As the business hub of Italy and a fashion capital, we might assume that Milan is all contemporary dynamism. But beneath this surface energy lays a old city with deep history that extends back through Renaissance, medieval, and Roman times. During this 3-hour Milan Walking Tour we'll join a local historian or expert for an in-depth look at Milan's history. We'll visit sites such as the renowned white marble Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and the Sforza Castle, while popping into medieval churches and admiring some Renaissance art. This is a great introductory tour, both for first-timers and repeat visitors looking to deepen their appreciation for the city.
Marvel at the Marble Duomo
We’ll begin at one of our favorite cathedrals in the world, the Duomo di Milano. As we enter this magnificent Gothic structure, our guide will explain the building’s origins as well as the 600 year timeframe to it took to complete. Together, we’ll admire the 3000+ ornate statues on the facade and within. We’ll spend some time inside the cathedral: we might discuss the stained glass windows in Christendom, the politics behind the creation of this gothic structure (with many other influences) and the redesign of Milan’s canals in order to transport the tons of marble needed for its construction into the city. (Interested in canals? Try our Navigli Aperitivo tour
Renaissance Churches and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
As we leave the spectacular edifice behind us, we may pop to a lesser-known church moments away from the Duomo. Santa Maria presso San Satiro is set apart from bustling central district and would be easy to walk past unknowingly. Known for its unique architecture and work by Bramante, our guide will touch upon the Renaissance style of design and the influence of such architects on Milan. We’ll then proceed onward through Piazza del Duomo to approach the grand arch of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Our guide will talk about the construction and the architectural methods in place, such as the combination of iron and glass. The glittering designer stores surrounding us will offer a good diving off point to talk about Milan’s status as a fashion capital. We may pop into the original Prada Store, which opened in Milan in 1913 to touch on this theme further. (For a deeper dive into Italian fashion try our Milan Fashion Tour
). We’ll follow in the footsteps of centuries of locals as we stroll down the passageway from the Duomo to Piazza del Duomo to Piazza di Marino as we reach La Scala Theater. From the outside of the building, we’ll talk about the famous Italian architect behind the masterpiece, Giuseppe Piermarini. We may discuss the origins of the opera in Milan and why this city in particular projected itself to fame in the 18th century. We’ll talk about the key players associated with this Opera House such as Verdi and Puccini as well as the impact of WW2 bomb damage on this celebrated musical venue.
From Brera to the Castle
From here, our Milan Walking Tour may take a number of different directions depending on time and the proclivities of the group. We might head in the direction of Sant'Maurizio to admire an early Christian church, totally rebuilt during Renaissance times. Alternatively, we could walk in the direction of Piazza San Fedele to talk about the 16th century church and the statue of Alessandro Manzoni, an important Italian literary figure. We may continue wandering in the direction of the Brera district to Palazzo Belgioioso, another Milanese architectural treasure (designed by the same architect as La Scala). Inspired by Luigi Vanvitelli’s Reggia di Caserta, the building was completed in 1781 as a stylish mansion for Alberico XII of Belgioioso. As we amble through the cobblestoned streets of Brera, our guide will talk about this particular neighborhood and the bohemian and leisurely style associated with it. Our last stop on our tour will certainly be the sturdy Sforza Castle, just by Parco Sempione. We’ll talk about the Sforza dynasty and their rule in Milan, the design of the castle’s defences by Leonardo da Vinci, and the various museums and works on display in the surroundings. As we walk through ancient courtyards and grandiose spaces, we’ll harken back to the times of the Renaissance.
Over the course the walk, we will learn about the early beginnings of Milan and how the city has developed over the years. As we take in some of the most significant buildings, monuments and ancient artifacts, the richness of Milan’s past will come to life.
Where does it start and where does it end? We start near the Duomo (including going inside) and we will end at the castle. We do not visit the inside rooms of the castle, however you can explore these at your leisure after the tour finishes.
Does this include the Last Supper? This tour does not include the Last Supper.
Is this tour walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible? We do cover some ground on this tour, however we can adjust according to the mobility of your group. Please contact us with any mobility questions; we will be happy to advise if this tour will be appropriate for you or propose modifications where necessary.
Is this tour appropriate for children? This walk is not a part of our official family program. That said, we may be able to arrange a visit with a family-friendly expert. Please contact us.