Julie Italy 9 Comments

Why go to Milan? It’s the home of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” one of the most famous paintings in the world. Milan is also home to the Duomo, world-class museums, and trendy shopping areas. Milan is undergoing an architectural Renaissance and is worth even a few hours on the fastest of itineraries. If you like the idea of spending a few hours in Milan while traveling through Italy, in this guide learn how to plan your day trip to Milan from Florence, Venice and the Cinque Terre.

Places to Go on a Day Trip to Milan

Spending one day in Milan can be done as a day trip when traveling between two Italian cities. We spent several hours in Milan, stopping here midday while traveling between the Cinque Terre and Venice. Milan’s main sights are located within a small area, making it easy to see the best of Milan in a short period of time.

Duomo di Milano

The Milan Cathedral is the 3rd largest cathedral in the world and the 2nd largest in Italy. It took over 500 years to complete construction and changes have been made as recently as the 1900’s.

The Cathedral, the Baptistery, and the Treasury can all be visited, but the best part of visiting the Duomo is getting a chance to walk on the rooftop. From here you can see the flying buttresses, spires, and have awesome views over Milan. You can even see the Alps on a clear day.

Duomo day trip to Milan

The Duomo, one of the best places to visit on a day trip to Milan.

 

Tyler Rivenbark

Tyler on the rooftop of the Duomo | Day trip to Milan

 

Duomo Rooftop day trip to Milan

Another view of the Duomo rooftop | Day trip to Milan

 

Milan in one day

View from the Duomo terrace | Day trip to Milan

How To Visit the Duomo

The lines to climb to the rooftop, also called the terrace, can be very long, especially midday. To avoid waiting in long lines, you can either take the stairs to the rooftop (which typically has shorter lines than the elevator line), take a skip-the-line tour, and purchase your tickets online in advance.

Visiting the Roof Top
  • Hours: 9 am to 7 pm, last admission at 6:10 pm
  • Cost: by stairs €14, by elevator €10
Visiting the Cathedral
  • Hours: 9 am to 7 pm, last admission at 6:10 pm
  • Cost: €10
Visiting the Cathedral, Roof Top & Duomo Museum
  • Hours: 9 am to 7 pm, last admission at 6:10 pm
  • Cost: by stairs €15, by elevator €20
Tours of the Duomo

Here are several skip-the-line tours of the Duomo.

 

Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”

Leonardo Da Vinci painted the “Last Supper” on the refectory wall of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. He worked on this painting from 1494 to 1498, painting the mural directly onto the wall. It has undergone several restorations and even survived a bombing during WWII.

To keep the “Last Supper” at the appropriate temperature and humidity, only 30 people are allowed to enter the room every 15 minutes. Tickets must be purchased in advance in order to see the “Last Supper.”

Purchasing Tickets for the “Last Supper”:

Tickets can be purchased on the VivaTicket website. The “Last Supper” is listed as Cenacolo Vinciano. Tickets go on sale roughly two and a half months ahead of time. For example, on September 19th tickets go on sale for December and January. On December 11th tickets go on sale for February and March.

PRO TRAVEL TIP:  Purchase your tickets as soon as possible!! We booked our tickets on the first possible day and they were literally disappearing as we were picking out our time slot. These tickets sell out within hours of going on sale, so mark the date and time on your calendar so you can purchase your tickets as soon as they become available.

Tickets cost €15 including the reservation fee. Children under the age of 18 years are free, with concessions made to EU residents. You are limited to purchasing only 5 tickets per booking.

Once you purchase your tickets, print a copy of the receipt. You will show this receipt and a copy of your ID to the ticket office at Santa Maria delle Grazie to get your official tickets. This will have to be done 20 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment.

At your appointment time, you will enter the convent refectory. On the far wall is Da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” Benches are provided and taking photographs are prohibited. You will have exactly 15 minutes to view the painting before asked to exit the room.

Dress code: Information on this is conflicting. I have read that shoulders and knees must be covered, which means long pants for men and women. There were many places in Italy where the dress codes were ignored but we never wanted to take the chance and get turned away. Italians rarely wear short pants anyway, especially the men, and you will blend in and look nicer in long pants.

What if you couldn’t reserve tickets online? Here are tours to Santa Maria delle Grazie to see the “Last Supper.”

 

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

This is the oldest shopping mall in Italy. It contains luxury stores, fancy restaurants, and trendy places to get a drink. Located right on the Duomo Square, it is worth at least strolling through the mall and doing a little window-shopping.

Galleria day trip to Milan

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II | Day trip to Milan

How To Get Around Milan

Milan has an excellent public transportation network. To get between the train station and Milan’s top sights the metro is sufficient.

To get from the main train station, Milano Centrale, to Santa Maria delle Grazie, take the metro. Take the green line five stops to Cardona (direction Abbiategrasso) and from here it is just a short walk to the church.

To get from the train station to the Duomo, take the green line five stops to Cardona, transfer to the red line, and take this 3 stops to Duomo (direction Sesto).

Taxis are more convenient if you are not used to using public transportation, but taxis can also be very expensive in Milan, not to mention slow, as they tend to get stuck in traffic.

Italy Travel Guide

How to Spend One Day in Milan

Most large cities in Italy are a 2 to 3 hour train ride away from Milan. You can take an 8 am train from one city, arrive in Milan by 11 am, spend three to four hours in the city, and then board a second train mid-afternoon to your next destination.

Here are approximate durations for traveling between Milan and other cities in Italy. Please note: times can vary depending on the time of day and the type of train. Italy has several different classes of trains, ranging from high-speed trains to slower regional trains.

  • Milan to Florence:  2h 45m
  • Milan to La Spezia (Cinque Terre):  3h to 4h
  • Milan to Venice:  2h to 3h
  • Milan to Bologna:  1h to 3h
  • Milan to Verona:  1h to 1.5h
  • Milan to Rome:  3.5 to 4.5h (on the Frecciarossa, the high speed train)
Arriving in Milan

Train stations in Italy have offices where you can stow your luggage for a few hours, freeing you up to walk around the city. Once you disembark your train, follow the signs to Deposito Bagagli. You can leave your bags here for a fee, 6 € for the first 5 hours per piece of luggage. You will be given a deposit slip…don’t lose it!

One Day in Milan Itinerary (in just a few hours):

From the train station, take the metro to Santa Maria delle Grazie for your scheduled viewing of the “Last Supper.” Remember to arrive 20 minutes before your appointment.

Next, take the metro to the Duomo. From Duomo Square, visit the Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Tickets to tour the Duomo and the rooftop can be purchased at the Duomo or online in advance.

The restaurants inside the Galleria look fabulous, but if these are outside of your price range, we found many smaller restaurants on the streets behind the Galleria.

From the Duomo Square, take the metro back to the train station in time for your next departure.


If you have any questions about how to plan a day trip to Milan, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Italy:

NORTHERN ITALY:  Verona is a beautiful city to add to your Italy itinerary and we also have a detailed guides on how to day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio.

LAKE GARDA: Plan your visit with our article Best Things to Do in Lake Garda. We also have information about things to do in Sirmione and Riva del Garda.

VENICE: Learn more about what to do in Venice in our Venice Bucket List. To help you plan your time, we have a detailed one day Venice itinerary and a 2 day Venice itinerary.

FLORENCE & TUSCANY: If this is your first visit to Florence, read our guide to the Best Things to Do in Florence. If you plan to visit Tuscany, learn how to spend one day in Siena and the best things to do in San Gimignano.

CINQUE TERRE: One of the best experiences in the Cinque Terre is to hike between all five towns. If you are traveling on a budget, get our money saving tips for the Cinque Terre.

BEST OF ITALY: In our Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 20 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy. 

 

We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide.

 

 

Milan Italy Day Trip from Florence Venice

 

Milan in One Day

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Comments 9

  1. Avatar for Alka Malur
    Alka Malur

    Love your travel Adventures, and your blog. We are planning a trip to Venice Oct 25, thinking of going from Venice to Milan for a couple nights- Oct 26-27. Do we need to make reservations in advance for the train ride from Venice to Milan, or can we just go last minute.? Also are two days sufficient for Venice?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Alka. I think two days are sufficient for Venice. That’s enough time to see the highlights in the heart of Venice and to day trip to Murano/Burano. When we travel by train in Italy, we typically purchase our tickets in advance, just to make sure that we get the specific train and time that we want. Then again, this was also during the busy very summer months. At the end of October, you will probably be fine not making an advance reservation, but if it were me, I’d make the reservation, just to play it safe. Italiarail.com is the easiest website to use but they do charge a small service fee (I believe it’s 5 euros). Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Alex G.
    Alex G.

    Loving this blog! Planning our first trip to Italy and we’re following all of your suggestions. Our first stop is Milan and we’re spending the night there. Any tips on hotels (budget or BnB)?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
  3. Avatar for Onelia Borges
    Onelia Borges

    I just love your travel blog and your pictures with your beautiful family!
    I’ll be coming back with questions as we may be going to Italy, but we have changed dates and plans quite a few times.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
  4. Avatar for MArk Eastwood
    MArk Eastwood

    I’ve traveled on business to Milano 10 or 12 times in the last 2 years and love it. Great city… there are Divinci museums and parks and wonderful places to eat. You didn’t mention that Torino is only an hour on the high-speed train and has the best Egyptian artifacts museum in the world. Also, visit the town of Bergamo by commuter train from Centrale, the walls are a relatively new UNESCO site.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
  5. Avatar for Kathy (mom)

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