Beyond the Duomo: 5 unique things to see in Milan.

Beyond the Duomo: 5 unique things to see in Milan. 1

5 Unique things to see in Milan. 

Looking for unusual & unique things to see in Milan? I've got you! 

There is never a shortage of  things to see and do in Milan! Many people come and go quickly, but it really is a city of hidden treasures if you just know where to look.

Today I am sharing several of my favorite places to visit (just a tiny bit off the beaten path) 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.

Headed to Milan? Grab our curated mini guide to Milan below! (custom map & planning sheets included)

Unique things to see in Milan
Unique things to see in Milan

Unique things to see in Milan
Unique things to see 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.

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.

Unique things to see 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.)

Headed to Milan? Grab our curated mini guide to Milan below! (custom map & planning sheets included)

Milan Travel Guide
Unique things to see in Milan

3.) La Scala Opera House & Museum

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

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
  • Walk through several rooms with collections of art, instruments, set design, costumes, and history of the theater.

Your visit ends in one of the 2 La Scala gift shops, filled with musical themed souvenirs to remember your Milan trip.

*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 tickets way ahead of time!  

While you are in the area, here are 2 “don’t miss” things that I love.

Unique things to see in Milan


This is my favorite church in Milan after the Duomo, and it is quite the hidden little beauty. It's at the TOP of my list of unique things to see in Milan, and well worth the detour.

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.

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!

It is also accessible from the archaeological museum listed below.  

San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
Corso Magenta, 15 Milano
Closest Metro: Cadorna (Red/Green line)

Free entrance
Tue-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm

Unique things to see in Milan

The Inner Cloister, by Stefano Stabile cc 3.0


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.

Headed to Milan? Grab our curated mini guide to Milan below! (custom map & planning sheets included)

Unique things to see in Milan
Unique things to see in Milan


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

Also: In front of the museum watch for signs pointing the way to Roman ruins in the area, including the Imperial Palace of Maximian. Makes for a great city treasure hunt.

I hope you enjoyed this list of unique things to see in Milan! 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 while you are visiting Milan!

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