Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II#4 in Best Things To Do in Milan
Price & Hours
Even if you can't afford to buy anything in this elegant complex, it's still worth a peek for its stunning makeup. This galleria – built at the height of 19th-century belle époque – is a glorified shopping mall, housing high-end Italian designers from Prada to Gucci to Armani under its steel-and-glass arcade. You'll also find other shopping options, including lower-end clothing shops and bookstores rife with fashion literature. There are also a small handful of restaurants and cafes within. Expect to pay loads more for a cup of coffee here. But then again, you could always go to McDonald's (one of the restaurants housed here). Whatever your budget, travelers say the mall's glorious architecture, beautiful paintings and intricate floor tiles are worth a quick visit.
You'll find the galleria off the Duomo metro stop, connecting the Piazza della Scala to the Piazza Duomo. Before you leave, remember to "step on the bull." Supposedly, turning your heel on a painting of a bull on the galleria's floor will bring you luck. The galleria is free to visit and open 24/7, however, individual stores have their own hours.
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#1 Castello Sforzesco
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.
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