Milan is widely known for being the capital of fashion and arts, and for a good reason: it has some of the best shopping centers in the world and a rich collection of art galleries. But that’s not all – the capital of Lombardy will charm you with its rich architecture as well. The ancient churches, medieval castles, and museum buildings are a feast for the eyes and hide plenty of valuable gems within. And of course, let’s not forget the wonderful Milanese food!
How to spend one day in Milan?
Unsure where to start your discovery tour of Milan? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We have the ideal one day in Milan itinerary with a list of the best things to do in Milan during your one-day so you can make the most of it.
#1 Duomo di Milano
Piazza del Duomo is a huge public square right in the heart of Milan’s historic town and where your discovery trip of the city should begin. In the middle of the square stands up gloriously the statue of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of independent Italy.
But the most important symbol of the piazza is without a doubt the Duomo di Milano – the city’s cathedral, where the Archbishop of Milan seats. This stunning monument will impress you not only with its architecture – which combines elements from the six centuries that it took to build it! – but also with its size. Milan’s Cathedral is the biggest structure in Italy and possibly the second biggest in Europe.
Five beautiful palaces also surround the square, each of them with a unique history to discover!
#2 A taste of Milan
While in Milan, you should definitely order a local risotto, which is very creamy and rich in butter and saffron. A good place to do that is the Osteria Conchetta, on via Conchetta 8.
In the Pasticceria Cucchi bakery, on Corso Genova 1, you can sip a coffee while enjoying a fluffy panettone, the famous Milanese sweet bread.
We also recommend you try the Costoletta alla Milanese – a thin veal cutlet covered in breadcrumbs and fried until it becomes crispy.
#3 Contemporary art in a fancy golden building
Since 2015, the permanent Milan venue of the Fondazione Prada can be found on the Largo Isarco 2. The Prada foundation is an institution dedicated to contemporary art and culture. It has hosted numerous unique shows and exhibitions in the past two decades in collaboration with renowned artists. Besides the stunning exhibitions, the complex also includes a cinema, bar and a library. However, its highlight is a 4-floor building covered in 24-carat gold, called the “Haunted house”.
Take into consideration that tickets can be booked only for the given time slots, so plan your visit accordingly.
#4 Time for outdoors recreation
Milan is not only about impressive monuments and fancy shopping streets. If you crave some quietness and relaxation out in nature during your visit, we’ve got you covered. Parco Sempione is a large urban park that extends from the Sforza Castle to the Arch of Peace. The park also hosts a few hidden gems that you wouldn’t want to miss out on, such as the Civic aquarium of Milan and the Branca Tower, which offers one of the best panoramic views of Milan.
#5 An abundance of museums
Milan has no shortage of museums so you can find something that will be of interest even for the pickiest explorer.
For any history and archaeology buffs, Milan Archaeological Museum is the perfect place to explore in Milan. Visitors will be able to admire the impressive remains of the Roman city wall, as well as a tower built during the third century.
Calling all fashionistas to get in formation…for the one and only Armani/Silos. As a fashion art museum dedicated to Armani creations, you can expect to see some unique design exhibitions that only Milan can offer.
For art lovers, you cannot miss Pirelli Hangar Bicocca’s contemporary art exhibitions or Triennale di Milano (Palazzo dell’Arte), an art and design museum.
#6 The capital of fashion
Milan needs no introduction when it comes to fashion. The Quadrilatero della Moda (or Quad d’Oro) is Milano’s high fashion shopping district packed with luxurious brands and elegant restaurants. All Italian and international fashion brands (Prada, Armani, Gucci, and much more) have their stores located there. For high-street brands and amazing cafes, visit Corso Buenos Aires or Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Brera district is also great for independent and alternative stores.
#7 Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
Leonardo da Vinci’s most recognizable and celebrated work—The Last Supper—can be found on the wall of the dining room of the former Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. The artwork was painted between 1494 and 1498 and represents the last “dinner” between Jesus and his apostles.
The mural is one of the most interesting attractions in Milan and therefore the ticket availability is limited. We recommend you book in advance as tickets can be combined with an audio guide or a separate attraction such as the Brera Gallery or the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana.
#8 Milan after dark: Naviglio
Check out the Naviglio canal area in southwest Milan if you want to explore the city’s hip, youthful side. For one of the best cocktails in town, don’t forget to pay a visit to Mag Cafe (Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 43).