Sightseeing in Milan

The highlights of Milan can easily be visited in a couple of days. I wanted to talk about the places we included on our tour of Milan.

1. The Last Supper. This was one of the sights that I absolutely didn’t want to miss on our visit. Learning from previous experience, I looked into getting tickets pretty far in advance. I highly recommend this for visitors. The website for direct purchase of the tickets is a little difficult to navigate and always had the dates of our trip as unavailable. I read on several different sites that an easy way to get tickets is by purchasing a guided tour. Therefore, we ended up purchasing a half day walking tour on Viator. Included in the tour ticket price was tickets to see The Last Supper.

We met to start the tour outside the church where the Last Supper is housed and walked from there to the remainder of the sites. One very nice thing about viewing the Last Supper is they allow very few people inside at a time. Our guide made the contrast to being in the Sistene Chapel in Rome, which is a completely different experience. You can barely move when visiting because the place is so packed. I much preferred this. Also, you can take as many photos as you would like just no flash is allowed. Your time inside will be limited to 15 minutes before new guests are funneled in. I included a photo of a portion of the outside structure of the church that had to be re-built. What is truly incredible is the destruction the church endured during World War II yet how amazing the Last Supper is preserved.

2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This is the famous shopping gallery that is seen in so many of the photos of Milan. It is situated directly adjacent to the Duomo. On our trip, they already put up Swarovski crystal Christmas trees inside, and it was really quite a festive sight! The best time to visit is likely very early in the morning. We went in the afternoon, and it was absolutely packed. It is very difficult to get a good photo given the crowd later in the day.

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3. Duomo. We did not purchase our tickets to the Duomo in advance. We went on the morning of our visit and purchased via kiosk. Our choice was to visit the inside of the church in addition to the rooftop. I would not skip a visit to the rooftop. It was well worth it. We started inside the church. At the time, they were doing some surveying and construction, which made getting fantastic photos a little difficult. As one might imagine, it is quite impressive from the inside. You can also tour the basement area, which has a lot of the history explained. Once you leave, there is a separate entrance on the side closest to La Rinacente department store to visit the roof. Now, when you purchase your ticket to the roof, you can choose to either climb the stairs or take a lift. I felt the stairs would not limit me by a line or wait to get onto the elevator. It was not a terrible climb. In Prague, I felt there were rooftops that required many more steps. On the roof, you are able to take in spectacular views with everyone else attempting to get their Instagram perfect shot. It can be a little difficult to get around amongst everyone taking pictures, but it was not terribly crowded when we visited. Don’t skip a visit to the roof! While the outside of the Duomo is what so many people see and think of, the inside and roof are just as special.

4. Museum of the 20th Century. This is located directly adjacent to the Duomo opposite Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. For us, this was a great escape from the dreary raining conditions outside. I was hoping to make a visit here and the imperfect weather made it an ideal time to stop. They have a few works here from Picasso and also Andy Warhol. There is no doubt a great selection of art. That being said, I think my favorite part was near the top level where there are massive windows looking out over the Duomo. The views from inside here are really cool and give a different perspective. Also, if you have the time, stop at their restaurant/bar for a drink or enjoy lunch here. A word of warning, you will not secure a seat with a fantastic view unless you intend to purchase food. If you want to only enjoy a drink, you will have to take a seat at the bar, which has a much more limited view.

5. Sforza Castle. This was a sight that was included as part of our walking Viator tour. It is a short walk from the church the Last Supper is housed in. The area encompassed is quite large for being right in the middle of Milan. Within the castle, there are a number of museums to visit. In close proximity to the castle, you will find the Parco Sempione. It was raining pretty heavy, so we did not explore this area. Through the park, I could visualize the Arco della Pace. It is quite pretty in photos. If the rain wasn’t so heavy, I would absolutely have taken the time to walk closer and explore more.

6. Teatro La Scala. Please see my full post on Italy’s beautiful opera house.

7. Apertivo. Although this isn’t a sight, apertivo hour is definitely something to take advantage of. This starts in the early evening time after work around 5-6pm. You go in for a drink, and it will come with a small assortment of snacks. With the numerous bars and restaurants throughout Milan, you could enjoy a different apertivo every day.

These were the main attractions that we visited during our trip. Unfortunately, the weather was poor, and there was a lot of rain during our stay in the month of November. I do think it limited how much exploring we did. Many places I read that you can cover Milan’s highlights in one or two days. After visiting, I do think that is very do-able. You could easily spend more time and with all of the apertivo hours, I could be occupied for days. I think one could easily think a visit to Milan is plenty. However, with all of the lakes and their proximity this is something you must include on your trip.

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