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Arts and Culture of Milan

From La Scala to modern art, Via Manzoni offers a glimpse of Milan’s cultural prominence
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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.1 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  Even in Italy’s banking and commerce capital, it’s not all about making money. It’s about spending it, too, and the Milanese are known... more »

Tips:  The nearest Metro stop to the starting point is Duomo, but tram lines 1 and 2 both stop at Piazza della Scala. They also stop at... more »

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Points of Interest

The world’s best-known opera house still gleams from the extensive restoration that enlarged its backstage and rejuvenated its Carrara marble and gilded interior and glittering 365-bulb crystal chandelier to original 1778 opulence.

Peak inside if a rehearsal is not in progress, as part of a visit to the adjoining Museo La Scala. Filled with... More

The church of Santa Maria della Scala was torn down to build the opera house, and its beautifully carved choir stalls were salvaged for San Fedele, which stands just behind Palazzo Marino. Among Pellegrino Tibaldi’s earliest works, this Jesuit church endeared him to the powerful Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, brother of the Pope, and led to more... More

You can hardly miss this extraordinary house, with over-grown Atlases leaning out over the street, making passersby feel almost insignificant. It was built by the sculptor Leone Leoni in 1565 as his studio and home, and is perhaps Milan’s most vivid example of Mannerism. Leoni was a man of unpredictable temper who made a number of enemies, so... More

The elaborately carved doorway would get attention, even if the house itself were not so enshrined in Italian literary history. Alessandro Manzoni, whose I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) is still required reading for Italian students, was Italy’s greatest novelist of the 19th century, and his theme of thwarted love wove in political and religious ... More

In 1872 composer Giuseppe Verdi chose this fashionable hotel as his in-town residence and worked on several of his operas there, including Othello. The night of its premier in 1887 at La Scala, his fans unharnessed the horses and pulled his carriage from the opera house to the hotel themselves. Later, as Verdi lay dying in his room there in 1901, ... More

Archi di Porta Nuova is one of only two surviving gates from the Medieval walls that surrounded the city in the 12th century.
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Address : Piazza Cavour, Milan

7. Palazzo dell’Informazione

An outstanding example of the the heavy neoclassical style of architecture endorsed (and demanded) by the Fascists is the Palazzo dell’Informazione on Piazza Cavour, built in 1942 as the main office for Mussolini’s newspaper, Il Popolo d’Italia. It’s mentioned here for the building’s architecture, not for the literary value of the publication!
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... More

8. Museo de Cinema

Small, but filled with artifacts and footage that explores the origins of motion pictures, early camera technology, and Milan’s role in animation and films using the city and surroundings as a setting. The little theater shows Italian films, everything from rare documentaries to Spaghetti westerns. Enter through the side of the Palazzo Dugnani, in... More

9. Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Modern Art Gallery)

Along with Italian art from 19th century Romanticism to post-impressionists, are collections that feature works by Matisse, Roualt, Modigliani, Renoir, Picasso, Dufy and Vuillard. There is also a good collection of neoclassical sculpture by Canova and others. The palace itself was built in the late 1700s and was Napoleon’s residence when he... More