Join Amanda Robinson to discover some Milan’s very best sights and attractions, plus top places to eat and great accommodation to suit all budgets…
Photos by Amanda Robinson unless otherwise stated
What to see and do
San Bernardino alle Ossa
The walls of this 13th-century ossuary chapel are almost entirely covered with skulls and bones. Compellingly macabre and moving, the Baroque style of the décor is entirely fitting. Closed on Sundays. Via Verziere, 2
+39 0544 541688
Fondazione Prada (left)
This is an extraordinary exhibition complex set in an old distillery with permanent and temporary displays. Tickets costs €15 and are valid for Fondazione Prada Osservatorio in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II as well. This is a photographic exhibition space.
Largo Isarco, 2
+39 02 5666 2611
Pinacoteca di Brera
Milan’s most famous museum, in a beautiful Baroque building, is one of the finest in Europe, with a stunning collection of works of art by Italian and foreign artists from the 13th to the 20th century.
Via Brera, 28
+39 02 7226 3264/229
Vigna di Leonardo (pictured right)
Housed in the gardens of Casa degli Atellani, a 15th-century mansion still lived in today, is Leonardo da Vinci’s recently restored vineyard. It is open to the public, along with the main house and gardens, on a guided tour, which costs €10. You can also stay at the mansion.
Corso Magenta, 65
+39 02 481 6150
The focal point of the city’s, this impressive feat of Gothic architecture is arguably one of Italy’s most stunning cathedrals. Persevere with the entrance queue to peer inside at the sturdy columns and vaulted arched windows. Climb to the top for a closer look at the details and the Madonnina.
Piazza Duomo, 1
+39 0544 541688
- La Scala: Milan’s La Scala is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. From the outside, the architecture is far more low-key than you would expect, but do enter the legendary hall, where Verdi premiered Falstaff and Otello, and marvel at the history of this operatic institution.
- Peck’s: Peck’s, on Via Spadari, is a mecca for foodies. Step inside to neat counters displaying everything from fresh meats, pastries and breads to cheeses, salumi and antipasti – everything for a perfect picnic to go. There’s also a bar and café, Piccolo Peck.
- Sforza Castle: After the Duomo, this is one of the city’s most magnificent landmarks. The fortress was originally built in the 14th century for the Visconti family. After the death of Filippo Visconti, Francesco Sforza transformed it into a ducal residence in 1450.
Where to stay
Carlton Baglioni Milan
Nestling in the centre of Milan, this elegant hotel overlooks Via Della Spiga and has a beautifully appointed wellness centre and spa. Organise guided tours and trips with the in-house concierge. Dine formally in Il Baretto, enjoy a relaxed bite in the Caffè Baglioni or an aperitivo at the bar. The sumptuous rooms and suites start from €300 per room per night on B&B basis, including VAT.
Via Carlo Cattaneo, 33
+39 0544 215564
In the trendy district of Tortona, the B&B Cocoon is a friendly three-roomed bed and breakfast, stylishly decorated but with an endearingly cosy feel. If you are looking for a quieter base for exploring Milan, Cocoon will be your home from home.
Via Voghera, 7 (zona Navigli)
+39 02 4801 4197
Antica Locanda Leonardo
Located right in the heart of the city, this family-run hotel is a stone’s throw from Santa Maria Delle Grazie, where da Vinci’s The Last Supper is housed. Intimate, cosy and peaceful, with a pretty garden and free wi-fi, its 17 rooms are housed in an elegant, 19th-century historic building. The buffet breakfast here will set you up for the day.
Via IV Novembre, 41
+39 0544 219813
Hotel Casa Mia
Not far from the centre, this hotel is a great value for money place to stay if you are on a budget. Its clean, simply furnished rooms have air conditioning and free wi-fi. The service is attentive and the large breakfast will boost you for a day’s exploring.
Viale Vittorio Veneto, 30
+39 0265 75249
Where to eat & drink
San Pietro Café
Built inside a bank vault and a stone’s throw from Porta Venezia underground station, this lively welcoming restaurant serves more than 950 wines (including organic and biodynamic wines from its own Tenuta San Pietro di Tassarolo in the Gavi DOCG area) and pairs them with its deliciously authentic menu.
Corso Buenos Aires, 6
+39 02 7862 2210
This chic bistro is housed in Villa Reale, home to the Museum of Modern Art. Run by three siblings, it serves breakfast, lunches and afternoon tea and transforms into an elegant cocktail bar in the evenings. Their speciality is their Sicilian-inspired sharing plates and other Mediterranean classics.
Via Palestro, 16
+39 02 8352 7769
This is one of the coolest spots for aperitivo in the city. Situated on the rooftop of the building owned by DSquared, the bar and restaurant (and swimming pools if you fancy a dip) might remind you of Shoreditch House in London, but with the stunning views of the new Milanese skyline and the Monumentale Cemetery.
Via Ceresio, 7
+39 02 3103 9221
Osteria del Binari
This is a delightful, informal lunch spot during the weekend, which serves traditional milanese dishes. It is always full of locals living in the area of the Navigli. Before or after lunch you can enjoy a relaxing stroll along the Navigli, hopefully in the sunshine. Ask to eat in the garden if the weather is good.
Via Tortona, 3
+39 02 8395 095
This is an institution in Milan, right next to the Duomo. It makes the best panzerotti to take away, but only at lunchtimes. Baked, deep-fried or sweet, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Be prepared to queue, but it will be worth it!
Via Santa Radegonda, 16
+39 02 8646 1917
Getting to Milan couldn’t be simpler, with three airports within an hour of the city centre: Linate, Malpensa and Orio al Serio. Easyjet flies from Gatwick to Malpensa and Linate. Linate is the closest and is served by bus 73 (€1). A bus also leaves from the Stazione Centrale every 20 minutes (in the evening every 30 mins) operated by private companies. Malpensa is 50km away, towards Lago Maggiore, and most international flights arrive here. It can be accessed by bus from Stazione Centrale. Orio al Serio airport is just outside Bergamo, and is mainly used by low fare airlines, such as Ryanair (from Stansted).
Milan is easily accessed from the rest of Italy, as well as from Switzerland and France. The A1 links Milan with Florence and Rome; the A4, which connects Verona and Venice (east) and Turin (west); while the A7 comes in from Genoa to the southwest and the A8 arrives from the Swiss border to the northwest.
Find out about Amanda’s weekend in Milan and get more travel ideas for the city here.