Insert tags: fashion, shopping, expensive boutiques, Victoria Beckham on shopping holiday…
Yet Milan is so much more than that! I had the privilege to live about 1 hour away from this city for more than 10 years and I still haven’t got enough of it. Milan is history, culture, beautiful architecture and unique works of art. And to me that is good news, since the only kind of shopping I can afford in the city’s fashion district is window shopping.
If you have a chance to visit Milan and you are in a hurry, here is a walking itinerary that will help you make the most of your time there:
1. Start from Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle), an impressive 15th century castle that hosts a series of museums, among which Rondanini Pietà, featuring Michelangelo’s last sculpture. The visits usually don’t last more than 1 hour. Go through Sempione Park, located just behind the Castle, and visit Arco della Pace (The Arch of Peace, aka Sempione Gate), a 19th century monument adjacent to the park.
2. Walk to Cenacolo Vinciano, a small yet incredibly important museum by the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. This is where you will find Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous Last Supper painting. The reason I list this tourist attraction among the first ones is because the museum closes pretty early. Visitors are not allowed to stay more than 15 minutes and you have to book your visit in advance! For more detailed information and reservations visit Cenacolo Vinciano.
3. Go to Largo Cairoli, a big roundabout located in front of the Sforza Castle and walk down Via Dante, towards the Duomo. Via Dante is a commercial and pedestrian street featuring beautiful 19th century architecture. When you get to Piazza Cordusio, go on Via dei Mercanti, which will lead you to Piazza dei Mercanti. Take a few moments to enjoy this one of a kind Medieval plaza.
4. Only a few meters away there is Piazza Duomo and Milan’s most iconic monument: the Cathedral. This is, in my opinion, one of the most fascinating cathedrals in the whole world. Allow yourself some time to just stand in awe of the beauty of this Gothic masterpiece and then go and visit the interior (for free). If you are not in a rush, you can also visit the Duomo’s museums and the terrace. For prices and more information see Duomo di Milano.
5.Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery is located on the left side of Piazza Duomo and it is a classy shopping gallery where you can find some fancy restaurants and famous brands, such as Versace, Prada and Louis Vuitton. If you are not into that, just enjoy the gallery’s 19th century charm.
6. At the end of the Gallery, you will come across a small plaza, where the La Scala Theater is located. While it is not very impressive from outside, it is definitely worth spending an hour or two visiting the theatre and its museum. For more details go to Teatro alla Scala.
7. A few blocks away from La Scala and Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, there is the well-known Quadrilatero della Moda, Milan’s fashion district, where you can find numerous high-end boutiques. Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga are probably the best known streets within the Quadrilatero.
8. Finally, visit Pinacoteca di Brera, an impressive collection of world-famous paintings hosted in a former convent in the Baroque style. Among the most popular works of art you will find Hayez’s The Kiss. Expect to spend around 2 hours here. The museum is located in Brera neighborhood, a bohemian district in Milan’s historic center. Do spend some time roaming its streets and don’t miss Via Madonnina, one of Brera’s main alleys. For more information about the museum, visit Pinacoteca di Brera.
This itinerary cover a distance of about 6km (almost 4 miles) and involves an approximately 1h20 min walk. However, if you decide to visit all the museums mentioned above, it will take you one full day. If you get tired, just stop at one of the numerous bars you find along the way and enjoy a good Italian espresso!