City Orientation Walking Tour, Milan (Self Guided)

Throughout its 2,000+ year-long history Milan has accumulated an impressive collection of architectural monuments, thanks to some of the best artists and architects this world had ever seen who blessed the city with their presence. Masterpieces like the Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci’s mural “The Last Supper,” vividly attest to that. Take this orientation walk to visit some of Milan's cultural marvels, and see what makes it a city of unparalleled artistic value.
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City Orientation Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Milan (See other walking tours in Milan)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 14
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 km
Author: kane
1
Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

1) Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) (must see)

Milan Cathedral, also called Duomo, is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan and the largest church in Italy (third largest in Europe and the fourth largest in the world) covering an area of 12,000 sqm and weighing 325,000 tons.

The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Mary Nascent and has been a central part of the city's life since 1386. Its foundation was laid by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, who died in 1402, when only half of the structure was completed, upon which construction came to a standstill for almost 80 years due to the lack of both funds and ideas. It resumed in 1500 and by 1510 the octagonal dome was completed and embellished with four series of 15 statues representing different characters from the Bible. In 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte forced completion of the façade which overall took another seven years. In honor of his efforts, a statue of Napoleon was erected at the top of one of the spires. Later, Duomo also saw his crowning ceremony.

Only in the 20th century was the Duomo fully completed. Inaugurated on January 6, 1965, the completion of the last gate marked the very end of the centuries-long process. A visit to the roof and the Paleo Christian baptistery beneath the west end are part of the Duomo attraction. The rooftop offers a closer look at the intricate details of the spires and the gargoyles which adorn it. You have to climb a huge 201 stairs to reach the top. However, those who wish to avoid the stairs can use an elevator. The view from the top, about 70 meters high, is spectacular with myriads of statues, pinnacles, tracery and flying buttresses. Climbing all the way up through winding narrow passageways is rewarded with a wonderful and breathtaking panorama of the city!

Why You Should Visit:
The Duomo is Milan's one and only must-see sight – its exterior a vast riot of ornate religious sculpture, its interior sublimely huge.

Tip:
Buy the online skip-the-line tickets that include the church entry and access to the elevator to view the rooftop.
The experience of the surrounding piazza is at its finest at night when the whole facade is lit by white lights.

Opening Hours:
[Cathedral] Daily: 8am-7pm (last ticket: 6pm; last entry: 6:10pm)
[Rooftops] Daily: 9am-7pm (last ticket: 6pm; last entry: 6:10pm)
2
Via Torino

2) Via Torino

Via Torino is one of the main shopping streets of Milan. It connects Piazza Duomo with the typical Ticinese district. Via Torino is famous for its specialty in shoes – one of the woman’s favorite product. Full of shops selling shoes, the street is famous for its wide range of shoes merchandise – from all-terrain boots to dainty sandals. In recent years Via Torino has developed a shoe mall, with a large number of shops selling shoes mainly to the young people. Price range varies from inexpensive to the medium-to-high priced along with the difference in quality.

At the other end of the Via Torino, down from the Duomo, is the Ticinese district which offers a selection of small shops and workshops.

Milan has been defined as a rich city dedicated to art and pleasure. It is, no doubt, an active participant in the fashion race of the world's capital cities along with Paris, Tokyo and London. Here you can find anything you can dream of. With the wide variety of shoes available and the prices ranging from very low to very high, you will surely find something that matches your style and your budget. If you have a love for shoes, you must visit this street, you will be baffled with the choices available for you.
3
La Rinascente

3) La Rinascente (must see)

Founded in 1865, La Rinascente is a classical fashion department store in Milan that has been recognized as the most modern shopping place. It is an eight-storey huge shopping mall that sells nearly everything one can think of, from lingerie to colorful ceramics. All the departmental stores selling the latest cosmetics, accessories and footwear are situated here. The top floor is the home of innumerable gastro bars and a delicatessen: Italian cuisine, sushi bar, a branch of Obikà mozzarella bar, etc., along with the wine, juice, chocolate and cheese bars. It also treats visitors to a panoramic view of the Duomo cathedral. The top floor has an indoor-outdoor cafe where hot chocolate and coffee can be enjoyed while appreciating the beauty of the Duomo.

La Rinascente was renovated during the summer of 2008; its former mall-like feel has been replaced by a boutique feel. All in all, a great place to look around, to do shopping and to enjoy a drink or a meal while sitting in the comfy environment of the many on-site restaurants.

Tip:
They have clean bathrooms on the top floor, and there is no fee. While you're there, just walk over to the big windows and get a bird's eye view of the Duomo while enjoying the air conditioning.
If you need to do Tax Refund, collect all your receipts from La Rinascente and process them on the same day on the same top floor. The receipts are only valid for tax refund if done the same day, so it is better to do all your shopping from La Rinascente in one day, then proceed to the Tax Refund and complete a single form including all receipts.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 9:30am-9pm; Fri, Sat: 9:30am-10pm; Sun: 10am-9pm (hours change monthly)
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

4) Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (must see)

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a fashionable five-storey mall covered in curved glass, topped with iron roof and lavishly decorated with patriotic mosaics and statues – legacy of the chaotic era of Italian unification, manifesting the country's newly-acquired self-confidence.

It was built between 1865 and 1877 by architect Giuseppe Mengoni – also credited with the monumental design of the whole area between the Milan Cathedral and La Scala Opera – and is named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of unified Italy. Officially inaugurated on September 15, 1867, the Galleria's completion took another ten years of continuous work. Tragically, just a day before it was complete, in December 1877, Giuseppe Mengoni died in an accident, falling down from the top of the triumphal arch.

Formed like a Latin cross, the gallery comprises two glass-vaulted covered passages – with a longer one being 196 meters and the shorter 105.5 meters long – crossing in an octagonal central piazza below an impressive 47 meter high, 36-meter wide glass dome. Incorporating iron and arching glass, the Galleria's architectural design proved groundbreaking for the creation of enclosed shopping malls in the 19th century. The use of iron structure inspired the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

An interesting feature of the gallery is the floor featuring rare marble mosaic depicting emblems of main Italian cities. Spinning on the picture of the bull with the heel of a right foot is supposed to bring good luck. The locals duly observe this tradition thanks to which there's now a hole in the pavement.

Why You Should Visit:
Like walking in the best picture of 19th-century Milan – with lights, colors, windows and landscaping views that will never leave your memory.
There are a few restaurants (incidentally not very expensive considering the mall) where you can relax, eat, and watch the crowds go by.
There's also a very nice Leonardo Museum at the end of the mall, bang opposite the statue of Leonardo da Vinci.

Tip:
Visit the gallery late at night or early in the morning when there aren't too many people yet.
Don't forget to find the "bull" on the floor in the middle of the Galleria and have fun!
5
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

5) Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (must see)

Corso Vittorio Emanuele is a popular shopping street lined on both sides with boutiques selling clothes and accessories, situated behind the Milan Cathedral and connecting Piazza Duomo with Piazza San Babila. Named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of unified Italy, this is the second largest pedestrian area in downtown Milan, ideal for shopping and passing time away. Extending from its side are a number of small covered shopping galleries emerged as a result of post-war renovations. Other than luxurious shops offering latest collections of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and other top brands, the passage houses a number of cinemas, restaurants and cafes equally worthy of one's time and money.

Why You Should Visit:
If you want a quick round through the shops, this is one of the best – very good looking and classy, even for Milan standards! It has really been spruced up for Expo 2015.
6
Museo Bagatti Valsecchi

6) Museo Bagatti Valsecchi (must see)

Situated in the Montenapoleone district of Milan, Palazzo Bagatti Valsecchi is originally a private museum established by two brothers – Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi, which is currently open to the public since 1994. The display includes Italian Renaissance (14th-16th century) artifacts as well as the property itself. The museum is also involved in research work and organizes courses, seminars and conferences. Its publications focus on various aspects of 19th-century culture. Those interested in European Renaissance weapons, armor, clocks, textiles, tapestries and various instruments (both scientific and musical) should make sure to visit this museum.

Why You Should Visit:
If you want to get an idea of what your trip in Milan would have been like in the 1500s, come here to check out an incredible range of art.
This is among the most important and best preserved historic house museums in Europe – a great place to stimulate one's imagination!

Tip:
The audio guide is a must when visiting, as it explains a lot, including how the family actually lived in the home. Guided tours also available – check the museum website (under "Activities").

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 1–5:45pm
7
Via della Spiga

7) Via della Spiga

Via della Spiga is one of the chicest shopping areas of Milan, situated in the north-east of the deluxe Quadrilatero della Moda district along with Corso Venezia, Via Monte Napoleone, Via Sant’Andrea and Via Manzoni. The street is famous for its sophisticated elegance manifested in stylish clothing, shoes, handbags and other accessories put on sale. Among the famous brands presented here are Dolce & Gabanna, Sergio Rossi, Tod’s, Bulgari, Gianfranco Ferre, etc. to mention but a few. At #2 is the enormous David Chipperfield designer boutique. #23 is reserved to Krizia who introduced a mini skirt and knitted dresses to the world's fashion. At #28 there is a vintage space and the store for women accessories is found at #26. Roberto Cavalli, a Florentine designer, renowned for its animal print, architectural and geometric motifs sweaters and dresses much loved by the youth, has opened a new store at #42. The Moschino brand and its wicked style are also part of the streetscape. A true paradise for fashionistas, this street is well worth spending one's time and, sure enough, money!
8
Via Monte Napoleone

8) Via Monte Napoleone (must see)

Nicknamed ‘Montenapo’ by the Milanese, this stylish and luxurious street in Milan is famous for its ready-to-wear clothes and jewelry shops. Many distinguished Italian fashion designers, as well as designers from all over the world, have their exquisite boutiques and stores in this most significant street of the Milan Fashion District. Also known as the 'Quadrilatero della moda', it houses many exclusive Italian shoe stores and the headquarters, major offices or large emporia of several of the world's top fashion.

Milan, one of the major fashion capitals in the world, was renovated in the Neoclassical style at the beginning of the 19th century. Upper class used to live here in palaces. Roman city walls erected by Emperor Maximian can also be seen at places in this street. After World War II, Monte Napoleone became one of the foremost fashion streets similar to other world’s famous streets like Bond Street or Oxford Street in London and Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in Paris.

Its name dates back to 1804 at the peak of the Napoleonic era. Since Milan was always a centre of art and pleasure, foreigners used to gather into the city. They not only discussed business but also visited Milan as being a wealthy city dedicated to art and pleasure. With its narrow side streets branching off, Via Monte Napoleone is one of the most elegant streets in Milan, and one of the most stylish in Europe.

Why You Should Visit:
The fancy part of Milan – fun to browse (temptation is nigh!), and even more fun to people watch.
The people working here will treat you like a King or Queen regardless if you buy anything or not.

Tip:
Walking the length of Via Monte Napoleone is definitely worth it. You can walk from it to La Scala in about 10 minutes or you can get to Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the Galleria for more shopping.
9
Museo Poldi Pezzoli

9) Museo Poldi Pezzoli (must see)

Founded in 1881, the Poldi Pezzoli Museum was originally a private collection of Poldi Pezzoli and his mother, Rosa Trivulzio, and featured 19th-century Northern Italian and Flemish paintings along with a number of decorative art pieces including textiles, porcelain, glass, clocks, jewelry, and metal works.

In 1818, Poldi Pezzoli inherited great wealth from his uncle Giuseppe Pezzoli which included the beautiful palace and the garden filled with statues and fountains. He then spent his entire life decorating the house with paintings (spanning the 14th through 18th centuries) and eventually garnered 3,000 pieces of art.

During WWII, heavy bombings in one night destroyed all the main Milan museums. The Poldi Pezzoli palace was also severely damaged, yet the works of art – previously moved to a safer place – remained unharmed. From the 1950s onwards, the Association of Friends of the Museum and private Milanese donators replenished the collection further, making it one of the finest in Europe.

Why You Should Visit:
If you like to see what a man (and his mother) personally collected and kept in their home, this is a wonderful collection.
The building itself is gorgeous and you could spend much time observing the architecture and decoration of each exhibiting room.

Tip:
This museum is one of the very few places open on a Monday and is certainly inexpensive, so spending just a little extra for the audio guide is surely worth it.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 10am-6pm
10
La Scala

10) La Scala (must see)

This world-renowned opera house in Milan, inaugurated in 1778, has witnessed the performance of most of Italy's greatest operatic artists, and many of the finest singers from around the world. The theatre is regarded as one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world and is home to the La Scala Theatre Chorus, La Scala Theatre Ballet and La Scala Theatre Orchestra.

After a fire destroyed the previous theatre, the Teatro Regio Ducale, in 1776, a new theatre was built on the former location of the church of Santa Maria alla Scala, from which the theatre gets its name. Building expenses were covered by the sale of boxes, which were lavishly decorated by their owners, impressing observers such as Stendhal. La Scala soon became the preeminent meeting place for noble and wealthy Milanese people. In the tradition of the times, the main floor had no chairs and spectators watched the shows standing up. The orchestra was in full sight, as the orchestra pit had not yet been built.

La Scala was originally illuminated with 84 oil lamps mounted on the stage and another thousand in the rest of theatre. To prevent the risks of fire, several rooms were filled with hundreds of water buckets. In time, oil lamps were replaced by gas lamps, these in turn were replaced by electric lights in 1883. After the renovation of the original structure in 1907, the theater was given its current layout with 1,987 seats.

During World War II bombing, La Scala was badly damaged. After renovation, it was reopened in 1946. To mark the occasion, Arturo Toscanini arranged an unforgettable concert in La Scala with a sensational solo performance by Renata Tebaldi. In 2002-2004 the theatre underwent another major renovation.

La Scala Orchestra, with 135 musicians, is considered to be one of the world’s best orchestra for opera productions. The main characteristic of the Orchestra is its ability to obtain a uniform and distinguished sound. The theater has also attained an impressive international position for its symphony activity.

The theater’s collection is currently one of the richest and most envied collections in the world. You will surely cherish your visit to the theater.

Why You Should Visit:
While the outside of La Scala is rather plain, the inside is exquisite. The opera house is beautifully traditional and far more intimate than its counterparts in NY and London. The attached museum is purposefully intimate as well – it was designed to look as if you were visiting a grand house. The tour gives visitors a very good idea of the theatre, along with the opportunity to sit down in the most prominent box and take pictures.

Tip:
Do not buy second-row balcony tickets unless you are very tall.
After 6pm, they sell out same-day tickets at a huge discount.
11
Pinacoteca di Brera

11) Pinacoteca di Brera (must see)

Pinacoteca di Brera is an art collection in Milan containing one of the prime collections of Italian paintings obtained from churches and monasteries taken over during the Napoleonic rule. Though humble in size, the Pinacoteca displays superb and exclusive works by major Italian artists from the 13th to the 20th centuries.

There are nearly 40 rooms containing Italy's greatest masterpieces, including Andrea Mantegna's amazingly foreshortened "Dead Christ", Raphael's "Betrothal of the Virgin", and Piero della Francesca's "Madonna with Saints". The museum also exhibits more than 500 paintings of the Venetian school and Lombard school from the 14th to the 19th century. Precious paintings are exhibited in the chronological order from the 14th century to the Renaissance period so that you can see the progress of artistic techniques.

Pinacoteca di Brera is situated on the street of the same name where there are many traditional cafes loved by local people. As you enter from the main gate, you are welcomed by the statue of Napoleon. The Accademia di Belle Arti is situated on the 1st floor of the building and many young students and artists have joined it. The Brera Picture Gallery is on the 2nd floor.

A restoration laboratory is also working in the gallery where precious pieces of art are restored. There is also a modern art section with paintings of Modigliani and Picasso. The garden behind the Pinacoteca is a lovely little spot full of aromatic herbs, flowers, climbers and vegetable gardens. Europe's oldest ginkgo biloba trees, reaching a height of 30 feet, were also brought here from China in the early 1700s.

Why You Should Visit:
The gallery has recently been redone, and you can tell how much thought has been put into curation from minor details like the color of the background walls.
After you finish your visit, you can explore the lovely and interesting neighborhood of Brera for food & drinks – great way to spend a morning or afternoon.

Tip:
Take a good look at the free map to understand the flow of the gallery and find the rooms that interest you directly. To more fully appreciate the paintings, get the audio guide as well.
Another advice would be to use the seats when available as there is a lot to see here and a sit down to take it in every now and again is highly recommended.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 8:30am-7:15pm (ticket office closes at 6:40pm)
Every 3rd Thursday evening of the month, for Brera/Music performances:
8:30am-10:15pm (ticket office closes at 9:40pm)
12
Castello Sforzesco

12) Castello Sforzesco (must see)

Castello Sforzesco, one of the biggest fortresses in Europe that used to house the Duchy of Milan, now contains several museums and art collections. Constructed in the 14th century, it had been rebuilt and modified a number of times by later generations. The castle rooms were originally decorated with intricately detailed work of art, the most famous being the ceiling paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. Today, you can spend days wandering through Castello Sforzesco walking in the gardens and looking at the various restored details of the museums.

Across centuries, the castle survived many battles, occupations, sacking and destruction. One of its famous towers known as the Filarete tower was used to store ammunition. In 1521, a lightning rod hit the tower and resulted in the explosion of all the ammunition. The aftermath of this storm included many casualties and complete destruction of the entire fortress.

The castle has been restored several times until the assault by Napoleon's troops in 1796. The attack by Napoleon's army caused severe damage to the old fortress. Napoleon decided to demolish the external structure of the building and to use the Castle as quarters for the troops. The frescoed rooms at the ground floor of the Corte Ducale were even used as stables. 

With the Unification of Italy, architect Luca Beltrami carried out the reconstruction and restoration of the old fortress. The Castle was given back to the city of Milan in 1905 and became a major center of art and culture with seven different and distinct museums open to the general public.

Why You Should Visit:
In addition to being a great place to spend an afternoon, especially in its courtyard and extensive gardens, the castle also has a really lovely interior.
Each room is a treasure, not only for its exhibitions, monuments and sculptures, but the ceilings – some with heraldic shields, others with stars – are wonders in themselves.
Walking through the castle is free so if you're on a budget, just walk through it and admire the courtyards & architecture; however, the "all museums" fee is actually quite reasonable.

Tip:
Try to arrive on a Tuesday around 2pm to get free entry (entry on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month is free for all public museums).
There's no way to access the battlements or the "inside" (aside from the museums) except by guided tour – consider booking one in advance for that.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-5:30pm
13
Santa Maria delle Grazie

13) Santa Maria delle Grazie (must see)

Santa Maria delle Grazie (Holy Mary of Grace) is a famous church and Dominican convent in Milan, included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list. The church is also famous for the mural of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, which is in the refectory of the convent.

The Duke of Milan, Francesco I Sforza, ordered the building of Santa Maria delle Grazie in the 15th century. The design of the apse of the church has been attributed to Donato Bramante, who at the time was in the service of the Duchy. He kept the Gothic style from the convent but added more Romanesque influences.

During World War II, on the night of 15 August 1943, an allied aerial bombardment hit the church and the convent. Much of the refectory was destroyed, but some walls survived, including the one that holds "The Last Supper", which had been sand-bagged in order to protect it. Some preservation works are done to maintain it for the future. It is believed that current and future preservation works will keep the painting safe for many centuries to come.

Why You Should Visit:
Viewing "The Last Supper" in its own setting will make you feel more appreciative of the single point linear perspective and the 3D effect so cleverly used by Da Vinci.

Tip:
To view "The Last Supper", make sure to book your tickets well in advance on the official website, as they are usually sold out for at least 2 weeks.

Opening Hours:
Daily (exc. Sundays & Holidays): 10am-12:20pm / 3*-5:30pm (* in July at 3:30)
Sight description based on wikipedia
14
Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology

14) Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology

The Museo nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia "Leonardo da Vinci" in Milan is the largest science and technology museum in Italy, and is dedicated to Italian painter and scientist Leonardo da Vinci. It was opened on 5 February 1953, inaugurated by the prime minister of Italy. This museum, in the ancient monastery of San Vittore al Corpo of Milan, is divided in seven main departments: Materials, Transport, Energy, Communication Leonardo da Vinci, Art & Science, New Frontiers, Science for young people. All this departments have also some laboratories especially for children and young students. The Transport section in made by four different parts: air, rail, water and Submarine Enrico Toti-S-506.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Milan, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Milan

Create Your Own Walk in Milan

Creating your own self-guided walk in Milan is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Centro Museums and Galleries

Centro Museums and Galleries

Milan is not only the business and fashion center of Italy, it also a cultural center. The city of Milan offers numerous cultural activities, as well as countless art galleries and museums that exhibit some of the world's most famous and imposing artworks and artifacts. Most of these cultural centers are located in the very heart of Milan and within a pleasant walk.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 km
Core of Centro Storico Walking Tour

Core of Centro Storico Walking Tour

Milan is a city that boasts both historic and modern architecture. It is also a strategic economic center for Italy and is home to the country's stock exchange. Thousands of tourists are attracted to the city's striking historic sites like the La Scala opera house and the famous Duomo, as well as designer shops and other great places to explore.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Central Milan Souvenir Shopping

Central Milan Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Milan without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Milan, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
Isola Nightlife

Isola Nightlife

Milan is a cosmopolitan city and a world fashion center, which is of course reflected in its nightlife scene. Every club in Milan has its own unique atmosphere and specialties. Anywhere you stop, you'll be surprised by something - be it the customers, the shows, the interior design, or the drink selection. Take this tour and experience some of the best clubs in the Isola district of Milan.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 km
West Centro Walking Tour

West Centro Walking Tour

Milan is a city steeped in history, but also a strategic economic center for Italy, as well as an international fashion hub. Thousands of tourists are attracted to the city's striking historic sites, as well as designer shops and other great places to explore. Take this tour and visit the main sites in Milan's Centro Storico.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.0 km
Centro Storico Nightlife

Centro Storico Nightlife

Milan is a cosmopolitan city and a world fashion center, which is of course reflected in its nightlife scene. Every club in Milan has its own unique atmosphere and specialties. Anywhere you stop, you'll be surprised by something - be it the customers, the shows, the interior design, or the drink selection. Take this tour and experience some of the best clubs in Milan's Centro Storico.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


16 Best Pastry Shops in Milan Italy

16 Best Pastry Shops in Milan Italy

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12 Cafes To Visit in Milan

12 Cafes To Visit in Milan

The industrial capital of Italy and one of the world's fashion and business centers, today's Milan is teeming with chaotic urban rush on a daily basis. Although it can't compete with Rome in terms of history, art and architecture, there are hidden gems in Milan well worth searching...
Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Italian Goods Worth Buying in Milan

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Italian Goods Worth Buying in Milan

Needless to say much about Milan and the things the city is famous for. From fashion and luxury to football and Berlusconi, the list is long. Still, some of the distinctively Milanese items may pass unnoticed to the eye of a stranger, if not caringly pointed in the right direction by a knowledgeable...
Milan's Best Aperitivo Venues

Milan's Best Aperitivo Venues

Apéritifs usually are alcoholic drinks that are normally served before a meal. But in Milan the Aperitivo can actually become a fun, cheap (but not unchic) dinner with friends or (in a romantic venue) with a date. The all-you-can-eat formula allows you to buy just one drink and serve yourself with...
Sweet Shops of Milan

Sweet Shops of Milan

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Milan's Fashion Restaurants & Bars

Milan's Fashion Restaurants & Bars

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Milan for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Milan has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Milan's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Milan Pass and Milano Card.

A city pass combines all or multiple Milan's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Milan hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: TownHouse Galleria, Room Mate Giulia, Maison Milano | UNA Esperienze.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Milan, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Milan typically costs from around US$25 up to US$80 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Milan from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the three interconnecting routes (your ticket is valid for all three).

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts 3 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Milan on a bike tour (3 to 3.5 hours) visiting the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Enjoy a day of art, food, wine and sightseeing on a 3-hour tour of Milan following in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci! A great combination of the Renaissance, appetizers, and wines to help one unwind in a true Milanese style at one of the city's most fascinating spots.

- Take a walk deeper “under the skin” of Italy’s fashion capital. Skip lines to Milan's Duomo and Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” to save more time for visiting other iconic local attractions and experiencing the true spirit of Milan.

- Spend 3 hours sightseeing the center of Milan led by a knowledgeable local guide, exploring the city's most notable attractions like the Duomo, Piazza de’ Mercanti, the Loggia, via Dante, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the Scala Theatre and many other prominent locations.

- Enjoy exclusive access “behind the scenes” of the Milanese Fashion District on the one and only Milano fashion tour visiting a number of the city's top ateliers and fashion stores. The tour guides have worked there for years themselves, so they know the fashion industry inside out to ensure you see only the best boutiques.

Day Trips


If you have a day to spare whilst in Milan, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Venice, the Cinque Terre, a combo of Genoa and Portofino, Lake Como, or Lake Maggiore. For as little as circa US$80 to US$150 per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including breathtaking Venice, small piece of paradise in the form of five little villages hanging from cliffs over the sea, glamorous coastal towns of the Italian Riviera, and the scenic Italian Lake District. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Milan, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus, boat or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.