Milan can give the solo adventurer looking to ‘eat’ and perhaps more warmth and satisfaction as you walk through streets that are more beautiful than the other. Italy’s charm comes from its street, I truly believe this, especially with each corner designed uniquely. The massive gothic buildings, the pastel-colored walls and the pink-red geraniums on the balcony and of course, a Fiat or a Vespa perfect for two, parked in front of a masterpiece of a door. All of it is Italy and I believe it is best experienced when you have all the time in the world to walk at your leisure and at your own pace, taking in each element of the city. We’ve noted some brilliant suggestions for a solo traveler in Milan. This includes experiencing the sights, the sounds, the flavors and the essence of splendid Milan. Check out, below, our list of the best things to do alone, in Milan, Italy.
1. Admire the architecture of Duomo of Milan
The fifth largest church in the world and tweaked and perfected for about six centuries, the Duomo of Milan is the city’s treasure. From setting the city clock following the church’s sundial and narrating every day verses, the church is definitely the center point of the city. We suggest you get a tour guide to tell you the stories- for example, did you know that Napoleon finished the façade and jump-started the final stages of construction in the early 19th century? And don’t miss the red light bulb, the spot where one of the nails of Jesus’ crucifixion was allegedly placed.
Duomo di Milano
Address: Piazza del Duomo, 20122 Milano MI, Italy
Website: Duomo di Milano
Opening hours: 8am - 7pm (daily)
2. Go luxury shopping at Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II
The ultimate shopping paradise, to soak in luxury among the upper echelons of Milan society, the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II is over a hundred years old making it the best that this city can offer. The Galleria’s designer, Giuseppe Mengoni, pioneered its complex marriage of iron and glass 20 years before the Eiffel Tower was built. The Galleria was officially opened in 1867 by Vittorio Emanuele II, the king of newly united Italy. Even if it sets you back a few euros, we highly recommend sipping a cappuccino at Zucca, a high-ceilinged bar with an ornate interior.
Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II
Address: Piazza del Duomo, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
Website: Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
3. Listen to some music at Teatro Alla Scala
La Scala is an opera theatre that has stood the ground for centuries, and not much has changed. An hour here will take you back in time and you’ll come out more refreshed, more cultured and more educated. The best way to experience La Scala is by yourself, splurge on a good expensive ticket, wear a tux/black dress and just let yourself immerse in the music, culture and luxury. The museum here, open daily from 9 am to 12:30 pm and again from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm, will give you a tour of the rich red and gold scenes of this beautiful theatre.
Teatro Alla Scala
Address: Via Filodrammatici, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Website: Teatro Alla Scala
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
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4. Tour the Castle Sforzeso
Fun fact: Leonardo Da Vinci worked at Castello Sforzesco under Duke Ludovico Maria. He took over several responsibilities during his time there, including the construction of locks and the development of canals. He was also commissioned by the Duke to design an enormous equestrian sculpture as a part of a monument, but Da Vinci could only complete a clay model and never got to the bronze one. In 1999, the horse alone was cast from Da Vinci’s original designs in bronze and placed in Milan outside the racetrack of Ippodromo del Galoppo. Now, it’s your turn to discover more facts!
Address: Piazza Castello, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Website: Castle Sforzeso
Opening hours: 7am - 7:30pm (daily)
Price: 3 - 6 USD
5. Leonardo's Da Vinci Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie
Even if you’re not an art fanatic, seeing a century-old fresco by a legendary artist must be on your list. As you approach the fresco, just imagine, Da Vinci ran with a pail of paint and a handful of brushes in the same spot to finish this masterpiece. Imagine him at work and understand the story he delivered and you will appreciate his gift to the world.
Santa Maria delle Grazie
Address: Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
Website: Santa Maria delle Grazie
Opening hours: 8.15am - 7pm (daily)
Price: 14 - 16 USD
6. Check out the artwork of Raphael at Pinacoteca Di Brera
Pinacoteca Di Brera houses several paintings by famous Italian artists including Raphael, Francesco Hayez and Caravaggio. Raphael’s The Marriage of the Virgin, completed in 1504, has traveled several places and finally found a home in Pinacoteca Di Brera. There is a lot of story to this oil painting, to a level where infrared technology was used to see the line drawn to create this masterpiece. If you want to dig into the history of this painting and learn about Raphael’s inspiration, go alone!
Pinacoteca Di Brera
Address: Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Website: Pinacoteca Di Brera
Opening hours: 8:30am - 7:15pm (daily)
Price: 8 - 12 USD
7. Explore Navigli District
Navigli District is an up and coming neighborhood in Milan, named after the Naviglio Grande canal. There are lots of things to do and see here- whether you want to have Milanese cuisine, visit small art studios, taste some wine and aperitifs and visit the many Basilicas. The best way to enjoy this neighborhood is on foot or by boat! And it’s only better when you make your schedule on the spot when something you see interests you!
Address: Navigli District
8. Visit Museo Poldi Pezzoli
This museum is the personal collection of Poldi Pezzoli, an Italian Count who collected from the Renaissance period, and his mother, Rosa Trivulzio, of the family of the Condottiero Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, an aristocrat. Antonio Pollaiolo, Baciccio, Raphael, Botticelli are some of the many works Poldi Pezzoli managed to keep safe during the wars. You’ll learn to appreciate Pezzoli’s love for the arts! The picture above is Ritratto di Giovane dama by Antonio Pollaiolo.
Address: Via Alessandro Manzoni, 12, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Website: Poldi Pezzoli
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
Price: 5 - 11 USD
9. Relax at Parco Sempione
After a day full of walking and exploring, the park is the perfect place to retreat to. But the discovery does not stop. Located close to the Sforzesco Castle, the park also has a history, dating back to 1894, when it was built as a park.
Address: Piazza Sempione, 20154 Milano MI, Italy
Opening hours: 6:30am - 9pm (daily)
When in Italy, anywhere in Italy, learning about different wines and tasting their elixirs is just inevitable. In Milan, you’ll get to taste the wines of Lombardy, learn about their origins, the unique taste and what makes this wine so special. A professional sommelier takes you through the course, tasting wines with plates of local cheeses and cold meat. Delizioso!
Italian Wine Tasting in Milan
Duration: 1 hour
An exciting solo trip to Milan
Taking a trip alone is the best way to learn about a city and its history and yourself! Haven’t you learned anything from Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love? The only difference is, you’ll be able to do all three in Milan and also enjoy self-discovery!
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