As cliché as it sounds, everyone should start their exploration of Milan from the Duomo. Overlooking the ever-crowded piazza, the cathedral’s majestic facade appears as an incredible marble vision to any first-time visitor. Its rooftop terraces also offer one of the best views of the city, great to get a comprehensive glimpse before diving in.

  • Piazza del Duomo

Pinacoteca di Brera

Art lovers will be spoiled for choice in Milan, starting with the internationally renowned Pinacoteca di Brera. Established alongside the most prestigious art school, it houses works by the old masters from the 14th to the 19th centuries – don’t miss Tintoretto, Caravaggio and Piero della Francesca. Raphael’s The Marriage of the Virgin is a must-see.

Palazzo Reale

Once the seat of the government, this former Palace located by the Duomo is a regal example of neoclassical architecture. Largely destroyed during WWII, the once-sumptuous interiors remain visible in the fascinating Sala delle Cariatidi. Today, the palace is home to major art exhibitions, it consistently attracts an international crowd of culture-lovers.

Museo del Novecento

Just next to Palazzo Reale and located inside the Fascist-era architectural complex of Palazzo dell’Arengario, is Museo del Novecento. With more than 4,000 works, it is truly the hub of 20th-century Italian art history, exhibiting artworks from futurism, realism and arte povera movements among others. Climb the grand spiral staircase and start your visit marvelling at the monumental painting Il Quarto Stato (The Fourth Estate) by Pellizza da Volpedo. The striking panoramic terrace, featuring Lucio Fontana’s neon installation, gives the best view of the Duomo.

Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie

Don’t even think about leaving Milan without visiting Leonardo da Vinci’s celebrated The Last Supper painting. Arguably one of the city’s most visited attractions, it is hidden in the refectory of the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. Due to the fragility of the artwork, only small groups of people are allowed inside the Cenacolo every 15min – this makes for an extremely moving and intense experience, but it also means advance booking is mandatory.

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  • Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie

Fondazione Prada

The recent project of designer Miuccia Prada has turned an early 20th-century distillery into a venue in which art and architecture are constantly in conversation with each other. Conceived by architect Rem Koolhaas, the captivating exhibition space combines seven existing buildings with three new structures, including the 60m-high white concrete tower and the gilded Haunted House. Stop for a coffee at Bar Luce; the café designed by Wes Anderson.

Villa Necchi Campiglio

Hidden away in an elegant private garden, the Villa designed by local talent Piero Portaluppi is an architectural gem. Commissioned by the cultured middle-class family Necchi Campiglio in the 30s, the luxurious residence holds all of the original charm and has established itself as an icon of art deco and modernism. Superb interiors, a cutting-edge pool and a magnificent veranda will take you loftily back in time.

Cimitero Monumentale

The Monumental Cemetery is considered a jewel of the city and a proper outdoor museum worth visiting. Despite what you might think, this outstanding architectural complex has nothing sad or grim about it – it a quiet oasis of peace, enclosed by eye-catching black-and-white walls and filled with great sculptures and monuments.

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  • Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale

Salone del Mobile.Milano & Design Week

Each April the Salone del Mobile.Milano, a world-famous design fair, is held in conjunction with Design Week, meaning that there’s a huge variety of events and exhibitions held across the city. Art, architecture, design and fashion come together offering immersive experiences. It ranks among the city’s most anticipated events, attracting visitors from all over the world.

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