There is no better way to properly explore a city the size of Milan than cycling in and around it. One of the biggest hubs of the region Lombardy, as well as of the whole country, Milan is too big a city to walk around sightseeing, which may be one of the reasons why some people prefer to visit other parts of Italy instead.
With the rental of an e-bike, now you can finally experience the endless routes and attractions Milan has to offer. You can cycle with minimal effort, reducing your carbon footprint, all the while being able to stop exactly where you like and to experience truly what truly interests you.
Here are a few examples of tours of the main attractions in Milan.
1. The Grand cycling tour
The meeting point for this first tour of the city is the Milan Central railway station, the largest train station in Europe in terms of volume.
One of the most prestigious landmarks of the city is the famous Duomo (the main cathedral), a majestic church located almost three kilometres away from the central station. The path from the station to the Duomo is through via Vittor Pisani, a giant avenue that takes you straight to the Piazza della Repubblica. On the way to the Duomo, you will cycle by the magnificent Teatro alla Scala (also known as simply “La Scala”), a prestigious opera house built in the late XVIII century. You will also see the beauty of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s oldest active shopping mall and Palazzo Marino, a 16th century palace which has been Milan’s city hall for over a century.
From the Duomo of Milan, you can head south-west towards the little Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, whose refectory hosts one of the most famous (and most talked about) mural paintings in the world, that is, the Last Supper (in Italy it is also known as “il Cenacolo”), painted in 1495 by Leonardo da Vinci.
The last stops of the tour should then include the magnificent Sforza Castle (“Castello Sforzesco”), that boasts numerous museums and art collections and finally the charming Park Sempione, located just behind the majestic castle.
2. The “Hidden” Milan
Aside from the most famous buildings, in Milan you can find charming little spots and boroughs only known to locals or frequent visitors of the city.
One of these gems can be the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, one of the most ancient churches in Milan, built at the end of the IV century. This is where your private tour by bike should start.
It is not so widely known that Milan still retains a few monuments belonging to the Ancient Roman era, such as the Columns of San Lorenzo, located a few pedal strokes from the Basilica. Turning back north, one of the most charming little squares of Milan is located right next to the Piazza del Duomo, it is the tiny Piazza Mercanti, which used to be the pulsating heart of the city in the Middle Ages.
The old Royal Palace is located close by and it was the seat of the government of the city for many centuries but now mostly serves as home to expositions and exhibitions. The old House of the Senate is located nearby, it is a white Baroque building erected in the first decade of the XVII century known as the Palazzo del Senato (“The Senate’s Palace”). The last part of the tour will then take you to the Monumental Cemetery of Milan, situated around three kilometres north. The cemetery was opened in 1866 and it boasts a wide range of contemporary and classical Italian sculptures, Greek temples and obelisks.
3. The Design and Fashion tour
The city of Milan has been named fashion capital of the world and the world’s design capital, as it hosts many fairs and international events, such as the Milan Fashion Week or the Furniture Fair. Therefore, it seems logical to include Design and Fashion attractions as part of your itinerary.
Among the most interesting buildings you should include on you cycling tour is the Triennale of Milan, situated in the Sempione Park, which hosts the museum of Italian design.
A little more history-drenched and equally awe-inspiring is the Museo del Novecento, which showcases twentieth-century artworks of many Italians artists, in particular of the Italian Futurists.
It goes without saying that Milan is a place where you can shop and check out the latest fashion trends of the season. The cycling fashion tour should continue from the Museo del Novecento to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, then it should include the famous shopping streets via Manzoni, via della Spiga and via Montenapoleone, situated quite close to one another and where you can find luxurious shops with brands like Prada, Versace and many, many others.
Once you are tired of shopping, or perhaps of cycling while carrying too many shopping bags, you can head towards the area of the Navigli, near the canals, where you can find many restaurants, shops and bars. Here, you can stop to have an aperitivo, now a vital part of Italian culture, that is, the tradition of having a cocktail (or two) before dinner accompanied by savoury snacks.