Top 5 Must Do's in Milan

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Milan is a beautiful city that's all about fashion and designers. But while you're meandering down the Corso Buenos Aires and the Via Montenapoleone searching for the latest in Gucci or Armani, here are five other places that you should definitely make time to see.

The Duomo

Italian for "cathedral," the Duomo is by far the most impressive building in Milan, even surrounded as it is by amazing Italian architecture. The outside of the cathedral is a brilliant array of spires and sculptures that sparkle in white marble. Inside (dress appropriately to enter) are still more impressive sculptures and giant stained glass windows depicting various scenes from the bible. If you have the time, head up to the roof for a close-up view of the incredible craftsmanship, not to mention a panoramic view of the city.

The Santa Maria delle Grazie

While not nearly as impressive as the Duomo from the outside, the Santa Maria holds something spectacular. Once you've toured the rebuilt church with its reconstituted artwork, step into the monastery and wait patiently to go through the four environmentally controlled rooms to marvel at Leonardo Da Vinci's "Last Supper." Be sure to reserve your tickets online early, as it's regularly completely booked up to three months in advance. Or, if you've come to Milan last minute, find yourself a city bus tour. They not only take you to all of the most impressive sights, they also guarantee tickets to see the painting.

The Rinascente

If you have come to Milan purely for the shopping, be sure to check out the Rinascente, the oldest department store in the world. The structure is magnificent with its glass roof and tiled floors, while still managing to be an open-air "mall." The shops are the epitome of style in their brown and beige facades, and the upper levels are home to Milan's seven star hotel. Prada and, alas, McDonalds has never looked so good.

Teatro alla Scala

This impressive opera house is without a doubt Europe's most famous. If you haven't purchased tickets to a show prior to your arrival, you can join the crowds at 5 p.m. to score standing tickets. If you're not as interested in the opera or ballet, at least take a tour of this impressive building. You can see the view from one of the balconies as well as paintings and costumes from shows past in the on-site museum.

Castello Sforzesco

The Sforza Castle is a grand building that also houses some famous artwork. Paintings by Da Vinci grace the tower from when he was a guest of the castle. The grounds hold museums of ancient art, applied art, antiques and even archaeology. You can also take a moment to relax at the beautiful fountain that graces the front of the castle.

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