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5 Hidden Gems In Milan

By Alessandro Panzolli
06 September 2021
5 Hidden Gems In Milan

For some people, Milan is synonymous with an industrial city, strictly bound to production; whilst for others, it’s the fashion capital of Italy. They could be right, but for sure they don't know the beautiful secrets of Lombardy's most important city. Milan is much more than factories and fashion - it's a city full of vitality and undiscovered art! So to see another side to Milan, here are 5 hidden gems you can’t miss while you’re in the city!

Church of San Bernardino alle Ossa

Photo credit: Flawless Milano 

Just an eight minutes walk from Duomo Cathedral is San Bernardino alle Ossa, a little church best known for its incredible ossuary, a small side chapel decorated with several human skulls and bones. It might sound a little gruesome, but the unusual view you’ll get inside the chapel is incomparable. The ossuary's walls are completely decorated with skulls and bones from the thirteenth century, laid in order to create particular friezes and impressive designs. The effect produced by the contrast between the lighted frescoed vault and the black background of the walls is breathtaking. 

Pink flamingos at Villa Invernizzi

Photo credit: Flawless Milano 

To dispel the myth that Milan’s only color is grey, a private house hosts some unusual guests! Leave the chaos and the traffic noise behind you and be welcomed into the “Silence district”. After you turn the corner in via Serbelloni, it seems like you've entered a different world. Peacefully left to move around freely, a group of pink flamingos lives inside the beautiful Villa Invernizzi's garden, which belonged to Cavalier Invernizzi who was an animal lover. The pink flamingos were probably imported from South America during the seventies. Legend has it that they’ve never left the villa because of the good care they receive here, and it really seems they don't have any reason to move away! A last suggestion: once there, don't miss taking a peep at the surrounding villas. In this neighborhood, the beautiful Liberty style reigns supreme. 

Centro dell'Incisione - Alzaia Naviglio Grande

Photo credit: Mapio

The Centro dell'Incisione has been here for forty years on the shores of the Naviglio Grande and makes for a pleasant stop in the beautiful Navigli neighborhood for many travelers, tourists, or those who are simply curious. This is an engraving center, which is sadly becoming a lost, but still magical, art. Passing through the seventeenth-century threshold of one of the oldest farmhouses in Milan, it’s still possible to admire the amazing courtyard. Gigi Pedroli, a versatile and original artist whose style is distinguished by the sophisticated elegance of the sign over the door, works here. His engravings show, in a fantastic and surreal manner, the characters of the reality he imagined: men, women, children, and animals who dream of new adventures in the shadow of talking trees or driving flying machines. 

As well as these charming frames, the centre also hosts engraving exhibitions of other artists, music evenings in the classic Milanese style and you can discover the works of over 50 other Italian engravers. Once outside the walls again, spot the bar that inspires you the most and enjoy the typical Italian aperitivo! The Navigli area is one of the best places in Milan to experience this tradition which was actually born in Milan.


Cimitero Monumentale 

Everyone knows the Duomo Cathedral; but not everyone knows about the existence of Cimitero Monumentale, the "Monumental Cemetery". The cemetery, one of the largest in Milan, is noted for the vast range of artistic tombs and monuments realised by prestigious artists. Thanks to the incredible beauty of its tombs it’s become something of a real open-air museum. Many of the tombs belong to great and famous personalities who spent their lasts days in Milan. Only to quote some names, here lie the bodies of Alessandro Manzoni (Italian writer and poet, considered the founder of modern Italian language), Giuseppe Verdi (Italian composer), Bruno Munari (Italian designer), Hermann Einstein (father of the scientist Albert), Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (Italian artist, founder of the Futurism movement). The Cemetery has a rich historic background, and often during the year the municipality organises guided tours.

Belvedere - Palazzo Lombardia

Photo credit: My Mi

If you're visiting Milan for the weekend only, you can't miss the opportunity to enjoy an amazing view of our city from a 160 meters high spot. Every Sunday, the thirty-ninth floor of Palazzo Lombardia opens its doors to the public for free! You don't even need to book. Enjoy the stunning panoramic view of the Belvedere all over Milan, and Buona Vacanza! A bird’s eye view over Milan will show you just how colorful and vibrant the city really is, and is the perfect lookout to choose which area you want to go to and explore next!