I visited Milan in one day, within a budget. So, today throughout this article I will answer the following questions about one of the cultural and fashion capitals, Milan:
√ can I visit Milan in one day
√ why visit Milan
√ which hotel should I stay in Milan
√ what to visit in Milan
√ how to visit Milan Duomo
√ best time to visit Milan
√ why visit Milan by night too
1. Can I visit Milan in one day
The answer is yes! Milan, unlike most of the cities, has it’s attractions gather together. Just to give you a brief idea: Duomo di Milano also known as Duomo di Santa Maria Nascente, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Teatro alla Scala, Armani Hotel, Brera District are all in the same area. About 3-7 minutes of walking.
Further on, Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie, Leonardo da Vinci’s Vineyard and Sforzesco Castle are literally near each other, 15 minutes away from the others.
2. Why visit Milan
You should visit Milan if you are an art lover. And by art, I mean everything! Starting from architecture, sculpture, painting, theatre, opera, music, fashion, culinary art and last but not least the art of living. Believe me, Italians do have a particular way of living life. They are being recommended by the history itself and by the large amount of artists and designers they gave to the world since Renaissance era.
3. Which hotel should I stay in Milan
When I go on a city break, I definitely prefer a quite central hotel so I can best use my time there, in an efficient manner. And because my city breaks are having a cultural purpose I very much enjoy sitting in a small hotel with old, outstanding architecture. So, this time I choose Panizza Hotel delighted by its architecture and because of the proximity to half of the Milan’s attractions (Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie, Leonardo da Vinci’s Vineyard and Sforzesco Castle).
Obviously, there are other cute hotels but this was my option for the stay.
4. What to visit in Milan
There are many things to visit in Milan in one day, however I will tell you what I saw and why these points are a MUST.
Due to the hotel proximity, I started with Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie and Leonardo da Vinci’s Vineyard. Sforzesco Castle, I leave it for some other time. Because the way I saw it in terms of size, I place it on the same level with Palace of Versailles, for which you need to dedicate at least half a day.
Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie
Is a church and a Dominican convent and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides the architectural beauty, the church is holding the mural of The Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci. You can read more about it here. One more thing to mention, if you want to see the mural masterpiece you will need to book the tickets in advance, due to the fragility of painting the access is limited in terms of a number of people. Here is the official website of the church.
Just across the street is La Vigna di Leonardo (Leonardo’s Vineyard). The place where Leonardo da Vinci grew his grapes for making wine, while he was working on The Last Supper. In the years that Leonardo spent living in Milan, the city was one of the places in the Western world where the greatest attention was paid to personal appearance, the body and the perfume. To visit Leonardo’s Vineyard, you can buy the thickets on the spot and the waiting time is about 30-40 minute prior to get in. But don’t worry! Right next to it is a very nice ccoffee & sweets place :).
From the outside the Leonardo da Vinci’s Vineyard doesn’t say much, however, once you step into the interior courtyard is like stepping into a different world, a fairytale world. It is a very picturesque place, with a bohemian air. We were lucky to be there in the year of the celebrations in honour of the 500th year after Leonardo Da Vinci’s death on 2 May 1519. Due to this grand celebration, we did not get to see only his hidden vineyard and the dedicated museum but a special exhibition was opened, to gain rare insight into the life and work of the quintessential Renaissance man.
On the second part of the day I carried on with Duomo di Santa Maria Nascente, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Teatro alla Scala, Armani Hotel and Brera District.
The Duomo di Santa Maria Nascente
I got the thickets in advance, online and I choose the DUOMO PASS LIFT package. You can also buy on the spot, the lineup is endless, either way!!!! After we stayed forever on the front door we got the “well-meant” advice to go on the back door because there are less people and is going faster. Bad decision! Very bad! The back-door elevator is having a capacity for 4 people only so it took us ages to get in. But once you’re on the roof of Duomo di Milano you simply forget all the effort it took to get there. The gothic architecture, the imposing towers, the mix of elements and the infinity of details simply takes your breath away. Then… the race for the perfect picture and the best spot starts and here we go again:))))))).
Italy’s oldest active shopping mall got me so excited about the photos I was about to take in here. I had a clear image in my mind what they will look like and everything. Yet my home plan did not match the on-spot situation. I never understood how some people from Instagram got so lucky and they had the chance to take a proper picture, they basically look like they own the place. On my case, I was considering myself lucky enough if no one was standing right infront of me, while taking pictures.
Teatro alla Scala
By 4 PM we arrived at the Teatro alla Scala which is just across the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. I bought the tickets via Museo Teatrale alla Scala and I choose the GUIDED VISITS OF THE THEATER package. Hence, we got the chance to see more than the museum and the stage from one of the balconies. I had the opportunity to get into the foyer, the royal box, the historic boxes, even “backstage” to explore the stage’s mechanized movement system. I insisted to visit this theatre because I see it as a great honour just to be there even without seeing any show. It’s the world’s most famous and grandiose stage, the biggest world’s artist performed there so please add this on your “must-see” list.
Did you know that the stage’s mechanism movement system has 4 floors under the stage?
- The rehearsals are taking place every day
- The staff are only having about 3 hours to prepare the decor for the evening show.
So imagine the amount of effort to set up the decor on every floor stage!
Note: The people who bought tickets for the main floor never meet with the ones from the other six tiers.
In the evening we got lost on Brera District narrow streets, the artistic heart of the city but not without making a short stop on Brera Art Gallery. The neighbourhood is packed with restaurants and coffee places so don’t skip the chance to have a great meal there. We opted for Hosteria Della Musica.
5. How to visit Milan Duomo
On heels… if you want to live in Rome live like Romans. In my opinion, Milan is not the city to act like a tourist, is one of the fashion capitals so pay respect to that. Fashion is an art over here!
Personal, I was fascinated by every person passing by. Italians are having a native sense of esthetics, there’s no ugly man whatsoever. Even the “ugliest” man is actually quite handsome in a particular way. Just because of how well they are dressed, the attention they are paying to details and the quality of the accessories they are wearing, especially when it comes to leather goods.
About leather goods, Italy is having a strong tradition and an evolving industry. You can tell just by the multitude of family stores.
6. Best time to visit Milan
Visit Milan in September, or on any kid’s school time. I’m not sure if all the European country follow the same school schedule but a good guideline is the UK school holidays calendar. Why UK? Because lots of travel and airlines agencies are establishing their price according to this calendar and this is because British people are a large consumer when it comes to travelling and vacations.
7. Why visit Milan by night
Because of the silent of the city, because you get to see another face of its beauty, plus you are more relaxed knowing is already night and you do not have any reason to rush. Then end the evening with a glass of wine and a cannoli at the Bar Duomo, enjoying the view and the music performed by the street artists.
Last year I visited Barcelona, how much fun I had you can see here.