What to see in Milan in one day

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Her Golden Madonna which stands on the Duomo in the heart of the city is famous all over the world. Milan is certainly not just this: it is art, culture, fashion and entertainment. Surely one of the most exciting and interesting metropolises for its museums, historic buildings, but also for the events that animate it every evening and for the nightlife spots frequented by young and old.

Because Milan is made up of a thousand faces that are always different from each other. A metropolis and for this reason certainly not small in size, visiting it in a short time is not so easy, but if you are in the Lombard capital even for a few hours there are some things that you just cannot miss. Here what to see in Milan in one day.


  1. One day itinerary in Milan: Morning
  2. One day itinerary in Milan: Afternoon
  3. One day itinerary in Milan: Evening
  4. User questions and comments

One day itinerary in Milan: Morning

1 - Cathedral

Definitely the first stop for a one day itinerary is Piazza Duomo, where the Cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente stands majestically. Built at the behest of Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1386, it is one of the clearest examples of gothic architecture. Inside, the presbytery area renovated around 500 and its 3.500 statues are worth admiring. The symbol of the city is the Golden Madonna 4 meters high and placed on the main spire at 108,50 meters high. Do not miss a visit to its panoramic terraces, from which Milan in its beauty is visible.
Once you've visited the Duomo, it's time to stop and consume a great breakfast in the square that probably won't be one of the cheapest things in your life, but it deserves to be done at least once. We stop at Market bistro of the Duomo, right inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II where you can have a typical sweet breakfast with croissant and coffee, but also a savory one with focaccia and pizzas prepared instantly starting from € 6,00.

2 - Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Teatro alla Scala

At this point it will be possible to continue to discover the Gallery, called the drawing room of Milan and built in 1865 on a project by Giuseppe Mengoni with the aim of uniting piazza Duomo and piazza della Scala. Here you can admire the windows of the luxury boutiques, the historic cafes of the city and try to walk on the bull depicted on a mosaic drawn on the pavement. According to the rite, placing your feet on the intimate parts of the animal will soon return to Milan. Do not miss the Teatro alla Scala, one of the most important in Italy and Europe.

If you have time before lunch, you can take a quick tour to San Babila and the famous streets of Milanese fashion, then via Montenapoleone and via della Spiga where it is impossible not to dwell on the windows of boutiques and jewelers.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1 km / 12 min
  • Places visited: Piazza Duomo (free), Duomo (€ 2,00), Terraces with lift (€ 13,00 full, € 7,00 reduced), Terraces on foot (€ 8,00 full, € 4,00 reduced), Gallery Vittorio Emanuele II (free), Teatro alla Scala (free), Via Montenapoleone and via della Spiga (free)
  • Tour of the Cathedral and Terraces with audio guide Tour of the Teatro alla Scala and Museum
  • Where to have breakfast: Bistrot del Mercato del Duomo, piazza del Duomo - Get directions

One day itinerary in Milan: Afternoon

1 - sforzesco castle

After a lunch with the traditional Luini's panzerotto in via Santa Radegonda, 16, a reference point for tourists and not only since its foundation in 1888, where with € 2,50 you can taste the classic tomato and mozzarella panzerotto and with € 3,00 the others, with the Metro1 (stops Cadorna and Cairoli) or with the Metro2 (Cadorna and Lanza stops) you will arrive at the Castello Sforzesco which cannot be left out of the Milanese one-day itinerary. Today it is one of the largest castles in Europe, it was built as a military citadel, a role that it has almost always played becoming a symbol of wars and battles, for this reason loved and at the same time hated by the Milanese. Inside today there are many museums including the Museum of ancient art and that of history and protohistory. The art gallery houses masterpieces of Italian art such as Michelangelo's Pietà Rondanini and Leonardo's frescoes.

2 - Sempione Park and Arco della Pace

In the afternoon you still have a few free hours to take a walk in Parco Sempione, behind the Castle, therefore within walking distance, one of the green lungs of the city. The only remaining part of the ducal park of the Visconti and Sforza court, it is possible to admire English lawns, the Tower of the park, the arch of peace, the art palace and the monument to Napoleon III. Walking further we arrive atArch of Peace, one of the symbolic monuments of Milanese history.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,6 km / 32 min
  • Places visited: Sforzesco Castle (full € 3,00, reduced € 1,50), Sempione Park (free), Arco della Pace (free)
  • Sforza Castle: Sforzesco Castle and Last Supper guided express tour
  • Where to have lunch: From Luini Panzerotti, via Santa Radegonda, 16 - Get directions

One day itinerary in Milan: Evening

1 - Aperitif or Dinner at the Navigli

You cannot pass through Milan without stopping on ships (where you arrive from our tour with tram n.3) for an aperitif or dinner. Canals that have always characterized the history of Milan have been built at the late 12th century with the aim of connecting Milan to Lake Como, the Adda, Lake Maggiore and the Po for a purely commercial function. Place of nightlife and happy hours par excellence, the Navigli are also the setting for New Dock, redeveloped thanks to Expo 2015 with cycle paths, walks and boat trips that are perfectly linked to the nightlife with the numerous clubs and restaurants where it is pleasant to spend a few hours in company.
For happy hour we choose the Manhattan Navigli in Corso di Porta Ticinese, on the Naviglio Grande, a stone's throw from the Darsena. Here you can have an aperitif with a drink and abundant food for € 10,00.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 3,6 km / 44 min
  • Places visited: Navigli (free), Nuova Darsena (free)
  • wine and appetizers on the Navigli
  • Where to dine: Manhattan Navigli, Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 13 - Get directions

Before leaving: useful tips

  • Pack the appropriate clothing for the season because, as is well known, Milan is characterized by heat in summer and cold in winter;
  • Avoid going around the city by car, rely on public transport (buses, trams and metro) which are efficient;
  • Although Milan is a large metropolis, the most important attractions are close to the center. Start your visit from the Duomo, it will be easier to find your way around.
  • If you decide to extend your stay and enjoy Milan by night, you can consult our offers for a stay in Milan.

What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up

In Milan it is possible to reach all the desired places, so there are no problems for public transport which are efficient and numerous, but often the queues that are created outside the Museums due to the large influx of tourists make some museums and places of interest impossible to visit if you only have one day. Here are some stops to avoid on a 24-hour tour:

  1. Royal Palace. Not sure why it's not interesting, but because the lines are often too long and exhausting.
  2. Last Supper. The undisputed masterpiece of the genius Leonardo certainly deserves a visit, but not if you have only one day available because the turnout is very numerous and places are limited. 15 tickets are available every 15 minutes so as not to crowd the refectory of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie where the painting is kept - here more info on the Last Supper

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