10 Must-Visit Historical Gems in Milan That Will Transport You Back in Time

If you desire to explore the glory of the Renaissance Era, magnificent Italian art, and world-class fashion capital, visit Milan, a real timeless legend in European land located in central Lombardy, Northern Italy. It contains not only places like posh Vittorio Emmanuelle II and Duomo Cathedral but also a lot of historical gems off the beaten path.

Let’s get into the details of must-visit historical gems in Milan that will transport you back in time.

1. Milan Cathedral (II Duomo)

Milan Cathedral (II Duomo)

Milan Cathedral is the best example of Flamboyant Gothic-style architecture and is included in the list of one of the largest cathedrals in the world. It was built in the 14th century and completed under Napoleon in the 1800s.

It has a special roof that is created by 135 carved stone pinnacles and decorated by around 2,200 marble statues. On the flip side, the interior of the cathedral is no less than a masterpiece of art as it’s strikingly contrasted by the exterior and has 52 gigantic pillars.

When you reach to top of the roof by ascending 73 steps to the platform of the dome, the whole city will open its view before your eyes. Milan Cathedral is the same place where Napoleon was crowded inside the Duomo.

2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a modern architecture in Italy that was built between 1865 to 1877 and is a must-visit historical gem in Milan. The building was considered the largest shopping arcade in Europe and was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni. It’s a magnificent example of a glass and iron combined building with a 48-meter-high dome standing on the mosaic floor.

The shopping arcade will provide you with every opportunity to meet with locals, have lunch at the best restaurants, and browse in the luxury shops.

3. Castello Sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco is a medieval fortification that was formed by the two ruling families of Milan: the Visconti and the Sforza families. Now it’s converted into a series of Museums and galleries. Every museum is dedicated to describing specific subject matter like decorative art, prehistoric, Egyptian antiquities, musical history, sculpture, etc.

For instance, in the sculpture collection, you will find sculptures crafted by the legends of their time as Pieta Rondanini and Michelangelo. While in the picture gallery, Bellini, Correggio, Lotto, Tintoretto, and Mantegna’s paintings will make you hold your breath because of their stunning beauty.

4. Pinnacoteca di Brera

Pinnacoteca di Brera

Pinnacoteca di Brera is Italy’s finest art museum is a part of the Renaissance Palazzo di Brera built between 1651 to 1773. The building also contains a library and observatory. In the art gallery, the most famous picture is Raphael’s Marriage of the Virgin by Lo Sposalizio and other works include, The Artist’s Sister, Princess Amallia of Solms, Rubens and El Greco.

When you land in the Romantic era of history painting, you will meet with Francesco Hayez who introduced the landscape as the part of academic style. On the other hand, you will find the name like Giovanni Schiaparelli who spent four decades at the Brera Observatory.

5. Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci in Milan

Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci in Milan

The Gothic brick church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is one of the most influential architects and a must-visited historical gem in Milan. The church contains the incredible Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci which was painted between 1495-1498. The painting depicts the time of the Last Supper of Jesus with the twelve Apostles as it mentioned in the Gospel of John.

You will be astonished to see the mastery of Leonardo how he handled the space, treatment of motion, complex display of humans and mastery of perspective. It’s one of the most celebrated works of Leonardo da Vinci that you can witness with your own eyes by booking tickets for last supper.

6. Teator alla Scala

Teator alla Scala

Teator alla Scala is the prestigious opera house in Milan that has the capacity to entertain around 2,800 people at a time. The best time to visit the house is between December to May. You can get the concert tickets from your hotel concierge easily.

The same building also home to the collection of costumes from landmark performances and personal mementos, resides at Museo Teatrale alla Scala.

You can also visit the opera house even when there is no performance going on as it’s the perfect time to access the inside of the house.

7. Sant’Ambrogio 


Sant’Ambrogio is one of the oldest churches built by Amros of Milan who was considered as the statesman and theologian back in 374. He served as the Bishop of Milan and fiercely against the Arianism and paganism that originated from Romans.

The building itself is influenced by the architectural practices of the Roman era which is evident by the presence of a large portico and atrium.

You can also enjoy the mosaic dome of the 4th century Sacello di San Vittore which is situated at the last chapel.

8. Cimitero Monumentale 

Cimitero Monumentale 

Cimitero Monumentale is located near Stazione Porta Garibaldi rail station in the outdoor gallery and is a must-visit historical gem in Milan. It’s the best example of the Nouveau art period that was constructed to mark the tombs of famous and rich Milanese of the 18th to the mid-20th century.

The art is so compelling that you will never ignore it even between the breathtaking Roman, medieval, and Renaissance eras collection.

Read Also: Top 12 Best Tourist Destinations in Italy

9. Quadrilatero D’Oro

Quadrilatero D’Oro

When you are in the world’s fashion capital, don’t miss to buy something outstanding for you at the exclusive shopping district of Milan, Quadrilatero D’Oro.

The distinct spread to several city blocks where you can also refurbish your Neoclassical knowledge by looking at the unique architecture. In case to have thrilling nightlife in Milan, you need to explore Sant’Andrea which has the brightest luminaries in the city.

10. Poldi Pezzoli Museum 

Poldi Pezzoli Museum 

Poldi Pezooli Museum is the private collection of Gian Giacomo Polid Pezzoli and is must-visited historical gem of Milan. It has paintings of different artists and jewelry crafted from different materials like silver Etruscan, bronzes, porcelains, pottery, etc. You can also analyze the unique textile collection based on Flemish and Persian carpets, hand-worked lace, and tapestries.

The house itself was decorated in the mid-1800s and is worth seeing as it’s one of the four houses that formed the Milan Museum house networks.

Read Also: 

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Ferona Jose

Ferona Jose is a passionate travel writer and blogger at Travelistia. She has traveled throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Her writing focuses on cheap travel destinations, travel experiences, cultural insights, and travel hacks.

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