This walking tour of Milan provides an overview of what the city has to offer, so you can make the most of your time here.
A bird’s-eye view
Accessible by lift or via 257 steps, the roof of the Duomo affords magnificent views. First, of the myriad spires and statues adorning the cathedral. Then, of the piazza below and the surrounding buildings. Finally, on a clear day, of the Alps, some 50 kilometres away.
Back down at street level, you should head through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, admiring the handsome architecture of what is possibly the world’s first shopping mall.
Museum and galleries
A number of museums and galleries beckon at the Piazza della Scala exit of the Galleria.
For lovers of opera, the Museo Teatrale at the Teatro alla Scala offers plenty of memorabilia, including costumes and musical instruments. The elegant Gallerie d’Italia host 19th- and 20th-century Italian painting and sculpture.
If you walk up Via Verdi, you’ll get to the Pinacoteca di Brera, which covers art from the 14th to the 20th centuries. Alternatively, turn right onto Via Manzoni to reach the Museo Poldi Pezzoli. The highlight of this house museum, one of four in Milan, is Piero del Pollaiolo’s “Portrait of a Lady” (c.1470).
Milan’s fashion hub
Via Manzoni is lined with shops specialising in fashion, design and lighting. Turn right onto Via Monte Napoleone, where the world’s top fashion names are concentrated, then left onto Via Gesù.
After visiting the Museo Bagatti Valsecchi, which illustrates how the nobles lived in 19th-century Milan, continue right onto Via della Spiga, past more exclusive shops, then left onto Corso Venezia.
At Corso Venezia 47 is Palazzo Castiglioni, an outstanding example of art nouveau architecture, or Liberty, as it’s called in Italian. It is closed to the public, but you can admire its exterior, with graceful stone carvings set off by curvaceous wrought-iron work.
Continuing up Corso Venezia and turning right onto Via Serbelloni will lead to your final destination: Villa Necchi Campiglio. Another fine house museum, this mansion dates from the 1930s. It is a great place for a coffee or a light meal before heading back to the hotel.