Milan is the business and shopping district in Italy. The capital of Lombardy region is considered as one of the fashion capitals of the world. High end shops like Prada, Armani and Versace glitter on streets. The façade of restaurants speak class and pricey menus. The designs of towering buildings are very impressive. So why go to this expensive city in North Italy? There are still many places to explore aside from luxurious shops and high rise buildings.
Here are some free things to do in Milan:
- Check the museums at Castel Sforzesco/ Castle Sforza. The red brick fortress was named after Francesco Sforza, the duke of Milan during 15th century. He commissioned Dona Bramante and Leonardo da Vinci to design this squared castle with towers in every corner.
At present, this castle houses a number of museums. One of the museum’s highlights is Michelangelo’s last sculpture, la Rondanini Pietà.
You can see the Book of the Dead and mummies at Archaeological Museum
Castel Sforzesco museums are FREE everyday starting at 4pm and every Tuesday from 2pm onwards.
If you visit earlier than 2 or 4pm, the entrance fee costs 5 euros.
- Stroll at Parco Sempione. Locals and tourists hang out here to exercise or relax. If you are lucky, you can catch some performers play musical instruments while getting some sun or shade.
The park is in between 2 iconic landmarks- Castel Sforzesco and Arco della Pace.
Arco della Pace or Arch of Peace is a neoclassical monument that was built to celebrate Napoleon Bonaparte’s victory. It’s in the edge of Parco Sempione.
- Walk around at Piazza del Duomo. You’ll see Duomo di Milano or Milan Cathedral and the statue of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first King of Italy in this square.
The gothic cathedral sits in the center of Milan. It is the largest gothic cathedral and the second largest cathedral in the world. Look at the intricate details of the church filled with marble spires and statues.
If you want to see the terraces/rooftop of the Duomo , the fee is €9 and €13 by lift.
- Window shop at Vittorio Emanuele Gallery II. It’s right next to the Duomo di Milano. It is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world and is filled with lots of high end shops, restaurants and cafes. Window shop or wander around the mall and don’t forget to look up to see the magnificent glass canopy and look down to see the mosaics on the floor.
- Check out Porta Nuova. Residential buildings, prestigious business centers fill this part of Milan. Walk around and see the unique and striking architecture of each building in the area.
Bosco Verticale / Vertical Forest is a residential building that hosts 900 trees and thousands of plants.
To wrap it up, Milan is still worth a visit even if you are not a shopaholic or a city lover, it has fair share of Italian history. 😉