Milano Gay Life All the bars, restaurants, clubs, shops and special events for LGBT visitors.
Languages: English and Italian. (Download for Android | iPhone)
ATM Milano Official App This is a great app for public transport, it tells you which bus and metro stops are near you, you can plan your trips and you can also use it to find the BikeMi hubs (See the article on public transport). (Download for Android | iPhone)
ATM City Tour Milano. The app for the sightseeing services provided by the city´s public trasnport agency ATM. It gives your the departure times for the trams and doubledecker buses. (Download for Android | iPhone)
MyTaxi If you need to call for a taxi and don’t speak Italian the easiest thing is to use the official app myTaxi. (Download Android | iPhone)
Uber The world’s most famous ride sharing service is legal in Milan and works fine so if you cannot get a taxi or you have to wait too long this is a good alternative. (Download Android | iPhone)
Mobike A dock-free bike sharing service, where you can find a bicycle near you. The price is €0,30 for every half hour. (Download Android | iPhone)
OFO A dock-free bike sharing service, where you can find a bicycle near you. It costs €0,20 for the first half hour, €0,30 for the second half hour and €0,50 every half hour after that. You can also rent the bike for a whole day at €5. (Download Android | iPhone)
The Milanese love going on day trips outside the gates of the city as they say and there are lots of wonderful places nearby. Here is the Insider Guide to the greatest places
50 km north of Milan is Como by the beautiful Lake Como surrounded by mountains.It takes about 1 hour from Cadorna station to Como lake and a return ticket is a little under €10. It’s a cosy and very beautiful small town with antique town walls and a great shopping area in the historical center and actually also the place where our personal love affair with Italy began many years ago.
When we were there last we had lunch at the super neat Ristorante Sociale, 6, Via Rodari (find on map) – prices are reasonable and and the food is local and solid – but next time we are planning on trying out the much more sophisticated restaurant with all the great reviews The Market Place, 21/A, Via Borsieri (find on map) – closed on Sundays.
Another fantastic thing to do here is to take the ferry from Como (just by Piazza Cavour) for e.g.Bellaggio or out to see the incredibly beautiful villas, located in the area. Here the app Navigazione Laghi is a really good tool – Download for Android | iPhone
You can go from Como with the funicular up to Brunate where on a clear day you get an amazing view of Lake Como and the Alps
There are several antique markets in Como: On the first Sunday every month 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on Piazza San Fedele (find on map) On the second Wednesday every month (Except January and August) 8.30 a.m.-7 p.m. in Porto Torre, Viale Carlo Cattaneo (find on map) On the last Saturday every month (except January and August) in Via Muratto og Piazza Ferretta (find on map) On the third Sunday every month. 8 a.m.-7 p.m. (except January and August) in Via Spallino (find on map)
Bergamo is one of the few towns in Italy whose historical center is still located within the original town walls which have maintained their original aspect.
Bergamo is divided into two parts Bergamo Bassa (low Begamo) and Berrgamo Alta (high Begamo), Bergamo Alta is the historical part of the town which you can get to either by the city funicular or by taking the 45-minute hike up.
There are monasteries, historical buildings and an ancient botanical garden.
A villlage built by the Crespi family for the workers on their factory. It was very advanced for its time (late 1800s) with free education for the children of the employees, a free indoor swimming pool and the first village in Italy to have modern public lighting. In 1995 the village was entered nto the UNESCO World Heritage List. The directions on how to get there can be found here.
Isole Borromee and Stresa.
The Isolee Borromee (the Borromean Islands) are located in the Maggiore Lake and can be reached from Stresa by boat, they are lovely at all times of the year but are paricularly stunning during springtime, They are famous for their amazing palaces and gardens. There are three islands: Isola Bella with the Borromean Palace and gardens, Isola Superiore (Fishmerman’s Island) a tiny island with a beautiful fishing village and Isola Madre with a botanical garden and Palace.
If you feel like pampering yourself go for a day to the San Pellegrino spa (terme) (find on map), you need a car to get up there. Prices and opening hours here. A small piece of advice; go on a weekday.
Lodiis another town that is very near Milan, it takes about 35 minutes with the train going to Bologna, and you can catch it from both Stazione Centrale and Cadorna. Lodi is a lovely little town whose interesting archtecture dates all the way back to 1160.
There is an antique market in Lodi on the first Sunday of every month (except January and August) 8 a.m.7 p.m. on Piazza Castello (find on map)
A couple of good places to have lunch in Lodi are: Antica Trattoria il Gattino, 71, Corso Mazzini (find on map) Il Pomodoro Pelato, 48, Via Cavour (find on map)
And please don’t miss Vigevano in the province of Pavia. It takes about an hour to get there and we recommend taking the train from Porta Genova railway station (find on map)
Vigevano is an incredibly beautiful art town with an amazing renaissance square Piazza Ducale, considered one of Italy’s finest. There is also a castle, Vigevano’s own Castello Sforzesco which was transformed from a fortress to the residence of a prince in 1492-94 by Ludovio Sforza. Furthermore Vigevano is famous for making shoes and there is a shoe museum inside the Castello Sforzesco with no admission.
There’s an antique market in Vigevanoon the thrid Sunday of every month (except August) in the area between Piazza Piazza Martiri della Liberazione, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Via S. Croce (find on map).
Good places to have lunch in Vigevano: Cappuccetto Rosso Bistrot, 4, Via Carrobbio (find on map) Cafe del Mar, 34, Via Leonardo da Vinci (find on map)
Wine and Food.
If you love wine and great food there are some areas we recommend you visit and you could spend the night in one of the many agrotourisms. Some great areas are Franciacorta, Asti and Langhe (where, among other towns, Alba is located).
There are many food and wine festivals in both Piedmont and Lombardia. These festivals are great for getting an insight into small communities and their seasonal products (wine, truffles, cheeses, chestnuts, mushrooms, pumpkins etc.)
Star-studded restaurants outside Milan.
If you came to Milan by car there are lots of great restaurants in Lombardy. We want to mention:
D’O Davide Oldani’s wonderful restaurant with 1 Michelin star, located in San Pietro all’Olmo, Cornaredo (find on map). Davide Oldani is the chef who invented the concept Pop Cuisine (Cucina Pop). Remember to book well in advance.
Cannavacciuolo Bistrot. 1, Piazza Martiri della Libertà in Novara (find on map) which belongs to Antonino Cannavacciulo, one of the new judges in the Italian edition of Masterchef.
Antonino Cannavacciuolo also runs the restaurant (with 2 Michelin stars) and hotel Villa Crespi at the beautiful Lago d’Orta.
You can find the Michelin guide’s other suggestions here.
For those of you who are only in town for a short visit we have made a mini route where you get all the best Milan has to offer in terms of both shopping, food, architecture and culture. For our first express shopping route we have chosen the area from Piazza Gae Aulenti to Piazza della Scala, from the new and modern to the old and traditional.
Start on Piazza Gae Aulenti; Milan’s newest area, where you should see “Bosco verticale (the vertical forest))
On the piazza you find the famous Muji,
Grom ice cream,
Replay store with Italian denim and a nice bar where you can have your morning coffee,
and Illy café – the world’s best espresso.
Located under the square is the supermarket Esselunga if you want to shop for specialties.
From there continue down Corso Como and check out the famous design store and art gallery at no. 10 – good place for lunch.
at the end of Corso Como turn left and check out High Tech with all you can desire for your home and on the square (Piazza XXV Aprile) is food temple Eataly
Continue into the Brera area (Via Solferino, Via San Marco and Corso Garibaldi) which is the old artistic neighbourhood of Milan with lots of quirky and chic stores and galleries.
If you’re here on either a Monday or a Thursday it is worth your while to visit the open air market in Via San Marco.
Continue down to Piazza della Scala with Milan’s famous Scala theater.
If you still have energy and time to spare you are now directly behind Piazza Duomo just walk thorugh the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele which links Piazza della Scala and Piazza Duomo and you have Milan’s cathedral right in front of you.
Now you are probably starving and you are close to several good restaurants e.g. Langosteria Cafè,4, Galleria del Corso (find on map) excellent seafood €€€, Piz, 34, Via Torino (find n map) genuine Neapolitan pizza €, I 12 Gatti,11/12, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II on the corner of Piazza della Scala (find on map) with a fantasic terrace on the top of Milan €€ and Mama Burger,18, Via Agnello (find on map) good quality burgers €.
If you’re with your children in Milan then buy 3 day’s access to the civic museums for just €12 an adult (under-18s don’t pay). You can get it online or, easier, at the ticket sale at the first museum you visit. There are lunch ideas mentioned after every museum.
Rent a different bike for the kids at the park. In the Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli (find on map) and Parco Sempione (find on map)you can rent the beautiful originale 3-wheel take bike Alternative Byki from 1959,it costs €5 for 20 minutes.
Museo nazionale scienza e tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci. The Leonardo Da Vinci museum is a must for children from age 6 and up. There is enoughentertainment to last you several hours on a rainy day.
The most diversely talented person ever to have lived is painter, inventor etc. Leonardo da Vinci, and Italy’s national technical museum, located in Milan, is also his official museum. It combines the chance to actually try out some of his inventions with the more traditional exhibitions.
Ideas for lunch. Eat some pizza or foccacia on the square in front of the musum, Buy it here: Panificio Sant’Ambrogio, 3, Via San Vittore (find on map) Ristoro Monterosso, 11, Via San Vittore (find on map)
Museo di Storia naturale – Dinosaurs and other monsters
Museo di Storia Naturale is yet a perfect place for children from age 6 if they like dinosaur skeletons and everything to do with wild beasts. Unfortunately the homepage for the museum is only in Italian and rather dry but the museum itself is excellent.
It’s located in a great park with a wooden jungle gym and a really cozy outdoor café, BAR BIANCO where you can get coffee, ice cream, frozen yogurt, soft drinks and lunch. The park also houses a genuine old-fashioned merry-go-round, a little train and bumper cars for very young kids.
Milan Cathedral (Duomo)
The city cathedral is very impressive on the outside and rather gloomy on the inside. You should spend your time visiting the roof which has an extraordinary view of the whole city and when the weather is clear you can see the Alps in the background. Either take the elevator up or get a fun experience walking all the way up the crooked old stone staircase
You can go get lunch at either Luini (find on map) or Mama Burger (find on map) – both good cheap lunch places.
The city’s impressive medieval castle Castello Sforzesco where you can choose to just walk right through the beautiful courtyards to the Sempione park, which contains playgrounds and ample lawns where you can have your sandwiches, you can eat at Bar Bianco (find on map) or try the incredibly vast choice of sandwiches at the kiosk on Piazza Castello left of the fountain when coming from Piazza Cairoli.
But you could also visit the inside of the castle, where there are various art museums, displaying historical weapons, paintings, musical instruments and furniture. Especially the weapons tend to appeal to kids.
Take a trip on the tram.
It’s really kind of awesome and cheap entertainment at €1,50 for adults (it’s a regular ticket for public transport and children under 11 don’t pay when accompanied by an adult, every adult with a valid ticket can bring 2 children under 11). Milan has old, very elegant trams that were built between 1928 and 1932. Remember to purchase the ticket before you get on the tram. You can get them at newsstands (edicole) and some bars.
If you are up to it, you can now get bikesharing bikes for kids at the weekend. Read about the new BikeMi Junior here.
If you are here between the months of June and September there are public swimmingpools in Milan. Read more here.
Check also our post on classic sightseeing here. Milan offers canal tours and double-deckers.
If you want a fun experience and a view of Milan that takes your breath away (don’t worry you won’t have to walk all the way up there is an elevator) then you have to go up in the Torre Branca.
Right next to the museum Triennale di Milano is the 108 m tall Torre Branca which was designed by architect Gio Ponti in 1933. From its top you have a 360° panorama over the whole city. If there are strong winds or the weather is bad they are closed. It costs € 5,00 per person.
Milan has several museums worth visiting. But if you can – visit them during the week and leave the queues at the weekend to the others.
A couple of the museums are located around the Duomo and another couple around the park Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli. Should you feel like seeing more than one it’s a good idea to plan after location. Please note that opening hours are very varied. some close at 5.30 p.m. while others are open at night till 10.30/11 p.m..
If you’re in Milan for 72 hours or less, you should consder getting a MilanoCard. Read more here.
You can visit Milan’s civic museums (the ones with an asterisk next to their name) for free on every first Sunday of every month.
Most museums change their exhibitions frequently so it’s a good idea to check out the calendar for each of them (Tip: Read more about the best appsGuidamilano and Eventi Milano for information)
Below we mention what we consider the city’s most beautiful museums .You choose according to your preferences be it modern art or the old maestros
Admission is valid for both Largo Isarco and Milano Osservatorio within 7 days.
Museum for contemporary art and culture co-headed by famous designer Miuccia Prada. The foundation has operated since 1993 and organizes, amongst other things, film festivals. On May 9th 2015 they inaugurated their new venue in Milan – very impressive architecture. FONDAZIONE PRADA’s Bar Luce is designed by film director Wes Anderson. Bar luce recreates the atmosphere of a typical Milanese café –> 2, Largo Isarco (find on map)
Admission is valid for both Largo Isarco and Milano Osservatorio within 7 days.
Fondazione Prada’s new location in the center of Milan dedicated to photography and visual arts. It is situated at the top of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II with a view of the glass Octagonal at its center.
–> Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (find on map)
This museum, which was inaugurated on April 30th 2015, celebrates Giorgio Armani’s 40-year anniversary as a designer. The museum has been created by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando. 4 floors with historical creations. The museum is located in the Tortona neighbourhood and is closed on Mondays. –> 40, Via Bergognone (find on map)
Palazzo Morando – Costume Moda Immagine*
This beautiful historical building located within the Quadrilatero della Moda Milan’s exclusive fashion dsitrict houses collections of decorative and fine arts and exhibits about fahsion. The museum is closed on Mondays.
–> 6, Via Sant’Andrea (find on map)
The Diocesan Museum is housed in the antique cloisters of Sant’Eustorgio and contains over 700 art works spanning from the 4th century up till today including some very fine sculptures by artist Lucio Fontana.
–> 95, Corso di Porta Ticinese (find on map)
Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece “The Last Supper” is located next to the church Santa Maria delle Grazie in the Cenacolo Vinciano and is a definite must-see, to get in you must book tickets well in advance here. –> 2, Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie (find on map)
Opposite Santa Maria delle Grazie and “The Last Supper” is a small gem, that has been opened to the public on occasion of EXPO2015; the vineyard, which was given to Leonardo da Vinci by the Duke of Milan Ludovica Sforza in 1498, is located in the garden of the Casa degli Atellanti (Sforza courtiers). The grape variety is the original one from Leonardo’s time . Many days are already fully booked so it’s a good idea to go online (link above in the title) and book a tour. –> 62, Corso Magenta (find on map).
Toti – the first submarine built in Italy after WW2
The Leonardo Da Vinci museum is a must for children from age 6 and up. There is enoughentertainment to last you several hours on a rainy day. The most diversely talented person ever to have lived is painter, inventor etc. Leonardo da Vinci, and Italy’s national technical museum, located in Milan, is also his official museum. It combines the chance to actually try out some of his inventions with the more traditional exhibitions.
–> 21, Via San Vittore (find on map)
Fabbrica del Vapore*
The steam factory (literally) is a cultural centre in Milan that organizes art exhibitions, music festivals, theatre, conferences and more. The building complex is huge and definitely worth a visit. –> 4, Via Giulio Cesare Proccaccini (find on map).
Palazzo della Ragione
This beautiful building dates back to 1251 and is a permanent space for changing photographic exhibitions. This museum is worth a visit not only for photo enthusiasts but also because of the building’s historical value. It is closed on Mondays.
–> Piazza Mercanti (findon map)
A foundation for photography, they also organize courses, but they always have one interesting photo exhibition on.. –> 5, Via Meravigli (find on map)
The ultimate art collection in Milan featuring masterpieces by the classical Italian masters; Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci just to mention a couple, the building itself is incredibly beautiful. –>28, Via Brera (find on map)
One of Milan’s most overlooked museums. This museum and library has an astounding collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s cartoons (charcoal drawings) and notebooks. Definitely worth a visit. –> 2, Piazza Pio XI Between Via Torino and Cordusio. (find on map).
The museum of the twentieth century, at Piazza Duomo, opened in 2010 after the collection’s original home in Palazzo Reale had been closed in 1988. It’s Milan’s municipal collection of paintings and sculpture from the twentieth century. The collection opens with Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo’s fantastic Fourth Estate. –> Via Guglielmo Marconi (South side of Piazza Duomo) (find on map)
The museum of Milan’s cathedral was originally opened in 1953 but re-opened in 2013 after a long period of renovation. It is a record of the history of the cathedral and covers a period spanning from the 15th to the 20th century. –> 12, Piazza Duomo (find on map)
This home belonged to the two brothers the barons Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi who collected 15th and 16th century art to decorate their home so that it reminded themselves and their guests of princely Lombard homes of the 16th century.It was inhabited by their descendants until 1974 when one of Giuseppe’s sons decided to create the Bagatti Valsecchi Foundation and donated the entire patrimony to it, at the same time the home was purchased by the region of Lombardy that opened the museum home to the public in 1994.
–> 5, Via Gesù (find on map)
One of Milan’s most interesting private museums founded by art collector Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli (1768-1833) it contains works by some of the greatest Italian painters e, g. Botticelli, Belini and Hauez. –> 12, Via Alessandro Manzoni (find on map)
This gem which was the private home of married art collectors was opened to the public in 2003 and contains their private collection by some of the finest painters from the twentieth century. A unique look into a private home. –> 15, Via G. Jan (find on map)
Fondazione Achille Castiglioni
Achille Castiglioni who died in 2002 was an Italian designer of furniture, lighting, radiograms a.o. his studio has been turned into a museum and is run privately by the Achille Castiglioni foundation. You must send an email to email@example.com to book your viat from Tuesday to Friday at ether 11 am – 12 – 1 pm. –> 27, Piazza Castello (find on map)
Situated in a gorgeous villa in Via Palestro. This villa is one of Milan’s finest examples of neoclassical architecture and hosts both contemporary photo exhibitions and paintings from the 19th century..
-> Via Palestro (find on map)
Milan’s permanent exhibition of more than 300 paintings, drawings, sculpture and engravings by Italian artists starting from 1886 all the way up to today. The museum itself was designed by renowned architect Luca Beltrami and was opened in 1886..
–> 34, Via Turati (find on map).
PAC houses a beautiful collection of contemporary art. It was re-opened in 1979 after a thorough restructuring of the building, (the mafia had a bomb explode here in 1993). The exhibitions are changed frequently..
-> 14, Via Palestro (find on map)
This amazing building was the seat for the local government of the city of Milan and is an important cultural center today and houses important exhibitions and events. -> 12, Piazza Duomo (find on map)
Design museum La Triennale di Milano is the main Italian venue for architecture, visual and decorative arts, design, fashion and audio/video. The terrace of Triennale is very cool and has a breathtaking view, good place for brunch and aperitivo, -> 6, Viale Alemagna (find on map)
One of Italy’s largest banks Intesa San Paolo have opened their private collections to the public on Piazza della Scala, right in the center of the city. It is an impressive exhibiton and there is no admission fee. .–> Piazza della Scala 6 (find on map)
Milan’s most experimental contemporary museum. It’s located in an old factory and houses very interesting exhibits and installations. Take the metro out there (purple line, get off at Ponale)
–> 2, Via Chiese (find on map)
Regrettably the English language version of the museum sites aren’t always neither thorough nor updated. But there is nothing wrong with the art so don’t miss out on some great experiences.
You can’t say Milan without mentioning La Scala; opera, Giuseppe Verdi, ballet and the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala. Are you into opera there is a real insider trick to getting tickets at only €12.
Below you’ll find the instructions of how to get your hands on the €12 tickets and perhaps you won’t get the best seats for watching the performanceat at this price, the acoustics up under the roof in the highest gallery are amazing and it’s an incredible experience.You are going to need patience to get the tickets and there are only 140 seats available for each performance:
Opera and Ballet Evening Performances. You have to be at the Evening Box Office in 2, Via Filodrammatico (find on map) at 1.00 p.m. (be there at least a couple of hours before then, if the performance is one of the popular ones or on either Friday or Saturday night!) and join the queue, the lucky first 140 (who must bring some kind of official picture ID) will be noted down on a list, every single person who wants a ticket must show up, you cannot book for other people. Then you’ll have to be back at 5.00 p.m. at the Evening Box Office and get your tickets
Symphonic and Singing Concerts. The list will be filled out and tickets handed out at the Evening Box Office (find on map) office at 5.00 p.m. – remember that every person interested in a ticket must be physically present at this hour.
Matinee Performances The list will be filled out and tickets handed out at the Evening Box Office (find on map) office at 12.00 p.m. – remember that every person interested in a ticket must be physically present at this hour.
Normal admissions range from €18-2,000 depending on the performance you are interested in and where you want to sit, you can get more information about this here. It is a good idea to buy your tickets online in advance in case you already know you want to go, reservations and online purchase can be made here.
Another possibility, for the more impulsive opera lover, who likes to live life dangerously, is to go to the central box office in Galleria del Sagrato, Piazza Del Duomo, Metro Station Duomo (open all days from 12 p.m.to 6 p.m.) and ask whether there are any tickets that have not been picked up for that evening’s performance. (find on map) but you should know that the most popular performances are sold out months ahead.
Casa Verdi. Giuseppe Verdi built Casa Verdi as a home for retired musicians and he and his wife are themselvs buried in the crypt. The crypt can be visited every day at.8.30 a.m.-6 p.m., and it also possible for groups to visit Casa Verdi itself and its wonderful art collectionbut you need to book the tour in advance. The visit itself is free but it is custom to leave €3-5 as a a thank you. Casa Verdi is located on 29, Piazza Buonarotti (find on map).
Ferragosto is a very important holiday in Italy, shops are closed and it can be difficult to find a table at a restaurant unless you book because, although it is true that most Italians tradtionally go away on vacation in August, more and more people choose other periods and today Milan is no longer completely empty. Ferragosto is a religious holiday celebrating the Assumption of Mary. According to Italians it is also the hottest day of the year and is celebrated with lots of good food and wine. Below is a list of things taking place on and around August 15th.
@alloscalo thanks for letting us use your photo.
Milan’s newest street food area Allo Scalo at 2, Via Valenza 2 (find on map) is open all evening on the 15th from 5 pm, they’ve got good food and activities for children.
August 15th 9.30 pm there is classical Italian ballroom dancing for everyone with a live 10-man orchestra and dance floor. Come and join the fun in Piazza Castello (find on map).
August 15th from 3-11 pm live music and activities for kids in Piazza Cannone between Castello Sforzesco and Parco Sempione (find on map).
August 15th from 9 pm there is a free Ferragosto Reggae Summer Party at Carroponte (find on map).
August 15th 10 am-8pm Ferragosto at the Bagni Misteriosi (the outdoor swimmingpool in 18, Via Carlo Botta (find on map)) with live music by Barabba Gulasch and free watermelon at 6.30 pm – the price is €18 for the entire day and €12 for the afternoon (after 2 pm).
All the city’s other outdoor swimming pools are open on August 15th, read more about them here.
You can visit all the city’s civic museums free of charge on August 15th. Find out where they are here.
August 15th at 8.30 Milan’s Sympnonic Orchestra Giuseppe Verdi performs a concert of Argentinian music in the Milan auditorium in Largo Gustav Mahler (find on map), get tickets to the concert “Una Noche en Buenos Aires” here.
August 15th 3 pm-3 am and August 16th 7 pm-3 am Beer Festival at Circolo Magnolia at 14, Via Circonvallazione Idroscalo (find on map).
On August 13th, 14th and 15th in the Navigli area of Milan (find on map) you can go on the canal boat trips but you must book your seat by August 12th 5 p.m. (read more here).
Book a table at Milan’s restaurants well in advance of August 15th because everybody wants to eat out on that day. Check out our recommendations here.