While many tourists come to Italy for the past, Milan is today's Italy. The nation's fashion, industrial, banking, TV, publishing, and convention capital, Milan is a hardworking, fashion-conscious, time-is-money city of 1.3 million, but also offers tourists plenty to see. As if to make up for its rough, noisy big-city-ness, the Milanesi people are works of art. Window displays are gorgeous, cigarettes are chic, and even the cheese comes gift-wrapped. Yet thankfully, Milan is no more expensive for tourists than other Italian cities.
At a Glance
▲▲ Duomo Milan's showpiece cathedral, with an amazing roof you can walk on.
▲▲ Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Glass-domed arcade on the main square, perfect for window-shopping and people-watching.
▲▲ La Scala Opera House and Museum The world's most prestigious opera house.
▲▲ Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio Historic, art-packed church dating to early Roman times.
▲▲ The Last Supper Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, displayed in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie (viewable only with a reservation).
▲ Duomo Museum Church art and original sculptures from Milan's cathedral.
▲ Piazza del Duomo Milan's main square, full of energy, history, and pickpockets.
▲ Museo del Novecento Milan's 20th-century art collection, housed in the fascist-era City Hall.
▲ Piazza dei Mercanti The evocative medieval heart of the city.
▲ Gallerie d'Italia Three adjacent palaces filled with 19th- and 20th-century Italian art.
▲ Pinacoteca Ambrosiana Oldest museum in Milan, with works by Raphael, Leonardo, Botticelli, Titian, and Caravaggio.
▲ Church of San Maurizio The "Sistine Chapel of Lombardy," gorgeously frescoed by Bernardino Luini, a follower of Leonardo.
▲ Leonardo da Vinci National Science and Technology Museum Leonardo's designs illustrated in wooden models, plus a vast collection of historical and technological bric-a-brac and machines.
▲ Brera Art Gallery World-class collection of Italian paintings (13th–20th century), including Raphael, Caravaggio, Gentile da Fabriano, Piero della Francesca, Mantegna, and the Bellini brothers.
▲ Sforza Castle Milan's castle, whose highlight is an unfinished Michelangelo pietà.
▲ Via Dante Human traffic frolics to lilting accordions on one of Europe's longest pedestrian-only boulevards.
▲ Naviglio Grande Milan's old canal port — once a working-class zone, now an atmospheric nightspot for dinner or drinks.
▲ Monumental Cemetery Evocative final resting spot with tombs showcasing expressive art styles from 1870 to 1930.
Poldi Pezzoli Museum Italian paintings (15th–18th century), weaponry, and decorative arts.
Bagatti Valsecchi Museum 19th-century Italian Renaissance furnishings.
Leonardo's Horse Gargantuan equestrian monument built from Leonardo's designs.