Milan is the second largest city and the financial center of Italy. While much of this amazing city was destroyed by bombs in WWII, it still survives with some amazing historic architecture. Today, Milan stands as the symbol of modern Italy. The truly cosmopolitan experience is what sets Milan apart from the more traditional cities of Italy, with your Eurail pass I defiantly recommend a trip up north to visit.
Milan has a few large parks to stroll through or take a break from the busy life of the city. Two of the best ones are Parco Sempione and the Giardini Pubblici , both surround the old town center of Milan.
Milan’s Cathedral is the largest of its kind in the world. Construction started in 1386 but took a staggering 500 years to finish. 135 spires and 3200 statues adorn the cathedral roof and you can take an elevator to the rooftop for a magnificent view of the city below. You can even take the stairs if you feel up to the exercise! It rests in the heart of Milan’s old town.
Basilica Sant’ Ambrogio is an eleventh century church, with Sant’ Ambrogio, Milan’s patron resting in a crypt which you can visit. The church is a prime example of Romanesque architecture and is home to many interesting relics, carvings, and mosaics.
La Scala is one of Italy’s historic opera houses and first opened in 1778 and has been the stage for countless . Attending an opera in La Scala is the dream of all opera fan. La Scala’s museum has a collection of musical instruments and portraits of musicians and you can view the auditorium from boxes and the backstage area.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was built in 1867 is a huge glass-roofed shopping gallery lined with classy shops, bars, and restaurants and fantastic mosaics portraying the city. The gallery is built in a cross-shape and links the squares of the cathedral and La Scala.
Sforzesco castle is near the center of inside are a few museums but even if you don’t want to go into a museum, the castle is a good place to wander around and the courtyard to relax and take it all in. The art museum houses Michelangelo’s last sculpture, the Rondanini Pietà. There’s also the Museum of Ancient Art, a collection of musical instruments, and the Egyptian and prehistoric sections too.
The Brera Picture Gallery is Milan’s best art museum with over 600 works from the 14th through the 20th centuries. It features top artists such as Raphael, Piero della Francesca, and Bellini. The gallery was started in the 19th century and is housed in a 13th century convent.
Santa Maria della Grazie is a 15th century convent is the home of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous “the Last Supper”. Although the building was bombed in 1943, it miraculously survived.
Fashion is an integral part of modern Milan and its fashion designers are world renowned, so read on if you want to learn where to shop. If you want to check out some top of the line fashion, start at the Golden Quadrangle. Corso Buenos Aires has less expensive shops and chain stores. Of course, if you don’t have the budget, remember that window shopping can be a lot of fun too!
Milan is the hub of Northern Italy, so mark it off on your Eurail map to start your exploration of upper Italy!