Milan is a beautiful and historic city in the northern Lombardy region of Italy. This bustling metropolis also has an ultra-modern side, particularly in the Piazza Gae Aulenti, a public square surrounded by shops and looming skyscrapers and featuring beautiful fountains with a colorful light display. The city’s historic side includes the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent where Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic mural, “The Last Supper,” can be viewed. Also popular is the striking Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral with its beautiful interior. Learn more by reading our detailed guide to Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan, Italy, prior to your visit to the city.
Things to do / highlights
Piazza Gae Aulenti is located in the heart of Milan’s most modern neighborhood. The square has been named for the late, renowned female architect Gae Aulenti, who designed the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and was inaugurated on December 8, 2012.
Explore the square and surrounding buildings
The square and the modern skyscrapers surrounding it was created during the regeneration of three historic neighborhoods – Garibaldi, Varesine and Isola. The area covers part of the historic center of the city and its financial district.
Argentine architect, Cesar Pelli, was responsible for the redevelopment of the area and Piazza Gae Aulenti is the main nucleus of the district. The square is elevated 6 m (20 ft) above the streets of the city. Each building surrounding the square has a striking and unique design, but the one that really stands out is the Unicredit Tower. The 23-m (75-ft) tall building is the tallest skyscraper in Italy.
Visit The Vertical Forest
One striking feature of the square is The Vertical Forest (Bosco Verticale), which consists of two residential towers covered with around 2,000 plant species. The complex is located between Via Gaetano de Castilla and Via Federico Confalonieri and close to the Milano Porta Garibaldi railway station. Both towers are at 111-m (364-ft) in height and they include more than 900 trees on terraces measuring a total of 8,900 sq m (95,800 sq ft)
Evening in the square
As the sun sets, Piazza Gae Aulenti comes alive with a show of music, lights and water. In the center of the square, the Solar Tree is lit with LED lighting with the aid of solar energy. Together with Navigli, the Piazza is one of the best places in Milan for evening entertainment, including the many restaurants, trendy bars and clubs in the area.
Get panoramic views of Milan
Visitors can enjoy stunning, panoramic views over the modern and historic city of Milan from the top of the Unicredit building.
What to eat
A number of restaurants line Piazza Gae Aulenti and are found in the surrounding buildings. The following three eateries come highly recommended by reviewers.
The Stage Dining
Located at Piazza Gae Aulenti, the restaurant is renowned for its late-night dining and cocktails, as well as great breakfasts. Designed to resemble a movie set, and with the feeling of being on a ship, the restaurant serves a range of traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist, as a starter, first course and main course.
Located in the Porta Nuova Food District at Torre Unicredit, Livello 1, Piazza Gae Aulenti, 1, Ca’ pelletti is a casual Italian restaurant, known for its late-night food, and serves cocktails, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant serves a range of pasta dishes, along with delicious desserts.
This fast-food restaurant is located at Piazza Gae Aulenti, and it serves a wide choice of hamburgers and combo meals with sides and salads. They also offer chicken and frie,s and fish and fries, vegetarian options and some tasty desserts. The fast-food place is open late at night and during the day.
Things to buy
A good range of stores are available to browse in the area surrounding Piazza Gae Aulenti.
This shop is ideal for those seeking stationery, postcards and related items, as well as personalized Moleskine diaries and notebooks. The shop also stocks luggage items and art products for those who wish to draw or paint while in Milan. There is also an online store on the company’s website.
Venchi Gelato and Chocolate
This tempting venue sells delicious ice cream and chocolate. Enjoy an incredible ice cream sundae on the spot and buy chocolates to take home as gifts for friends and family, that is if you can avoid eating them yourself before leaving Milan! The shop is located at Piazza Gae Aulenti, 1.
You probably wouldn’t wish to buy a car while on vacation, but if you have never seen a Tesla up close, this is an interesting visit. Located at Piazza Gae Aulenti, 4, you can happily browse the latest electric cars. This is an ideal place for a bored boyfriend or husband to visit, while their better half heads off to the local fashion shops!
Get panoramic views at the UniCredit Building
While in the square, head to the top floor of the Unicredit Building, where panoramic views over modern and historic Milan can be enjoyed.
Piazza Gae Aulenti and the Navigli area are among the best places to enjoy the nightlife in Milan, with its many restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
The Piazza Gae Aulenti’s designers ensured that the modern square is wheelchair accessible. On entering the buildings surrounding the square, elevators are available.
Take a guided tour
To get more detailed information about the modern skyscrapers surrounding Piazza Gae Aulenti, take a guided walking tour. A three-hour tour will teach visitors about the impressive construction project for the 2015 World Expo. You’ll also get to visit the Porta Nuova district, Corso Como and the amazing Vertical Forest towers at Piazza Gae Aulenti.
How to get there
Piazza Gae Aulenti is easily accessible on foot, by bus or car. Head over to Google Maps to view the location and get full directions from the city center or your desired location.
Access Piazza Gae Aulenti from the center of Milan on foot via Via Paolo Sarpi and Viale Pasubio, which is a 1.4-km (0.9-mi) walk taking around 17 minutes.
The easiest route for driving from the Milan city center to Piazza Gai Aulenti is via Piazzale Cimitero Monumental, which takes 6 minutes to cover the 1.5 km (0.93 mi).
Solferino Garibaldi Gae Aulenti Parking H24 is available in the square. The parking garage is open 24 hours a day. View more details by searching for the MyParking website.
Buses are readily available from the city center and leave every four minutes.
Piazza Gae Aulenti information
Address: Piazza Gae Aulenti, 36, 20124 Milano MI, Italy
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
Department of tourism: Yes Milan
Milan 3-Hour Modern Architecture Tour with Porta Nuova Area
Duration: 3 hours
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