5 Must-See Attractions in Milan

«Starting when Milan is still asleep, watching it snooze and realize that it is beautiful before it starts to run and scream», said the famous song Domenica bestiale by Concato. A city of fashion and design, Milan has established itself as one of the most preferred destinations for foreigners coming to the Belpaese. Cosmopolitan, progressive, elegant and European, it is a city that offers many opportunities, attractions, museums and events that meet the most varied of tastes. Have you never been and would like to visit it for the first time? Follow our selection of the 5 must-see attractions in Milan!

Cimitero Monumentale

Located in the square of the Monumentale, a famous graveyard designed by architect Carlo Maciachini, with a style that combines some elements of Byzantine style, but mainly Gothic Romanesque style. The main entrance consists of the memorial chapel, also called the Temple of Fame, a building made in neo-medieval style out of marble and brick. It started in 1864, and opened in 1866. Throughout time, the cemetery has been enriched by many Italian sculptures of classic and contemporary styles, like Greek temples, elaborate obelisks, and other original works including a scaled down version of the Trajan Column. It is considered a real “open air museum” for the great value of its sculptures, the tombstones and all the other works within it. Together with the chapels of the great families of high Milanese society, culture and business, there are many famous people buried here, whose names are linked to the political and civil history of Milan and Italy, including Manzoni, Quasimodo, Munari, Gaber, and Carlo Cattaneo. (For more info, click here)

Piazza Gae Aulenti

Opened in December 2012 and named after the great architect and designer Gae Aulenti, it has become one of the Milanese favorite places, for those who like to go for a walk during lunch breaks and in their free time, to read a book by the edge of the fountain. Just a hop and step away from Corso Como, a prominent nightlife destination. Piazza Gae Aulenti comes to life in the evening, thanks to the atmosphere created by the colorful lights of the fountains and the Solar Tree, an LED lighting system that lights up at night, taking advantage of the solar energy accumulated during the day. Piazza Gae Aulenti is an architectural challenge, a place of futuristic aesthetics. It is a European spirit which takes an old concept, that of the square as a space dedicated to social and productive activities and recreation. From here, you can enjoy the city skyline; In fact, the Garibaldi Towers and adjacent skyscrapers of the famous Vertical Forest, the regional capital building, the Pirelli Tower and the imposing Unicredit Tower are all visible from this modern square. (For more info, click here)

Colonne di San Lorenzo

Here we are on the street Corso di Porta Ticinese number 39, in front of the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore, at the ancient columns that stand in the square in front of this magnificent church. They represent one of the rare surviving artifacts of the imperial Milan, and constitute an important point of the city’s nightlife; a meeting point popular among the young Milanese. There are 16 marble columns about 7 and a half meters tall, of Corinthian order. They were built in Roman times along with the remains of what was once was the amphitheater, the theater and the “herculean” baths of the circus. The columns were transported here in the fourth century and were to form a quadrangle in front of the early Christian Basilica. Built between the fourth and fifth centuries, the Basilica is the oldest Christian church in existence with a central layout in the West. The columns were originally erected beside the San Aquilino St. Ippolito Chapels, with the small mausoleum of San Sisto to its left. (For more info, click here)

Orto Botanico di Brera

Historic city garden and hidden gem, the Garden is situated in the old quarter of Brera, inside the building which also houses the famous museum, the Pinacoteca, the Academy of Fine Arts and the Astronomical Observatory . It was established in 1774 by Maria Teresa of Austria, who wanted that the former Jesuit garden become an institution with educational and scientific purposes for students of medicine and pharmacy. Along the orchard alleys you can admire century-old trees and specimens that stand out for their imposing size or for the unusual shape of their leaves, the fruits or trunk. There are interesting collections of plants, such as those for medicinal purposes – of the Salvia genus or a collection of spring bulbs planted with perennials. The space is used for many activities such as mini-courses for children and adults where you can learn how to prepare your own garden, or create sustainable garden compost. (For more info, click here)

Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie

Located in the heart of Milan’s city center, this church is an important work of architecture designed and built by Renaissance architect Bramante. It is an emblem of the Catholic religion and famous for the renown fresco by Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, which the church houses inside its refectory. In 1980 it was included in the World Heritage List, because it is one of the best examples of Renaissance art. On both sides, the church has seven square chapels for each side. The convent structure is based on three cloisters, with a portico of columns running alongside. Overlooking the convent is the ancient Cappella delle Grazie, the halls of Locutorio and the library; instead, the south side is entirely occupied by the refectory, which contains both the Crucifixion, a work by Montorfano, a Milanese painter, and Leonardo’s infamous Last Supper, the only painting that can still be seen on the wall today. (For more info, click here)

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