A day in Milan with kids
We decided to go to Milan with our kids for a day while on holiday in the Ticino region in Switzerland. We have been to several places in Italy, but never in Milan, so it was about time for a visit! What is easy about visiting Milan with kids, is the proximity of the main sites in the center. No need to cross the entire city by bus or tram, all is mostly at walking distance!
Milan has a lot of museums and some beautiful sites to visit. Of course, you can not do everything in one day, but here are some ideas to choose from:
The Duomo of Milan
We started at the Duomo, Milan’s cathedral and without a doubt its most famous landmark. The Duomo is really very big, and it actually is one of the biggest churches in the world! Photos of the Duomo don’t do the building justice as it really appears bigger when you are standing in front of it. You can visit the Duomo and even take the elevator to the roof top.
Tickets for the Duomo are available at the ticket office right next to the building, or, you can buy them online from the official website of the Duomo. In most big cities we recommend buying tickets online for the main sites to avoid waiting in long lines with kids.
If you would like to see the Duomo from another angle and from slightly higher up, you could visit the Museum del Novecento which is an art museum located right next to the Duomo and while you visit the art works of Italian artists, and international works of amongst others Picasso, Kandinsky or Paul Klee, the Museum will also give you another view on the Duomo through the windows.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The entrance to the impressive covered street, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, is also on the Piazza del Duomo, so there you have 2 of the most famous sites of the city right next to each other. A stroll through the Galleria is a must-do and make sure to look up to the frescos and ornaments, and down to observe the mosaic floor. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is Italy’s oldest shopping mall. We didn’t come for shopping though, but mainly to admire the beautiful architecture.
When you walk out of the Galleria, straight on to the other side, on the side of the Piazza della Scala, you will see the exhibition ‘The World of Leonardo’. It is a temporary exhibition, but it was really nice to visit and gave us a view of the Galleria from above through the window.
The World of Leonardo with kids
The World of Leonardo, or Leonardo3, is a temporary museum on Leonardo da Vinci and his works. It is a really cool and interactive exhibition which lasts until 31 December 2019. The exhibition shows his main inventions, flying machines, mechanics and paintings. There is a digitalized version of the famous painting ‘The Last Supper’. Kids will love the fact that they can visit the space where Leonardo painted the Last Supper with a virtual reality mask, and try to construct things themselves, like a self-supporting bridge.
Milan Science and Technology Museum, Leonardo da Vinci
A part from the temporary exhibition above, Milan also has a Science and Technology museum, where kids can also learn quite a lot about Leonardo da Vinci’s works and where even special Leonardo themed weekends are organized, so if the World of Leonardo exhibition is over during your visit, you will still find all you need for an interactive and educational visit here. It’s a bit further from the Duomo, about 20 minutes by foot. As we already visited The World of Leonardo, we did not visit the Science Museum, but it may be on our list for a next visit to Milan.
Lunch and Gelato, a good restaurant near the Duomo in Milan
We found a very nice and not too expensive restaurant close to the Duomo called Al Cantinone. The food was delicious there, and a lot of dishes were seasonal. In a fashion and shopping city like Milan, it may not always be easy to find a good and reasonable priced restaurant. Al Cantinone is family friendly, with good food, and for a good price, so highly recommended! We tried the classical dishes like a Risotto Milanese, Ossobuco, and a steak with truffle sauce. There can be a short wait at the counter when you arrive.
Their address: Via Agnello 19. www.alcantinone.it
We did not eat our dessert in the restaurant as we heard of Milan’s favorite ice cream shop called Cioccolati Italiani. They have several locations in the city and one of them is at two steps from Al Cantinone restaurant. What is special about their ice-creams is that they build them up with add-ons, and add-ins. First, you choose your warm chocolate in the bottom of your cone (milk chocolate, or white or pink chocolate which flows from taps behind the counter), then you choose your ice-cream flavors, and then the add-ons like a biscuit, candy, or an upside-down cone. Yum!
Theatro della Scala
Again, just around the corner of the Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele, is Milan’s famous Theatro della Scala, which can also be visited as the theatre has a museum with the most important collections of the Opera world. There are often theatre shows recommended for children, so do check out if there is one when you plan to visit. Children under 18 apparently pay a symbolic price of 1 euro.
If you have time left in Milan, the city still has plenty of other sites worth discovering, and since Milan is also the city of design, architecture lovers definitely have more things to explore here, like the Bosco Verticole buildings. Cool apartment buildings covered with plants from the outside.
One site we regret we didn’t visit, as we were in Milan on a Monday and it was closed, is the Pirelli HangarBicocca. The Hangar is located in a former industrial plant and offers free exhibitions and permanent collections of contemporary art work. Looks like we still have more reasons to come back to Milan!