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Milan Architecture Tour

From the lone surviving Medieval square to Modernisme, follow Milan’s building styles through the ages
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 0.2 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview:  Northern Italy’s main city and commercial capital has for the past century been an important laboratory for architectural design, with... more »

Tips:  Piazza del Duomo, where this tour begins, is easy to find: it is the hub for many public transport lines, including the Metro (station... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Milan Duomo Rooftop

It’s been called the world’s finest example of Flamboyant Gothic, and it certainly fits the name with its forest of spires and pinnacles. Its construction spans from 1402 until the final completion of its façade early in the 1800s, so technically some of it is neo-gothic. After touring the interior, where you’ll see a variety of styles from... More

Opened in 1867, it was Europe’s largest shopping center of its day, but more important, it
marked the beginning of modern architecture in Italy, and is a landmark in 19th-century industrial iron and glass construction. If you choose to admire its architecture from a table at one of its cafes, be prepared to pay dearly for the privilege. Guiseppe ... More

3. Santa Maria presso San Satiro

Before entering the church, walk around alongside it on narrow Via Speronari, past the flower-sellers, to the back, on Via Gaetano Giardino. There is nothing in particular to see there except to appreciate the small space the architect had to work in. Back around to the front, enter the church and walk down the central aisle. Do you notice... More

Not much is left of Medieval Milan, after wars and the inevitable renovations have taken their toll, so to find an entire square almost unspoiled since the Middle Ages is a real treat. Even more surprising to find it just a few steps from Piazza del Duomo.

The Palazzo della Ragione was originally the town hall and dates from 1233. It was the... More

5. Via Dante

As you walk along Via Dante, you’ll see monumental neoclassical palazzi from the Napoleonic period, beginning in 1796 and lasting through the early 1800s. Not all are from that period; at the far end next to the Picolo Teatro is Palazzo Carmagnola, built in the 1300s, but “modernized” with a later neoclassical façade.
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Admission: Free

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The castle begun by Milan’s ruling Visconti family and continued by their successor, the Sforza dynasty, befits their combined status as rulers of much of northern Italy throughout the Renaissance. The best architects and artists worked on it, including da Vinci and Bramante.

Its several museums are well worth a look, as are the buildings,... More

7. Triennale, Palazzo dell’Arte (Palace of Art)

Built in 1932 at the height of the Fascist period, the Palace of Art was designed as a showcase to house an international exposition of modern decorative and industrial arts, and later became the venue for Italy’s premier design show, Triennale di Milano. The building, designed by Giovanni Muzio combines elements of Art Deco with the Rationalist... More