Milan is a mecca for Italian fashionistas, famous for its innovative design and stylish flair. Venture inside the city’s hulking Gothic cathedral, as well as its cathedral to capitalism, Europe’s oldest shopping arcade. The highlight today is pure genius—Da Vinci’s revolutionary The Last Supper mural, the most famous religious painting in history.
Fashion and finance, opera and furniture design, telecom companies and trade fairs—bustling Milan, Italy’s financial and industrial center, is a modern global city whose roots sink deep into the history of Italy. Founded 2,500 years ago, Milan retains traces of every epoch, from Roman, medieval and Renaissance up to the current moment, and it boasts a dazzling bounty of artistic and cultural landmarks, which are yours to experience today.
Milan city tour with visit to Da Vinci’s The Last Supper
Your hotel is in the heart of the city, so it’s easy to see the highlights of the neighborhood on a short walk with your guide. Il Duomo, the magnificent cathedral begun in the 14th century and finished 500 years later (the last part to be finished, one of its five great doors, wasn’t installed until 1965), offers one of the most spectacular Gothic façades in the world. Step inside with a local expert for a tour of the ravishing interior, then walk across the square and under the splendid triumphal arch that welcomes visitors and shoppers into the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Learn a bit about the history of this area as you stroll through the beautiful 19th-century glass-covered arcade; it’s the oldest shopping mall in Europe and is still wildly popular, housing the flagships of leading fashion designers and trendy restaurants. You’ll emerge in Piazza della Scala, home to the internationally celebrated opera house whose name comes from the square, Teatro alla Scala. Directly opposite it is Milan’s city hall—which happens to be a stunning Renaissance palace. It’s just one of the palaces and fortresses that were the heart of medieval civic power, where the Viscontis and then the Sforzas reigned, each ruler adding to the city’s splendor and tumultuous history. It’s hard to pinpoint a highlight among so many, but Santa Maria delle Grazie, a beautiful Gothic and Renaissance church, offers you a sight you will never forget. The Last Supper is not in the church itself; it adorns the walls of a modest adjoining building that was the Dominican refectory. Your tour ends after you’ve had an opportunity to admire Da Vinci’s revolutionary work or spend some free time exploring the area on your own. Note: The order of sightseeing varies according to the availability of time slots at Santa Maria delle Grazie.