Milan is the second largest city in Italy, after Rome. Famous throughout the world for being a global center of finance and high fashion, Milan is more than just big banks and Armani suits—it’s also home to some of the world’s most fantastic art and architecture. While Milan might not be as popular with tourists as other cities like Rome orVenice, it is still one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.
Milan has a reputation for being an expensive city to visit, but there are plenty of things for tourists to do in Milan that don’t cost any money at all. In fact, some of the most famous sights that the city has to offer are free to the public. Below is a list of sights in Milan that even the most closefisted tourist will enjoy:
The Duomo is the fifth largest cathedral in the world. Construction began in 1386, but the Duomo of Milan wasn’t completed until the early 19th century, when Napoleon Bonaparte ordered Carlo Pellicani to finish the building’s façade. Like most religious buildings in Italy, admission is free to the public. Visitors to the Duomo can explore the centuries-old church at their leisure and, if they are willing to fork over a little bit of cash, travel to the roof of the cathedral for a bird’s eye view of the city.
Another favorite with tightfisted people touring Milan is the Castello Sforzesco, one of the biggest citadels in Europe and the former seat of the Duchy of Milan. Admission to the citadel is free (the museums that call the castle home are not) and visitors are encouraged to wander the castle’s plazas and courtyards, where famous pieces of art are often put on public display.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse
Commissioned in 1482 by the Duke of Milan, Leonardo da Vinci’s horse was intended to be the largest equestrian statue in the world. Work on the project was interrupted by the French invasion of Milan in 1499, when many of da Vinci’s materials were destroyed. The statue was finally constructed five centuries later, using da Vinci’s original notes. The enormous bronze statue, which is twenty-four feet tall and weighs fifteen tons, is perfect for art enthusiasts who can’t afford museum fees.
Officially known as the Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli (after the famous Italian journalist Indro Montanelli), the Giardini Pubblici is the largest and oldest public park in Milan. Located in the center of the city, it’s a perfect place for a picnic or a quick jog, making it a favorite hotspot for tourists and locals alike.
Sarah Murphy has worked in Dublin for the last two years as a blogger, web content manager and marketing coordinator. A journalist by training and traveler by nature, she frequently travels to Italy for the business and pleasure of Milan tours, where she mostly spends her time scavenging the ruins or gallivanting across the countryside.