Where to Find the Best Views in Milan
Though Milan can seem strictly modern from street level, from above, its ancient bones come to the fore. A bird’s-eye view highlights the city’s terra-cotta roofs and winding lanes, the domes and cupolas of medieval chapels and monasteries, and even a few Roman ruins. For an unforgettable glimpse of Milan past and present, seek out these scenic overlooks.
Duomo Rooftop Terrace
The most famous—and perhaps most dramatic—vista point in Milan is from the top of its ornate cathedral (Duomo). Most visitors snap photos from the rooftop itself, but be sure to stop a few times on your way up to frame your shots with the ornately carved arches and spires.
Branca Tower (Torre Branca)
This 300-foot-high (91-meter-high) steel tower soaring above Sempione Park, designed by architect Gio Ponti in 1933, is among the highest panoramic perches in the city. Take the elevator to the observation deck for a sweeping view as far as the Alps on the horizon.
Milan also offers delightful views from street level in the historic Navigli district, a former working-class neighborhood that is now one of the trendiest corners of the city. Crisscrossed by canals, the area is thick with chic bars and galleries. Be sure to visit at night, when the lights reflected off the surface of the water make for dramatic photos.
Sunset Helicopter Flight Over Milan
For dazzling views of Italy’s most modern city, take to the skies with a helicopter tour at sunset. Admire Milan’s skyscrapers from the air, including the award-winning Vertical Forest and Unicredit Tower, the tallest building in Italy. Fly over the Duomo, Sforza Castle, and other historic landmarks in the golden light of dusk.
To widen your horizon beyond the city, set off with a hot-air-balloon flight in the countryside just outside Milan. Take in the rolling hills of Lombardy and Piedmont as you drift with the wind, snapping photos of the lush landscape, pretty vineyards, and placid lakes from the sky.
Considered one of the most scenic trains in Europe, the Bernina Express passes spectacular glaciers, gorges, and valleys in the Swiss Alps just north of Milan. Take a day trip along this narrow-gauge line, which runs between Zermatt and St. Moritz, to enjoy unforgettable mountain vistas.