Milan, Italy’s northern metropolis, is a global powerhouse of fashion, food, desgin, architecture and finance. Every year, millions of tourists flock into the city to climb the winding steps of duomo di Milano, to take in the light pastels of Leonardo da Vinci’s last supper and dine out in the trendy waterworks of the Navigli.
I have followed such footsteps but on my second trip to Milan, I wanted to carve my own path. I scoured tourist information sites, read tripdavisor reviews and asked friends for recommendations because I wanted to sample something different. I wanted to go off the beaten path. And, away, I went
So where should you go to get away from your fellow tourists?
Here are my top 3 off beat attractions…
Alessandro Manzoni is a renowned Italian writer who is revered for unifying the Italian language through his works of fiction. The birthplace of this famous writer is just a stone’s throw away from Milan’s Duomo on via Gerolamo Monroe. The three storey town house is somewhat unassuming but inside bookish delights await inside.
It costs five euros to enter for a fully paying adult (and just three for a student). The museum itself has been recently renovated to give visitors to the museum the best possible experience. I headed to the museum on a Friday morning in September. It was quiet and the staff went above and beyond to make me feel welcomed. I knew a bit about Manzoni before I visited, which seemed to impress the staff. They even gave me some insight into the most interesting artefacts to cast my eyes over. The house itself has been transformed to appear as it would when it was occupied by Manzoni.
If you want to learn more about Italian culture, past the pizza and pasta that is, then I’d recommend a visit to Manzoni’s home on your next trip to Lombardy.
Civico Museo di Storia Naturale
This is Milan’s natural history museum and the oldest civic museum in Milan. I think like most people I have a thing about dinosaurs. I don’t know what it is but if there’s a dino skeleton in a museum, I have simply have to go. Located in the leafy grounds of a public park just off the cross Venezia, it’s worth a trek over just to have a meander through the park.
The museum itself is a red stone building that features six display areas. It was only three euros to enter the museum (for a student), and of course I made my way straight to the palaeontology department. Most of the descriptions and captions are written in Italian, so if like me you speak a bit of Italian, it’ll test your language know how. If you don’t speak Italian, you may struggle to know what it is you’re looking at but you shouldn’t let a language barrier stop you from taking in the museum’s collection. It’ll prove to be a highly informative hour or two. There’s also a coffee shop and a book store in the museum if you fancy resting your tourist feet but I’d actually recommend the coffee kiosk in the park for an early afternoon break .
Museo di duomo vicino
This museum is less off the beaten path and more right in the heart of Milan in the Royal Palace. I’ve always found this museum to be quite quiet even though it’s included in the duomo’s entry! It’s really a museum filled with sculptures and statues that are destined to be admired by adoring tourists. Personally, I love a wander around this museum when it first opens. It gives me the space and the time to drink in every sculpture and over the years, I’ve added some favourites to my list including the eagle.
When I went, the museum was split into two parts. The first was the sculptures and statues and the second was a temporary exhibition on religion and art. I’m not sure what the moving exhibition is now but I always find them to be extremely well curated and not one to miss.
So there you have it, my list of off the beaten path tourist spots to had to the next time you’re in Milan. What are your favourite spots in Milan? I’m always looking to add to my travel adventures.
Thanks for reading!