Milan’s unmissable landmarks and historical sights

With prized palaces, palazzos, and piazzas, Milan is filled with iconic landmarks. Discover the top 15 sites from Duomo to Lake Como.

From Roman ruins to Renaissance splendor and cutting-edge contemporary skyscrapers, Milan is loaded with world-famous sites. Explore neoclassical museums that house masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo or head on walking tours to discover the densely packed architectural landmarks of Milan's Centro Storico.

While its architecture may make the history books, there are plenty of natural landmarks to seek out in Milan, too. Pretty public parks and gardens provide a wealth of outdoor activities, from picnics to swimming. Saunter down 18th-century trails that lead to a planetarium at Indro Montanelli Gardens or visit a vineyard used by Da Vinci himself.

Journey through the centuries at these top 15 Milan landmarks.

Historic and architectural landmarks in Milan

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1. Branca Tower

A symbol of Milan's vibrant 1930s, this spindly iron tower in the center of Parco Sempione is both an eye-catching landmark and an exceptional viewpoint. Book your Branca Tower Entrance Ticket for the city's finest views.

Highlights:

The tower's modern elevator takes you up a 108m-high viewing platform in just 1 minute.

Address and opening hours:

Viale Luigi Camoens, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open Wednesday-Friday, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM, and 3:00 PM-6:30 PM. Open Saturday, 10:30 AM-1:00 PM, 3:00 PM-6:30 PM, and 8:30 PM-12:00 AM. Open Sunday, 10:30 AM-2:00 PM, and 2:30 PM-7:00 PM.

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2. UniCredit Tower

Italy's tallest building showcases Milan's modern edge. View this towering landmark on a 2.5-Hour Segway Night Tour when its spire is lit up by glittering LED lights. The building often illuminates with colors to commemorate events.

Highlights:

You'll see this architectural landmark at its most spectacular, all lit up. The tour also includes details of this area's architectural legacy.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza Gae Aulenti, 3, 20154 Milano MI, Italy. Tower open Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM. Tour times and dates vary.

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3. La Scala

This historic opera house has premiered some of the world's most famous performances since its opening in 1778. Designed by the Neoclassical architect, Giuseppe Piermarini, it's a marvel of Milan's historic Brera District. Explore its treasured façade and glitzy interiors with a La Scala Museum and Theater Tour.

Highlights:

View boxes graced by royalty in one of the world's finest opera houses. Inside, the La Scala Museum showcases a vast collection of historic, centuries-old costumes.

Address and opening hours:

Teatro alla Scala, Via Filodrammatici, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 9:30 AM-5:30 PM.

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4. Royal Palace

Offering a prized spot opposite Milan's towering Duomo, the 18th-century Royal Palace is a gorgeous complex packed with artistic treasures. First built to house the Dukes of Milan and thoroughly updated by Empress Maria Theresa, you can explore its fascinating history with a 3-Hour Private Walking Tour.

Highlights:

Explore the palace's on-site museum that takes you through Neoclassical, Napoleonic, and Risorgimento-era history.

Address and opening hours:

P.za del Duomo, 20122 Milan MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 12:00 PM-7:30 PM. Open late every Thursday, 12:00 PM-10:30 PM. Tour times vary.

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5. Sforza Castle

One of Milan's oldest and proudest landmarks, the 15th-century Sforza Castle was built to defend the city in the Italian Wars. It contains many fascinating architectural features that span Renaissance splendor through to restoration under Luca Beltrami. Book the Sforza Castle and Michelangelo's Pietà Rondanini Tour to explore these iconic highlights.

Highlights:

You'll discover the final sculpture made by Michelangelo while exploring the castle's many secrets with a guide.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza Castello, 1, 20121 Milan MI, Italy. Open daily, 7:00 AM-7:30 PM.

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6. Santa Maria delle Grazie

This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates from 1463 and boasts an eye-catching Gothic nave and Renaissance dome. Get access to this former convent with the Renaissance Treasures & The Last Supper Walking Tour. You'll get to see its most treasured item, Da Vinci's The Last Supper, alongside other treasures by Titian and Ferrari.

Highlights:

An expert will offer insight into Da Vinci's famous mural and its preservation. You'll also discover the convent's overlooked gems and Renaissance additions.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:15 AM–7.00 PM.

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7. Duomo 

Milan's most famous landmark, the Duomo, is also one of the world's largest churches. Studded with ornate sculpture and spindling spires, get up close with its treasures with a Cathedral and Rooftop Ticket. Marvel at its Gothic facade and the glittering gold of the Madonnina that towers above.

Highlights:

Make sure you bring your camera to capture excellent views of the Milan skyline. The rooftop experience allows you to traverse the Duomo from all angles.

Address and opening hours:

P.za del Duomo, 20122 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 9:00 AM-7:00 PM.

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8. Villa Necchi Campiglio

This tranquil modernist villa in the center of Milan's Porta Monforte is a testament to the city's 1930s renown. Designed by the modernist architect, Piero Portaluppi, it remains perfectly preserved in its period splendor. Tour its elegant interiors and gardens with a Villa Necchi Campiglio Entry Ticket.

Highlights:

The building is an icon of Italian romanticism and rationalism, and it houses the spectacular Guido Sforni collection. This includes artworks by Picasso, Matisse, and Fontana.

Address and opening hours:

Via Mozart, 14, 20122 Milano MI, Italy. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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9. National Museum of Science and Technology 

Showcasing Milan's contributions to science and tech development, this exceptional museum is located on the iconic grounds of an ancient monastery. Marvel at the contrast between its 16th-century interiors and contemporary exhibits with a National Museum of Science and Technology Tour.

Highlights:

This is the largest technical-scientific museum in Italy. It houses a collection of machine models based on the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.

Address and opening hours:

Via San Vittore, 12, 20123 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. Open Saturday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM, and Sunday, 9:30 AM-6:30 PM.

Scenic and natural landmarks in Milan

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10. Parco Biblioteca degli Alberi

Nestled between glitzy skyscrapers, this urban park is among the city's most iconic green spaces. Shaped into circular forest sections with geometric fields, it showcases modern Milan in all its innovation. Explore the park as part of the Self-guided Walk in Futuristic Porta Nuova District.

Highlights:

See how Milan looks to the future and seeks to balance architectural and park design. As a self-guided tour, there's plenty of time to relax as you wish.

Address and opening hours:

Via Gaetano de Castillia, 28, 20124 Milano MI, Italy. Open 24/7.

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11. Brera Botanical Garden

A little oasis in the center of Milan, the Brera Botanical Garden started its life in 1777 with a single ginkgo tree. Its fragrant flowers provide a heavenly space to unwind amid the bustle of Brera. Book The Secrets of Brera walking tour to learn about the region and its use as an open-air classroom by Jesuits.

Highlights:

Browse tranquil flowerbeds and an arboretum as old as the buildings that surround it.

Address and opening hours:

Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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12. Indro Montanelli Gardens

One of Milan's most scenic parks, the 18th-century Indro Montanelli Gardens are dotted with landmarks. You can explore a 1930s planetarium, delight at the city's Natural History Museum, or simply relish in the fountains of Palazzo Dugnani. The City Highlights Guided Bike Tour starts right here.

Highlights:

Perfect for picnics or lunches at the historic Padiglione del Caffè, the gardens are an 18th-century treat that blossoms in warm weather.

Address and opening hours:

Via Palestro, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 6:30 AM-11:30 PM.

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13. Leonardo's Vineyard Museum

The legacy of Leonardo da Vinci can be found throughout Milan, but did you know he owned a vineyard here? Da Vinci was gifted a mansion and vines in 1498 and little has changed in this oasis since then. Head to the Leonardo’s Vineyard Museum to explore these centuries-old vines.

Highlights:

Visitors have access to both the mansion and gardens, where you can sip on wine made from the same grapes gifted to Da Vinci.

Address and opening hours:

Corso Magenta, 65, 20123 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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14. Parco Sempione

Milan's largest park provides a wealth of natural landmarks in a restful 40 hectares of manicured lawns. Flanked by Sforza Castle, the Arco della Pace, and the iconic Branca Tower, the park remains a favorite spot for picnics and drinks.

Highlights:

Look for iconic landmarks like Triennale di Milano and Planetario di Milano, a planetarium from the 1930s.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza Sempione, 20154 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 6:30 AM-9:00 PM

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15. Lake Como

Milan is perfectly placed for a visit to the iconic Lake Como, a breathtaking region beloved by celebrities and locals alike. Explore its calm waters and achingly beautiful waterfront towns on a Best of Lake Como Guided Tour with Bellagio.

Highlights:

You'll get time to sail Lake Como and explore the scenic landmarks of Bellagio on a full roundtrip tour.

Address and opening hours:

20124 Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy. Tour times and dates vary.

FAQs

What is the oldest historic landmark in Milan?

The Basilica of San Lorenzo is one of Milan's earliest landmarks. Originally built during Roman times, it went through successive renovations throughout the Medieval and Renaissance era. Other remnants of the Romans include Il Palazzo Imperiale di via Brisa and Terme Erculee.

What are some free landmarks to visit in Milan?

All of Milan's public parks are free to enter, offering impressive views of many of the city's prized natural and historical landmarks. These include the beautiful Arco della Pace in Parco Sempione. The iconic Cimitero Monumentale, a large cemetery complex from 1866, is also free to enter.

Are there any guided tours that focus on the architecture of Milan’s landmarks?

Yes, many walks focus on Milan's Renaissance landmarks and a grouping of top sites within Milan's fabulous Old Town. The Historical Walking Tour and The Last Supper Ticket offers access to numerous sites, including the Santa Maria delle Grazie and Sforza Castle.

How can I get the best views of scenic landmarks in Milan?

Head high up to get the best city views. The Duomo's rooftop is iconic, but the Branca Tower offers a more unobstructed vantage point.

What are some natural landmarks near Milan worth visiting?

Milan is perfectly positioned to explore the natural splendor of Lombardy. You can discover the region's magical lakes, like Lake Como, or follow the wine trail at the scenic vineyards of Franciacorta.