Milan Cathedral is usually the number one answer to the question: What to do in Milan? It rises from the ground on Piazza del Duomo like a delicately crafted fairytale tiara. A true vision dressed in pink marble, the cathedral reflects the city’s ambition for elegance, style and creativity. Its construction started in 1386 and took over 600 years to complete. You see, not only was the structural design impossible to build (invention of new techniques and tools was crucial to the process) but there was also that issue of style. Having taken so long the build, fashion changed and so did the ornamental decor ideas. The interior is just as stunning as the exterior. In fact, the cathedral features the largest stainless glass windows ever fitted inside a church. Furthermore, you can climb to the top and enjoy the incredible view. So, when you visit Milan, don’t miss out on this iconic marvel!
Quadrilatero d’Oro otherwise known as Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is almost other-worldly. Stepping in feels more like entering an opera house or an elegant gallery, not a shopping mall. But essence that is Quadrilatero d’Oro is - an extremely extravagant and opulent indoor shopping area. The architect behind this imposing structure is Guiseppe Mengoni who undertook the project in 1877. And, in case you are wondering, it is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world. The shops are arranged in shape of a cross, with the intersecting inner streets sheltered by incredible glass-panels that allow for natural light all day long. The sunbeams dance on the shop fronts decorated with stucco artwork and ornate paneling. It’s a little kingdom of high-end designer shops such as Prada, Louis Vuitton or Versace. Even if you are not keen on shopping, this is one of the top places to see in Milan.
There aren’t many buildings around the world to have hosted as many great artists and masters of their arts as Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. In fact, it has been one of the most famous opera domes in Europe since its founding. When was that? Archduchess Maria Theresa, the Hapsburg, passionate patron of arts and culture, established the opera house in the second half of the 18th century. It sits north of the Duomo and east of Castello Sforzesco. When you step inside, the performing artists are not the only ones who will sweep you off your feet. The interior will dazzle you with sumptuous gold and crimson decor charming you into a royal fairytale. Six tiers of seating frame the center stage in a perfect semi-circle. You can visit La Scala as part of a guided tour but, if you can, go and see a show. Memorable evening guaranteed!
Its roots lie in 1930s Milan and are available to explore at the Design Museum displaying the works of the best Italian designers. Plus, you can peek in some of the major design showrooms or take advantage of a fashion fair. However, Milanese la vita moda (the stylish life) isn’t just about what you wear but also about how you live. The stylish lifestyle extends to cocktail bars, restaurants, boutiques, galleries, hotels or spas giving you the perfect opportunity to pamper yourself.
Despite the futuristic flair, Milan has its share of history. Having lived under rulers such as Caesars, Napoleon, Austro-Hungarians, and Mussolini, the city has a rich cultural history and boasts stunning old palazzos and churches. The city’s art collections showcase genius and skills of old masters as well as the mind-bending creations of contemporary art. Furthermore, in Milan, you can enjoy both elegant operas and performance in La Scala and the pulsing club and nightlife scene featuring international musicians and DJs.
Whatever your passion, you won’t be disappointed by things to do in Milan.