Collected by Erica Firpo, AFAR Local Expert
Like most Italian cities, Milan has an amazing and very visible history that spans two millennia of art and architecture. But what really distinguishes it from other città is the ever-present testament to modernism and modern architecture—all accessible via the charming vintage trams.
Via Guglielmo Marconi, 1, 20122 Milano MI, Italy
The Museo del Novecento (Museum of the 20th century) is a visual lesson in one century of Italian art history. Housed is the 1930s Palazzo dell'Arengario by Rationalist architects Piero Portaluppi and Giovanni Muzio. The Novecento also houses an...
Via Mozart, 14, 20122 Milano MI, Italy
The Villa Necchi Campiglio, just to the east of the historic center of Milan, may look familiar. The house had a turn on the silver screen in the 2009 Italian movie "I Am Love," starring Tilda Swinton. Even if you didn't see the film, anyone...
Piazza del Duomo, Milano MI, Italy
The historic and modern center of the city, the Piazza del Duomo (the square surrounding the cathedral's base) remains a popular meeting place, hangout and hub of Milanese life. Local vendors setup shop (selling fresh coconut in the summer, toys...
Piazza Duca d'Aosta, 1, 20124 Milano MI, Italy
Whether you have time to kill while waiting for your train or you simply like architecture, Milan’s main train station, Stazione Centrale, is worth a walk through for its epic 20th-century architecture. Originally designed at the turn of the...
Via Fabio Filzi, 22, 20124 Milano MI, Italy
The Pirelli Tower is considered one of the most elegant "tall buildings" in the world, and at one point, it was one of the tallest. (And it was the tallest in Italy until 2010). The tapered, 32-story, 417-foot tower was developed in the 1950s by...
Via Vittor Pisani, 20124 Milano MI, Italy
Via Vittor Pisani, leading up to Milan's Stazione Centrale, is a long and open boulevard, lined with modern buildings. It's quiet, and if you catch it in the right light, it has a vague Ayn Rand/The Fountainhead feel to it. The neighborhood...
Via Giorgio Jan, 15, 20129 Milano MI, Italy
In the 1930s, architect Piero Portaluppi was the toast of the town, designing the most innovative and beautiful houses and buildings in Milan. Walking through Casa Boschi di Stefano, you find a great example of early twentieth century Italy, from...
Piazza Velasca, 3/5, 20122 Milano MI, Italy
Torre Velasca is modern Milan's homage to its medieval prominence. The tower was built in the late 1940s/50s on the site of a neighborhood bombed out during World War II and is a testament to monument construction. It towers over the city with an...
Piazza degli Affari, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
Palazzo Mezzanotte (Mezzanotte Palace) is the seat of Italy's stock market and a great example of 1930s architecture. Designed by architect Paolo Mezzanotte it was considered the most tech building of its time. 21st notoriety can claim artist...
Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
The Triennale is dedicated to the extremely rich history of design in Italy since the end of World War II. The museum is large, with many concurrent exhibitions, and the bookstore has a great selection, but the park outside offers a chance for...
Piazza del Duomo, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
Designed by Giuseppe Mengoni in 1865, and named after the first king of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, an arching cast-iron dome of vaulted glass arcades covers the street connecting Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala. The Galleria is a popular...
Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy
Here's the skinny: I'm not going to tell you the address, or the phone number. All I can tell you is, there's a gin mill somewhere in Milan that's the bees knees. You just need to know who to ask, once you know your onions then everything'll be...
Via Manzoni Alessandro, 31, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
A 1930s building by architect Enrico Griffini is now the Armani Hotel, the second urban inn for the Milan-based brand. The city’s fashion set can be found at the Armani Lounge and Bamboo Bar, a lofty hangout with backlit onyx detailing and...
Via Santa Margherita, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Milan is a different city at night, when the inky blue skies and warm orange street lights reflect on the grey facades of the city's buildings. The architecture- bombastic, monumental and sometimes even modern- is like a page out of Ayn Rand's The...
Piazza Duca d'Aosta, 9, 20124 Milano MI, Italy
The newly renovated historic Excelsior Hotel Gallia is a gorgeous step into a past era with its Art Deco influences, and then a kick into the 21st century with smart technology, gorgeous design, and contemporary Made-in-Italy furniture. If you...
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