Milan to Brescia

A visit to the points of interest of Milan including Milan Cathedral (Duomo) and Royal Palace of Milan, Madonnina, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Painting of 'The Last Supper' (UNESCO site) Sforza Castle, Teatro alla Scala, Ancient Roman Ruins of Milan, Milan Canal District (Navigli), Vertical Forest, San Siro stadium before taking the train to Brescia.

What to see and photograph in Milan

Milan is famous for its fashion and football but there’s a lot more to see;

  • Milan Cathedral (Duomo) and Royal Palace of Milan
  • Madonnina
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Painting of ‘The Last Supper’ (UNESCO site)
  • Sforza Castle
  • Teatro alla Scala
  • Ancient Roman Ruins of Milan
  • Milan Canal District (Navigli)
  • Vertical Forest
  • San Siro stadium

As Milan is a tourist hot spot you’ve plenty of hotels to choose from.  Check out the DoubleTree Hilton Milan.

Milan Cathedral (Duomo) and Royal Palace of Milan

Milan Cathedral - Duomo

The most identifiable landmark of Milan is Milan Cathedral.  It’s known as the Duomo.  Construction of the Duomo began in 1386 and took 6 centuries to complete.  It is the largest church in Italy and the third largest in the world.  The architecture is Gothic making the Duomo the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.  Maybe it’s the best looking church in the world too?  You must buy a ticket to enter.  For an additional fee you may ascend to the top for a unique view of its spires.

Located alongside the Duomo is the Royal Palace of Milan (above right).  The Royal Palace of Milan would house Dukes and Duchesses when Milan was not part of Italy.  Milan used to be part of a country called Duchy of Milan from 1395 to 1797.


Madonnina, Milan Cathedral, Duomo

Whilst admiring the Duomo of Milan don’t forget to look to the top.  Standing on top of the highest spire is the Madonnina.  It’s a golden statue of the Virgin Mary.  The Madonnina is standing at 108 meters in height.  When it was placed here in the late 18th century, the Madonnina was the highest point in Milan.  In respect to the Madonnina, no taller buildings were built in Milan.  Due to Milan being a growing city a few taller buildings have been built recently.  These new taller buildings each have a Madonnina atop of them.

When AC Milan play Inter Milan at the San Siro, this game is nicknamed the Madonnina.  This is in respect of the Virgin Mary standing atop the Duomo.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the oldest shopping mall in Italy.  It’s the most majestic and houses top end brands.  There’s one of Italy’s most exclusive hotels in the shopping mall, TownHouse Galleria.  You will probably find Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II full of tourists taking selfies.  It’s one of the top Instagram locations in Milan.  The gallery is named after the first king of Italy who was born in Turin.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Domed Roof

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II,iron and glass domed roof

Whilst exploring the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, make sure you look up.  The glass and iron domed roof is something Gustave Eiffel would be proud of.  The roof was designed by Italian, Giuseppe Mengoni.  One of the exits leads to the Duomo and another to the Teatro Alla Scala.  The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is in a prime Milan location.

Painting of ‘The Last Supper’ (UNESCO site)

‘The Last Supper’ painting is located in the Santa Maria delle Grazie.  This is the only UNESCO site in Milan.  It’s a church and Dominican convent built in the 15th century.  The architectural style is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance.  The painting of ‘The Last Supper’ by Leornardo da Vinci is located inside.  The church was seriously damaged during World War II.  The room which housed the mural was heavily sandbagged ensuring its survival.  Today the biggest danger to the painting is people taking photos of it.  For preservation reasons it’s forbidden to take photos.  You can visit the exact location where ‘The Last Supper’ took place in Jerusalem.

Sforza Castle

Sforza Castle, Milan

Sforza Castle is named after Francisco Sforza, a former Duke of the Duchy of Milan.  The tower in the center is called Filarete Tower and is named after an architect who designed it for Sforza.  The Duchy of Milan was controlled by many countries over the years.  The French, Swiss, Austrians, Spanish and Venetians have all controlled the Sforza Castle.  It used to be one of the largest fortresses in Europe.  When you think of Milan, a huge fortress is the last thing that comes to mind.  Today it houses museums and art galleries.

Teatro alla Scala (Milan Opera House)

Teatro alla Scala, Milan Opera House

Milan Opera House may not look anything special from the outside.  On the inside it’s one of the grandest opera houses you will ever see.  The best of Italian opera and ballet acts perform here.  There are regular live performances.  Schedule and prices are displayed on the Milan Opera House website.  Italian legends, Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti have both performed at the Milan Opera House.

Ancient Roman Ruins of Milan

Roman Ruins of Milan

Ancient Milan was called Mediolanum.  Scattered around Milan are several Roman ruins. The best kept ruins are those of Colonne di San Lorenzo (above).  Several columns are located outside of the Basilica of San Lorenzo.  As the colorful trams regularly pass by the columns you can take some beautiful photos here.  Around central Milan you’ll also find remains of a Roman wall, imperial palace and an amphitheater.  Unfortunately not much remains of the amphitheater, nearby Verona is where to go to view a well maintained one.

Milan Canal District (Navigli)

Naviglio canal District, Milan

Milan has its own canal district.  The Navigli used to consist of 5 canals.  These canals were used to carry commercial goods.  In fact they would carry the marble required to build the Duomo.  Leonardo Da Vinci is famous for ‘The Last Supper’ painting in Milan.  He also designed the canals of Milan.  Today, the canals are redundant.  They do offer some wonderful reflection photography opportunities though.  You can make good Instagram shots on any of the bridges that cross the canal.  The canals are lined with bars and restaurants making Navagli one of the best nightlife locations in Milan.  During the summer months you can take a sightseeing  canal tour on a boat.

Vertical Forest (Bosco Verticale)

Vertical Forest (Bosco Verticale)

The vertical forest (Bosco Verticale) are 2 residential towers.  The largest tower is 111 meters tall.  There are over 900 trees on the towers which is why they are named, vertical forest.  They are designed to reduce smog and increase oxygen in the city.  As you can imagine with all the weight of the trees, the balconies had to be made of reinforced steel.  In 2015 it won the award for the best tall building in the world.  Bosco Verticale are definitely Instagram worthy buildings in Milan.  They are conveniently located next to a modern shopping mall.

Visit the San Siro Stadium

Inter Milan / AC Milan San Siro Stadium Tour - stadium

A short metro ride from the center of Milan is the famous San Siro stadium.  It’s the largest football stadium in Italy.  AC Milan and Inter Milan both play here.  This increases the chances of being able to watch a live football game whilst in Milan.  The stadium is open daily for a self guided stadium tour.  A must for any football fan.

How to get from Milan to Brescia by train

Train from Milan to Brescia

There are regular trains from Milan Centrale to Brescia.  The journey takes around 40 minutes and costs less than €9.  With such a short journey time you should consider staying in Brescia.  You could visit Milan on a day trip.  For the price of a regular hotel in Milan you can stay in a palace in Brescia.

Brescia to Verona

2018-04-11T17:23:04+00:00 December 29th, 2017|Italy, Western Europe|14 Comments


  1. Rob+Ann December 30, 2017 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    We love to follow along on your travels. That’s especially true when you visit cities like Milan! We’re looking forward to the travels towards Iran; that area always intrigues us. Also, nice to know that chances of catching a football match in Milan are good – that would be fun to attend!

  2. Anne Slater-Brooks December 30, 2017 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    This is great timing as I am in Milan at the moment. However, I would seriously consider booking a guided tour if you want to visit the cathedral. We queued three hours to get to the rooftops and then it would have been a further two to visit the interior of the cathedral. It truly is an incredible building but that is a joke. Your post has given me some fabulous inspiration for tomorrow though.

    • James Smith December 30, 2017 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Anne, yes it’s one of the top things to see in Europe so there are always lots of tourists visiting.

  3. Archana Singh December 31, 2017 at 8:03 am - Reply

    I had been to Milan a few years back. And, I instantly fell in love with the city. your pictures of the city, especially the canal district, brought back all my memories. Now my heart is aching to go back. And love the trains there.

  4. Mel Butler December 31, 2017 at 9:18 am - Reply

    I have been to Milan a couple of times and I find it such an interesting city. Unfortunately, I have still yet not been able to see the last supper 🙁 I am so glad that you got to see it though and it will definitely be back on my list for next time. Milan Canal District (Navigli) looks pretty, I could see myself getting lost there exploring. Cool fact about Leonardo Da Vinci designing the canals.

  5. Tom December 31, 2017 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Loved reading about your recommendations for this city. I am going in a couple months for the second time. Last time I was just there for two days and saw a football match in San Siro which I would recommend everyone to do. Such an amazing experience! Will definitely visit the Navigli canal district! Thanks for that tip!

  6. Dada December 31, 2017 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    I have been to Milan a couple of times before but that was so long time ago and I was completely interested of other stuff than the history of Milan itself so I am happy to have learn some very interesting facts about the city! Really! Now 20 years older I appreciate more the historical facts. I hope to get back there with a new pair of eyes! It was clever to put Madonnina atop of the newer taller buildings to remain the respect for her.

  7. Indrani January 2, 2018 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Good recommendations for Milan, my fav city of Italy. Loved the duomo roof. Amazing views from there.
    The canal bit of info is new to me . I was not aware Leonardo da vinci designed them. I wish I had observed them more closely. Stadium may be the last place I would want to visit.:P 🙂

  8. Chris January 2, 2018 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    I actually had no idea what there was in Milan. I know it only because of the football and fashion. The Duomo cathedral is stunning and I had heard of the Madonnina. I didn’t actually know it was the golden virgin on the cathedral – I just just knew it because of the Milan derby! The Roman ruins there are fascinating – something I only associated with Rome. I’m ready to go to Milan!

  9. Andy January 5, 2018 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    I did not know about the canals of Milan but they look as interesting as Venice and maybe more so. The architecture of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is quite amazing, the ceilings and those stained glassed windows definitely work.

  10. Samah January 5, 2018 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    I loved reading this. I am constantly seeing photos of Duomo all over Instagram and it does look stunning – I really would like to visit Milan to photograph it as well. Staying in Brescia, while doing day trips to Milan sounds like a good idea, especially since transportation is budget-friendly.

  11. Shona @ January 11, 2018 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    As I follow your travels I’m beginning to think you may be a football fan. 🙂
    Milan is one of my favourite cities. I’ve been there many times but you have shown me some places I haven’t seen. I love the idea behind the buildings with the trees. I’ll have to do a boat tour next time too. A great tip to stay in Brescia and make Milan a day trip or 2. Great pics and info as always James.

  12. Alexey January 12, 2018 at 7:24 am - Reply

    Me and my wife started our honeymoon voyage from Milan.We got so much fun and great memories. We both enjoyed your post and compared your photos with ours:)

    • James Smith January 12, 2018 at 10:13 am - Reply

      Hi Alexey, I hope you enjoyed better weather than I did. Although the rain made for good reflection shots!

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