Milan things to do

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La Scala

Price guide: Budget
#4/20
expert-rated things to do in Milan
Best for Culture -
Expert overall rating:4.9 (out of 5)

Scale the operatic heights.

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#11/20
expert-rated things to do in Milan
Best for Fun -
Expert overall rating:4.7 (out of 5)

Messing about on the canals.

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Museo Bagatti Valsecchi

Price guide: Mid-range
#15/20
expert-rated things to do in Milan
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

Step into a time machine - a Renaissance palazzo built by 19th-century collectors.

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Far too many people think of Milan as an industrial wasteland with a cappuccino froth of supermodels. Hopefully, this collection of amazing things to do will prove that it is as worthy of a visit as Florence or Rome. It has a superb cathedral, magnificent art, ancient history, fascinating museums – oh, and world-class football and spas. And that’s before you start on the shopping and nightlife, and the superb collection of restaurants, all of which have their own sections (use the links on the left). Who could ask for more?

Allow yourself 2-3 days to see absolutely everything if you work hard, a week at a leisurely pace – or just cherry pick the best bits and stop for a gelato. To get free or discounted transport and entrances, consider buying a Milano Card. Look for details, along with other advice on how to make life easier during your time in the city, on my insider tips page.

If you have time, it’s worth spending a day or two exploring out of town – the Italian Lakes are within easy daytrip distance.

How I’ve picked my things to do: 

For a major city, Milan isn’t a massive tourist destination and while my top 20 doesn’t cover every museum, church and attraction in the city, it does cover a pretty good cross-section of the main attractions within the city. A major new museum of the novocento (20th century) is due to open next to the duomo in the next couple of months and will be added to the list in due course. There are a few other museums, such as the archaeological museum and the museum of natural history, that haven't made the list because I was trying to balance the list and not make it too museum-heavy. There are also plenty of other churches and a few more small specialist museums, parks and private collections. The city’s other big draw, fashion, is covered under shopping.

Set focus

For a major city, Milan isn’t a massive tourist destination and while my top 20 doesn’t cover every museum, church and attraction in the city, it does cover a pretty good cross-section of the main attractions within the city. A major new museum of the novocento (20th century) is due to open next to the duomo in the next couple of months and will be added to the list in due course. There are a few other museums, such as the archaeological museum and the museum of natural history, that haven't made the list because I was trying to balance the list and not make it too museum-heavy. There are also plenty of other churches and a few more small specialist museums, parks and private collections. The city’s other big draw, fashion, is covered under shopping.