milan. This glorious and elegant shopping arcade is located at the heart of Milan, very close to the iconic Milan Cathedral. Built between 1865 and 1877, this historic shopping arcade is named after Victor Emanuel II, the first king of Italy.

The most striking feature of this shopping mall is the grand architecture. Step inside and marvel at the glass and cast-iron roof, double arches, central octagonal space, ornate mosaic floors. If you fancy having a splurge, you will find a good range of renowned luxury designer brands. Some of the oldest restaurants in Milan are also housed here. Cafe Biffi is one of them. It was founded in 1867 by Paolo Biffi, a royal pastry chef.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world and a popular meeting place for the locals. This four-storied shopping arcade is commonly known as the ‘il salotto di Milano’ which means Milan’s Drawing Room. A must-see for your things to do in Milan list. 

Written by Moumita & Sankha from Chasing the Long Road

Ortica

Away from the skyscrapers and the glitzy city centre, Milan is a city of neighbourhoods made up by former villages, which became part of the city as it grew during the past century. One of these is Ortica, once a tiny village surrounded by countryside, and now an edgy, offbeat district.

Former industrial buildings have been reconverted into apartments, breweries and restaurants – one of the coolest places to hang out at night is Impronta Birraia, a brewpub in a former ceramics factory. Another iconic destination is La Balera dell’Ortica, a ballroom, bocce club and restaurant – all in one!

You’ll find elderly locals and younger people side by side, eating arrosticini and spinning on the dance floor. Another reason to visit Ortica is to see street art – you’ll find various street art pieces all over the neighbourhood, inspired by people and events in recent history.

Written by Margherita from The Crowded Planet

San Siro Stadium

San Siro Stadium is a must-see attraction for soccer addicted or outdoor lovers travellers. The Stadium, which is home to Milan and Inter teams, stands in the North-West area of the city, famous for its amazing green spaces. Once tourists arrive there, they can have a guided tour at the combined Milan and Inter museum. Tours last 30 minutes and offer a unique experience from the perspective of the champions.

After that, stroll around and explore the local area, reaching in 15 minutes walk to the racecourse, and four of the best parks of Milan: Parco di Trenno, Boscoincittà, Monte Stella (the hill of Milan, where trail runners usually train) and Parco delle Cave, where it is possible to find wild nature. In fact, from May to mid-June at Parco delle Cave, a night walk to see fireflies it’s a must that Milanese do.

Written by Alessandra from Tips 4 Italian Trips

Vertical Wood Bosco Verticale

To understand why Italians consider Milan the most innovative city in Italy, just take a walk around Piazza Gae Aulenti. The square is located in the Isola district, which developed at the beginning of the 20th century with the immigration of workers and artisans. This peripheral area of the city has escaped the underworld and marginalization thanks to the transformation that has taken place in the last 10 years.

Piazza Gae Aulenti is surrounded by skyscrapers, including the tallest in Italy, and fashionable stores. In the evening, lighted fountains with water games and many places to dine and drink await.

And then there is the new symbol of the district, the Bosco Verticale by architect Antonio Boeri, who defines it as “a dwelling for trees that also houses humans and birds”. It consists of two residential buildings, 112 and 80 meters high, housing 800 species of trees, 5,000 shrubs and 15,000 perennials on its terraces. In addition to being visually stunning, the Bosco Verticale represents a revolutionary creation in sustainable architecture. In fact, the 30,000 square meters of forest concentrated on 3000 square meters of urban surface regulate the humidity of the interior of the houses, absorb particulate matter and CO2, and produce oxygen. This man-made natural landmark can be reached from the Porta Garibaldi metro station.

Written by Lisa of Travel Connect Experience

Milan Central Station

On September 2nd, 2021, Milan’s central train station opened the Mercato Centrale. Modelled after a 2016 renovation of Rome’s Termini Station, the Mercato Centrale has 29 stalls spread over 4,000 square feet where you can try all types of delicious food and drink.

The focus of the Mercato Centrale is on the artisans whose culinary crafts range from creating the awe inspiring shell-shaped filled pastry, sfogliatella, to a hamburger made from Chianina, an Italian breed of cattle. Placing so many talented artisans through the close proximity of the 29 stalls, results in a gastronomic tour for locals and tourists alike. The perfect place for a bite to eat while exploring these things to do in Milan!

The Mercato Centrale is open daily from 7 a.m. until midnight. Whether you swing by the shops for a bite while you are waiting for your train or dedicate an evening to the experience in its own right, you are certain to love the energy and local flavour that time spent among good food and good people can bring.

Written by Faith from 3 Tickets Please

The Navigli

Navigli is a much-loved district in Milan originally known for its man-made navigable canals system. 

“Naviglio Grande” is Milan’s most romantic and picturesque canal, a water channel designed by Leonardo Da Vinci and surrounded by gastronomies, restaurants and vintage shops. Walking along the canal feels like stepping back in time thanks to its ancient buildings, antiques markets and traditional street vendors. 

There are many activities available, such as canoeing, rowing and water tours of the city as well as shopping, walking and cycling along the canal path. The route almost feels like an open-air museum due to its historical houses and street art work.

The Navigli district has something to offer all year round, from the best restaurants in the city to the famous “aperitivo Milanese” and art galleries, this is simply one of the best things to do in Milan.

Written by Alice from Planet Things

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Summary Local Things To Do In Milan

As you can see, there is so much to see in Milan, Italy that its well worth your time with a visit. We recommend at least a weekend to truly see the culture, history and fun aspects of Milan. But if you are just visiting for a day, make the most of it and plan many of these places and things to do in advance!

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