Updated: Sep 5, 2022
*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a commission if a purchase is made*
Milan is known as a major fashion capital, making it a very modern and up-to-date stop in the highly historical and cultural country of Italy. The city is beautiful, high-scale, and sure to make you feel like you're on a movie set. Milan is the second highest populated city in Italy and greatly focused on business and design. Rivaling cities such as New York City and Paris, Milan offers a variety of sophisticated fun. It was the most modern stop me and my husband's two weeks in Italy, and we enjoyed many sights while we were there.
The largest church in Italy lives up to its hype. Milan Cathedral's design defines the Gothic era and is complete with 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles, and 700 figures. The church is home to the famous statue by Marco d'Agrate, the "Saint Bartholomew Flayed," which depicts a man carrying his own skin over his shoulder. The church has stained glass windows that add a very impressive and beautiful touch. Tickets can be booked ahead to prepare for busy months.
Museum of the Milan Cathedral
The Museum of the Milan Cathedral is a literal museum of work that's been removed from the cathedral itself. It gives visitors the opportunity to view statues similar to the ones on the cathedral at a closer, more intimate distance. Details and information are uncovered in the museum that help visitors better understand the majesty of the church.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Located right across from the Milan Cathedral is the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a large and luxurious shopping mall which houses Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Versace among others. The building is fashionable as well, with an iron and glass roof and four mosaics which portray the cities of Milan, Rome, Florence, and Turin. There are many restaurants inside the gallery, ranging from aperitivo stops to dining for the elite. The Ristorante Galleria is a popular destination for the best gourmet cuisines in Milan.
The Last Supper
It would be a shame to travel to Milan without seeing Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" painting in the Santa Maria delle Grazie church. Unfortunately, it's entirely possible to miss the painting altogether without proper planning. Tickets for The Last Supper sell out very quickly, and only 30 people are allowed in the room at a time. The only way to assure a visit is by booking a date and time online several weeks beforehand.
The reason for the difficulties behind visiting "The Last Supper" is the extensive damage the painting has suffered. Leonardo da Vinci didn't paint "The Last Supper" onto wet plaster like a fresco, causing it to flake very early on. Restoration projects have only added more layers of destruction, and environmental changes have taken a toll on the painting over the years.
Santa Maria delle Grazie
After checking out "The Last Supper," you should head into the remainder of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, which is connected to the right-hand side (facing the church) from the entrance. The church's design is a conduit for showing off Milan's Renaissance mastery. The building was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.
Your location in Milan depends on what you're trying to see while you're there. Assuming you're staying around the cathedral or the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the most affordable option is London Hotel. It's only a two-star accommodation, but it's affordable and eight minutes from the cathedral. In central Milan, Hotel Canada offers clean rooms and modern decorations. If you're looking for a bar and restaurant, UNAHOTELS Cusani Milano is where it's at.
Additional Tip: Milan is the most expensive city in Italy, so be prepared to spend more than usual on food, lodging, and entertainment. Also, if you're planning on purchasing anything from one of the high-end stores that the city is known for (Gucci, Prada, etc.) be sure to come prepared. The best sales in Italy happen during the first few weeks of January, if that helps you make a decision of when to visit.
A trip to Milan guarantees a look into the luxurious: Lamborghinis, Versace bags, busy streets, and sleepless nights. Be ready for the time of your life.