Local Favorite: Risotto alla MilaneseNorthern Italian cuisine is different from its neighbors to the south, and Milan's most famous dish is an example of those differences. Risotto alla Milanese is a specialty dish of the region as the Po Valley in Italy's north is one of Europe's leading rice producers. Rice, of course, is a key ingredient in any risotto and Milan's dish is no exception. The Milanese chef, Felice Luraschi, gave the dish its official name in 1929, but the dish originally appeared in cookbooks as far back as 1809 under the name 'riso giallo in padella.' Luraschi changed a few details of the recipe with the current Risotto alla Milanese dish containing rice, fat, beef marrow, saffron, nutmeg, and stock. Grated cheese is added to the dish for additional flavor.
Some of the best things to do in Milan
Duomo di Milano
The Duomo di Milano, or simply called Duomo, towers above the city center. The Duomo has a pull that draws people into the heart of the city. Visitors are often seen hanging out in the piazza at the base of the Duomo or enjoying the seemingly endless designer stores around it.
The Duomo is one of the world’s largest cathedrals. With a size of about 109,641 square feet, it can host about 40,000 people. The cathedral has been called an example of flamboyant Gothic architecture. One look at its exterior and it is easy to see why. Strolling through the cavernous Duomo yields views of breathtaking stained-glass windows and ornate artwork.
History buffs will love the Basilica di Santa Tecla, which can be found in the Duomo’s foundation. It dates back to the fourth century.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy's oldest active shopping mall, is located right next to Duomo di Milano. The mall is one of the city's most famous landmarks, offering famous Italian designers and other world-famous brands. This gorgeous building is just as appealing as the clothing and other accessories in the different shops housing fashion's biggest names. The design is unique thanks to its octagonal shape, wrought iron decor, and domed glass ceiling. Its mosaic floor design represents different cities across Italy and is a piece of art by itself. If you plan to shop in Milan, this is the place to do it.
Milan may not be the home of Ferrari, but the city does have a store dedicated to the carmaker. Located very close to the Duomo, the store is an immersive Ferrari experience. Naturally; visitors will find the latest Ferrari merchandise here to fulfill the desires of their inner Tifosi. In addition, authentic Ferrari racecars are on display. Customers can climb into the available Formula One simulators and experience what a Formula One car’s cockpit feels like and enjoy a simulated drive on five different racing circuits including Monza, Imola, and the notorious Nürburgring. It is a great picture opportunity and will likely fill friends with envy when they view the photographs on Instagram.
Milan has a great underground rail network, so getting around should be easy. But when it comes to trains, the Milano Centrale train station steals the show. With its imposing archways and vaulted ceilings, Milano Centrale isn't just any station. It seems to transform into another of Italy's grand baroque cathedrals, except the station is not even 100 years old. Fans of the Netflix movie Murder Mystery may also find additional motivation to visit this station, knowing that it was the location where the couple boarded the Orient Express train close to the end of the film.
Arco della Pace
Located along Corso Sempione, Arco della Pace was built to complement Arc du Triomphe under Napoleon’s short-lived rule from 1802 to 1805. The arch is a fine example of Milan’s neoclassical architecture.
Originally constructed to celebrate Napoleon’s victories, the arch was modified before it was completed long after Napoleon’s defeat. Today, it’s a symbol of peace, where you can enjoy the soothing sound of trams going by. There are also plenty of restaurants along Corso Sempione where you can indulge in delectable Italian cuisine. If you elect to eat outside (and you should), look out for the pigeons. They’re not afraid to snatch your pizza right out of your hand.
Puresport Driving Experience
Monza is located 45 minutes from Milan. Its most exciting attraction is the Autodromo Nazionale Monza where Puresport offers visitors an opportunity to drive open-wheel race cars or supercars on the full configuration of the circuit. Visitors can take control of the Arrows A18 Formula One car driven by world champion Damon Hill during the 1997 season. Alternatively, Formula Three cars are available as well. The circuit is known to be the fastest track on the Formula One calendar, and visitors can zoom around it as fast as they dare.
The Navigli district is home to the city's canals. The five canals here were originally built to connect Milan to nearby lakes for irrigation and navigation. Today, you can book a guided tour which includes a boat ride on one of the canals. The tours help you learn about the rich history of the district while exploring famous landmarks such as Arco di Porta Ticinese and Vicolo Dei Lavandai.
Santa Maria Delle Grazie
Compared to the Duomo di Milano, the Gothic church known as Santa Maria Delle Grazie may not look like much from the outside. However, it has something special within its walls that attracts tourists. The church is home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous work, the Last Supper.
Tickets for viewing the painting often sellout so travelers hoping to get a glimpse of it should consider making their purchase in advance.
San Siro Stadium
Like most European countries, soccer is very popular in Italy. Milan is home to some of the most famous soccer teams in the world, Inter and AC Milan. The San Siro stadium is home to both teams and is one of the largest stadiums in Europe, with a capacity of just over 80,000. Soccer fans can take advantage of the available guided tour to learn more about this storied stadium that has hosted soccer matches in multiple FIFA World Cup tournaments and UEFA Nations League finals.
Bernina Express Train Tour
The Bernina Express Train Tour takes visitors into the Alps and away from the busy city of Milan in just a few hours. The train is the perfect way for travelers to see a different side of Italy. It travels through the countryside and exposes passengers to mountains, glaciers, valleys, and forests. The journey ends in the gorgeous winter resort town of St. Moritz. This destination is a perfect Alpine spot to spend a day or two before heading back to Milan.