Essential Milan

Tour Creator

Bana is a Milan-based arts and culture writer. She currently works in magazine publishing where she reviews art shows at the city’s major museums and galleries. For her master’s, she…Read More Bio »

Milan

GPS-directed

Remote Tour Included

2hrs

2km

First time in Milan? Oh, you’re in for a treat! Considering that Milan is a relatively small city, its major landmarks are easy to cover on a single trip Take in the history of this city, from medieval to modern, with our Essential Milan tour!

Avoid the Crowds

Allows you to explore without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a large tour group

Created by an exceptional travel writer

Written by a Milan-based arts and culture writer, who reviews art shows at the Milan's major museums and galleries

GPS Directions

Easy-to-follow GPS directions to get you from one point to the next on your tour

Highlights include:

Royal Palace of Milan, Merchants Square and the Duomo of Milan

Remote Tour Included

As with all our tours, a remote tour is included that can be enjoyed from home

Itinerary

Essential Milan

  1. Royal Palace of Milan - Now a bustling art museum, The Royal Palace was the seat of government from the early Middle Ages. It later went on to house the many rulers that passed through, including Napoleon. During World War II it was bombed and severely destroyed before it was reconstructed back into its former glory. We stop to peek into its courtyard to reflect over its many moments.
  2. Santa Maria presso San Satiro - A tiny church that houses the finest and most famous exemplar of a trompe l'œil , or painted optical illusion, in the city, designed by High Renaissance architect Bramante. We look at why space constraints and a nearby intrusive street led him to slyly opt for this particular technique.
  3. Merchants Square - This piazza used to govern the entire city and was home to financial chitter chatter and medieval commercial transactions. The Palace of Reason, the Palace of the Notaries, the Loggia degli Osii and the Palace of the Palatine School are all there from 1200. We take a moment to cherish its picturesque beauty and to imagine a day back then.
  4. Duomo of Milan - Milan’s ultimate landmark, this monumental piece of architecture is one of the World’s largest Catholic cathedrals. It’s a classic example of gothic architecture, adorned with spires—or pyramidal structures atop a construction—and pointed arches. It’s a feat of architecture that is arguably only outdone by St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. We study its marvels and how, in an adamant declaration of wealth and prestige, it came to be. 1 minute, 60m to next destination
  5. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - High, mighty and rich with stuccoes and frescoes, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world's first shopping malls. In the 1850s, Vittorio Emanuele II, first king of a united Italy, sent out a call for a structure to connect Piazza Duomo to Piazza della Scala. We look at how the architect of the Italy’s most luxurious splendor was eventually commissioned. 1 minutes, 120m to next destination.
  6. La Scala di Milan - Amongst the World's most famous opera houses, La Scala boasts over 3000 seats and the most lavish decorations, and tickets to a show tends to be on every visitor’s itinerary. We explore its role amongst the elite, past and present.
  7. Piazza degli Affari - One of the World’s most controversial public sculptures is located across the Italian stock exchange: It’s an enormous middle finger built out of marble, pointing right at the Italian economy, titled L.O.V.E. (Liberty, Hatred, Vendetta and Eternity). Milanese artist Maurizio Cattelan—notable for his $120,000 banana-scotch tape work during Art Basel Miami 2019—allegedly built it in response to the 2008 economic crisis. We take a cheeky moment to look into the ups and downs of Italian economy. 3 minutes, 250m to next destination.
  8. Marchesi 1824 - It’s not Milan without a Marchesi moment. For a machiatto to kick off the tour, we stop at a 18-century storefront framing a view of refined art deco interiors and explore Italy’s finest and most cherished pastry shop. We look back at its early days in 1824 when it was a mom-and-pop business up until its acquisition by luxury brand Prada in the early 2000s.
  9. Sforza Castle - Smack in the middle of the city, The Sforza Castle is one of Milan’s most monumental landmarks and one of Europe’s largest castles. Designed by Galeazzo II Visconti in 14th Century as a fortress, it was later rebuilt by duke of Milan Francesco Sforza and his family. We explore how the ways in which their reconstruction was an assertion of power and a nod towards the renaissance.

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