Five Favorites. {Milan}

Five Favorites {Milan}

There is never a shortage of things to see and do in Milan! Today I am sharing 5 of my favorite places to visit in this beautiful city. The first 3 are within a 5-10 min walk of Piazza Duomo. Combine any of these with a trip to visit the Cathedral, stopping for lunch or coffee in between for a beautiful and delicious day.

Don’t miss the PRINTABLE POCKET GUIDE at the bottom of this post! 


Five Favorites in Milan |

This is a historic library and art gallery named after Milan’s patron Saint, Saint Ambrose. There are some invaluable art pieces here, including The Basket of Fruit by Caravaggio, and the Adoration of the Magi by Titian. The building itself is beautiful and worth the visit alone, in my opinion!

Currently the library (which you reach after going through the art gallery) is showcasing the exhibition “The mind of Leonardo. Leonardo’s drawings from the Codex Atlanticus.” It is quite breathtaking to see notes and sketches written by the hand of Leonardo himself, a selection of some of the 1100+ pages from the Codex is on display encased in glass.

You are literally a stones throw from the hubbub at the Duomo, but you feel worlds away. I imagine the crowds will be larger with the EXPO in town, but when I have gone it has been blissfully + relatively empty in the middle of the week.

Five Favorites in Milan |

Biblioteca + Pinacoteca Ambrosiana

 Piazza Pio XI, 2, Milano

Closest Metro: Duomo (red line)

During the EXPO, the museum will be open everyday, including Mondays from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Check the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana Website for more details.

Five Favorites. {Milan} 1


Five Favorites in Milan |

Inside the church of San Bernardino alle Ossa, sits the Ossuary chapel dating back to the early 18th century. There are many stories and legends as to where the bones came from, but the official story is this. The church was built on top of a cemetery where the dead were buried from a nearby hospital. Years later, when the cemetery ran out of room, the bones were stored in the church.

My friends and I call this the bone church, because the walls of this small chapel are covered in human bones and skulls. Some of them shaped as a cross or an “M”, for Mary. Enter the main door of the church and take the small hallway immediately to your right to reach the Ossuary. Beautifully creepy!

Ossuary San Bernardino alle Ossa

Via Verziere, 2 Milano

Closest Metro: Duomo or San Babila (red line)

Hours: Monday through Friday from 8 am to 12 pm and from 13.30 to 18. Saturday and Sunday: from 9.30 to 12.30 (Known to be closed even during posted open hours, as many things in Italy can be.)



Teatro alla Scala is a world-renowned opera house in the center of Milan. The outside is very under-stated, it hides its inner beauty from you as you walk by on the street. But it is gorgeous inside and worth a visit.

Five Favorites in Milan |

If you cannot attend an event at La Scala, you can still enjoy some of the grandeur by a walk through the museum. The museum was inaugurated in 1911 and houses a wonderful collection of items.

Walk through one of the mirrored and chandelier laden theater foyers, peek out into the theater from a box on the top level, and walk through several rooms with collections of art, instruments, set design, costumes, and history of the theater.

Five Favorites in Milan |

Your visit ends in one of the 2 La Scala gift shops.

*TIP: Previous theater playbills are available for purchase, a great souvenir to take home to any music lover.

Teatro Alla Scala

Via Filodrammatici, 2 Milano
Closest Metro: Duomo (red line)

Open daily except for certain holidays, see their Website for opening hours and more details.


My next 2 favorites sit side by side on the historic street of Corso Magenta, not far from the famous “Last Supper” painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. I definitely feel it is worth the time to see the Last Supper- but don’t forget to reserve your ticket ahead of time! (We booked our tickets and guide through Musement and really loved our experience) While you are in the area, here are 2 “don’t miss” things that I love.


Five Favorites in Milan |

This is my favorite church in Milan after the Duomo, and it is quite the hidden little beauty. Known as the “Sistine chapel of Milan” it is covered head to toe in bold and colorful frescoes and has a fascinating history. The church was originally part of the Monastery Maggiore, a very important Benedictine convent.

A partition wall separates where the nuns would worship and where the church goers would worship. There are tiny grates in the dividing wall that would allow the nuns to hear the mass.

Five Favorites in Milan |

Walk through the doorway on the left hand side to reach the Hall of Nuns. I didn’t think anything could top the church, but I think the Hall of Nuns is my favorite part! (also accessible from the archaeological museum listed below)

Five Favorites in Milan |

San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
Corso Magenta, 15 Milano
Closest Metro: Cadorna (Red/Green line)
Free entrance
Tue-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm



Five Favorites in Milan |

In the monastery attached to the San Maurizio Church is a wonderful museum housing details of the history of Mediolanum, Milan in the 4th century B.C. as well as Roman ruins. A new building has been added with 4 small floors of art and artifacts arranged by time period (Early middle ages, Etruscan, and Ancient Greece.)


Corso Magenta, 15 Milano

2 eu per person (closed on Monday)

Inside they have a great little bookshop, restrooms, and another access to Hall of Nuns.


Five Favorites in Milan |

Don’t miss the Palazzo Litta across the street, incredibly beautiful on the outside. Inside visits only during special events.

Five Favorites in Milan |

In front of the museum watch for signs pointing the way to Roman ruins in the area. Makes for a great hunt.

Five Favorites in Milan |


There are MANY great places to eat and drink in the center, if you know where to look. Here are a few favorites. (Check my Milan Pages for more suggestions.)


Recently I shared some of my Favorite neighborhoods in Milan with my friends at Browsing Italy. Head over there to read even more ideas of places to see and things to do in Milan!


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Today we're sharing some of our favorite places in the center of Milan, with where to eat & drink nearby. (Bonus- Milan Pocket Guidebook download!)   5 Favorites in Milan |


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