48 Hours in Milan

The Tia Fox Travel Guid to Milan 101

Milan is a beautiful metropolitan city, the capital of the Lombardy region and is the second most populous city in Italy. Not only is there an abundance of jaw dropping tourist attractions but there is also the second largest number of Michelin star restaurants in Italy and let’s not forget, amazing fashion and shopping!

To Stay

This trip we stayed north of the Duomo at the Hotel Cristoforo Columbus which is not far from the Milano Centrale railway station (the location is convenient if you’re travelling around Italy by train –  which we were). The hotel is excellent quality and comes at a reasonable price. Our classic room was a tad on the small side so I’d probably recommend a superior room if you’re staying for more than a few nights.

There are plenty of fantastic hotels in Milan to choose from so it all depends on your priorities in Milan. The Park Hyatt Milan is super convenient if you want to see the Duomo and other major tourist attractions.

To Do & See 

Tourist office – InfoMilano:

The MilanoCard offers free public transport and discounts on selected museums, monuments, restaurants and bike rental. You can buy either a one-day or three-day card online or from the tourist information office in Milan.

The Milan Pass is a 48-hour city card that, once purchased, offers free entry to many of the major sights and comes with a book of vouchers for further discounts.

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Wearing Maria Stanley Dress (similar here), MICHAEL Michael Kors Bag (similar here) and Soludos Wedges (similar here)

Duomo (Milan Cathedral):

Begun in 1386, Milan’s Duomo is the world’s largest gothic cathedral, taking over 500 years to complete. The best time to visit is in bright sunshine, when the windows create a kaleidoscope of colour through the cavernous interior. Climb the steps to the roof to admire the forest of 135 spires and 3,600 statues.

Opening Times: Daily 07:00-18:40 (terraces 09:00-18:30).
Address: Piazza del Duomo, Milan, 20121, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 7202 2656.
Website: www.duomomilano.it

Santa Maria delle Grazie and The Last Supper:

The Last Supper is one of the most famous paintings in the world. Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece is painted directly onto the wall of the refectory adjoining the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Centuries of repainting were stripped back at the end of the last century to reveal what is close to the original work.

Opening Times: Tue-Sun 08:15-19:00.
Address: Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie 2, Corso Magenta, Milan, 20123, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 9280 0360.
Website: www.cenacolovinciano.org

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Museo Del Novecento:

This museum in the Palazzo dell Arengario is now the permanent home for Milan’s collection of modern and contemporary art. Some of the works are grouped thematically, in areas like Futurism, the Novecento, Spatialism and Arte Povera, while others showcase outstanding artistic personalities such as Boccioni, Carrà, Soffici and Martini. This museum also has one of the best unobstructed view overlooking Piazza del Duomo.

Opening Times: Mon 14:30-19:30, Tue-Weds 09:30-19:30, Thu 09:30-22:30, Fri 09:30-19:30, Sat 09:30-22:30, Sun 09:30
Address: Via Marconi, 1, Milan, 20100, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 8844 4061.
Website: www.museodelnovecento.org

Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo da Vinci National Science and Technology Museum):

Devoted to the history of science, most visit this museum to see the Leonardo Gallery, which showcases a host of models (both static and functioning) by Leonardo da Vinci. Illustrating his intuitive genius, designs for war machines, flying contraptions and architecture display da Vinci’s incredible foresight.

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Museo d’Arte Antica, Castello Sforzesco (Museum of Historic Art, Sforza Castle):

On the edge of the Parco Sempione, three municipal museums compete for attention within the 15th-century red brick Sforza Castle. The most venerable is the Museum of Historic Art which holds Michelangelo’s last sculpture, the unfinished Rondanini Pietà, depicting the Virgin cradling the body of Christ.

Opening Times: Tue-Sun 09:00-19:30 (castle daily 07:00-18:00/19:00).
Address: Piazza Castello, Milan, 27029, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 8846 3703.
Website: www.milanocastello.it

Museo Teatrale alla Scala (Theatre Museum at La Scala):

Opera lovers will adore this museum, crammed with rich mementoes of the celebrated opera house, La Scala. Two collections are devoted to Milan’s darling Giuseppe Verdi, whose Slaves Chorus from Nabucco remains the unofficial Italian anthem. Memorabilia include handwritten scores and the jewel-encrusted baton presented to Verdi after a triumphal reception of Aida.

Opening Times: Daily 09:30-12:30, 13:30-17:30.
Address: Largo Ghiringhelli 1, Milan, 20121, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 8879 7473.
Website: www.teatroallascala.org

Opening Times: Wed-Fri 09:30-17:00, Sat 09:30-18:30.
Address: Via San Vittore 21, Milan, 20123, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 485 551.
Website: www.museoscienza.org

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro Stadium):

This world-famous stadium is home to Milan’s two main football teams: AC Milan and Internazionale. The San Siro Museum tells the histories of both clubs and showcases memorabilia such as cups, medals and shirts as well as life-size replicas of players. Guided tours of this 86,000 capacity ground are available too.

Opening Times: Daily 09:30-18:30.
Address: Via Piccolomini 5, Milan, 20151, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 404 2432 (museum and tour).
Website: www.sansiro.net

To Eat & Drink


With two Michelin stars above the door, and 2,000 bottles of wine in the cellar, this eponymous fine dining establishment near the Duomo showcases the talents of chef Carlo Cracco. The interior may look like an airport lounge, but with innovations like pasta with sea urchins and coffee, the most tasteful elements are left on the plate.

Address: Via Victor Hugo 4 (off Via Orefici), Milan, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 876 774.
Website: http://www.ristorantecracco.it

Acanto Ristorante:

The fabulous old-style Italian dining room in the luxurious Hotel Principe di Savoia comes complete with Murano glass chandeliers, a huge dessert trolley and top-notch sommeliers. The food is exquisite classic Italian, so expect dishes like turbot with artichoke cream and apple vinegar or guinea fowl with Madeira wine. Book a window table for garden views.

Address: Piazza della Repubblica, 17, 20124, Milan, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 6230 2026.
Website: http://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/milan/hotel-principe-di-savoia/restaurants-bars

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Terrazza Aperol:

Terrazza Aperol is no ordinary bar, how many bars have you visited that overlook the breathtaking Piazza Duomo? Ordering a Aperol spritz here is an incredible experience! Sip your spritz on the outdoor terrace, under shaded umbrellas!

Address: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele – Floor 2, Milan, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 8633 1959.
Website: http://www.terrazzaaperol.it

Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala:

Overlooking Piazza della Scala, this stunning first floor, Michelin-starred restaurant serves innovative fine dining that complements its white pillars, gold trimmings and attentive staff. Combining the very best of Italian and French cooking, expect plates to be culinary objets d’art as fresh fish and vegetables become the celebrities of the show.

Address: Piazza della Scala 5, Milan, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 8068 8201.
Website: www.trussardiallascala.com


The executive chef, Fulvio Siccardi, is on his way to a third Michelin star for his excellent modern twists on traditional Italian cuisine. Located in the trendy Forcella district, the dining room is a clinical take on home comforts with old books and two open fires. Try uovo in gabbia (egg in a cage), the chef’s signature dish.

Address: Via Forcella 6, Milan, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 837 8111.
Website: www.magnapars-suitesmilano.it/da-noi-in

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Spontini :

This historical place has been serving pizza to the “Milanese” since the 50s. They have a no-frills no-nonsese attitude: they only offer one thing, their indescribably good pizza. This place offers a quick, cheap and filling meal. Also this is one of the only few places in Milan still making pizza in the traditional way.

Address (Spontini Duomo): Via Santa Radegonda, 11-20121, Milan, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 8909 2621.
Website: http://www.pizzeriaspontini.it

Alla Fontana Pizzeria:

Located in the trendy Isola district, this cheap and cheerful restaurant is hugely popular with locals. Its colossal plates of gnocchi, crisp roast chicken and well-topped pizzas will induce envy if eaten on the outside tables. Half portions are available.

Address: Via Thaon di Revel, 28, Milan, Italy
Telephone: +39 2 668 4735.

To Shop

Home to Armani and Versace, Milan is a temple to fashion. Naturally it delights the high priests and priestesses of style with all manner of labels, stores, boutiques and independent shops.

Key areas:

Top of the list for fashion lovers in Milan is the Quadrilaterod’Oro (Golden Quad), formed by Via Montenapoleone, Via Sant’Andrea, Via Monzani and Via della Spiga. Names such as Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada, Valentino and Versace read like an ABC of Italian chic. L’Armadio de Laura, Via Voghera 25, has some fine offbeat thrift and end-of-season returns, while the pedestrianised Via Fiori Chiari is a particularly pleasant spot for browsing galleries, with a number of good cafés along the way.

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Wearing Maria Stanley Dress (similar here), MICHAEL Michael Kors Bag (similar here) and Soludos Wedges (similar here)

Shopping centres: 
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a 19th-century glass-roofed four-storey arcade, is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world. Locals come to browse the exclusive shops and sip Campari and soda in the bars. Prada has had its flagship store here since 1913 and was joined recently by Louis Vuitton and Gucci. 10 Corso Como, a design emporium with clothes, books and even its own bed and breakfast is a haven for fashionistas.

For those who prefer the bustle of street markets, Viale Papiniano (metro San Agostino) is open all day Saturday, while Via Zivetti (metro Centrale FS) is open on Wednesday mornings. The flea market at Fiera di Sinigaglia takes place along the Darsena basin on Saturdays. Antique fairs are popular at the weekends around the Naviglio Grande.

Visit outlet malls for hefty discounts: try Il Salvagente at Via Fratelli Bronzetti, 16 and the Dmagazine Outlet at Via Manzoni, 44.

Opening hours:

Shops are generally open 09:30-12:30 and 15:30-19:30 from Tuesday to Sunday, although bigger stores stay open all day. Some shops close on Sunday and reopen on Monday afternoon from about 15:30-19:30. Many shops close for much of August.

Getting Around

Public transport:

Milan has a comprehensive transport network run by Azienda Trasporti Milanesi. Its integrated ticketing system connects the metro, bus, tram and trolleybus.

The metro has four lines (red M1, green M2, yellow M3 and purple M5) which converge at Duomo, Centrale FS, Loreto and Cadorna. Tickets must be validated by punching them in the SITAM machines onboard buses or at metro stations. Tickets are available from newsagents, tobacconists, automatic vending machines at major metro and bus stops, plus some cafés.

Passes, valid for one or two days, are available from ATM railway offices at Cadorna, Centrale FS, Duomo, Loreto and Romolo. A carnet of 10 tickets is also available. You can load fares and passes onto RicaricaMi smartcards.


You can pick up taxis (usually white or yellow) at ranks outside railway stations or book them by phone. The main firms are Radiotaxi and Autoradio. Tipping is not expected. Expect to pay another euro for each item of luggage.


You should avoid driving in Milan if possible. Its streets are congested day and night, and parking is very difficult.

Roadside parking in the historic centre is limited to a maximum of two hours within the blue lines marked by sostaapagamento (pay to stop) signs. A city toll is mandatory between Monday and Friday from 07:30 until 19:30. The best option is to head to one of the park-and-ride schemes run by ATM.

If you’re determined to drive into the city, try the Autosilo Borgospesso 24-hour car park, Via Borgospesso 18, for somewhere to leave your car.

Car hire:

To hire a car in Milan, drivers must be 23 years or over and must have been in the possession of an EU licence or International Driving Permit for at least one year. Insurance is included in the price.

Car hire companies include Avis and Hertz.

Bicycle hire:

Milanese are enthusiastic cyclists and a bicycle sharing scheme called BikeMi operates nearly 5,000 bikes in more than 200 stations. You can get a one-day or one-week subscription, after which the first 30 minutes of any journey are free.

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