16 November 2021
Why is it worth going on a tour of Milan?
Those who believe that Milan is only high fashion, catwalks and shining shop windows, are completely wrong: it is not only because it is home to one of the most beautiful gothic cathedrals in the whole of Italy – admired all over the world – but also because it is a city that never stops, in constant evolution both regarding its futuristic skyline and the world of events.
You can never be bored in Milan, in fact there is a week for everything: the Italian capital of design, Milan is the venue each year for the Salone del Mobile and its cultural districts come to life, becoming the real heart of the “Design Week”. But Milan also has many weeks dedicated to very different interests, from that of wine to the Seventh Art.
Discovering Milan is not only walking by the shops in the elegant Via Montenapoleone, but it is also following in the footsteps of the great Leonardo da Vinci and discovering truly unexpected corners in a city that, while highly contemporary, never stops showing its roots linked to the past and the history that has made it great.
Here are 10 guided tours you must not miss for a complete tour of Milan!
1. The Cimitero Monumentale and its mausoleums
Just a stone’s throw from the very busy Via Paolo Sarpi, today known as Milan’s Chinatown where every day a new restaurant opens and which offers the best of Asian street food, here we are in front of one of the places that most celebrate the historical face of the city: the Cimitero Monumentale – in name and in fact! Along its silent paths, you can admire the tombs and mausoleums of famous Milanese, from Alessandro Manzoni to Carlo Cattaneo, and remain fascinated by them: they are real works of art.
2. The skyline of Porta Nuova
If you have in mind the profile of the skyscrapers of Milan, with the very high tower of the Unicredit building, you are thinking of the Porta Nuova area. As the name suggests, this is one of the most modern parts of the city and it is here that the iconic skyscrapers that dominate Piazza Gae Aulenti are to be found, embellished by surprising fountains. Not far from the square there is the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Wood) which stands as a symbol of the greenest Milan: a splendid residential work by the architect Boeri, today home to celebrities and great entrepreneurs. Do you fancy an aperitif? Take a stroll along Corso Como, you will not be disappointed!
3. Unbridled shopping at CityLife
Are you a fan of the Ferragnez? Then you certainly know the part of the city that the two influencers have chosen as their love nest: the futuristic CityLife with its high towers and the large shopping centre. Stores of every kind, articles of design and even a multiplex cinema are housed in the CityLife Shopping District while walking outside you can admire the skyscrapers by architects of the calibre of Libeskind and Zaha Hadid.
4. Street Art in the Ticinese area and the Navigli
A tour of Milan? Then you can’t miss the Navigli and the Darsena! We are talking about some of the most iconic places of Milan’s nightlife, but along the walls and bridges of the Navigli you can also plunge into an artistic itinerary with an indisputably contemporary mood. Street art, to be precise, such as what you can see on the walls of the Porta Ticinese area, with murals with a social background and graffiti dedicated to famous names of literature and showbusiness.
5. The “village” of Leonardo da Vinci and his Vineyard
We all know that Milan also has its Virgin of the Rocks, as fascinating and mysterious as the original: this is the – very faithful – copy that is thought to have been painted by Francesco Melzi, a pupil and friend of Leonardo da Vinci. Where is it? In Leonardo’s “village”, the part of Milan where you can discover the beautiful Vineyard in the gardens of Casa Atellani and admire the monastic complex with a cloister in the style of Bramante of the Church of San Michele del Dosso. With a pleasant walk from Via Magenta to the heart of the Sant’Ambrogio area, you can follow the steps of the great Tuscan master in one of the oldest parts of Milan.
6. Amongst the secrets of underground Milan
You have to go deep down, you have to go four metres underground to discover the hidden face of Milan: a subterranean tour to get to know the ruins of paleo-Christian and Romanic Milan. Through this route you will discover the ancient Crypt of San Giovanni, in the heart of Piazza Missori, and the remains of the basilica of the same name. Going even further back in time, in the footsteps of the conversion of St Augustine, you will visit the Baptistery of San Giovanni alle Fonti – where it is said that the saint was baptized by St Ambrose. And you can also journey to the middle of the 4th century AD, admiring the apse of the Basilica of Santa Tecla. A real journey back in time!
7. The Duomo “with saffron”
Two Milanese icons in one: a guided tour of the Duomo and a gastronomic tour featuring the famous risotto with saffron! Plunge into the spiritual atmosphere of the spectacular Duomo of Milan, with its timeless gothic appeal, and admire its multi-coloured stained glass windows, before an exclusive cooking demo by our chef. After a walk from Piazza Mercanti to Piazza Castello, the Spazio Theca will welcome you so that you can taste the local speciality together with a generous glass of wine.
8. 1920s’ risotto
The vintage trams of Milan are the most picturesque way to go round the city, enjoying a real panoramic tour. Even more unique, though, is the experience in the company of our chef who will introduce you to the flavours of Milan’s cuisine – including the classic saffron risotto – on board a fascinating 1920s’ tram. History and tradition, from sight to taste!
9. Highline Galleria, walking on the roofs of Milan
The majestic glass dome of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is very famous, but have you ever thought of seeing it from nearby and from a unique perspective? We can take you to discover the Milanese roofs, with a walk along the Highline Galleria, 36 metres above the ground. You can discover the mysteries of the architect Giuseppe Mengoni, who designed the “drawing room” of the city and admire even better the tall spires of the Duomo on a tour that is literally in the open sky.
10. Cruise on the Navigli by motorboat
The stretch of the Naviglio Pavese known as Conchetta Vinciana is one of the most picturesque: discover it with a mini-cruise on board a motorboat – the Corsaro – which will let your admire the picturesque scenery of the Navigli, revealing to you why the great Leonardo da Vinci was asked to design the canals.
What do you say, are you ready to let yourself by won over by Milan? Discover the best walking tours of Milan as well!