One day in Milan

Milan, synonymous with fashion, design, and economic power, attracts visitors from all around the world. This globally renowned city offers a wealth of culture, history, and art, making it an irresistible destination for those who want to explore the magic of Italy. With its impressive Duomo cathedral, masterpieces of art, and the stylishness of its residents, this city will enchant you. Here’s a suggestion on how to spend a day in Milan.

The Duomo Square (Piazza del Duomo)

The Duomo Square, or Piazza del Duomo in Italian, represents the heart of Milan, where centuries of history, culture, and a vibrant modern city atmosphere come together.


It is undoubtedly best known for its spectacular panoramic backdrop – the Milan Cathedral. The cathedral dominates the square with its impressive white facade and numerous sculptures. From this spot, you can best admire the grand architecture and capture perfect photos of this architectural gem.


In the square and its vicinity, you’ll find a range of cafés and restaurants where you can try delicious Italian dishes, especially tasty pizzas and pastas, but, as you might guess, at considerably higher prices than usual. Duomo Square is also an ideal place to enjoy traditional Italian espresso or coffee.


This part of the city is often home to various events and festivities, especially during the holiday seasons. Visitors may have the opportunity to attend concerts, cultural festivals, and other entertainments, and it’s also surrounded by numerous museums and cultural centers. For example, the Museum of the New Cathedral (Museo del Duomo) offers a detailed insight into the history and construction phases of the Duomo. You can also explore the Museum of the 20th Century (Museo del Novecento), which features Impressionist and Modernist art.


Tip: Duomo Square is often very crowded, so it’s recommended to plan your visit in the morning to avoid the crowds.

Cathedral Duomo di Milano

No visit to Milan would be complete without exploring the Cathedral, also known as Duomo di Milano. This impressive structure represents the pinnacle of Milanese Gothic architecture and is one of the largest Catholic cathedrals in the world.


The Cathedral is usually open to visitors during the day, but it’s recommended to check the opening hours before your visit. Tickets can be purchased on the spot or in advance through this link, where you can also find more useful information about current offerings.


Tip: If possible, it’s a good idea to choose the beginning or end of the Cathedral’s opening hours for your visit to avoid crowds and the summer heat at the top of the building.


Tip: When selecting a day for your visit to this masterpiece, pay attention to cultural and religious events that may be taking place at that time.


When visiting the Cathedral, dress should be modest, covering shoulders and knees. It’s not allowed to enter wearing short skirts and sleeveless shirts, but even if you’re not dressed appropriately, scarves are usually sold in front of the Cathedral for about €3.


Visitors can also climb to the Cathedral’s rooftop and enjoy a spectacular view of the city, which, in my opinion, is the most exciting part of the whole tour. However, this involves climbing several hundred steps, so be prepared for a mild physical challenge.


Guides and audio guides are available to provide you with more information about the Cathedral’s history and significance, and sometimes religious events and Masses are held in the Cathedral, so you can check the schedule in advance if you wish to attend.


Upon exiting through the main Cathedral doors, you can continue straight to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a luxury shopping arcade and promenade that is one of the oldest shopping centers in the world. Inside this beautiful gallery, you can find exclusive shops, restaurants, and cafes, as well as an impressive glass dome. This is an ideal place for strolling, shopping, and enjoying the Milanese way of life.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Milano

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, often called “La Galleria,” is one of the most prestigious and luxurious shopping centers in the world, as well as an exceptionally impressive architectural monument. A visit to this gallery not only allows for shopping but also provides a deep dive into the rich history of Milan and its luxurious way of life.


The gallery was built between 1865 and 1877 and is named after King Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the unified Italian states. The architecture of the gallery is spectacular, with an impressive glass dome, luxurious mosaic floors, and monumental arches. This combination of elements makes La Galleria a unique blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles.


Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is home to many exclusive shops and boutiques offering top fashion, footwear, jewelry, and luxury brands. Here, you can find prestigious Italian designers such as Prada, Gucci, Versace, and many more. For luxury enthusiasts, this is a shopping paradise.


In addition to shopping, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II offers various places for culinary experiences. You can enjoy cafes and restaurants with open terraces, where you can try delicious Italian specialties such as prosciutto, formaggio, and various types of wines. It also serves as a cultural center. Here, you can find various art galleries, exhibition spaces, and museums. For example, there’s the Prada Museum and the Fondazione Riccardo Catella, which hosts contemporary art exhibitions.


Tip: In the center of the gallery, there’s a mosaic where, according to local tradition, visitors should stand with their heel and spin three times for good luck. You can try it yourself if you wish.

FAO Schwarz toy store

FAO Schwarz is a famous toy store with a long and prestigious history of providing unforgettable experiences for all generations around the world. This store, often simply known as “FAO,” is worth a visit for those of us in whom a spark of childhood spirit still lives.


FAO Schwarz was founded in 1862 and has become synonymous with quality and luxury in the world of toys. Here, you can find everything from traditional wooden toys and instruments to electronic and robotic toys, as well as board games.


I guarantee that this experience won’t be just a regular sightseeing and shopping trip because the true charm of this store lies in interactive experiences, live performances, workshops, and encounters with beloved characters from fairy tales and movies. Meeting fairy tale heroes in person is always a favorite part for both children and adults, making the visit fun and educational for both kids and parents.


If you’re looking for a playful and slightly different experience in this metropolis, it’s well worth adding the magic of FAO Schwarz to your list of must-visit places along the way.

Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco)

Castello Sforzesco, or Sforza Castle, is an impressive monument and cultural center in the heart of Milan dating back to the 15th century. It was originally built as a fortress to protect the city of Milan. Over the centuries, it changed owners and served various purposes, and today, the castle has been transformed into a museum and cultural center.


The castle is characterized by beautiful Renaissance architecture and an impressive courtyard. The interior of the castle hosts museum collections, art exhibitions, and rich historical content. Visitors can explore different parts of the castle and visit several museums and galleries. For example, the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco houses an impressive collection of Italian artworks, including pieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. There’s also the Museum of Musical Instruments (Museo degli Strumenti Musicali), where you can see various musical instruments throughout history.


Many would say that Castello Sforzesco is one of the most important cultural and historical sites in Milan. A visit to this castle provides an opportunity to explore the rich history of the city and enjoy the art and culture it offers.


Also, Castello Sforzesco is surrounded by the beautiful Parco Sempione, which is perfect for walks and relaxation.

Park Sempione

Parco Sempione is a beautiful city park located right in the heart of Milan, adjacent to Castello Sforzesco. It spans a large area and offers plenty of space for recreation, walks, and relaxation.


Within the park, you can see the Arch of Peace (Arco della Pace), a monumental gate built in the early 19th century. This arch is inspired by Roman triumphal arches and serves as a spectacular entrance to the park.


At the center of the park, there’s a picturesque little lake, adding a special charm to the place. Bridges cross over the lake, allowing you to stroll by the water and enjoy beautiful landscapes.


There’s also a children’s playground here, making it an ideal spot for family outings. The park often hosts various events, especially during the summer months. Open-air concerts, theater performances, a variety of workshops for children, and cultural festivals are frequently held in Parco Sempione. But even without these events, this oasis is a perfect place to take a break during your city exploration.


Tip: During summer events, you might want to check the schedule in advance and reserve tickets if needed.

''Grom'' gelato ice cream

When you’re already in Italy, you’ll surely want to try authentic gelato at least once, and my warm recommendation goes straight to the hands of the cold and healthy “Grom” ice cream.


Grom is an Italian ice cream brand known for its authentic and delicious gelato. Founded in Turin in 2003, Grom has become a popular destination for ice cream lovers worldwide, primarily due to its dedication to using high-quality natural ingredients.


They exclusively use fresh fruits, nuts, and other natural components to make their gelato. For instance, they source their hazelnuts from the Langhe region in Piedmont, Italy, known for exceptional hazelnuts, while their strawberries come from Apulia, a widely renowned region for sweet and ripe fruits.


Grom offers a variety of gelato flavors, from classic ones like chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio to unique and seasonal offerings. Their fruit flavors genuinely exude the real taste of fresh fruit, and the whole company is highly committed to sustainability and an eco-friendly approach. They use biodegradable spoons and cups, avoiding artificial additives and preservatives in their products.


Grom’s menu includes both traditional gelato in classic and seasonal fruit flavors and frozen fruit beverages, all available in three different sizes.


Although Grom started in Italy, it has expanded its presence worldwide, and due to all its qualities, I never miss it.

The city of Lecco and Lake Como

Lecco is a charming town situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Como, located just about 50 kilometers northeast of Milan. This fairytale place has a rich history and a beautiful natural environment, making it an ideal destination if you have the time for a short trip outside the main city of Lombardy.


The main attraction is, of course, Lake Como itself, which also features a camp resort, making it a popular choice for summer vacations. The town boasts beautiful promenades along the lake, where you can enjoy waterfront walks or relax in one of the many cafes and restaurants.


Lecco hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, providing you with the opportunity to experience authentic Italian culture. Here, you can explore narrow streets and squares with traditional Italian charm. You can also visit the “Palazzo delle Paure” museum to learn more about local history and culture.


Lecco is also a perfect base for exploring the surrounding Lake Como area, with numerous picturesque towns and villages nearby. Given its proximity to Milan and its unique beauty, Lecco is an excellent destination for travelers who want to explore more than just Milan itself.

Continue your exploration of Italy through a blog about Venice.


Feel free to ask any question, send a suggestion or just share your opinion.


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