Milan’s main square is surrounded by some of the most significant buildings in the city, including one of the world’s oldest shopping malls and the largest church in Italy.
Milan’s spacious city square, the Piazza del Duomo, is named for the huge church that overlooks it. Today, the piazza is a central meeting place, home to many of the city’s significant buildings. As the most popular attraction in the city, the Piazza del Duomo is a great place to visit at the beginning of your trip to Milan. Soak up the atmosphere at a café on the square, take in the architecture or do some shopping in the four-story arcade that overlooks the piazza.
The Duomo, or Cathedral of Milan, had been under construction for almost 500 years when the piazza was created in its current design. Visit the piazza on a sunny morning to see the locals starting their day. Cafés, restaurants and bars line the square; most offer outdoor dining. Grab a table and a traditional Italian coffee and do some people-watching. Other local delicacies on the square include pizza and panettone, a rich cake particularly popular at Christmas. Get one of the best views of the square from the restaurants at the top of the adjacent department store.
As you look over the square you’ll notice the wide range of architecture. While the Duomo is the star attraction, buildings like the Palazzo dei Portici Settentrionale and the Royal Palace of Milan are fascinating historical sites. In the center of the square a statue of Italy’s first king sits on a large platform. King Vittorio Emanuele II also has a glass arcade built in his honor and bearing his name. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II features four stories of indoor shopping and is considered to be one of the oldest malls in the world. This is a great place to find souvenirs or luxury items from the biggest names in fashion.
The Piazza del Duomo is in the heart of downtown Milan. The best way to reach the piazza is by metro or on foot, but some street parking can be found in the area.