things to see in Milan

10 Unmissable Things to See in Milan

Unlike Rome, Florence or Venice, Milan is not one of the first destination travelers have in mind when thiking about Italy. Nonetheless there are so many things to see in Milan that will make a weekend in the city an unforgettable one: here are our 10 favourites!

  1. Admire Milan from the roof of the Duomo

Milan’s Duomo, the ‘hedgehog’, as D.H. Lawrence once nicknamed it, hosts countless treasure inside its walls, but it’s on its roof that you can enjoy the best this building has to offer. Climb up to the top of the Church and you will admire a marble forest of more than 3,000 statues and more than a 100 spires, delicately set on flying buttresses. Bonus: if you visit the Duomo on a bright, sunny day you will get to see the white tops of the Alps!

  1. Wonder for 15 minutes at Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”

If you are lucky enough to get hold of a ticket to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” you will only have 15 minutes to admire it. But it will probably the best 15 minutes of your Milan adventure. The refectory (“cenacolo” in Italian) that hosts the 15th century mural painting is a building attached to the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a Dominican convent included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list.

  1. Walk on the red velvet of Teatro alla Scala

The Theatre “Alla Scala” in Milan, is surely on of the best Things to See in Milan, one of the symbol of the city . In the “Temple of Opera” the most important plays are represented all over the year. Its neo-classical, simple façade is in contrast with the rich interior, made of red velvet, gilded balconies and glittering chandeliers. Tickets to opera and ballet performances are not difficult to obtain: check out La Scala’s superb programme on the Theatre website. (http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/season/2016-2017/index.html)

  1. Immerse yourself in Classical Art…

If you want to admire some of the best classical Art Galleries in Italy you can dedicate a day to visit the Pinacoteca di Brera. This art gallery is hosted in an imposing palace which contains also a Botanical Garden, an Academy of Fine Arts and an astronomical observatory. The Gallery contains many works Napoleon got hold of during his life, like the Dead Christ by Mantegna and Supper At Emmaus by Caravaggio. Equally worth a visit is the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, once an Academy of Fine Arts founded in 1618 by Cardinal Federico Borromeo. Main aim of the Academy was to educate new generations to art, displaying stunning works of art by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Raffaello, Bramantino, Titian, Caravaggio, and Francesco Hayez, as well as copies of other masterpieces, like the “Pietà” by Michelangelo, the Laocoon group and the Last Supper.

  1. … but don’t forget to see some modern art!

Both open since 2010, Museo del Novecento (1900s Museum) and Gallerie d’Italia (Italy’s Galleries) are perfect to observe some beautiful pieces of modern art. In the Museo del Novecento 400 pieces by Picasso, Braque, Modigliani, Matisse, Futurists painters and Italian artist from the 50s and 60s. Gallerie d’Italia, located in front of “La Scala” theatre, is an Art Gallery owned by “Intesa San Paolo”, one of Italy’s biggest banks. Works of Art are displayed in two different rooms, one dedicated to the 19th century ad one to the 20th century. In the first one you can admire works by Canova, Boccioni and other futurist artists, while in the second one countless works by Italian artists of the whole 20th century are displayed next to international masters, such as Picasso, Kandinsky and Warhol.

  1. Shop in the oldest shopping mall: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Symbolized by its glass-and-iron dome and enriched with mosaics and marble floors, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele arcade is Milan’s most glamorous shopping mall. The first shop by Prada opened here in 1913, then Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Armani and Versace chose to open a branch in this gallery. When you are inside Galleria Vittorio Emanuele don’t forget to spot the floor mosaic depicting a bull and spin your heels in the hole where the animal’s testicles should be: it brings good luck!

  1. Visit the Sforza’s Castle and Michelangelo’s unfinished masterpiece

The Sforza’s Castle (or “Castello Sforzesco”, in Italian) is a Renaissance residence, built on what remained of a 14th century Fortress. Its two rounded turrets, courtyards and passageways are alone worth the visit, but this building also hosts a series of Museums and one of the most overlooked piece of art in Milan, the “Pietà Rondanini”, an unfinished sculpture by Michelangelo. The marble sculpture was moved in the former Spanish Hospital inside the “Cortile delle Armi” (Arms Courtyard) in 2012, an exclusive location which is the perfect frame to this masterpiece.

  1. Don’t believe your eyes at Santa Maria presso San Satiro

Located among the chain stores on the shopping street, Via Torino, the church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro is one of the unmissable Things to See in Milan. It holds yet another unmissable sight, the Bramante’s Chorus. Once inside the 15th century Church you will bet the gilded apse at the end of the barrel-vaulted nave is at least two metres deep. But once you get closer you won’t believe your eyes: instead of the apse there is a trompe-l’oeil niche, just 97 centimetres deep.

  1. Visit Sant’Ambrogio’s Church, the Patron of Milan

Ask residents in Milan what the most important church in the city is: most of them won’t answer the “Duomo”, but “Sant’Ambrogio”, the Church dedicated to the city’s patron saint. Sant’Ambrogio is not very appealing from outside, but the interior is full of ancient works of art. There is a Golden Altar, a 9th-century masterpiece of Carolingian goldwork, the Stilicone Sarcophagus, and the remains of Sant’Ambrogio and other two Saints, hosted in a bronze and crystal casket in the crypt of the Church.

  1. Grab some delicious lunch at Luini’s

If you don’t want to sit at a restaurant table and just need something quick for lunch try Luini, in a backstreet beside the Duomo. Try to avoid the peak hour, especially during weekends, as the queue can be quite long. Everyone want a bite of their legendary “Panzerotti”, a fried pastry filled with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Originally from Puglia, in the south of Italy, this delicacy is now one of the best treats you can find in Milan.

museums for kids in florence

The best parks and Museums for Kids in Florence

Discover the best Parks and Museums for Kids in Florence. Find out were to bring your little ones to have some fun in the open air and 5 museums where kids can learn about the rich history of Florence in an interactive way.

 

Parks for Kids in Florence

 

If you want to let your kids steam off after a long walk or if you want to enjoy a sunny day in the open air, Florence is full of green spaces.
The “Parco delle Cascine”, stretching along Vittorio Veneto Square until Indiano Bridge, is perfect if you are looking for a nice and safe playground. Here you can rent roller blades or have a refreshing a swim in the swimming pool.
Also very nice is the “Horticulture Garden”. Its “tepidarium”, a spectacular greenhouse in iron and glass built in 1880, hosts plants during the winter season. The garden also has a playground and a linking passage to the “Parnassus Horts”, a wonderful terrace overlooking a breath-taking panorama of Florence. Your kids will love the Fountain of the Dragon,  whose tail of stone stretches from the highest part of the garden and ends with its big mouth wide open.
Another big playground is hosted inside the Garden of Villa Strozzi. It was designed in the 16th century and boasts water fountains and mannerist artistic elements.
Last, but absolutely not least, is the Boboli Gardens, a real open-air museum! They were so beautifully designed and contained so many elements and buildings that they inspired the Gardens of Versailles.

Museums for Kids in Florence

1) Palazzo Vecchio

Literally “Old Palace”, this building has been the symbol of the political power of the city of Florence for over 700 years. Today is the headquarters of the Mayor of but also features an amazing Museum, which includes an area for children. Here the Mus.e Association holds daily activities to entertain children from 4 years old, which can be booked in different languages, including English, to guide the whole family through all sections of the Museum. The Museum for Kids in Palazzo Vecchio brings the Renaissance city to life for kids with demonstrations of how the Medici lived and ruled. If you are not scared of heights, climb up to Palazzo Vecchio’s tower: it has a wonderful view and is not as tough a climb as the one to the Dome of the Duomo of Florence. (just keep in mnd children under 6 are not allowed to go up the tower).

2) Palazzo Strozzi

Palazzo Strozzi is among the Museums for Kids in Florence that offer the most comprehensive range of activities, for toddlers, kids and teens. Families with young children can take place in workshops that include storytelling, take at the entrance a “drawing kit”, to keep the little ones engaged and evn a stroller tours for parents with children under age three. If you think exhibitions would bore your kids ask at the entrance for a “family kit” full of games and information designed to breathe life into the visit and explore the exhibition in a uniquely captivating way.

3) Galileo Museum

The Galileo Museum hosts an important collection of tools designed and made by Galileo Galilei as well as a scientific collections of the Medici and Lorraine families. Among the items displayed is a huge collection of compasses, armillary spheres and astrolabes, together with thousand more instruments and scientific equipment. It will be like a journey into the past, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

The museum is easy to reach, being located along the Arno River and not far from the Uffizi Gallery. It has been completely restored and is now a real interactive museum with many activities for kids, even though only in Italian. Why not visiting It with one of our kid-friendly guides?

4) Leonardo Da Vinci’s Museum

Located in the centre of Florence, no far from the Duomo, The Leonardo da Vinci Museum is of course completely dedicated to biggest genius of the Renaissance. He wasn’t just a painter, but also a valid architect and engineer. The museum displays reconstructions of various civil engineering, military and flying projects designed by Leonardo for the Medici family and other powerful people.

Why would a kid have fun here? Because several machines are interactive and even the younger ones can experience them directly and discover how they operate. Every object features an explanation and a detail description: you can read it and explain the machine to your kid… or maybe he will explain to you! Want to have a tour with a kid-friendly guide inside the Museum and in the centre of Florence? We can organize a nice tour of the Market of Florence, a stroll in the cty centre ad a guided visit inside this museum with a local guide!

5) Natural History Museum

Among the top kid-friendly museums in Florence, the Museum of Natural History is a favorite among the little ones! The 6 sections that make up the Museum are located in different areas of the city, but are still inside Florence historical centre. Although founded 300 years ago it’s been constantly updated and is today one of the finest collection in Italy.

In the Geology and Paleontology section a large number of fossils from Italy are displayed, to show the evolution of life on earth from 3.5 billion years ago. Your kids will love the elephant “Pietro”, with its 4 meters height, one of the fossils found in the Valdarno area in Tuscany.

The Museum La Specola is all about animals! It’s the oldest science museum in Europe and houses a collection of 5000 stuffed animals and 3000 skeletons. Don’t miss the beautiful Galileo Tribune, showing frescoes and bas-reliefs celebrating the discoveries and instruments of the great Florentine genius.

Need help organizing your trip to Florence? Want to book a tour  and visit Museums for Kids in Florence with a kid-friendly guide? Our booking staff is at your complete disposal to build the holiday of your dreams. Browse our tour and enter your requet in the booking form!