Things to Do in Milan - page 2
Milan is known as Italy’s fashion capital, and there are several areas in the city known for shopping. One street with a particularly high concentration of clothing stores is Corso Buenos Aires.
The Corso Buenos Aires is a major thoroughfare in central Milan, running from Piazzale Loreto in northeast Milan toward the cathedral in the heart of the city. Closest to the Duomo, the street turns into Corso Venezia.
Unlike the cobblestone lanes of the Quadrilatero d’Oro shopping district, Corso Buenos Aires is a broad street that’s busy with traffic - but it’s also packed with shops. This street is said to have Europe’s densest population of clothing stores. These are primarily ready-to-wear instead of the high-end fashion on display in the Quadrilatero d’Oro.
While mainly known as a shopping destination, Corso Buenos Aires also has several hotel options and is not far from the main train station in the city, Milano Centrale. Where the street becomes Corso Venezia is also one corner of the large park that includes the Museo Civico and a planetarium.
10 Corso Como is one of Milan's trendiest addresses. Home to the Galleria Carla Sozzani art gallery, it also houses an ultra popular café, a fashion boutique, a roof garden, a restaurant, and a tiny hotel. If you want to see and be seen in Italy’s capital of chic, there is no better place.
La Triennale Museum (La Triennale di Milano) explores the history of Italian design, highlighting innovative works in furniture and industrial design, architecture, and decorative arts. Fittingly located in Milan (Italy’s design capital), the museum lies within the Palazzo dell’Arte—a venue originally built for the Triennale decorative arts show.
Milan's Ticinese district is in the southern part of the historic center, known for its shops and restaurants. It houses one of Milan's old city gates, originally built in the 16th century, while today's gate dates from the 19th century and marks the southern end of the Corso di PortaTicinese. This street is lined with shops, and – along with nearby Via Torino – is known particularly for its shoe shops.
The Ticinese area is historically working class, as is the nearby Navigli district, but both are becoming more upscale as hip cafes and restaurants move in. There are historic attractions here, including Milan's best-preserved Roman ruins, as well as a weekly antiques market.
In Italian, the word "novecento" means "20th century,” and Milan's Museo del Novecento has an excellent collection of 20th century artwork.
The museum opened in 2010 in the Arengario Palace on Piazza del Duomo in central Milan, combining two extensive collections of modern and contemporary art. The current collection includes a large number of Italian artists, as well as international ones. Some of the noted artists whose work you can see at the Museo del Novecento include Modigliani, Picasso, Kandinsky, Mondrian, and Matisse.
The collection is displayed in chronological order, so you can watch art movements progress over time. The iconic painting by Pellizza da Volvedo of striking workers, "The Fourth Estate," is on display on the ground floor, which can be visited for free.
Across the street from Leonardo da Vinci’s famous fresco of “The Last Supper” isLeonardo’s Vineyard (Vigna di Leonardo), the vineyard he was given by Milanese ruler, Ludovico Sforza, in 1495. The type of vines was identified during excavations in 2015, and the vineyard has been replanted with the same varietal Leonardo grew. The plot has been designed as it was in Leonardo’s time.
The house behind which the vineyard sits was not Leonardo’s, but he tended the vineyard himself. Visitors to the vineyard first get to see the beautifully-renovated Renaissance villa, Casa degli Atellani, and then a walk through the picturesque gardens and vineyard.
Tours of the house and vineyard are guided by a member of the staff, and every visitor receives an audio guide to help navigate through and learn about the seven distinct areas on the tour. For a special visit to this unique attraction, visitors can enjoy an evening tour with aperitivo in the vineyard or a combination ticket that includes “The Last Supper” fresco and the vineyard in one tour.
The Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology (Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci) features seven sections—one dedicated to the Renaissance genius, plus others covering transportation, energy, and communication. More than 10,000 objects are on display, including a historical aircraft and steam train.
While most palazzos are historic, Milan's Palazzo Lombardia is modern skyscraper. Completed in 2010, the building reigned as the tallest building in all of Italy at 529 feet (161 meters) tall for about a year until another Milan skyscraper was built in 2011.
Today, the Palazzo Lombardia serves as the headquarters for Lombardy's government. Even with that main administrative purpose, the ground level is open to the public with shops, restaurants, bars, and even an auditorium for performances.
One of Milan’s highest and most unique scenic overlooks, the Torre Branca is a 300-foot-high (91-meter-high) steel tower designed by Gio Ponti in 1933 and set in the city’s Sempione Park. Take the elevator that whisks visitors to the observation deck at the top, and enjoy a bird’s-eye view over the city to the Alpine peaks on the horizon.
A chapel made from some truly unusual materials, San Bernardino alle Ossa is decorated by more than 3,000 human bones, arranged in Rococò-style patterns on the walls, cornice, pillars, and doors. Also of note are a series of 16th-century paintings, a ceiling fresco, and baroque-style decorations lining the walls.
More Things to Do in Milan
The northern Italian lakes are popular destinations, beloved for their placid waters and mountain scenery. Among these, however, sleepy Lake Orta (Lago di Orta) is one of the least well known. Overshadowed by its famous neighbor, Lake Maggiore, and slightly farther from Milan, Lake Orta attracts visitors who want to get away from it all.
Today, Milan is part of a unified Italy – but centuries ago, it was the center of its own empire, and has a Royal Palace to prove it. Milan's Palazzo Reale sits to one side of the Piazza del Duomo, a U-shaped building with its own piazza in the center (called the Piazzetta Reale). The Dukes of Milan moved into the Royal Palace from the Castello Sforzesco in the early 16th century, though the building predates that move. Much of the exterior we see today dates from the 18th century.
Today, the Palazzo Reale houses a Palace Museum tracing the history of the building's use, the Great Museum of the Duomo of Milan, as well as regular exhibitions of contemporary art – including displays of work by Monet, Picasso, Klimt, Kandinsky, and more. The artwork on display changes on a regular basis, loaned from major museums worldwide.
A walk through Milan’s Fashion Quarter is a great way to see the city’s highest high fashion. Along with Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni (officially Via Alessandro Manzoni) is one of the best drags for window-shopping the latest and greatest haute couture. Though unlike the other two streets, Via Manzoni permits vehicles and leads to the famous Teatro alla Scala.
The Leonardo3 Museum is an interactive exhibition dedicated to Italy's greatest luminary: Leonardo da Vinci. The exhibit, known as The World of Leonardo, includes more than 200 interactive machines and working models based on Leonardo's designs and a digitized version of the entireCodex Atlanticus, containing the inventor’s notes and sketches.
Vicolo dei Lavandai, a narrow lane that was the public wash house from the Middle Ages until the 1950s, is a most charming corner in Milan’s trendy Navigli District. Where previously washerwomen scrubbed laundry from the stone stalls and brellins (wooden stools) along the central canal, hip restaurants and cafes beckon.
Get a taste of Milan’s high fashion on a budget at the Fidenza Village outlet shopping center. Popular with Italians, this complex has over 100 shops featuring brands such as Versace, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Diesel, and Furla. Several restaurants and a children’s play area make the outlet center an easy half-day trip from Milan for the whole family.
Monza is a wealthy suburb of Milan, principally known as the location of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, a world-famous car racing track. The Autodromo Nazionale Monza was built in 1922 and actually has three tracks on the grounds. The main one is the Grand Prix track, a 3.6-mile track that has hosted every Formula One Italian Grand Prix since the series began in 1922, except for the 1980 race. The Italian Motorcycle Grand Prix is also held at Monza.
The race tracks are contained within a park that once surrounded a royal palace (the palace still exists). You can attend races at Monza, held regularly, and even sign up for driving courses.
A short walk from the Duomo, Piazza Fontana is one of the prettiest squares in Milan’s center, a quiet respite from the hubbub of nearby Piazza della Scala and Piazza del Duomo. The piazza is named for its 18th-century neoclassical central fountain, designed by Giuseppe Piermarini and is encircled by trees and benches.
Housed in the 17th-century palace that was once the Pezzoli family residence, this house-museum contains one of Milan's most prestigious collections. It’s a treasure trove of paintings by Botticelli, Bellini, and Mantegna, as well as decorative art, armor, and ancient artifacts accrued by Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli in the 19th century.
The Porta Nuova neighborhood in Milan was named after an historic monument in the area, the "new gate" built between 1810 and 1813. When compared to the ancient Roman gates that were once the entry points to the city of Milan, the Porta Nuova is considered quite new.
Located to the north of the city center, the Porta Nuova district underwent a revitalization after 2009 and today is used mainly for business. The skyline features several modern buildings and a large public park.
The town of Vicolungo is in the Piedmont region near Novara, not far from the border with Lombardy. It's home to one of the many outlet shopping centers near Milan – Vicolungo The Style Outlets.
The Style Outlets is a chain of outlet shopping centers in Europe (there are two in Italy). The Vicolungo location has 150 boutique stores, each offering discounts of 30-70% off regular retail prices. Some of the brands represented in the shopping center are Armani, Missoni, Trussardi, Swarovski, Sisley, and Kappa.
In addition to the shopping, The Style Outlets at Vicolungo also have an exhibition space that regularly features art shows and events.
While many travelers visit the adjacent Santa Maria delle Grazie church—home of da Vinci’s fresco The Last Supper—the Bramante Sacristy (Sacrestia del Bramante) is an often-overlooked gem. Designed by architect Donato Bramante, the sacristy features a vaulted ceiling painted by da Vinci and exhibits on the inventor’s Codex Atlanticus.
The largest surviving collection of notes by Leonardo da Vinci, the Codex Atlanticus is a priceless set of documents and the crown jewel of Milan’s historic Biblioteca Ambrosiana library. The more than 1,120 pages of the Codex Atlanticus contain handwritten text and drawings dating from 1478 to 1519 and a glimpse into da Vinci’s genius.
The Quadrilatero d’Oro, or the Golden Rectangle, is the center of high fashion in Milan—a district filled with luxe boutiques, swanky bars, smart cafés, and cool restaurants. The windows boast the latest haute couture from high-end labels such as Chanel, Gucci, Armani, Versace, Valentino, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana.
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