Ensconced within the vibrant metropolis of Milan lies Zona Magenta, a district that masterfully blends historic charm with modern allure.
Part of the wider Centro Storico area, it’s a place where culture thrives and Italian heritage passionately speaks through architectural marvels, enlightening museums, and gastronomical prowess.
Since we’ve only got a day here, we better hop to it; let’s leap into a day’s itinerary that captures the true essence of this evocative Milanese district. Here are 14 of the best things to do on the IDEAL day out in Zona Magenta, Milan.
Start Your Day At The San Maurizio Al Monastero Maggiore
No visit to Zona Magenta should start without a trip to the Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore. Often referred to as the ‘Sistine Chapel of Milan,’ it’s a venue where art and tranquillity coalesce, offering a peaceful start to your day.
Delve Into History At The Archaeological Museum
A hop away from San Maurizio lies the Archaeological Museum. Journey into Milan’s past through its Roman roots and early Christian and Lombard periods.
Elevenses, Italian Style
No visit to Milan, one of Italy’s culinary capitals, is complete without indulging in its distinctive cuisine. Take a break at Pasticceria Marchesi, one of Milan’s most traditional patisseries over on Via Santa Maria alla Porta. Sip on a steadying espresso, enjoy a truly indulgent maritozzi or a classic Milanese panettone, and watch the folk of the world’s fashion capital strut their stuff.
Visit The Last Supper Museum
A short stroll away resides one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most revered creations, ‘The Last Supper,’ housed in the Cenacolo Vinciano Museum. This world-famous artwork is a must-visit – just remember to book ahead. Some sites like lastsupperticket.com offer tickets alongside wider tours of the city as a package, which can help you save money if you’re keen on doing plenty of sightseeing while you’re here.
Drop By The Santa Maria Delle Grazie
Next door to the Last Supper Museum stands the breathtaking Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This architectural wonder is a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles that will transport you back in time.
Indulge In Retail Therapy On Via Della Moscova
Enjoy a spot of retail therapy along Via della Moscova. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of Italian brands and high-end international labels to entice both shopaholics and window-shoppers alike.
Lunch Time At Trattoria Milanese
It’s time for lunch at Trattoria Milanese, a charming restaurant that’s been standing since 1933 and prides itself on traditional Milanese cuisine. Try their opulent osso buco or a heavenly risotto, flavoured simply with saffron, butter and heaps of parmesan, and don’t forget to pair your meal with a local Lombardy wine, of which hundreds of bottles line the walls.
Just scheduled a little lie down afterwards, as Milanese food can be a touch heavy!
Unwind At Parco Sempione
Speaking of which…
After a hearty lunch, enjoy some calm at Parco Sempione. This verdant oasis in the middle of the city offers a chance to relax, perhaps with a book or a leisurely cycle around the park.
Explore The Triennale Design Museum
Foster your appreciation for art and design at the Triennale Design Museum. With its celebration of Italian and international design, you’ll never look at everyday objects the same way again.
Enjoy Aperitivo Hour At Bar Magenta
Aperitivo hour is a distinctively Milanese tradition because it originated in the city in the 19th century, conceived by Gaspare Campari, the creator of the famous Campari aperitif. This pre-dinner ritual of enjoying drinks and small bites, originally meant to stimulate the appetite, has since become a cherished aspect of Milan’s local culture and social life. Bar Magenta is perhaps the best place in the area to settle in for a sip or two.
Or, if you’re happy with having a little stroll, then Camparino in Galleria, close to the Duomo and around a 20 minute walk out of Zona Magenta, is as iconic as it comes when considering aperitivo.
Enjoy Contemporary Italian Dining At Insieme Restaurant
As the day mellows into evening, head to Insieme Restaurant for a taste of more modern Milanese cooking. Refined yet relaxed, it’s the perfect embodiment of the city’s spirit. Do not miss the slow cooked veal with caper-studded tonnato sauce; just incredible.
Follow Dinner With A Little Passeggiata Along Corso Magenta
However, light and breezy dinner might have been, you’ll want to walk it off a while. Take a stroll down Corso Magenta, one of Milan’s main thoroughfares. Here, it’s a case of seen and be seen, so best get that gait looking just right!
Experience Milan’s Famous Nightlife At Corso Como
Immerse yourself in Milan’s eclectic nightlife with a visit to Corso Como. This bustling pedestrian street, filled with lively bars and clubs, offers a chance to dance the night away. Alternatively, head south to Navigli district, a 15 minute tube ride away, where the real action is.
End With A Gelato Treat At Gelato Fatto Con Amore
Round off the day in true Italian style with a gelato from Gelato Fatto Con Amore – an artisanal ice cream parlour offering a tantalising selection of flavours all made with love. The queues for this place are well worth braving for a taste of their hazelnut gelato!
The Bottom Line
Every corner of Zona Magenta sings a melody of Italian charm, enriching your senses with the city’s illustrious past and a steadfast celebration of its present. Your day in this historic district promises to be a joyous blend of discovery, delight, and a dollop of la dolce vita. Heaven.
Next up, check out our guide on where to stay in Milan if you’re on a budget. You won’t regret it!