Castello Sforzesco#1 in Best Things To Do in Milan
The former fortress and residence of Milan's most powerful rulers is now a campus for some of the city's best cultural institutions. Castello Sforzesco, found less than a mile northwest of the Duomo, features a plethora of museums and galleries focusing on art and history. There's the Pinacoteca, or Picture Gallery, the Raccolta di Mobili, Furniture Collection, Museo delle Arti Decorative, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Museo Egizio, Egyptian Museum and so much more. There's also the Oreficerie, which houses one of the largest collections of musical instruments in Europe. If you're short on time, travelers say you should visit the Museo della Pieta Rondanini, which houses Michelangelo's last masterpiece, the Pietà Rondanini.
Even if you don't have time to visit any museums or exhibitions, travelers say the Castello Sforzesco is still worth a detour for the site's beautiful architecture and lush grounds. The Castello Sforzesco is connected to the Parco Sempione, which features walking paths, a small pond, cafes and its own points of interest, including the Porta Sempione, which bears a striking resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the Tuileries gardens in Paris. Should you wish to visit any of the castle's cultural hot spots, recent visitors advise coming early to avoid potential crowds. And if you're looking to save some dough, visit the Castello Sforzesco Tuesday after 2 p.m. or the last hour before closing Wednesday through Sunday to enjoy free admission.
The castle is free to visit but if you'd like to visit any of the museums, admission costs 5 euros (around $6) for adults and 3 euros (about $3.50) for children. Hours for the castle are 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for its museums. You can find the Castello Sforzesco just a couple blocks away from the Cardorna FN, Lanza and Cairoli Castello metro stops. For more information, visit the castle's website.
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#2 Monumental Cemetery (Cimitero Monumentale di Milano)
It might seem strange to visit a cemetery during your vacation, but once you get a peek at the architecture that makes up Monumental Cemetery, you'll see why it's considered such a must-visit site. Opened near the end of the 19th century, Il Cimitero Monumentale is filled with graves, yes, but also Greek temples, ornate obelisks and impressive, nearly life-like sculptures throughout. The cemetery is so decorative, travelers say it could easily double as an outdoor museum. The reason the cemetery looks as beautiful as it does is because parts of the cemetery were once exclusively reserved for the rich and famous. So instead of rows of basic tombstones, the near and dear of the departed adorned burial sites with, or turned them into, works of art. Travelers say it doesn't take long to run into some pretty moving graves (think: angels standing over plots, statues spread out crying over tombs), make sure to keep an eye out for the bronze "Last Supper" recreation, a burial site that belonged to a prominent Campari family.
Located north of the city center, you can hop off the Monumentale metro stop to get to Monumental Cemetery. The cemetery is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sundays and is free to visit. Allot a couple hours here, as travelers say they ended up staying way longer than they had anticipated. For more information, you can visit the Milan tourism board's website.
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