As the world’s capital of fashion and design, there is plenty to see and do in Milan, ranging from taking in the architecture of the centuries-old buildings in the city centre to shopping up a storm amid the branded upmarket clothes and jewellery on sale in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Expats will never be low on options to keep themselves occupied, whether it's going out for a coffee or a night out on the town, having a family-friendly outing or a watching an opera performance.
Recommended sightseeing in Milan
Duomo di Milano
A stay in Milan of any duration would be incomplete without seeing the Duomo di Milano. Milan’s cathedral is quite a spectacular sight. Those who pass by frequently still marvel at its architectural aesthetic as well as its religious value as the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, dedicated to the Nativity of St Mary. Its Gothic beauty is the result of almost 600 years of construction and today it is Italy’s largest and Europe’s second-largest church.
Piazza del Duomo
Of course, if expats visit the Duomo di Milano they will find themselves in the Piazza del Duomo, the main square of Milan. Right in Milan’s centre, the square is a focal point for the city’s art, culture and social scene surrounded by significant buildings, the Royal Palace, and commercial activities. This piazza is one of the main tourist attractions of the city.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Moving along from the piazza, expats will find the country’s oldest shopping mall, designed in 1861 by the architect Giuseppe Mengoni. From the mosaic floors and the large glass dome overhead to the paintings at its base, there is much to learn from its architectural and artistic offerings. The mall houses upmarket stores of Gucci, Prada and Versace as well as bars and restaurants, which are sure to come with a hefty bill thanks to tourist pricing.
Teatro alla Scala
The other side of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II leads out to La Scala, one of the leading opera houses and ballet theatres not only in Italy but in the world. As such, expats interested in operatic arts and ballet can watch world-renowned talents and artists perform right in the heart of Milan. Here, expats will also find an art museum, a theatrical library and an associate school of La Scala.
Established in 1888, this large park offers some lush green relief in the urban space of Milan. There is much to see in the park besides its wonderful vegetation. The park is home to Sforzesco Castle, the Triennale Milano museum, a sports ground and an aquarium, making it the perfect kid-friendly and family-friendly environment.
Santa Maria delle Grazie
Italy is known for its churches and its art history. Not far from Sempione Park, expats can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church and convent and get a glimpse of the famed mural of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.
►Read more about Lifestyle in Milan
►For annual events, see What's on in Milan
"The nightlife in Milan is very entertaining, and it’s a good way of meeting new people. I’d also recommend going to happy hours, which is where people meet after work." Read Alice's interview to see her experiences of lifestyle in Milan.
"Socializing is big in Italy - even at work. Expect to go to take a coffee break at the local cafe with your colleagues every day at 10am. And expect to eat lunch with them as well." Diana talks about work culture and lifestyle in her expat interview.
Are you an expat living in Milan?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Milan. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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