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5 Things to do in Milan

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The northern Italian city of Milan is known for a few things: being a worldwide fashion capital, home of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci and, of course, as being home to the tallest Italians.

In case you’ve got some free time in between walking the catwalk at fashion week, here are the top five things to do on your next visit to Milan according to a real Milano!

  1. Visit the Naviglio (canals) and Darsena (harbor) at night

Milan’s history is closely intertwined with the development of the Naviglio, the water network of the city. During the antique ages, construction of artificial waterways fed by surrounding rivers began to create a way to transport goods as well as provide a water supply to the city.

Today, the area of the Naviglio is a great place to walk around at night. Along the Naviglio Grande you can find old craftsmen’s homes, which have been converted to artist’s studios, cafes and restaurants and are a particularly fun hangout for young people.

Cafés along the Naviglio Grande in Milan. Taken by Ste via Flickr.
Cafés along the Naviglio Grande in Milan. Taken by Ste via Flickr.

The port of Darsena was built in 1603 and was used as a trading center throughout history. Recently it was drained in order to build an underground parking garage (not a joke), but the new administration switched back to a harbor, replacing the water and today it is ideal for hanging out before or after heading out for the evening.

  1. Go for a run into the Parco Sempione (Simplon Park)
Parco Sempione with a view of the Arch of Peace in Milan. Taken by Dzhingarova via Flickr.
Parco Sempione with a view of the Arch of Peace in Milan. Taken by Dzhingarova via Flickr.

As one of Milan’s largest city parks, Parco Sempione is located next to the gardens of the Sforza Castle and the Arch of Peace in the historic city center. The park was designed by the architect Emilio Alemagna to create a panoramic view of both of these monuments, some of the most prominent in Milan.

  1. Visit fashion foundations Armani Silos and Prada Foundation 

A visit to Milan wouldn’t be complete without a visit to some of the most famous names in fashion (I mean, it is a fashion capital right?). At the Armani Silos you can look at exhibitions that showcase fashion from the past 35 years that has inspired or continues to inspire designer Georgio Armani.

On May 8, 2015, the Prada Foundation found itself a permanent home, too! With the aim of exhibiting ways that mankind has transformed idea of cultural products such as literature, cinema, music, philosophy art an science, the Prada Foundation is not to be missed!

  1. Visit the churches Sant’ambrogio and Santa Maria delle Grazie

The Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio (Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio) is one of the oldest churches in Milan, dating back to 379 A.D., though it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times of the years. Milan’s patron saint, St. Ambrose is buried in the crypt here. There are many beautiful mosaics and frescos to see here too.

Sant'Ambrogio Basilica, Milan. Taken by Sharat Ganapati via Flickr.
Sant’Ambrogio Basilica, Milan. Taken by Sharat Ganapati via Flickr.

The Santa Maria delle Grazie (Holy Mary of Grace) is church and Dominican convent that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It contains the mural of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, perhaps one of the most famous murals throughout history.

Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. Taken by Davide Oliva via Flickr.
Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. Taken by Davide Oliva via Flickr.
  1. Have a drink in the historical center of Brera

Located just north of the Duomo (Cathedral) the historic neighborhood of Brera is perfect for enjoying an evening stroll or stopping for a drink at one of the many street cafes. There are also many boutiques and small shops that line the narrow streets and it is home to one of Milan’s best art museums: Pinacoteca Brera.

Enjoy!

[Milano 24]

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