Set off with us on an original tour of Milan: here’s what to see for free in the city and where to eat inexpensively. You can visit Milan on a budget too!

Life in Milan is undoubtedly expensive: there is no denying that food, museums, and shopping in Lombardy’s capital are considerably more expensive than in other major Italian cities. But if your budget is minimal, and you still want to organize a visit to the city, what are your options? What is there to see and do in Milan for free? This is the challenge we have taken on: to find interesting and strictly free places – even for just a few days!

Follow us and discover the (beautiful!) attractions that we have selected for you – visit them without spending a thing. And that’s not all: we also have suggestions on where to eat while spending little, but without sacrificing flavor and quality!

Piazza Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele (with ascent to the Rinascente Terrace)

Some of Milan’s most incredible wonders are free: our low-budget tour cannot but start at the stunning Piazza Duomo, dominated by the cathedral and the Madonnina, and continue into the adjacent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the city’s elegant indoor living room where you can feast your eyes on luxury boutiques, restaurants and bars (a purchase here is not exactly cheap!).

A Milano per i saldi dove fare shopping credits Ian Hill via Flickr

© Ian Hill via Flickr

A tip: in the heart of the city center, you can also climb to the Renaissance Terrace (accessible from the department store from which it takes its name) and admire the spires of the Duomo in the foreground, from an unusual perspective!

Milan, what to see for free? The green Sempione Park

A green lung of nearly 400 thousand square meters, this romantic English-style garden is beloved by the Milan populace and tourists alike. The public Sempione Park is the perfect place for a walk among paths, waterways, interesting botanical specimens, and fine sculptural artworks, which also passes through the courtyard of the magnificent Castello Sforzesco… and if you’re lucky, you might get to enjoy one of the many free concerts organized throughout the year in the Gianni Brera area!

Andare a correre anche in trasferta - Milano Parco Sempione credits B Plessi via Flickr

© B Plessi via Flickr

What to see for free in Milan: the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio

We continue in our review of free attractions in Milan with the Sant’Ambrogio Basilica, a magnificent church in Lombard Romanesque style and dating back to 387, inside which you can admire many works of art and pay tribute to the remains of Sant’Ambrogio, San Gervasio and San Protasio. A stone’s throw away is also the Catholic University, with its cloisters designed by Donato Bramante.

Milano cosa vedere e cosa fare gratis credits Christopher John SSF via Flickr

© Christopher John SSF via Flickr

Free exhibitions in Milan: the Bicocca Hangar and Gallerie d ‘Italia

There are free museums in Milan ! For example, in the Bicocca Hangar, in the former Breda plant, you can admire permanent installations of contemporary art, including the Seven Heavenly Palaces of Kiefer, as well as temporary exhibitions. And you should know that many city museums open their halls for free at certain times or days of the week, just do your homework! This is the case with Gallerie d’Italia, which houses hundreds of 19th- and 20th-century works by big names, including Canova, Boccioni, Hayez and Segantini, the Museo del Novecento, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, the Museo del Risorgimento, the Castello Sforzesco Museums and others.

What to do in Milan for free: admire the view from the Terrazze Triennale

Our tour of Milan’s free hotspots continues with a visit to the Triennale Terraces, a free-entry space on the second floor of the Triennale Museum, from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the skyscrapers that define Milan’s new skyline, the Duomo, and the Castello Sforzesco. Incidentally, this is one of the best places for an apéritif with a panoramic view in Milan, although the prices might be a tad out of budget!

Aperitivo con vista a Milano - Terrazza Triennale 2

© Terrazza Triennale

Where can you eat in Milan on a budget?

Let’s stay on the subject of food: can you eat well in Milan without spending a fortune?The answer is yes, even without necessarily relying on fast food.

Some examples? At PolentOne in the Piola area, polenta becomes street food, and is served with tasty various side dishes such as game ragout, mushrooms, cold cuts and cheeses – all for a few euros. In the heart of Milan’s Chintown you find Ravioleria Sarpi, typical Chinese ravioli are sold in portions of four pieces for only €2.50, the same price as Luini’s legendary panzerotti (in the Duomo district), a true institution for Milan’s locals. Or there’s Meatball Family, a chain that offers tasty Italian meatballs and inexpensive tasty dishes.

In general, at the typical Milanese ritual of the “aperitivo” (or the more substantial “apericena”) you can order a cocktail and sample tasty appetizers without spending too much.

Dove fare aperitivo a Milano zona Lambrate Santeria

© Santeria

To Milan with Italo

Are you ready to travel to Milan at low cost? To get to Lombardy’s capital city, the ideal solution is to take advantage of Italo‘s great deals on trains to Milan from all over Italy and then immerse yourself in the city and its treasures – many of which, as we’ve seen, are free!


Cover photo: © Miquel Fabre via Flickr