This fashion-focused city might be Italy's most expensive, but that doesn't mean it has to hit your bank account hard.
Look beyond the posh exterior, and you'll observe that Milan is brimming with sights that won't cost you a cent, from glorious churches to exceptional architecture to unusual museums. Listed here are the best samples by mail to do in Milan.
The city's famous Duomo is no longer free to enter, but that is not saying you can't appreciate it externally. Not only is it a pearly vision in Candoglia marble, it is also covered in over 3000 statues and gargoyles. Look for such unusual figures like a mini Statue of Liberty (above the front entrance), said to be among the sources of inspiration for the American one we know so well.
2. Quadrilatero d'Oro
Fashionistas, gawking tourists and well-heeled locals- No-one can resist the lure from the Quadrilatero d'Oro, among the world's most well-known fashion districts. It's not going to set you back a cent to gaze in the extravagant shop windows, nor the equally extravagant divas walking by.
3. Piazza Gae Aulenti
Inaugurated in 2012 and arguably the main symbol of modern Milan, the sleek design of Piazza Gae Aulenti is something that you both can't miss and can enjoy free of charge. Using its skyline-defining towers and also the three fountains that always possess some kind of water fountain going on, the square is the best place to take a seat for some time, update your Instagram feed and obtain a sense of where Milan is heading later on.
4. Cimitero Monumentale
One of the largest cemeteries in town, Cimitero Monumentale doesn't seem possible to overlook. Opened in 1866, it is a majestic complex in bi-colored marble designed by Carlo Maciachini. Admire the impressive sculptures, Greek temples and also the tombs from the city's most illustrious in the Famedio (aka hall of fame).
5. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Italy's oldest shopping gallery, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, is renowned for its soaring vaulted glass arcades and timeless elegance. But are you aware that spinning with your heel on the balls of its mosaic bull will grant you good luck? So legend has it. You'll find the bull in the heart of the gallery surrounded by a little crowd.
6. Bosco Verticale
These towering high-rise apartments filled with green within the Porto Nuovo district are classified as Bosco Verticale (the Vertical Forest). Standing 111m (364ft) high, each tower has balconies packed with hundreds of trees, plus shrubs and plants within their thousands. A part of an extensive redevelopment project, the towers have become models for sustainable living.
7. Naviglio Grande
The city's main canal makes for a picturesque stroll anytime of day. To actually obtain a taste of what “old Milan” accustomed to seem like, head to Vicolo dei Lavandai – where writers like Georges Simenon arrived search of inspiration. Plus, on the last Sunday of the month, the whole Naviglio gets taken over by the Mercatone dell'Antiquariato, a lively flea market selling antiques, vintage furniture and homewares, books and secondhand clothing.
The international event known as Fuorisalone sees design enthusiasts from all corners around the globe crowding the town for a good reason; for one week in April the town runs amok with free design events, large-scale installations, exhibitions and epic parties.
9. Parco Sempione
Once the hunting ground for that royal Sforza family, now the city's green lung is available to all. Parco Sempione is an English-style garden with lush lawns and dreamy ornamental ponds, that also features important sights like the Castello Sforzesco, Arco della Pace and the imposing Arena Civica.
10. Casa Museo Boschi-di Stefano
The private art collection of a Milanese couple is available to the public in their former home at Casa Museo Boschi-di Stefano. The impressive collection of 20th-century Italian art, including big names such as Giorgio de Chirico and Piero Manzoni, is second simply to the exquisite art deco features by cult Milanese architect Piero Portaluppi.
11. Via Lincoln
Not lots of people know Via Lincoln, but it offers definite proof that Milan is not as grey as the rumors say. Planned in the 1800s as a neighborhood for that factory workers of the area and their families, Via Lincoln and it is colorful houses have converted into a quirky and exclusive corner from the city that's still waiting to be discovered.
Winding cobbled streets dotted with furniture stores, boutiques and the odd old lady inside a shawl reading palms – this historic district never fails to charm with its romantic touch of old Milan. Don't forget to duck in to the Pinacoteca di Brera to marvel at its imposing courtyard and also the hidden garden Orto Botanico.
13. Museo Civico di Storia Naturale
Learn about from a brief history of mankind to the evolution of plants in the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale. The neo-Romanesque and neo-Gothic building from 1844 makes for a storybook setting, as the lifelike dioramas give a touch of kitsch to the experience. Admission is generally EUR5 but it's free the very first Sunday from the month.
14. Chiesa di San Maurizio
The nondescript exterior will by no means get you prepared for what's inside the Chiesa di San Maurizio. Resplendent frescoes and paintings seem to cover every inch of the walls of the 16th-century chapel that was originally part of the Monastero Maggiore, a former convent of Benedictine nuns.
15. Palazzo Morando
For a peek at aristocratic life throughout the 18th century, wander around Palazzo Morando. Housing the personal collections of Countess Bolognini, the apartments will also be hung with the city's civic art collection, which provides a picture of Milan because it was during the Napoleonic era.
16. San Lorenzo Columns
It has to be probably the most atmospheric settings for any drink: beneath towering columns in the Roman era. Bring your own or purchase a drink-to-go in the bars surrounding the San Lorenzo Columns and enjoy the sprawl of young folk, amateur guitarists and perhaps some BMX bikers.
17. Chiesa di San Bernardino alle Ossa
Chiesa di San Bernardino alle Ossa has an ossuary decorated entirely with the bones of the dead, which appears like something out of an Indiana Jones film. It's said the adjacent cemetery was running out of space, so that they decided to store the bones in an oddly decorative manner in this nearby church.
18. Acquario Civico
On the advantage from the city's sprawling Parco Sempione, you'll find the third-oldest aquarium in Europe. As may be expected, the Acquario Civico is sort of outdated. The selection of sea life is small, but the charm of this Liberty-style building having a grand Titan statue in the entrance a lot more than comprises for this. It's free around the first and third Tuesday of the month after 2pm, and all day on the first Sunday of the month.
19. Castello Sforzesco
Originally a fortress, then later the royal residence of the Sforza dynasty and lastly a cultural institution, the mighty red-brick Castello Sforzesco has witnessed many transformations in its time. It hosts several museums that allow you to explore its history. It's free every first and third Tuesday of the month from 2pm.
20. 10 Corso Como
On the top level of fashionable 10 Corso Como, you'll find a space entirely devoted to photography. It has a revolving program of curated photography exhibitions that often feature niche themes or unusual early works of famed photographers for example Annie Leibovitz or Helmut Newton.
21. Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie
Most visit the basilica's refectory for The Last Supper, without sparing a look at the rest of this Unesco World Heritage site. Designed by Guiniforte Solari and completed in 1469, the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie is definitely an exceptional example of Renaissance architecture. Inside you will find impressive works by Titian, Gaudenzio Ferrari and Bramantino.
22. Pirelli Hangar Bicocca
In an industrial area once covered with the Pirelli factories lies Hangar Bicocca, a distinctive space for contemporary art. Noted for its permanent work The Seven Heavenly Palaces, which involved huge towers of concrete developed by German artist Anselm Kiefer, additionally, it features edgy temporary exhibitions which will challenge your expectations.