12 November 2021
Fine sunny days are at last back and more than ever you want to get out of the house and start travelling again.
You don’t have to go all that far to enjoy the pleasure of discovery and to have real experiences.
Whether it’s a weekend break, or a day or an afternoon to spend as a couple, with family or friends, the cities of art like Milan and the surroundings are destinations that offer many activities and tours to spend quality time with the people we love. Without hurrying, without worries and calmly, enjoying walks in the open air in contact with the local culture and nature.
Milan is a city that visited on foot offers the best of itself and reveals hidden corners and picturesque views. To appreciate it in all its variations and not miss the most fascinating places and the strangest stories about it, why not treat yourself to a pleasant walk in the company of a local expert? The guided tours only for your family or for your small group of friends are more affordable than you think and are a chance to discover Milan safely and privately. With the advantage of having a professional guide just for you and being able to organize the tour when you want, choosing the day and the time!
The itineraries range from the symbolic monuments of the city, such as the Castello Sforzesco and the Cimitero Monumentale, to the most iconic parts of Milan like Brera and the Navigli; from the art nouveau buildings in Porta Venezia to the skyscrapers of the futuristic Porta Nuova and CityLife; from the green areas of Parco Sempione and Parco delle Basiliche to the walls covered by Street Art. And even the thematic routes dedicated to the great women of Milan and the legends and traditions of the city.
Here are 12 private tours to discover Milan, walking with family and friends
1. The Cimitero Monumentale: the most fascinating open-air museum in Milan
To really get to know the city, a visit to the Cimitero Monumentale is a must! All the historic figures who have made the city of Milan famous and great rest there. Just to mention some: Alessandro Manzoni, Franca Rame, Enzo Iannacci, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Arturo Toscanini and Alda Merini.
Cloaked in a mysterious and evocative atmosphere, we pass the majestic Famedio (Mausoleum) with our guide and stroll in the shade of the cypresses of the Cimitero Monumentale; here, amidst the sculptures, the mausoleums and the priceless works of art of this real “open-air museum”, we will meet the most illustrious figures who made Milan the great city it is today.
2. Art Nouveau Milan in Porta Venezia
A guided tour through the silent streets and far from the traffic of Porta Venezia, to discover a Milan in Art Nouveau style, where everything is possible! It is here that we will find interphones in the shape of an ear, wrought iron cats and even a garden full of pink flamingos.
In the early 20th century, the Art Nouveau style of architecture transformed many Milanese dwellings into real works of art: fairy tale-like buildings behind Art Nouveau doors, hidden courtyards, friezes with floral and animal decorations, multi-coloured mosaics… On our stroll we will discover the finest buildings in the Art Nouveau style in Milan, such as Palazzo Castiglioni, the Berri-Meregalli house, the Dumont Cinema and the Galimberti House.
3. On the Navigli, between courtyards and the old Milanese houses
Her we rediscover the greenest side of the old “Milan, city of water” through a guided walking tour in the Navigli part of the city, from one courtyard to another.
The area preserves the charm of Old Milan, showing us places where time seems suspended: we will walk through the most picturesque courtyards of the Milanese Navigli, even prettier when the flowers are in bloom, telling the story of the Navigli; we will hear the poetic lines of Alda Merini along the Darsena, the former port; we will admire picturesque corners and secret courtyards hidden between the old typical Milanese houses built around courtyards, full of flower-decked balconies and lush vegetation.
At the end we make a brief visit to one of the most surprising corners of the Alzaia Naviglio Grande: the Engraving Centre, with its presses and inks.
4. Brera: the artistic soul of Milan (and more)
Brera is unquestionably one of the most famous and best loved parts of Milan, fullof history, art and picturesque corners, and can’t miss guided tours to spend an afternoon with family of friends. An open-air gem to enjoy with its splendid atmosphere, away from the frenetic pace of the rest of the city.
Starting from the edge of the Parco Sempione and going down the typical cobbled lanes, together with our guide we will rediscover the many facets of this part of the city; the greenest soul of the Botanical Gardens in the Pinacoteca of Brera; the art supplies’ shops and antique dealers; the Milanese baroque of Palazzo Citterio and Palazzo Cusani; the art nouveau of the Corriere della Sera building, the sacred face of the Churches of San Marco, Santa Maria del Carmine and San Simpliciano; the vocation for creativity of the boutiques of artistic fragrances and the design showrooms.
5. Castello Sforzesco: a stroll through the towers and courtyards of the Milanese fortress
Let’s relive fascinating life at court, from the time of the Viscontis to the glorious era of the Sforzas, gothic legends and architecture of crenelated towers and drawbridges, strolling in the grounds outside the Castello Sforzesco in Milan.
Starting from the Torre del Filarete, we explore the quadrilateral of the fortress: from the first courtyard with the Piazza delle Armi and its turrets, to the Rocchetta with its high windowless walls in the parts exposed to possible attack, to the Torre Castellana which holds the Treasure Room decorated with the great fresco of Argo by Bramantino; to the Ducal Courtyard on which the Portico of the Elephant looks and the looming Falcon Tower, once home to hunting falcons. On the ground floor of the tower there is still the splendid Sala delle Asse, decorated by Leonardo da Vinci.
6. The treasures of Parco Sempione
Far from the city traffic, Parco Sempione is the green lung of Milan, the largest and most famous park in the city. A walk through Parco Sempione accompanied by an art historian is regenerating for the body and soul! We will discover hidden treasures, monuments (like the Arco della Pace, the Arena or the Civic Aquarium) , curious corners (like the Fontana dell’Acqua Marcia and the Bridge of the Mermaids) and works of art, which over time have become real symbols of Milan, haunted by legends, stories and perhaps even some ghosts!
7. The Parco delle Basiliche and the Colonne di San Lorenzo
This guided tour takes us to discover the basilicas of San Lorenzo and Sant’Eustorgio, a stone’s throw from the Carrobbio and the Colonne di San Lorenzo, nestling in the greenery and peace and quiet of the Parco delle Basiliche.
The Porta Ticinese area on the Navigli of Milan is today very well-known and popular, both for its night life and the many small and quirky shops to be found there… But how many people knows its history, mysteries and most hidden and fascinating corners? Did you know that San Lorenzo with its Colonne is the oldest basilica in Milan? And that once witches and spreaders of the plague were put to death there?
8. Architecture and greenery: a stroll through the skyscrapers of Porta Nuova
Porta Nuova: where do we start? In this modern and futuristic part of the city we will discover a Milan that, while not forgetting its past and its traditions, is aiming for an avant-garde and eco-sustainable architectural future! We will walk looking up at the huge skyscrapers that have changed for good the skyline of Milan: the Unicredit Tower, the Diamantone and the green Bosco Verticale, designed by Stefano Boeri.
An architect will accompany us through the futuristic buildings, from Piazza Gae Aulenti to the lush Biblioteca degli Alberi, the most modern green lung in Milan. It is an itinerary that becomes even more fascinating in the sunset.
9. The most international Milan: walking tour of CityLife
Strangely-shaped skyscrapers, houses that look like huge ocean-going liners, buildings that sparkle like comets in the sky… the new giants by international starchitects in the area of CityLife, together with the buildings in Porta Nuova, are changing (again!) the Milan skyline: alongside the “Straight” Isozaki Tower, its sister, by Zaha Hadid, has appeared, known as the “Twisted One” and the “Curved One”, the third skyscraper of CityLife by Libeskind.
In the company of an architect we will admire the new symbols in glass and steel of the neighbourhood, but we will also see the more historical soul of this corner of Milan which still comes to the surface in monuments such as the Palazzo delle Scintille and the Fontana delle Quattro Stagioni, designed in the 1920s. We can also enjoy a relaxing walk through the large ArtLine park, next to the CityLife Shopping District. The part, which its installations of contemporary art, is a real open-air museum
10. The legends and traditions of Milan
A particular and enjoyable itinerary, to discover the centre of Milan and the many legends around it, curious to know the thousand years of, at times enigmatic, history of the city. The Biscione (snake) and many other symbols of the medieval past, ghosts, superstitions, anecdotes and culinary traditions, habits, customs and trades of Old Milan.
This and much more in a fascinating guided tour which will reveal the oldest soul of some iconic places in the city (such as the Castello Sforzesco, Parco Sempione, Piazza Mercanti and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II), to entertain everyone, the eldest and the youngest, to do with the family or with the friends in the guided tours in the footsteps of the traces of a past which is still very much alive in today’s Milan.
11. The great women of Milan
The story of Milan can also be told through the lives of the women who have lived here! Against the background of the programme “The talents of women” organized by the Milan City Council, we pay tribute to the women who have contributed to making Milan great, through a route on foot that winds through the Castello Sforzesco, Via Rovello, Piazza della Scala and the surroundings.
Starting from the Visconti-Sforza period, we will meet Beatrice d’Este and Cecilia Gallerani. In the time of the Risorgimento we will meet female figures such as Clara Maffei and the Manzonian women, including Marianna de Leyva, the 17th century Milan woman who inspired the figure of the Nun of Monza. Without forgetting the women linked to the world of the theatre, towering above them all the unforgettable Maria Callas and the great ladies of the world of museums and collections, like Fernanda Wittgens, the first female director of the Pinacoteca of Brera.
12. Street Art Tours: the city in colour
Itineraries hunting for art. Not the art in museums but the art that passes by everyone’s eyes, for those who know how to observe, in the streets of Milan, on doors and walls. It is an art that knows no rules and that is taking people by surprise more and more, in Milan as well, and is spreading like wildfire, especially in some parts of the city: Ticinese and Navigli, Ortica, Isola, Martesana and Centrale.
With a dedicated guide, we will unearth the most curious, interesting and irreverent works of the Street Artists, who are contributing the redesigning and shaping the urban spaces.