Sightseeing guide for Milan
The most outstanding example of Gothic-Lombard architecture, the Duomo dates back to 1300. This imposing religious building houses almost 3.500 statues that are spread over an area of almost 12,000 square meters. The tallest spire, which has the famous "Madonnina" on top of it, is 108 meters high. The statue of the Virgin Mary is covered in 3.900 pieces of golden leaves.
Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio
This church was built in 379 A.D. in the Romanesque-Lombard style, and was consecrated by the famous Bishop Ambrogio, who lent his name to the Ambrosian Church. Inside there are valuable artifacts and works of art that tell the story of about 1.600 years of Milan' s history.
Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore
This wonderful basilica, located opposite the Roman columns that are the only remains of a 3rd century temple, includes many different architectural styles, due to the various rennovations that the building has undergone. The main elements are Paleo-christian (for example the mosaics) but other more recent styles also stand out, including ones from 1600 (the dome) to 1800 (the facade).
Santa Maria delle Grazie
This church was built in the second half of the 15th century. It was only completed years later by "il Bramante" on the wishes of Ludovico il Moro. The famous architect designed the wonderful apse, the cloisters and the old sacristy. Leonardo da Vinci painted "The Last Supper" in the refectory, which is one of the most famous works of art ever painted.
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
Between 1495 and 1498, Leonardo da Vinci painted the whole wall of the refectory in the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with a fresco of The Last Supper, one of the most famous masterpieces in history. This work of art has undergone a restoration that lasted 20 years and which was only recently finished, bringing it back to its full glory and halting the deterioration that was turning it into a faded, shapeless stain.
La Scala Theater Museum
Founded in 1913, this museum houses exhibits of various costumes and theater sets that are of great historical and artistic value. Some rooms are dedicated to the La Scala Theater's architecture and the life of the famous composer Giuseppe Verdi, while others house ancient musical instruments, curtains and costumes that belonged to famous artists such as Maria Callas and Rudolf Nureyev.
Pinacoteca di Brera
The Pinacoteca di Brera is an art gallery set up in 1809 by Napoleone Bonaparte. It houses a great number of works of art that were confiscated from churches and convents throughout Europe. Works range from the 14th to the 20th century and include masterpieces by artists such as Piero della Francesca, Raffaello, Mantenga, il Bramante and Caravaggio. The courtyard holds a wonderful statue of Napoleon that was created by Canova.
This is Milan' s oldest museum, which was opened in 1609. It is home to some masterpieces by artists such as Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaello and Botticelli. The Ambrosiana also houses an important library which contains some ancient codes, illuminated manuscripts and ancient books.
The Museum of Ancient Art
This interesting museum is housed in the splendid Castello Sforzesco, and is home to some of the most important sculptures that help to understand Lombard history and culture. The works come from a period ranging from the 4th to the 16th century. They include the funeral monument for Gaston di Foix and the "Pieta Rondinini" by Michelangelo.
Museum of Science and Technology
This interesting museum, which is named after Leonardo da Vinci and which was recently renovated and used to house an old monastery, is one of the most interesting science museums in the whole world. 40,000 square meters of exhibition space for objects ranging from astronomy to computers. The models and machines built to the design by the great Tuscan genius cannot be missed.
The Monumental Cemetery
This great cemetery was built around 1860 in a Lombard style and some obviously Byzantine shapes. Among the statues, chapels and other works of art, you can find the graves of some of the most famous people from Italian and European culture such as Alessandro Manzoni, Salvatore Quasimodo, Eugenio Montale and Maria Callas.
The Royal Palace, in Piazza Duomo, is a very old building that dates back to 1100 and which has been home to the most powerful men in Milan over the centuries, from the Viscontis to the Sforza family, the Spanish governors and Austrian rulers. Several temporary art exhibitions are held nowadays here.
La Scala Theater
A Temple to Opera music, built at the end of 1700 over the remains of the Church of Santa Maria della Scala, from which the theater then took its name. Some of the greatest names of opera have made their debuts in this theater like Rossigni, Donizetti, Bellini, Puccini and, in 1839, Giuseppe Verdi who moved to the Grand Hotel in Milan on that date where he continued to live until he died. The La Scala Theater, famous worldwide, stands on one side of the beautiful square that carries the same name. In the center of the square there is a monument to Leonardo da Vinci and on the other side there is the wonderful Palazzo Marini.
Columns of San Lorenzo
This is the only monument that dates back to the Roman era, which has managed to survive up to the present day. These 16 columns that stand opposite the Basilica of San Lorenzo are all that remains of an ancient Roman temple, that probably dates back to the 2nd century.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele was built around 1870 and is called the "salotto di Milano" (The Milan Lounge). If you walk along its cross-shaped corridors, topped by the glass and iron structure, you will admire the old coffee-shops, restaurants, boutiques and historical bookshops.