Georgina is a Travel Blogger, Travel Writer, history buff, wine (red) enthusiast and a lover of all cultures. She gave up the corporate race to embrace a more meaningful lifestyle to travel more, to write and to share the very best of her adventures. Georgina has lived in three continents, and now, based at a stone's throw of London, which is her home. She has a special interest to bring the best of Britain to her audiences worldwide.
Becoming newer from each travel, Georgina enjoys sharing her travel stories, drawing her readers into her world of boomer adventures while immersing them in the history, culture and food of a region. Together with her own informative, in-depth writing style, practical tips and suggestions on her blog, Timeless Travel Steps, Georgina make travel dreams a reality. She is happiest waking up to the chirpy sounds of the birds or sipping wine over sand in between her toes, while watching the rolling clouds melt into darkness.
Milan at a glance is a quick overview of what to expect and what you need to know when visiting this iconic city. It is one of the most travelled cities in Europe and a magnificent destination. You can spend hours or days getting lost here. .
There are so many highlights in this beautiful city, from the cobblestones of Brera to the skyscrapers of Porta Nuova to the historic Gothic architecture of the Duomo and the castles that tells the stories of Milan’s past. It is easy to get around, no matter where you are in the city and can easily getaway to other cities such as the picturesque Cinque Terre, the City of canals or the enchanting lakes of Italy. So, if you are planning a visit to this fabulous City of fashion, here’s what you can expect and need to know:
Entry to Italy – Visa: If you are a national of EU/EEA, you can travel with just an Identification card. If you are non EU/EEA, you will need an entry visa. Learn more from this page. With Brexit, UK nationals do not need a visa to enter Italy. Rules on travel will stay the same until 31st December 2020.
Language: The official language spoken in Milan is Italian but the majority of Milanese speak Milanese, a dialect of Italians commonly spoken in the Lombardy region.
Currency: The currency in Italy is the Euro (€). 1 Pound Sterling (£) is equivalent to 1.15 Euro | 1 USD (US$) is equivalent to 0.93 Euro | Check latest currency exchange before you go.
Credit Cards and ATMs: In Milan, there are no problems in finding ATMs /cash machines that accept foreign credit cards or bank debitcards. Most shops, restaurants, and tour operators will also take credit cards as a form of payment. You only really need cash for small purchases like metro tickets, bottles of water, coffee, gelato and small souvenirs etc.
Power Plugs:The plugs & sockets in Italy are Type F and L. The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50Hz. I recommend buying a worldwide universal travel adapterwhich you can use in any European countries.
WiFi – WiFi is usually available at the hotels and the high-rated restaurants but there may be a need to have WiFi at all times (like me). I recommend subscribing to Unlimited Portable Pocket Wifi (my favourite and a must have) when travelling to Milan or wider Italy/Europe. Works out much cheaper than roaming charges by a mobile carrier.
Safety – While Milan is generally a safe place to be, you may want to keep a close eye on your belongings. There are always that elements of pickpockets and theft.
Getting around – Milan has an awesome transport system that connects all the landmarks so it is easy to navigate. You can find all the information on Getting around Milan like a local on this page. I loved travelling to other cities on day trip by train. The countryside is beautiful and Italy has excellent high-speed routes. Have a look at this page
I hope this overview has given you a taster of what to expect when visiting Italy. Browse through all related articles so you can make an informed decision and know before you go. Milan is a fabulous city and you really got to experience it at least once.
Is this post, Milan at a glance valuable to you in planning your visits to the City of Milan? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Scroll all the way down for more ideas and inspiring travel stories. Subscribe to join us at My Timeless Footsteps to receive all the latest news and events. As always, I am contactable at firstname.lastname@example.org for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.
Have a splendid time discovering Milan!
#staysafe #stayinspired #travelwhensafe
Pin me on Pinterest
Can’t find what you are looking for? Use the search form below and searchmytimelessfootsteps
Italy, a country in Europe and a Member State of European Union/European Economic Areais home to many architectural styles that spans almost 3,000 years. It has a long Mediterranean coastline of 7,600 kilometres, picturesque lakes, stunning cliffs, hidden cities and so much more that makes this country a popular tourist destination. If you want to visit Italy solely for a vacation, recreation, experiencing the country and its culture or sightseeing, then you may need a Italy tourist travel visa.
Who may need an Italy Tourist Travel Visa? – Who does and who does not need one?
1 | Who does not need an entry or a tourist visa to visit Italy?
When travelling to Italy upon the invitation of a friend or a family member residing in Italy, you will need to hold an Italy Visitor visa. With a visitor visa, you are permitted to enter and remain in Italy for up to 90 days within a 6-month period.
To apply for a visitor travel visa, you need to contact the local consular services of Italy in your country of residence.
When applying to obtain a visa to visit your friends or relatives in Italy, you are required to provide the following additional documents:
Proof of financial means. Evidence that shows you have enough money to support yourself throughout your stay in Italy. This could be a personal bank statements, credit card statements or balance covering the last six months;
Sponsorship Letter. This is required when another person will be financially sponsoring your trip to Italy. It is also often called an Affidavit of Support.
Travel Itinerary. A day-to-day plan of your trip in Italy.
Letter of Invitation. By the relative/friend residing in Italy, inviting you to visit.
Proof of relationship with the host residing in Italy.
Although San Marino and Vatican City are independent countries within Italy, both countries did not sign the Schengen agreement. However, San Marino and Vatican City are considered part of the Schengen area. If you have a visa to visit Italy, you are not required to obtain a specific visa for San Marino or Vatican. You can travel freely to either of these micro-states as no border control is performed when entering from Italy.
While this post is a simple and quick overview, I hope it has given you an idea of whether you need to explore the possibility of obtaining a tourist travel visa for when you visit Italy. The simple list above of what you may need to show at the port of entry represents concisely the information required to obtain your visa. The following links which I have already referred to above, will provide you with all the information you need to make a successful tourist visa application.
Is this post on Italy tourist travel visa valuable to you to support your Italy tourist travel visa application? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Scroll all the way down for more ideas and inspiring travel stories. Subscribe to join us at My Timeless Footsteps to receive all the latest news and events. As always, I am contactable at email@example.com for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.
Milan Centrale Station is no ordinary Station, for sure! Its imposing, grandiose architecture has sculptures of winged horses, lions, bulls and eagles adorning its roof. Not only is it one of Europe’s largest stations, it depicts various architectural styles and art deco. The only thing you must not forget to do is to Look Up! Here is an overview.
About this post on Milan Centrale Station
This post provides a quick overview on Milan’s and one of Europe’s largest train station which is an attraction in itself. An architectural masterpiece showcasing various styles, it is a reflection of the grand city as a center of commerce and fashion. In addition, the station is home to a dedicated memorial as well as many restaurants and high-end fashion stores. There are practical information included for travellers using this station.
You can find this station located at: 45.4870° N, 9.2055° E
Milan Centrale Station
Milan Centrale Station, Milan. @mytimelessfootsteps
Milan Centrale Station is the main train station for Milan, a city that is the centre of commerce and fashion in northern Italy. It was opened in 1931, replacing an older and smaller station that was built in 1864. The station showcases an imposing, grandiose design to reflect the dominance of the then fascist regime of Prime Minister of Italy, Benito Mussolini. Milan Centrale Station is the second largest station in Italy, following Roma Termini.
The Station is centrally located in Milan, giving easy access to Milan’s top attractions, such as the Piazza del Duomo, Duomo di Milano, the Brera District and the many museums located around the city. The Station itself is home to high-end designer shopping which the City, as one of the fashion capital of the world is popularly known for.
“They told me that when Frank Lloyd Wright came to Milan, and he came only once, he was really impressed by it and said it was the most beautiful station in the world. For me it is also more beautiful than Grand Central Station in New York. I know few stations like this one”.
Aldo Rossi declared in an interview of February 1995 to Cecilia Bolognesi (Aldo Rossi, Luoghi Urbani, Unicopli 1999, p. 31)
There are no definite architectural style that can be associated with this grand station. Though beautiful and adorned with sculptures of winged horses, lions, bulls and eagles, it appears to be a blend of many different styles of Art Deco and Liberty, but not limited to those.
The platforms are covered with a canopy of soaring glass and metal arched roof, which is 341 metres (1,119 ft) long. It covers a total area of 66,500 square metres (716,000 sq feet).
As I mentioned earlier, don’t forget to look up – this is a magnificent building.
A sad past and The Shoah Memorial of Milan
During the holocaust in Italy, the station played a key role in transporting Jewish inmates of the San Vittore Prison and other persecuted people to concentration or death camps. They were taken to a secret track, located deep, on a sub-level below the train tracks, Binario 21. Between 1943 and early 1945, a total of twenty deportation trains and prisoners were sent away from here.
Today, this part of the station is a place for memory, gathering and awareness.
The Shoah Memorial of Milan
The Shoah Memorial of Milan occupies a vast space of train yard underneath the Centrale Station. Covering an area of twenty-four parallel tracks which were originally used for mail wagons, it is laid out on two levels, the ground floor and mezzzanine floor.
Book a ticket for a hassle free journey onboard an airport bus transfer from Linate Airport to Milan Central Station and from Milan Centrale to Linate Airport. This transfer assures a direct connection between Linate Airport and Milan Central Station by providing buses from the early morning until late at night. Get you and your luggage where you need to go when you need to go.
4 | Getting to Milan City Centre | Piazza del Duomo from Centrale
From Milan Centrale Station:
To get to the Cathedral, you will need the Piazza del Duomo. The distance between Milan’s Central Station and Piazza del Duomo is 2 miles / 3.2 km. There are Three ways to get to Milan Cathedral from Central Station. I took a taxi and it was 10 Euros. Have a look at the following and you can decide what suits you.
The quickest way to get from Milan’s Central Station to Piazza del Duomo is to take a taxi. It takes 7 to 10 minutes depending on traffic. It costs around 10 Euros.
If you are considering the cheapest way to get from Milan’s Central Station to Piazza del Duomo, then it is the line 3 subway which costs 3 Euros and takes 15 min. It is located right in the Piazza del Duomo.
You can take a direct bus departing from Central Station m2 m3 and arrives at via larga. It is about 7 to 9 minutes walk to Piazza del Duomo, The bus services depart every two hours, and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 13 min. Costs 3 Euros.
Learn more from this page that tells you all about getting around Milan like a local using public transport
Address: Piazza Duca d’Aosta, 1 20124 Milan | GPS: 45.4870° N, 9.2055° E
If you train travel to Milan or if you ever find your self at Milan Centrale Station, take a moment to look around. This magnificent, awe-inspiring station building is no ordinary station and it is indeed an attraction in itself!
Is this post valuable to you when at Milan Centrale Station? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Scroll all the way down for more ideas and inspiring travel stories. Subscribe to join us at My Timeless Footsteps to receive all the latest news and events. As always, I am contactable at firstname.lastname@example.org for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.
Arco della Pace or the Arch of Peace is an elegant Neoclassical architecture and a symbol of Milan. It stands at Porta Sempione, one of the five oldest of the City’s gates. This symbolic monument is surrounded by the largest lush green oasis of this fashion capital, Parco Sempione, which is a popular tourist attraction in itself. The area is freely accessible and the Arco della Pace is an unmissable attraction when visiting Milan.
History of Arco della Pace
Arco della Pace, Milan by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
Designed by architect Luigi Cagnola in 1807, it echoes Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. It was originally named Arco delle Vittorie (Arch of Victory) to celebrate Napoleon’s victory. The Arch is built at the start of Corso Sempione, a road that connects Milan to Paris along the Simplon Pass. This meant that Napoleon would pass through the Arch on his way into the Italian city. However, with Napoleon’s fall in 1814, this Neoclassical facade was left unfinished.
Post-Napoleonic era, the Arch was renamed Arco della Pace in 1815. Work resumed in 1826 and completed in 1838, in time for the crowning of Ferdinand I as King of Lombardy-Veneto. Ferdinan I dedicated the Arch to Francis I. Later, and with another change of power in 1859, the Arch was rededicated to the unified Italy. Sadly, Luigi Cagnola died in 1833, not having witnessed the completion of the Arch.
The architecture of Arco della Pace
A closer look at the Arch of Peace, Milan, Italy by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
The design of Arco della Pace is similar to the Arch of Septimius Severus at the Forum Romanum in Rome. It features a large passageway along with four Corinthian columns, decorated with bas-reliefs and sculptures. At 23 metres, this monument was built using several materials, including the Baveno granite and Creola d’Ossola marble.
At the top of the Arch, there are three groups of bronze statues. The central one is of a Goddess led by six-horses – the Chariot of Peace, sculpted by Abbondio Sangiorgio. The statues on either side of the arch were created by Giovanni Putti and are known as the Victories on Horseback. The sculptures were intended to face Paris but their position was modified by the Hapsburgs after Napolean’s defeat. The horses were turned 180 degrees to face the City.
Just below the statue, in the four corners of the columns are representations of the four rivers that flow through the former kingdom of Lombardy-Veneto region – Po, Ticino, Adige and Tagliamento. Bas-reliefs along the sides of the monument depict scenes of Battle of Leipzig which led to Napoleon’s defeat rather than his military victories. Other bas-reliefs depict major events in Italian history.
Practical information to support your visit:
1 | Location of Arco della Pace
If you are accessing Arco della Pace via Sforzesco Castle, then it is located at the far end of Parco Sempione. Parco Sempione can be accessed at the rear of the Castle. With so many attractions in Parco Sempione, this map shows you where exactly you need to head to.
Location of Arco della Pace in Sempione Park
2 | How to get to the Arch of Peace
Attractions in Milan are all located within walking distance. If you decide to use public transport, then the following might be helpful. The starting point is from Piazza del Duomo, the central square and the meeting point for most in Milan.
Take Line 1 Subway | the Line 1 Tram
This journey involves a 6-minute transfer
From the Duomo, take the Metro (M1) to Cadorna Fn . Journey is 3 minutes and costs 2 Euros.
At Cadorna, change to Tram 1. A 8-minute journey to Arco della Pace and costs 2 Euros.
Take Line 1 Tram
From the Duomo Metro Station, walk to Cordusio M1 – about 4 minutes.
Board Tram 1 to Arco della Pace. Journey is about 20 minutes, costs 2 Euros
Alternatively, you can take a taxi which costs around 8 Euros.
3 | Explore nearby areas
4 | Consider joining a tour of the City
When visiting Milan, consider joining a tour or two to learn about the history of the City. If you are a foodie, join a food tour so you get to experience the authentic Milanese restaurants that only the local experts know. If time permits, get away from the City for a day and experience the Lake Districts or the mountains or better still, visit a neighbour!
Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to the Arch of Peace? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Scroll all the way down for more ideas and inspiring travel stories. Subscribe to join us at My Timeless Footsteps to receive all the latest news and events. As always, I am contactable at email@example.com for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.
Parco Sempione is the largest green space in the city of Milan. It is located at the rear of Sforzesca Castle, in the northwest of the city. Covering an area of about 95 acres (38 hectares), it is a perfect haven to relax, to walk, jog, to bike ride or just about anything you wish, to fly away the time. The shaded area, sculptures and ornate fountains are especially inviting. Flora and fauna abound here as is the tranquillity in some areas where it is not crowded. This peaceful haven is popular amongst tourists as well as Milanese who seek respite from their hectic city life.
Parco Sempione, Milan, by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
First established in 1888, the park was used as a hunting ground by the Sforza family, the Dukes of Milan. Then it was landscaped when Napolean came, with a few orchards. In 1891, a large park was constructed for the public. Today, Parco Sempione has a number of attractions on site which should not be missed when you are visiting this peaceful and tranquil haven. There are 5 attractions which are made up of the Sforza Castle, Arch of Peace, an aquarium, a sporting arena, and Torre Branca, one of the tallest tower in Milan.
1 | Sforza Castle in Parco Sempione
Sforzesco Castle, Parco Sempione, Milan by Dimitris Vetsikas
Sforza Castle is a landmark in Milan. An impressive red brick fortress which was initially built in the 14th century by the Visconti family. The Castle was almost destroyed during the Golden Ambrosian Republic. It underwent massive improvements and reconstruction later in the 15th century when the Sforza family became the Dukes of Milan, to be one of the largest palaces in Europe. Today, Sforza Castle is home to several museums that houses valuable art and masterpieces. Notably, Michelangelo’s unfinished last work, the Rondanini Pietà and Sala delle Asse, frescoes by Da Vinci.
Address: Piazza Castello, 20121 Milano MI, Italy | Hours: Tue – Sun 09:00 – 17:30
2 | Arco della Pace
Arco della Pace, Parco Sempione, Milan by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
The Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) is a symbol of Milan and marks one of the historic gates. This was the strategic route taken by Napoleon when he invaded Northern Italy. This triumphal monument, is a beautiful structure made of marble and was completed in 1838. Standing at 23 metres and topped with horse-drawn chariots. is a landmark not to be missed when visiting Milan.
Address: Piazza Sempione, 20154 Milano MI, Italy
3 | Arena Civica
Also in Parco Sempione, there is Arena Civica which is one of Milan’s most popular sporting venues. The official name is Arena Gianni Brera, named after the famous Italian writer and journalist. Designed by Luigi Canonica, the Arena Civica was Napolean’s mini-colosseum which he opened with a chariot race in 1807. This Neoclassical stadium hosts major sporting events such as soccer, rugby games and concerts. The Arena is open daily to the public.
It is quite a plain stadium but the entrance looked okay.
Address: Viale Giorgio Byron, 2, 20154 Milano MI, Italy
4 | Acquario Civico in Parco Sempione
The Acquario Civico di Milano (Civic Aquarium of Milan) is tucked away in a convenient corner of Parco Sempione. Opened in 1906, it is beautiful. but a rather small aquarium. Home to over one-hundred species of fish, it tells a story of the mountain streams to seabeds. The are video presentations on the rare species.
The Acquario Civico is open to the public every day except Monday. Entrance is free.
Address: Viale Gadio, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
5 | Torre Branca
Torre Branca is no ordinary tower!. It is narrow and made completely of steel. At 108.6 metres, Torre Branca is one the City’s tallest buildings. The Tower was designed by Gio Ponti and erected in just two-and-half months in time for the 5th Triennale exhibition in 1933.
Take the elevator to the top, step out to see the incredible views over the City of Milan, the skyscrapers both old and new as well as the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Opening times varies:
On mid April-mid October:
Tues and Thurs 9.30pm-midnight | Wed 10.30am-12.30pm/4pm-6.30pm/9.30pm-midnight | Fri 2.30pm-6pm/9.30pm-midnight | Sat and Sun 10.30am-12.30am/2.30pm-7.30pm/9.30pm-midnight.
On mid October-mid April:
Wed 10.30am-12.30am/4pm-6.30pm | Sat 10.30am-1pm/3pm-6.30pm/8.30-midnight | Sun 10.30am-2pm/2.30pm-7pm.
Full ticket €5.
NB: The Torre Branca is closed for visits in case of bad weather.
Practical information when visiting Parco Sempione
1. Map of Parco Sempione
To support your visit to the Park, below is a map of Parco Sempione in Milan with markers for the 5 attractions I have listed on this post.
2. Plan ahead
When visiting Milan, consider joining a couple of city guided tours to enhance your experiences. There are hundreds of unmissable activities in Milan for all ages and interests. Plan ahead and secure your ticket/s especially if you are planning on visiting “The Last Supper” at the Santa Maria delle Grazie. Pre-book your tickets and stay flexible with easy cancellation up to 24 hours before. Save time, avoid queues and purchase skip the line tickets for major attractions. The following may be of interest to you:
3 | Read related articles
The following are some articles on Milan that may support your visit to the City:
So, what do you think? Is this post valuable to you in planning your visit to Parco Sempione? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. As always, I am contactable for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.
Sforza Castle and Museums | Castello Sforzesco | Milan
Sforza Castle and Museums is an oasis of art and culture. This iconic destination is one of the landmarks in Milan. A favourite for visitors, it is home to some of the best museums that tells the stories of the city’s past. Although I couldn’t visit the museums during my recent visit to Milan, it is on my bucket list to do so on my next visit. The grounds were splendid, of which I am glad to have visited. Whether you visit this fashion capital for a day, or a few days, Sforza Castle should be on your list. I share what I have learnt of this magnificent Castle, both from research and from my personal experience. You will find Sforza Castle in Milan at:
45.4705° N, 9.1793° E
Why and When was Sforza Castle built
This iconic red brick fortress was built in the 14th century by the Visconti family who made it into a splendid palace. It was almost destroyed during the Golden Ambrosian Republic. Later, in the 15th century, it became the home of the Sforza family, who were powerful rulers of Milan. Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan built on the remnants of the 14th fortification. The castle was reconstructed with the involvement of several of the greatest artists of the times such as Donato Bramante and Leonardo da Vinci. It was one of the most magnificent residences in Italy as a result. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Sforza Castle was renovated and enlarged to be one of the largest castles in Europe.
During the next four centuries, the castle was dominated by foreign powers, French, Spanish, Austrian. The function changed as well, from a residence to a military complex. It was later used as barracks by the Italian army.
In 1905 the castle was completely restored to the way it was under the Sforza family by architect Luca Beltrami. The parade grounds at the rear of the castle was turned into a park.
During World War II, the castle was severely damaged. At the end of the twentieth century the Castle square was built with a fountain in the centre. In 2005, the restoration of the Cortile della Ghirlanda and the halls of the castle were completed.
The Sforza Castle is of a square plan, with three inner courtyards dominated by four imposing towers on each corner. There are two round towers facing the city and two square towers at the other end. The round towers are known as the Torre di Santi Spirito and the Torre del Carmine. At the rear are two more towers, the Torre Castellana and Torre Falconiera.
The main entrance to the Sforzesco Castle is via the castle’s tallest tower, Torre del Filarete. It leads to an expansive inner courtyard. Exploring the castle grounds will bring you to the Torre di Bona di Savoia. Beyond this tower lies two smaller courtyards, the Cortile della Rocchetta to the left and the Corte Ducale to the right.
The Rocchetta was the castle’s stronghold and the last refuge in case of a siege.
The Corte Ducale (Ducal Courtyard) is elegantly designed in Renaissance style with a beautiful loggia, Loggetta di Galeazzo Maria. Some of the rooms around the Corte Ducale are decorated with magnificent frescoes from the fifteenth century, designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
Sforza Castle today | An oasis of art & culture
The building alone is well worth a visit but within the walls of Sforza Castle is home to some treasure trove of Milan history.
The Museums at Sforza Castle
The Castle houses several distinct museums bringing together art, paintings, sculptors and musical instruments that tells the stories upon stories of Milan’s cultural and civic history. Watch the virtual tours through the links below, courtesy of Google Arts & Culture, and you will discover, as I, just how fascinating these museums are.
The highlights of the Museums are:
1 | Rondanini Pietà Museum
This museum features Michelangelo’s final and unfinished work, the Rondanini Pietà, now housed in the frescoed hall of the castle’s Ospedale Spagnolo (Spanish Hospital).
Michelangelo continued to work on this sculpture up until the last days before his death in Rome in 1564. It was just a few weeks before what would have been his 89th birthday.
Carved from a single block of marble, the sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary grieving over the body of Christ stands to a height of 74 inches.
The Museum of Ancient Art houses the Sforza family’s sculptures of great value from the 5th century to the 16th century.
3 | The Pinacoteca
The Pinacoteca (Picture Gallery) hosts Lombard, Venetian and Flemish works. Made up of over 1500 works of art between the 13th and 18th century, it includes famous names such as Canaletto, Mantegna, Bronzino, Lorenzo Lotto, and Titian.
This part of the the museum is frescoed by Leonardo da Vinci,
8 | Egyptian Museum
Houses several objects from Egypt including statues, and mummies.
9 | The Archaeological Museum of Milan
This museum is home to objects from the main cultures that lived in Lombardy from the Neolithic period.
There are couple more exhibitions such as the Medal & Numistica Collection, and the engraving collection, “Achille Bertarelli”.
Practical information for visiting Sforza Castle, Milan
Hours and Admission
Castle Monday-Sunday 7.00-19.30
Museums Tuesday-Sunday 9.00-17.30 Last admission 17.00 (only for ticket holders)
Closed on Mondays, December 25th, January 1st, May 1st
Free entry to Sforza Castle
The Castle’s central courtyard is free at all times. It is Free entry to the museums on every first and third Tuesday of the month from 14.00
How to get to Sforza Castle
Location: Sforzesco Castle, Piazza Castello, 20121 Milan
On public transport
M1 and M2 (red and green lines) Cadorna FN M1 (red line) Cairoli M2 (green line) Lanza
For a comprehensive guide to using the public transport in Milan, read this article that has all the information you need. Includes type of tickets you may require, costs and links to the official ATM websites.
While most of the rooms are accessible to the disabled, rooms 9, 10, 15, 23, 24 are not accessible.
My thoughts on Sforza Castle
Sforzesco Castle, is not only a castle full of art but is also huge and beautifully landscaped with central courtyards that beckons a visit when you are in Milan. If you do not have time for the museums, visit this castle courtyards as it is open to the public and it is free. Moreover, ParcoSempione, Milan’s largest public green space is located at the rear of this magnificent landmark, so a visit through the courtyard is highly recommended if you are visiting Sempione Park.
If you are planning on visiting the museums, then consider doing one of the tours offered by Get your Guide, a trusted partner. View choices here.
You may also like to have a read on these, so you know more of Milan before your visit.
So, what do you think? Is this post valuable to you in planning your visit to Sforza Castle? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. As always, I am contactable for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.
I love Milan! I don’t know how else to say it! I love the vibe, the flair, the pace, the rhythm, the monuments, the history, the colourful designer bags, the picturesque cobbled streets, and historic trams with wooden benches! My short visit to Milan turned out to be one of the best last-minute travel plans I ever did and ticked off a few experiences on my Milan bucket list.
About this post on Milan bucket list ideas
Milan is a lively metropolitan hub often compared as just another city like London, Paris or New York but I think Not! Milan is unique. Milan has Piazzas!! Milan has gelato! Milan has Ossobuco! The city has all of the 19attractions listed in this Milan bucket list ideas which makes it incomparable to other metropolises. I am working through the list as I shall be returning to Milan on many future occasions.
I have included a Google MyMap towards the end of the post so, you too can use it to design your visit to Milan. Along with this map, there are some suggested tours which you can book to maximise your experiences. To have an authentic experience like a Milanese, get around Milan on their public transport! Everything you need for your Milan bucket list experience is right here, in this post. Scroll all the way down to see all related posts. So, grab yourself a cuppa or an aperitivo – here is the ultimate 19 ideas on Milan bucket list for exploring the best the city has to offer.
1 | Milan Cathedral | Milan bucket list
Duomo di Milano, Italy, by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
Milan Cathedral, famously also known as simply the Duomo (DuomodiMilano), is a monumental structure and is one of the most visited sites in Milan. It’s sublime architecture took almost 600 years to complete. Construction began in 1386 and was officially completed in the 1960s but with the continuous presence of scaffolding, one may think construction is still very much present!
A combination of Gothic and Romanesque style, this pink and white facade is made of special marble from Val D’Ossola. The front facade is magnificent and is decorated with countless statues, spires and numerous carvings. A symbol of international effort by the many architects, sculptors and artists, this monument is top on Milan bucket list ideas.
Viewing of Milan Cathedral
Beyond its outward experience, a fast-track ticket for a guided tour via a separate entrance for internal viewing of the Duomo was money well spent for a memorable visit. A step inside the Cathedral and you will come to experience specially designed marble floors that rules the Cathedral, tall columns, stained glass windows and beautiful paintings placed all around the walls. In short, it is architecture worth exploring. With a tour guide who knows all the stories, this is one attraction you wouldn’t want to miss.
Then, to top off your experience at Milan Cathedral, with the same skip-the line ticket, go up to the terraces, either via lift or stairs at just before sundown to catch the golden hues turning into the velvety night sky.
2 | Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II | Milan bucket list
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
Sitting just steps away from Milan Cathedral is the opulent and grandest of shopping mall! Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was designed by GuiseppeMengoni and completed in 1877. With over 160 years of history, the Galleria Vittorio is one of the oldest shopping mall in the world.
The cross shaped mall covered via four glass panelled arms allows the sunlight in perfectly. So bright and airy! The walls and shop fronts are decorated with ornate panelling and beautiful stucco artwork. The Galleria exudes an air of luxury. There are a string of high-end designer names such as Prada, Versace and Louis Vuitton that line the mall.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Piazza del Duomo | Accessible at all hours | Shops are typically open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
3 | La Scala Opera | Milan bucket list
La Scala Opera, Piazza della Scala, Milan, (official La Scala Opera site)
Also known as “Temple of Opera”, the La Scala dates back to 1778. This historical opera theatre is one of its kind to have hosted as many great artists and composers in her time and continue to do so. One of the finest inthe world, La Scala is renowned for its acoustic qualities, opulence and grandeur of the seating.
Experiencing a show, seating in one of the 6-tiers of seats or individual boxes that frame the stage in a semi-circle amidst full of red velvet drapes and gold furnishings is surely a memorable occasion. This makes one of Milan bucket list ideas for many, me included. To experience the show, get your tickets from the official La Scala website here.
Located in the small town square of Piazza della Scala, north of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, accessible from Piazza del Duomo.
Via Filodrammatici, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy | Guided tours available at specific times.
Join a 1-hour tour of La Scala, learn about its history and visit the museums
Sforzesco Castle, Milan, by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
This 14th century building is one of the most famous landmarks in Milan. It looks very much like a castle and is set in extensive grounds and gardens. The original design had been modified over the years but still retains its elegance and status of power. It was home to the Dukes of Milan, the Sforza family.
These days, the castle is home to a number of small museums and collections containing a myriad of interesting artefacts and historical information about the castle and Milan.
There are a number of guided tours available where you can learn more of medieval Milan and the Dukes who once ruled this city. The 2-hour guided tour of Sforza Castle and the museum comes with skip-the-line priority giving you access to the grounds and all of the museums. The tours are timed for 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Ensure that you pre-book to secure your tour as soon as you work out your itinerary for Milan.
Castello Sforzesco | Piazza Castello, 3, 20121 Milan Italy | Opening times: Castle grounds free entry – 7.00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ; Museums – 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through to Sunday.
Parco Sempione, Milan, by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
Parco Sempione is a large public space that sits behind Sforzesco Castle. This beautifully landscaped park covers about 38 hectares (95 acres) and offers a myriad of footpaths, bike trails, shaded areas, sculptures and ornate fountains. Flora and fauna abound here.
Walk through the park to see the Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace). There is also a little museum and Torre Branca, a huge watch tower that offers panoramic views of the city.
Parco Sempione is a perfect place to rest your feet if you have walking-tour the city or just to relax.
6 | Arch of Peace | Milan bucket list
Arco della Pace, Milan, by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
The Arch of Peace (Arco della Pace) is one of the symbols of Milan and marks one of the city’s historical gates. This 18th century Neoclassical triumphal monument is a 23 metre marble structure at one end of the Simplon Road, Parco Sempione. This was the strategic route through the Alps taken by Napolean I when he invaded northern Italy in 1800. Napolean later commissioned the arch to commemorate his victories.
Construction began in 1806 but was not completed until 1838.
Address: Piazza Sempione, 20154 Milano MI, Italy
7 | Torre Branca | Milan bucket list
Aerial view of Milan from Branca Tower
Torre Branca is a panoramic tower situated in Sempione Park. At 108.6 metres, Torre Branca is the 6th tallest structure in Milan after Unicredit Tower, Palazzo Lombardia, Pirellone or Pirelli Tower and the Breda Tower.
Constructed in 1933 and designed by Gio Ponti, the Torre Branca offers unparalleled views over the city of Milan. Ascend to the top by lift and step out to the top of the tower. If you are fortunate with the weather, you might see the snow-capped mountains in the distance. In any event, you will love the city skyline from here, which merits a spot on Milan bucket list ideas.
Address: Viale Luigi Camoens, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
8 | Pinacoteca di Brera | Milan bucket list idea
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
Pinacoteca di Brera (Breara Picture Gallery) is housed in Palazzo di Brera, an 18th century Neoclassical structure. Pinacoteca is an art museum. Founded in 1809 by Napoleon I and is one of the most important of Italian museums. It is home to a large collection of Italian art.
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
The museum’s exhibits consist some of the greatest masterpieces of Italian paintings from the 15th century to the 20th century. It has especially rich collections of Venetian and Lombard paintings from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. There are works such as the Marriage of the Virgin by Raphael, Pieta by Bellini, the Last Supper by Rubens and the Adoration of the Magi by Correggio. The works are displayed on the first floor of the building, where the Academy of Fine Arts is also located.
This amazing historical museum is conveniently located in close proximity to both the Sforzesco Castle and the Piazza del Duomo and warrants a spot on Milan bucket list ideas.
Address: Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
There is a two hour guided walking tour available for you, combining a visit to Pinacoteca, with a fascinating walk through Milan’s popular Brera district.
Brera is a charming and rather enchanting area of Milan that has many hidden gems to explore. A distinct Bohemian beauty and simple old-school charm, Brera often finds itself in the top of Milan bucket list ideas of many visitors.
The main attraction in Brera is the area itself. The district is full of art academies, galleries, a number of antique shops and well-to-do restaurants and bars. It is a good area to eat like a local, from traditional pasta to pizza and have your Italian beer along with your meal.
You can also go on a little high-end retail therapy, wander through its picturesque cobbled streets, explore the many hidden gems, perhaps stopping for a coffee or an aperitivo in one of its squares.
The vibe here is fantastic and is an experience that should not be missed.
Location: To the north of the Duomo di Milano, in-between Borgonuovo and Broletta. | 20121 Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy |
10 | Biblioteca Braidense – Brera Library
The Braidense National Library is in the same building as the Pinacoteca di Brera museum and the Brera Academy, making it a perfect stop for a visit. It is a public library, which was created in 1770 by Maria Theresa of Austria.The library was open in 1786. I included the Brera Library as one of Milan bucket list attraction because of its historical significance and contribution towards promoting the book as an object of art.
Furthermore, the Biblioteca Braidense is the third largest library in Milan. This Neo-classical library is home to a collection of 1,500,000 books, including 2,000 manuscripts, 350 of which date back to medieval times, and 25,000 sixteenth-century editions. The collection also includes catalogues, religious books housed in the reading room, a rare collection of letters and first editions by Alessandro Manzoni.
The reading rooms feature the library’s original wooden shelves and furnishings, crystal chandeliers, frescoed ceilings and a collection of antique paintings. A spot in Milan bucket list is highly merited, I think.
Address: Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
11 | Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie | Milan bucket list
Santa Maria delle Grazie (Holy Mary of Grace) is located in the heart of Milan. An outstanding architecture, with a certain charm and grace, it is an emblem to the Catholic religion.
The Santa Maria delle Grazie was built between 1466 and 1490 to a design by architect Guiniforte Solari. The church features a Gothic style using red bricks and a large rear basilica.
Inside the church, more precisely the refectory, on the wall is one of the greatest artistic masterpieces in the world – The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. The mural depicts the scene of the Last Supper as described in the Bible. Throughout the years, this piece of artwork has been scrutinised and analysed for its hidden meanings and content. It only seems fitting that Santa Maria delle Grazie is included in Milan bucket list of ideas.
Address: Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano MI,
Pro tip: This is a top rated attraction and tickets are sold out months ahead of time. Pre-book your tickets to secure your visit.
Church Monastery, San Ambrogio, Milan, Italy, by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
Sant Ambrogio (Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio is a church in the centre of Milan. This ancient building is one of Milan’s most important churches. Named after the city’s patron saint, Saint Ambrosius (Ambrose) who consecrated the church in 386 AD during his tenure as bishop of Milan. The church was built in 379 AD and was a focal point for the people, as the city of Milan was built around it.
The architecture is of a simple Romanesque style. Two large towers frame the front facade. The central courtyard is pretty, decorated with a series of ornate arches. The interior of the church features beautiful mosaics and artwork including the ceiling of the Oratory and the delightful depiction of Christ on one of the domes.
A visit to this church is highly recommended, meriting a spot on Milan bucket list ideas as it will provide an insight into the history of Milan and its religious importance.
Address: Piazza Sant’Ambrogio, 15, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
San Bernardino alle Ossa is a church but a very different kind of church from the rest of the churches in Milan. The church walls are completely covered in bones and skulls! Even the door knobs! Therefore a visit to San Bernardino may not be suitable for everyone.
According to its history, in 1145, a hospital was built near the Santo Stefano Maggiore Church, Milan. The graveyard,became overfilled with bodies from the new hospital, so in 1210 a little chamber was built to collect the bones from the hospital. In 1269 a small church was added near the bone chamber.
Today, you will find San Bernardino alle Ossa located at the end of a short corridor to the the right of the church’s entrance. The vault is decorated with frescos from Sebastiano Ricci, dating from 1695.
If you are interested in visiting an unusual church, then the following information might help you:
Location: Piazza Santo Stefano, Milan, 20122 Italy | Entrance is Free | Closed on Sundays
14 | Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology
Leonardo da Vinci was a legendary man of true genius and amongst the most influential artists in history. He left a significant legacy not only in the realm of art but in science as well, each discipline informing his mastery of the other.a painter, an architect, an engineer, a theatrical producer. Therefore, it stands to reason that a museum named after him contains many of his works and a huge collection of other important scientific and technological displays.
As one of the most important museums in the world, one can expect to find collections of model cars created from da Vinci drawings, reconstructions of his flying machines, and a plethora of his drawings, blueprints and sketches.
Address: Via San Vittore, 21, 20123 Milan MI, Italy
The Archaeological Museum of Milan is housed in the former convent of the Monastero Maggiore and the Church of San Maurizio. Both buildings were founded in 8th and 9th century. Dedicated to the history of ancient Milan, the museum features archaeological finds from several periods. This includes the Middle Ages, influences from the Etruscan civilization and also the ancient Greeks.
Address: Corso Magenta, 15, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
16 | Naviglio Grande
Navigli nightlife, Milan, Italy by Pippocucu, Pixabay
Navigli is fast becoming one of Milan’s most popular neighbourhoods, but there’s more to do here than see the canals. The Naviglio Grande is one of the two canals in Milan. It stretches from the Porta Ticinese to the Ticino river some 50km to the west. Constructed in 1177, the canal was worked on for many years and continued to expand into what it is today.
The canals are busy, especially during the summer months where tourists are ferried up and down the water. The boat tours depart every hour from Alzaia Naviglio Grande. For a bucket list experience, you can choose to cruise the canal on Milan’s first (and only) Venetian Gondola, owned by the Canottieri San Cristoforo – they even offer gondolier lessons. Or you can just grab an aperitivo and sit along the harbour banks and soak in the lively vibe.
The Navigli area is popular as well for good bars and restaurants.
Address: 21015 Milan Italy
17 | Piazza dei Mercanti
Piazza dei Mercanti, Milan, Italy, by Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
Piazza Mercanti (Merchants Square) was once the heart of the city in the Middle Ages, a hub for many merchant activities and trade markets.
It is one of the most picturesque squares in Milan that still preserves an authentic Medieval atmosphere. Notable buildings are Pallazo della Ragione, the Pallazo delle Scuole Palatine and the Loggia degli Osii. There are some important statues and monuments here, some of which have Roman origins.
Pro tip: The loggia dei mercanti, an open air space beneath Pallazo della Ragione is a whispering gallery, Speak softly to some of its columns, and its archways will whisk your whispers to a well-placed listener on the opposite side of the portico.
Piazza Mercanti is located between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza Corduiso | Address: Piazza dei Mercanti, 20123 Milan MI, Italy
Visit this easily accessible square (just 3 minutes walk from Piazza del Duomo) to admire its ancient origins and beautiful architecture.
18 | Porta Nuova
Porta Nuova is the modern face of Milan, making it one of Milan’s most contemporary and trendiest places to visit. The area is characterised by flagship stores, boutiques, residential skyscrapers and landmarks such as Gae Aulenti Square, the towering UniCredit Tower and Bosco Verticale.
Porta Nuova literally means “new gate” and is one of the six main gates to the city of Milan. It was originally built between 1810 and 1813 during the Napoleon era. Today, the Porta Nuova district is popular attraction for commercial investments, tourists and locals.
A vibrant, futuristic, “must-see” district that stand their own ground alongside to the more famous of the historical attractions like the Duomo or La Scala masterpieces.
Address: Piazzale Principessa Clotilde, 37, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Historic tram with wooden benches, Milan by Alfonso Cerezo, Pixabay
This is completely different from a modern tram! In Tram #1, wooden benches are placed along the sides, wooden steps to get onboard, folding doors and sash windows. How cool is that! What is really special about this tram is that it is a vehicle with over 100 years of history, which means that there were many generations of Milanese who rode this tram to and from from work, shop or everywhere else.
To discover Milan via this Milan bucket list experience, join a two-and-half hour tour that will take through the city of Milan. Some of the highlights include:
Learn the history of the Dukes of Milan at Sforza Castle
Practical information for planning your Milan bucket list
Here are some practical information to support your planning and visit to Milan.
1 | Map as a guide
Firstly, using a map as a guide – from the map below, you will note that most of the attractions are all within a cluster of walkable distance. Experiencing all 19 attractions on Milan bucket list idea may take more than a day and/or more than one visit depending on how long your vacation is for. The information in this post along with the map will support you in designing your itinerary and how best to experience these attractions.
2 | Suggested tours
Secondly, below is a summary of suggested tours you can take to learn more of the historical sites this City offers. Pre-book your tickets to secure your visit as some of these attractions are sold out months ahead of time. As bucket list attractions. you wouldn’t want to miss them! Stay flexible with easy cancellation up to 24 hours before. Get your tickets downloaded to your phone for seamless skip-the-line visits.
Thirdly, to get around Milan, you may want to purchase the 48-Hour City Pass: Discover Milan With One Card, giving you free access to museums, transport options and discounts with affiliate restaurants. Just so you know, if you are selecting this 48-hour pass and wish to use the dining options, you need to plan ahead and pre-book your favourite restaurants. Milan is a tourist hotspot, and the best restaurants and the best time slots are usually taken at least a month ahead of time.
For a detailed guide to Milan’s transport system and ticket options – basically everything you need to know about getting around Milan like a local – navigate to the page
My thoughts on Milan bucket list
Having a Milan bucket list is a good way to compile all the things you want to do and experience in this city. My bucket list comprises of 19 attractions and places to visit to learn more of Milan’s rich history and culture. I am glad to have visited some places already. Also glad that my visits these days are not geared towards ticking off a list anymore. I spend more time in the moment and enjoy what I see and experience. I have a more meaningful takeaway, this way. I have left off food experiences in Milan as it warrants a whole post in itself. I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and some of the attractions will find its way to your bucket list as well.
So, what do you think? Is this post valuable to you in planning your visit to accomplish your Milan bucket list ideas? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.As always, I am contactable for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.
Scroll all the way down for recent, related and inspiring articles.
Have a splendid time exploring the beautiful city of Milan.
While any day is an enjoyable day in Italy’s fashion capital, day trip from Milan will lead you to adventures exploring captivating medieval cities, cultural gems and simple, beautiful lakeside towns where moments are frozen in time.
With high-end shopping galleries, finest architectural and artistic masterpieces, and a myriad of winding streets, Milan offers so many things to do for a visitor on any given day. If you can build into your itinerary a day or two to venture out of the city on a day trip, to experience something different, exploring the hidden cultural gems of medieval cities, castles and lakeside towns, then selecting from this best 10 day trip from Milan will be a great starting point to a perfect itinerary.
1 | Lake Como – Day trip from Milan
Lake Como, Italy by Carlo Restuccia – Pexels
Spend a day at Lake Como, Italy’s third largest lake and only a stone’s throw from the city of Milan. In under an hour in what is a seamless train journey, you will experience the most beautiful of the northern Italian lakes. The natural beauty of its settings, steep wooded shoreline and pristine aquamarine waters has been the playground for the aristocrats and wealthy since Roman times.
What to do in Lake Como:
Enjoy a luxurious cruise around its waters and take in the sights of beautiful villas and stunning alpine scenery. Combine this lake visit with a tour of the larger town of Como, located in the southern tip of the lake. Spend at least a couple of hours exploring the hidden gems of Como city, notably the neoclassical building of Villa Olmo, Como Cathedral and Piazza Duomo. Don’t forget to ride the historical Brunate Funicular, operating since 1894. It connects Como city with the village of Brunate. A 7-minute ride up gives you panoramic views over the lakes and the Swiss Alps.
Along with the stunning landscapes and medieval villages, Lake Como has been Italy’s silk capital since the 16th century. World famous, Como is home to Mantero, just 15 minutes drive from Como city centre. If you can’t get to Mantero, then stop by at A.Picci, trading since 1919 and is the last remaining silk shop in town, dedicated to selling Como silk.
A day trip to Como typically involve a visit to the smaller town of Varenna and hopping onto a ferry to Bellagio. All three offering different landscapes to the lake.
When to go:
The best time for visiting Lake Como is between March and November. The warm temperature allows you to enjoy boat tours and walks.
How to get to Lake Como: If you are exploring on your own, I would highly recommend a train journey from Milan Central Station. The average travel time between Milan and Como is 48 minutes. The quickest route is 37 minutes. There are about 58 direct trains connecting Milan to Como everyday. You can check train timetable and purchase your tickets here.
Ways to experience Lake Como, Varenna & Bellagio: Join a group tour and enjoy a full day trip to Como from Milan onboard a luxury coach with a knowledgeable guide.
Pro tip: Lake Como is often combined with other nearby destinations such as Bergamo but I think to fully experience Lake Como, a full day should be dedicated to exploring this picturesque area of the lake district in Italy
2 | Lugano and Bellagio – Day trip from Milan
Sunrise over Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy by Heyengel – Pexels
Known as “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”,Lugano sits on the southern Swiss border, Italian Canton of Ticino, south of the first ridge of the Alps. Lugano is easily reached in less than an hour from Milan offering breathtaking vistas of the Swiss Alps and shopping opportunities, a destination often high on a tourist list to this region.
What to do in Lugano:
Immerse in the wild beauty of the lakeshore, the dominating San Salvatore and Brè Mountains. Fall in love with the Italianate architecture in the city, chic shopping streets where you buy the best Swiss chocolates. The villages are huddled to the mountainsides over the lake, offering picturesque sights for perfect photo opportunities.
San Salvatore – From Paradiso, take a 12-minute ride up onboard a funicular to reach the 900 metres for amazing views over the lake and the Alps.
Monte Brè – At 925 metres above sea level, Monte Brè is regarded the sunniest mountain in Switzerland and a perfect home to a special flower, Christmas Rose, which usually only found in the Mediterranean climes
Combine Lugano with a trip to Bellagio: The “Pearl of Lake Como”, in less than an hour from Lugano.
What to do in Bellagio: Enjoy the charming town with its cobblestones and Villa Serbelloni, an 18th century terraced garden with lake views.
Ways to experience Lugano and Bellagio: Join a tour of no more than 25, from the centre of Milan, seeing the very best of Lugano and Bellagio and plenty of time to explore on your own. There are various options offered, so check and book now, pay later on the one that best fits your itinerary.
For off the beaten path adventure in Bellagio: Join a 2-hour activity exploring a wilderness trail in a place that is so close to Bellagio and yet, little known and little visited. The village of Lezzeno, between the mountains and the lake.
Bergamo Old City, Architecture by Ben_Kerckx, Pixabay
A visit to Bergamo is often combined with a visit to Lake Como but I think it’s worth dedicating a day exploringthis historic town. With hills stretching for miles and its incredible surrounds, a remarkable experience awaits.
What to do in Bergamo:
This charming, yet hidden and unexplored city has plenty of medieval architecture to marvel at including the 5 kilometres of medieval wall encircling the old town. Explore Bergamo Alta, the hidden city at the top of the town, accessed via a funicular. Visit the Venetian Works of Defence, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for incredible views over Bergamo.
Other incredible experiences at Bergamo Alta not to be missed: Bergamo Cathedral, St. Maria Maggiore Basilica, and the Colleoni Chapel.
Getting to Bergamo: There is a direct train from Milan Centrale Station. Journey is about an hour.
4 | Lake Maggiore & the Borromean Islands – Day trip from Milan
Lake Maggiore, Italy by Jonathan Reichel, Pixabay
Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Island make a perfect day trip from Milan, an escape to the peaceful haven from the hustle and bustle of the city. Enjoy a day hopping-on and off the 11 islands that form this cluster of pretty charm with a ferry pass.
What to do in Lake Maggiore & surrounds:
The main attraction here are the three distinct islands, IsolaBella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori (also known as Isola Superiore). Explore their individual charms at leisure and enjoy the tranquility of the natural beauty of the islands. Visit Palazzo Borromeo, a unique 10-tiered baroque garden design in Isola Bella that has remained intact. Isola Madre is home to a fabulous Palace Museum and Gardens which should not be missed. Isola dei Pescatori is a fisherman’s village and the only village inhabited all year round.
Getting to Lake Maggiore: Begin your day of island hopping at Stresa, a lakeside town which is about 1 hour 7 minutes from Milan by train. All the islands are a short ferry ride of each other.
Travel by train options: Either point-to-point travel which works cheaper if one-off travel but if you are visiting a couple of the cities and planning on travelling by train, then the Interail Pass is a cost-effective option.
Made famous by Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, the beautiful town of Verona is as pretty as was described. With temperate weather and regarded by Mozart and Goethe as the perfect holiday spot, Verona has many other strings to its bow which must be explored and certainly merits a day trip from Milan.
What to do in Verona:
Visit the Arena di Verona, Piazza delle Erbe with its town hall and a clock-tower, Torre dei Lamberti. Splash out if you wish in the Centro Storico Certainly do not miss Juliet’s balcony. The centre of town is compact, walkable with barely any need to take public transport. Don’t miss Castelvecchio, a Roman fortress just outside of the city walls.
Getting to Verona: Verona can be reached in a little over an hour from Milan. The average travel time between Verona and Milan is 1 hour 23 minutes. The quickest route takes 1 hour 15 minutes. There are 23 trains in a day between Milan and Verona, leaving approximately every hour.
Pro tip: Verona is a beautiful town and offers so much to see,, do and experience. I spent 3 days in Verona and wished I could have stayed longer. Dedicate 1 day in its entirety at the very least in Verona, because Verona is so much more than Juliet’s balcony.
6 | Lake Garda – Day trip from Milan
Lake Garda, Italy by Wellox, Pixabay
Lake Garda, the largest, cleanest and the most famous of lakes in Italy definitely warrants a visit. It’s crystalline waters, the beautiful backdrop of snowcapped mountains, charming towns of Bardolino, Sirmione and Desenzano will captivate you from the moment you arrive here.
What to do in Lake Garda:
Take a quick cruise out to scale the shores and be captivated with the villas of the rich and famous. In Bardolino, there are two Romanesque churches which you simply must see. Sirmione, the “Pearl of Lake Garda” has so much to offer visitors including a medieval fortress, Roman villa and the Catullo caves.
Getting to Lake Garda: There are two ways to get to Lake Garda from Milan by train. First option is to arrive at Desenzano del Garda from Milan. The journey is 51 minutes and there are 25 trains each day. Secondly, a train journey to Peschiera del Garda will take 57 minutes, also 25 trains in a day.
Venice needs no introduction! This romantic city of canals, bridges, cobbled streets and gondolas must be in everyone’s list of things to do when in Italy.
What to do in Venice:
You may not be able to fit all of Venice’s delights in a day trip from Milan but if a day is all you have, then allow yourself to be charmed by the fantastic architecture that characterises one the world’s favourite cities. Wander the little alleys and stop for coffee at the infamous Piazza San Marco. Hop over to Venice’s nearby island, Murano and experience the colours of the island and its historic tradition with glass-blowing. If you could do a gondola ride through its many canals at sunset, it will surely be memories well worth the money!
Getting to Venice: Takes a little over 2 hours to reach Venice by trainfrom Milan. The average travel time between Milan and Venice is 2 hours and 32 minutes. The quickest route is 2 hours and 10 minutes. There are 22 trains in a day between Milan and Venice, leaving approximately every hour.
Ways to experience Venice: Book a day trip from Milan onboard a luxury coach to Venice. This trip includes a 2-hour guided tour of Venice and a boat rideon Venice lagoon (NOT a gondola ride). You have plenty of time to explore on your own as well.
Visit one of Italy’s most scenic landscape with layer upon layer of rainbow-hued medieval houses perched upon hillsides – the five villages of Cinque Terre are sure to captivate and delight visitors of all ages. A UNESCO World-Heritage is also one of the most Instagrammable site!
What to do in Cinque Terre:
A day is too short a time to explore all five medieval villages but there will be enough time to wander round Monterosso al Mare (the largest of the Cinque Terre villages) and Vernazza.
Getting to Cinque Terre: There is a direct train from Milan to Monterosso which takes about 3 hours. There are other routes that require a change at Genoa.
Ways to experience Cinque Terre: Book a coach tour from Milan to Monterosso and spend one day exploring this picturesque Italian villages. This tour comes with a 1.5 hour boat trip to Vernazza, a beautiful fishing village in every sense.
Get away for a day and go on a scenic drive along the coast to the three colourful gems in the beautiful Ligurian Coast. Genova is Italy’s largest port and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Together with the colourful villages of Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure, it is a delightful area of the Italian Riviera to explore as a full day trip from Milan.
What to do in Genova & Portofino:
The historic streets of Genova is home to monuments dedicated to its maritime history and memorials to Christopher Columbus. Sail along the coast to the glamorous fishing village of Portofino that dates back to Roman times, take in the picturesque sights of the fishing boats and spend some time exploring the Santa Margherita Ligure.
Getting to Genova & Portofino: Onboard a coach tour from Milan city centre with a tour guide and includes the boat trip to Portofino.
10 | Interlaken & the Swiss Alps – Day trip from Milan
Lake Thun, Interlaken, Switzerland by Algorino, Pixabay
Venture to another country while visiting Milan! Just a few hours and you would arrive in Interlaken – one of the most scenic places on earth!
What to do in Interlaken:
Enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the Swiss Alps onboard the Green Train of the Alps.as it takes you on a journey through Simplon pass, one of the most beautiful crossings in Switzerland. Take an amazing cruise on Lake Thun and explore Interlaken at your own pace before your return journey.
Getting to Interlaken: Onboard a high-speed train from Milan to the town of Domodossola to board the Green Train of the Alps.