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Milan Off the Beaten Path

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While Milan is known for its breathtaking fashion, it is also a home to plenty of hidden sights and lesser-known attractions, which offer visitors the chance to experience an entirely different side of its beauty.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

8 Places

4 City Tips

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Map

8 Places

Dialogo nel Buio

Landmarks & points of interest

Chiesa di Santa Maria presso San Celso

Religious sites

Torre Branca

Landmarks & points of interest

Ospedale Maggiore Ca' Granda Universita Statale

Architectural buildings, Historic sites

Palazzo Lombardia

Government buildings

Teatro degli Arcimboldi

Theatres

Arena Civica

Ancient ruins, Arenas & stadiums

Abbazia di Chiaravalle

Religious sites, Historic sites

Sonia C's City Tips

  • The city's efficient public transport network makes getting around easy. Bus, tram, metro and city trains all run regularly.
  • Day and multi-day travel cards are available at newsagents.
  • Book restaurants in advance whenever possible, especially at weekends.
  • A dress code may be required in some venues.
  • Save
    Dialogo nel Buio
    Landmarks & points of interest
    See more photos
    Sonia C Says:

    The Institute of Blind People was founded in 1839 by Michele Barozzi, as part of a project to integrate students with sight problems into the mainstream. This prestigious primary school focuses on the study of music and, given that it is open to everybody, attracts an increasing number of Milanese students year on year. Visitors to the institute have the chance to experience an immersive dialogue-in-the-dark exhibition 'Dialogo nel Buio,' where you're guided through a series of daily life experiences in total darkness, in order to better understand things from a blind person's perspective. A touching experience where you will learn to make greater use of your senses.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Special events are often held here to raise funds for the school.
    • To get here, take the metro Red Line (Line 1) and alight at San Babila or Palestro.
    • A restaurant and a bar are open to the public, offering an intriguing culinary experience in the dark.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 367 attractions in Milan
    • The most amazing "blind-date" 11/02/2015
    • Didn't allow us access..!! 20/11/2014
    • Dialogo nel Buio
    Address:
    Via Vivaio 7
    Milan 20122
    Italy
    Phone:
    02 76 39 44 78
    Other:
  • Save
    Chiesa di Santa Maria presso San Celso
    Religious sites
    See more photos
    Sonia C Says:

    This beautiful church and sanctuary was one of the earliest examples of Renaissance architecture in Milan and is one of my favorite sacred sights. Hidden in Corso Italia — which can easily be reached by bus — the church features a painting of the Virgin Mary, believed to have miraculous powers. It is tradition for newly married brides to visit and offer their wedding bouquet to the Virgin, in the hope of a happy and long-lasting marriage.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • To reach the church, enter the main door and go beyond the courtyard.
    • The small church of San Celso is just beside the sanctuary, but is normally closed to the public.
    • Parco delle Basiliche, also known as Parco Giovanni Paolo II, is only a short walk from here.
    • It is only a 15-minute walk from Duomo Square.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #67 of 367 attractions in Milan
    • The careful restoration recovers the old magnificence 25/10/2012
    • Tra spiritualità e arte 16/02/2015
    • Chiesa di Santa Maria presso San Celso
    Address:
    Corso Italia, 37
    Milan
    Italy
  • Save
    Torre Branca
    Landmarks & points of interest
    See more photos
    Sonia C Says:

    This panoramic tower is 108 meters high and was erected in only two months in 1933 (when it was known as Torre Littoria). A quick lift ride takes you up to the panoramic terrace in less than a minute, and from here you can enjoy wonderful views over the city. You can even see the Alps and Apennines on a clear day!

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Trendsetter
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Take the metro Red Line (Line 1) or Green Line (Line 2) and alight at Cadorna FNM-Triennale to get to the tower.
    • There is a small entrance fee.
    • The tower is located in Parco Sempione, the biggest city park in Milan.
    • Just Cavalli Cafe (owned by fashion designer Roberto Cavalli) is located at the bottom of the tower.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #63 of 367 attractions in Milan
    • see it all from the top ... 13/11/2014
    • Stunning views 29/09/2014
    • Torre Branca
    Address:
    Viale Alemagna
    Parco Sempione
    Milan 20121
    Italy
    Phone:
    39 02 3314120
    Other:
  • Save
    Ospedale Maggiore Ca' Granda Universita Statale
    Architectural buildings, Historic sites
    See more photos
    Sonia C Says:

    In 1456 Francesco Sforza decided to build a huge hospital complex for the poor called Ospedale Maggiore Ca' Granda in order to increase his fame beyond his wealthier citizens. The complex not only included a hospital, but also shops and workshops, and for this reason was called 'Ca’ Granda' which means 'Big House.' After a renovation to fix damages the building suffered during World War II, the University of Milan moved here, and today the buildings and grounds make for an interesting guided visit.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Do not miss the so called "Crociera," the cross-shaped room where patients were hospitalized. This room is now used as a library by students.
    • Take a tour around the beautiful courtyards.
    • To reach the University by metro, take the Yellow Line (Line 3) and alight at Missori. From here it is a 10-minute walk.
    • One of my favourite parks, "Giardini della Guastalla," is nearby.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #42 of 367 attractions in Milan
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very impressive cloisters 03/12/2014
    • Probably the most beautiful architecture of every Italian University 15/11/2013
    • Ospedale Maggiore Ca' Granda Universita Statale
    Address:
    Via Festa del Perdono, 3
    Milan
    Italy
  • Save
    Palazzo Lombardia
    Government buildings
    See more photos
    Sonia C Says:

    This award-winning building complex (the seat of the Lombard Regional Council) features a 161-metre high skyscraper with 39 floors, which until recently made it the highest building in Milan. A great place for a birds-eye view of the city, on its top you'll also see a copy of the famous Virgin Mary statue 'Madonnina,' which was placed here in 2010 to protect all Milanese from its position up-high.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Admission is free and you don’t need to book in advance.
    • "Il Forno di Via Pola," a nearby bakery, is well worth a visit.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #74 of 367 attractions in Milan
    • A new view for Milano 24/10/2014
    • Living here! 06/09/2012
    • Palazzo Lombardia
    Address:
    Via Melchiorre Gioia
    Milan 20124
    Italy
  • Save
    Teatro degli Arcimboldi
    Theatres
    See more photos
    Sonia C Says:

    During the renovation of the La Scala theatre in 2002, this building was inaugurated to ensure that La Scala Opera performances continued. Its huge, innovative two-level auditorium can host an audience of almost 2,400, and its acoustics are unbeatable. In fact, the sound here is so amazing that after La Scala reopened, Arcimboldi continued to be used to host concerts and musicals, and is easily considered the city's second Opera House.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • To get here, take bus #87 from the Central Railway Station and alight at Via Chiese (Hangar Bicocca).
    • Book tickets for performances online in advance.
    • Hangar Bicocca — a space which hosts contemporary art, exhibitions by international artists and free activities for kids — is a short distance away.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #87 of 263 activities in Milan
    • Good Concert Venue 26/01/2013
    • just a theatre 25/09/2012
    • Teatro degli Arcimboldi
    Address:
    Viale dell'Innovazione 20
    Milan 20126
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 (0)2 72003744
    Other:
  • Save
    Arena Civica
    Ancient ruins, Arenas & stadiums
    See more photos
    Sonia C Says:

    Arena Civica was commissioned by Napoleon and built using recycled materials from the fortifications of Sforza Castle. Many important events and shows have been held here throughout the centuries, including the end of the first 'Giro d’Italia' (the Italian bicycle race), and it is still used to host sporting events and concerts today. Inter Football Club even trained here for many years before moving to San Siro Stadium!

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Check the website for open hours before visiting.
    • Don’t miss the Triumphal Gate with its four monolithic columns and Loggia Reale with its fine columns and porch.
    • To get here by metro, take the Green Line (Line 2), alight at Moscova and have a nice walk in Corso Garibaldi before reaching the Arena (a 10-minute walk away).
    • The Arena is located in Parco Sempione, very close to Sforza Castle, so you can plan to visit both on the same day.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #179 of 367 attractions in Milan
    • Aquarium don't visit 15/07/2014
    • Napoleon's Jewel-gift to Milan 15/12/2012
    • Arena Civica
    Address:
    Viale G. Byron, 2
    Milan 20154
    Italy
    Phone:
    39 02341924
  • Save
    Abbazia di Chiaravalle
    Religious sites, Historic sites
    See more photos
    Sonia C Says:

    This unique monastic complex is located just south of Milan in a little village surrounded by the green. It is one of the city's most important Cistercian monasteries and a place well-beloved by Milanese. Once inside, you can admire its beautiful paintings and frescos, created by famous artists, and be dazzled by the amazing XIV century original cloisters. The monastery also produces its own liqueurs, honey and health products, which are sold in the shop located in the ancient refectory and make for great and unique souvenirs!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • A beautiful floral carpet ("Infiorata") is prepared by the monks with the help of parishioners for the feast of Corpus Christi each year.
    • The fastest way to reach the monastery is by car. Otherwise, take Metro Line 3 (Yellow Line) and alight at Corvetto, then take bus #77 to Abbazia di Chiaravalle.
    • Guided tours are organized mainly on Sundays. Check the website for the opening hours.
    • Look out for the commemorative stone showing a stork holding a pastoral staff in its beak.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #21 of 367 attractions in Milan
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • An old wonderful abbey 18/02/2015
    • Charming 24/09/2014
    • Abbazia di Chiaravalle
    Address:
    Via Sant'Arialdo 102
    Milan 20139
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39.0257403404
    Other:
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