Our honeymoon tour of Italy started with Milan! We only spent a few days there before heading on to Venice, then Florence. While in Milan, our days centered around the Galleria Vittoria Emanuale, the Duomo of course, eating delicious food and visiting all the beautifully designed cafes and shops. Even though it was a bit overwhelming at first (we arrived on a holiday and it seemed the entire city was filled with shoulder-to-shoulder people everywhere!), we really enjoyed it after we acclimated, and have great memories of the fashion capital of the world.
One of the first things we saw upon arrival in Milan city center was the stunning Duomo. It was evening and the Duomo was lit up and glowing white against the dark sky. It was a jaw-dropping introduction to Milan! The Duomo exterior is incredibly unique and like a scene from another world when you first see it. The square in front of it was full of people all day and all night, so we woke up early one morning to enjoy it before the crowds and were glad we did.
We had seen pictures of the rooftop terraces of the Milan Duomo, with the gothic spires and statues carved of pinkish white marble and knew we had to see it in person. The details are incredibly stunning up close and it is a truly unique experience to be in the middle of the intricate and dramatic gothic spires on the way up to the rooftop. The view from the rooftop is also amazing of course. It is a definite must-see when in Milan! The Museum of the Milan Cathedral next door is also definitely worth a visit to learn more of the building and to see some of the detailed pieces up close.
Travel tip: with a Duomo pass, you can split up your visit to the inside of the Duomo and to the rooftop terraces. However, do ask if there are any planned closures of either during your time there. We had planned to visit the inside on our last day there, but due to a closure, we were not able to!
Seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper
Seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper in person after all these years of seeing it in textbooks, magazines and books was amazing. It is one of Italy’s most famous artworks and we felt it was a must-see! The late 15th-century mural painting is housed by the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and is larger than I expected. Before going into the refectory and also after the visit, you can learn more about the interesting painting through educational displays.
Tickets are mandatory and sell out quickly, so be sure to book yours ahead of time! You can purchase them either from the official website, or from a trustworthy tour operator. Multiple people stopped by the ticket office while we were there in hopes of a ticket but were turned away. I purchased our tickets from the official website a month in advance after checking the website regularly for the release of tickets during the time that we would be there. Only 25 people are allowed in at a time, for a maximum of 15 minutes.
Additional Trip Highlights
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele – a large, beautiful shopping arcade under a beautiful glass dome that is a stunning dark blue in the evenings. It is located right next to the Duomo. You can enjoy fantastic views of the Galleria while enjoying coffee, sweets and pastry inside the cutest cafe, Marchesi, located on the second floor.
- The amazing food. Needless to say, we enjoyed amazing pasta and delicious (and beautiful dessert) every day. Probably our favorite dinner was at Spazio, where we had amazing dishes and fantastic service while looking out at the Duomo in the evening. We also made several trips to the Peck gourmet grocery store, where we had the most delicious lasagna ever! Even better than the ones we had at restaurants!
- Monumental Cemetery – Probably the most beautiful cemetery we have ever been to. It is filled with beautiful sculptures and resembles an outdoor sculpture gallery. It is huge and a must see if you have a few days in Milan.
- The beautiful architecture and design everywhere. All the restaurants and cafes are beautifully designed inside and out. The shopping areas near the Duomo are also stunning inside and out. We spent hours just window shopping and admiring everything.
- Tourist attractions and the entire city are packed with people on bank holidays, with long lines everywhere. Plan ahead and look up holidays if possible.
- Ask your hotel concierge to make restaurant reservations for you if online reservations (such as through TripAdvisor) is not available.