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Centro Storico di Milano

Worth visiting

Added on 26 Mar 2018,

last edited by »biroto-Redaktion« on 12 Apr 2018



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Type of sights

Heritage building(s)


Name and address

Centro Storico di Milano

IT-20122 Milano

Geodetic coordinates

45.464204 9.189982


Milan Cathedral from Piazza del Duomo
Milan Cathedral from Piazza del Duomo
Castello Sforzesco, Milan
Castello Sforzesco, Milan

The Centro Storico is the historic centre of the city of Milan Wikivoyage Icon, contained within the area once delimited by the medieval city walls and today by the streets forming the Corso Navigli easily distinguishable on the map of the city. Centro Storico encompasses Milan's perhaps most famous landmarks and tourist attractions, including the Duomo (cathedral), Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle shopping arcade and the Teatro alla Scala opera house. Compact in size and easily walkable, the Centro Storico is just as full of historic monuments as it is of designer boutiques and showrooms, restaurants and caffes - you will find almost all one comes to find in Milan for within not more than a quarter's walk.

The defunct old Milan district of "Centro Storico" included a broader area; the area covered in this guide corresponds to the Quartiere 101 - Duomo of the present-day Zona 1.


  • Duomo (Cathedral), Duomo Square (metro lines MM1 or MM3 Duomo Station; or with many buses and trams). Cathedral: 08:00-19:00 (Aug 2016). Roof terraces: 09:00-19:00 (box office closes 1 hr earlier). The Milan's cathedral is a massive late Gothic church (started in 1386) in white marble, with hundreds of spires and thousands of statues on its exterior and a famous façade. Don't miss the chance to climb up onto the roof and enjoy the spectacular views of the city between the Gothic spires. Taking pictures inside the cathedral is supposedly prohibited; however, the attendants rarely stop anyone doing so. Unless you are physically unfit, it is best recommended to take the stairs (250 steps only) and save €4. On an average it should not take more than 5–6 minutes to climb the stairs. Before lining up to climb up the stairs buy your tickets in advance at the ticket office. Does also include a museum displaying the 700-year-old history of construction of the cathedral, with impressive walk-in wooden models, façade designs originating from several centuries, sculptures and more.
    Warning: at the moment (March 2018) visiting inside the Duomo cannot be recommended. This is because to actually get in you have to go through a painfully slow and annoying security check, performed by Italian army officers who are usually overzealous and unfriendly. You'll usually have to queue for about 60-90 min. to reach the checkpoint; there your person and your belongings will be mercilessly searched, and if any forbidden item is found it will be taken and thrown away. You may feel you're being treated like an offender. Moreover, the list of restrictions and regulations you have to obey is impressive: check it at the ticket office. If you still want to go, allow 1-2 hours to buy your ticket and reach the entrance, and 10-20 minutes to see the interior. The nearby Duomo museum is a better choice: same €3 ticket, no queuing, no fuss, no security nonsense. Cathedral:€ 3. Roof terraces: on foot - €9, by lift - €13; Museum: €3 (same ticket as the cathedral); Archeological area: €7. Wikipedia Icon (updated Mar 2018)
  • San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore (Saint Maurice), Corso Magenta, 15, +39 0220 404175. A must-see! A stunning fully frescoed renaissance church. Most of the paintings are the work of Bernardino Luini. Free. Wikipedia Icon
  • Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio (Saint Ambrose), Piazza San Ambrogio (subway MM2 Sant'Ambrogio). A beautiful and huge Romanesque church which was almost destroyed by allied bombing in World War II, although some of its mosaics left well preserved. Wikipedia Icon
  • Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore (Saint Lawrence) (tram, or the Missori Metro Station). A lovely 4th-century basilica, perhaps is one of the oldest basilicas in Western Europe. It is famous for its beautiful courtyard, with Roman-age columns and statue of the emperor Constantine. The columns, Colonne di San Lorenzo Wikipedia Icon (St. Lawrence's colonnade), are actually a remain of the Roman "Mediolanum", dating from the 3rd century AD. Further south the square you can see Medieval Porta Ticinese (there is also a homonymous newer gate which lies about 600 m south by Corso di Porta Ticinese). Wikipedia Icon
  • Ambrosian Library (Biblioteca Ambrosiana), Piazza Pio XI, 2. Historical library that also houses the Ambrosian art gallery with treasures such as Leonardo Atlantic Codex. Wikipedia Icon
  • Civic Archeological Museum (Civico Museo Archeologico), Corso Magenta 15. Roman antiques from Milan and the surrounding area. Wikipedia Icon
  • Brera Art Gallery (Pinacoteca di Brera), Via Brera (subway MM2 Lanza-Piccolo Teatro Station, MM3 Montenapoleone Station, trams lines 1, 4, 8, 12, 14, 27 or buses 61 and 97). One of Italy's most important art collections and one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings. Wikipedia Icon
  • Scala Theater Museum (Museo Teatrale alla Scala), inside the La Scala (Metro MM1 or MM3 Duomo Station), +39 0288 797473. 09:00-17:30; Dec 07,Dec 25,Dec 26,Jan 01 off. A museum dedicated to one of the world's most famous opera houses. All types of memorabilias like dresses and pictures are on display. A glance into the opera hall is also possible. €9 (€6 for students and people older than 65). Wikipedia Icon
  • Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) (opposite the South side of Duomo; Subway: MM1 and MM3 Duomo Station). Always hosts many exhibitions, usually very interesting. Wikipedia Icon
  • Bagatti Valsecchi Museum (Museo Bagatti Valsecchi), Via Gesù 5 (between via della Spiga and via Montenapoleone; subway MM3 Montenapoleone Station, MM1 San Babila Station, trams lines 1 and 2 Montenapoleone stop). Tu W F-Su 13:00-17:45pm, Th 13:00-21:00. A late 19th century aristocratic mansion with Italian Renaissance art collections. €9. Wikipedia Icon
  • Poldi Pezzoli Museum (Museo Poldi Pezzoli), Manzoni St (subway MM3 Montenapoleone Station, or with many buses and trams). M W-Su 10:00-18:00 (last entrance at 17:30). One of the world's richest private art collections. €10. Wikipedia Icon
  • Via Dante. One of the grandest and most frequented fashionable high streets in Milan. The Via Dante, named after the poet, is a beautiful and debonair pedestrian avenue which goes from the busy Piazzale Cordusio, all the way to the Largo Cairoli, just in front of the city castle. With loads of street vendors, restaurant and cafe tables, and often, street art, glamorous boutiques and often bustling with people, it's great for anyone who wants to get to the Sforzesco Castle, but who also wants to do some high-class shopping, observe at some glorious Milanese palaces, and possibly sip at a coffee in one of the many open-air bars. It also contains the Piccolo Teatro, a renowned local theatre. At times, especially Christmas and some of the holidays, it can be chokingly filled with locals, shoppers and tourists. Wikipedia Icon
  • Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (near to the Duomo; Duomo metro station or that of San Babila). One of the most popular high street shopping arteries in the city. It has a very elegant modern appearance, but too has some well-preserved grand 18th- and 19th-century buildings, including a rotunda-like neoclassical church. The Corso contains some great retail stores, including big shopping centres, fashionable outlets, and youthful, sporty designer boutiques. It is pedestrian. Wikipedia Icon
  • Via Manzoni (Montenapoleone metro station or tram). Impressive refined-air street lined with aristocratic apartment blocks and opulent churches. It also hosts the Poldi Pezzoldi museum. Today, it is also one of the city's premier shopping streets, and is noted for containing the Armani Megastore. It is very close to La Scala opera house. Wikipedia Icon
  • Via della Spiga (short walk from the MM1 San Babila metro stop). Lovely and classy little cobblestone street, with some beautiful ancient buildings. The street and its neighborhood are more famous for the center of high-class shopping, where almost every luxury brand can be found. Wikipedia Icon
  • Via Montenapoleone (Montenapoleone or San Babila metro stations). The city's top high fashion shopping street. It contains many of the biggest names in fashion, and some of the trendiest and famous emporia and designer stores in the world. Today, despite containing mainly fashion boutiques, there are also a some jewellery shops and cafes scattered here and there. Wikipedia Icon
  • Piazza del Duomo (Duomo metro station). The grandest square in the city, the Piazza del Duomo is the cultural and social heart of Milan, and contains several of its most famous sights. Of course, the majestic cathedral and classy Galleria are there, but there also is the Palazzo Reale Wikipedia Icon (Royal Palace), a fine 18th-century building which is currently an art exhibition centre, and several big, austere, old buildings. The street, with its huge lights, enormous statue of King Victor, huge buildings, and dark floor does at first sight seem quite overwhelming and overly majestic, but with its lovely cafes, top-quality restaurants and shops, constant flow of pigeons, and the presence of people make it an extremely appealing and interesting place. Since lots of the main streets and sights are or are routed from this place, you can't really miss it. Wikipedia Icon
  • Piazza dei Mercanti (Duomo or Cordusio subway stations). A truly enchanting and tiny medieval square, hidden by the grand palaces in the central part of Milan. Here, in "Merchants' Square" you get lovely Gothic and Renaissance-porticoed houses, and a well right in the middle. At the one side of the square there is the Palazzo della Ragione Wikipedia Icon (1233), the old town hall, aka Broletto Nuovo. At the other -- Loggia degli Osii Wikipedia Icon (1321) decorated with black and white marble, formerly hosted judicial and notary offices. At Christmas time, the square fills up with markets selling local produce, including mouth-watering panettone, sweets, bonbons and souvenirs. Wikipedia Icon
  • Piazzale Cordusio (To be reached via Cordusio station, or, the slightly further Duomo). A central and busy square in Milan, right near the Duomo. It boasts some grand and beautiful late-19th-century architecture. Once, and to some extent still today, it was an economic hub of the city, with the headquarters of several companies, and big banks and postal offices. Wikipedia Icon
  • Piazza Belgiojoso (Montenapoleone station). A small, yet very impressive square, which hosts the magnificent neoclassical Belgiojoso Palace, built by Milanese noblemen in the late 1700s, and the House of Manzoni, where notable Italian writer and literary figure Alessandro Manzoni lived, and which today hosts a library and the Centro Nazionale di Studi Manzoniani (National Centre of Manzoni-related studies). Wikipedia Icon
  • Piazza Della Scala. The location of the Statue of Leonardo da Vinci and La Scala theatre. It is a small, but grand square flanked by fine palaces, such as the city hall and the commercial bank. Great place for a photograph and right next to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Ticket office is underground in the Duomo Metropolitana stop. Wikipedia Icon
  • Piazza San Babila (It can be reached via the Via Montenapoleone, the Corso Vittorio Emanuele or the Corso di Porta Venezia. To visit it, one may stop at the San Babila metro station, right in the middle of the piazza). Busy and modern square just north of the cathedral and near the city's fashion district. Architecturally, Piazza San Babila's buildings are virtually all Art-Deco office blocks from the 1930s, but it has a trendy business and cosmopolitan feel to it, and despite being very modern, boasts a very old sight, San Babila, a tiny, pretty, Romanesque church standing shadowed away by the huge modern skyscrapers. Piazza San Babila also contains numerous banks, post offices, fast-food restaurants and today also a touch of some funky designer stores too. Convenience wise, it's a great place to go, because it connects the Montenapoleone shopping area, with the more central Duomo zone. Wikipedia Icon
  • Piazza del Liberty (The closest station is Duomo, but San Babila is a decent distance too). Small square, which however, is noted for a stunning Art Nouveau palace today called the Hotel del Corso, but once the Trianon. You reach it just off a tiny opening at the beginning of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele.
  • Piazzale Cadorna (Cadorna Square) (Cadorna FN station). Medium-sized, normal square in central Milan with the funky modern North Station and some fine buildings, but notably a set of peculiar modern sculptures in the middle. Wikipedia Icon
Historic monuments
  • Castello Sforzesco (Reachable by subway: MM1 Cairoli - castello Station). A large medieval castle with a grass-covered courtyard, where the Sforza-Visconti ruling families of Milan resided. Later it was the Austrian governor's residence, when Lombardy was part of the Hapsburg empire. It houses several museums, including museums of applied arts, ancient art, historical musical instruments, prehistory, Egyptian art and fine arts. Wikipedia Icon
  • Old Hospital (Ospedale Maggiore). A Renaissance complex which now serves the university. Wikipedia Icon
Other sights
  • Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense (Biblioteca di Brera). — A library established in 1770 by the Austrian governor. It has since acquired other historical collections and the archives of RAI (Italy's state television). It is very active in organising workshops and debates on new media and new technologies. Wikipedia Icon
  • Torre Velasca (Closest metro stations in order are Missori and Crocetta.). A tall, huge, castle-like skyscraper built in the 1950s, and one of the first in Italy. Stunning modern architecture. Unfortunately it is not possible to go on top, since it is a private building. Wikipedia Icon
  • Expo Gate, Via Luca Beltrami (between Castello Sforzesco and the beginning of Via Dante). Daily 10:00-20:00. Information hub and ticket office for the Expo Milano 2015. The gate consists of two structures designed by Scandurra Studio. 
  • L.O.V.E. sculpture (Il Dito), Piazza degli Affari. On the square, where the Italian Stock exchange has its headquarters. The abbreviation L.O.V.E. stands for Libertà, Odio, Vendetta, Eternità (Freedom, Hate, Vengeance, Eternity). Wikipedia Icon  (updated Jan 2018)


  • See Milan from above. take the stairs or the elevator up to the roof of Duomo. It is a great experience for a stunning, panoramic view of the city between the spires and statues of the cathedral. (updated Aug 2017)


Inside the range of 4 km:


Inside the range of 4 km:

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Input taken over from:

Wikivoyage contributors, 'Milan/Centro Storico', Wikivoyage, The FREE worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit, 20 March 2018, 14:52 UTC, <> [accessed 26 March 2018]

taken over / edited on

26 Mar 2018 - 12 Apr 2018

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Added on 26 Mar 2018,

last edited by »biroto-Redaktion« on 12 Apr 2018