Parco Sempione

Price guide: Budget

Piazza Castello, Milano, 20121

Price guide: Budget

Parco Sempione
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By Melissa Shales, your Milan expert

I write for AA Travel Guides, .... Read more
#12 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Milan
Expert overall rating:4.6 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Families with younger children, Mature travellers, Sporty types, Travellers with pets, Chilling out, Escaping the crowds, Great views / scenery, Relaxation

Best for Romance - Expert review of Parco Sempione

Stroll the leafy lanes of Milan's English-style central park.

It’s full of elderly ladies with small dogs on leads and fit young runners. The paths meander through rolling green English-style lawns and stands of ornamental trees, past benches where yummy mummies and nannies with prams cluster to gossip. Right in the heart of Milan, next to the Castello Sforzesco, the 47-hectare (116-acre) Parco Sempione (Sempione Park) is, without a doubt, the finest of Milan’s parks. It’s a welcome green lung in a city with relatively little greenery, but it has also got several sights of its own.

Once the ducal orchards and kitchen gardens, and the Piazza d’Armi (military parade ground), it was landscaped in the English style as a public park in 1893 by Emilio Alemagna and turned into a public space in 1893. At the far end of the park, the Arco del Pace (Arch of Peace) was designed by Luigi Cagnola to celebrate Napoleon's arrival in the city. Napoleon died before it could be finished, however, and it was eventually completed in 1838 for the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Ferdinand I.

Luigi Canonica’s Arena Civica is also Napoleonic (1806), a classical style amphitheatre used when it was built for spectaculars from chariot races to mock sea battles (the arena was flooded for the occasion). Now, more tamely, it’s used for athletics and open-air concerts. On the other side of the park, the mini-Eiffel tower, Giò Ponti's 1933 Torre Branca, is a hangover from one of the many exhibitions held in the park over the years. You can still take the lift up to a viewing platform for one of the best views in the city. Next to the tower is the Triennale, with its splendid design museum.

Price advice: 

Park free; Torre Branca four euros.

Expert tips: 
In summer, the Design Museum Café spills out in the open air with park views, and is one of the trendiest places in town.

More information on Parco Sempione:

Price guide:
Park / garden, Viewpoint
Piazza Castello, Milano, 20121
02 331 4120 (Torre Branca)
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Park open daily: Mar-Apr, Oct 6.30am-9pm; May 6.30am-10pm; Jun-Sep 6.30am-11.30pm; Nov-Feb 6.30am-8pm. Torre Branca: mid-Apr-mid-Oct Tues 9.30pm–1am, Wed 10.30am-12.30pm, 4pm-6.30pm, 9.30pm-1am, Thu 7pm-1am, Fri 2.30pm-6pm, 9.30pm-1am, Sat-Sun 10.30am-2pm, 2.30pm-7.30pm, 9.30pm-1am. Mid-Oct-mid-Apr Wed 10.30am-12.30pm, 4pm-6.30pm, Sat 10am-1pm, 3pm-6.30pm, 8.30pm-midnight, Sun 10.30am-2pm, 2.30pm-7pm.

Have you been to Parco Sempione? Would you recommended it?