Best Day Trips from Milan: a Guide to the Top Places to Visit
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This is a guide to the best day tours from Milan, with an itinerary of the most beautiful cities of art, lakes, mountains, parks, and UNESCO sites, all reachable within a maximum of two hours from the Lombard capital.


Within a two-hour radius of Milan, there is a world to explore and discover, from squares and historical buildings to monuments, museums, and parks.

Milan is a city worth visiting. It offers so much to those seeking cultural stimulation, from historical palaces to modern buildings, from shopping streets dedicated to high fashion to museums with international exhibitions.

Places to visit around Milan and the regions bordering Lombardy are also worth exploring. These areas are home to many places of historical and artistic interest, as well as stunning natural landscapes. There are also many unusual and interesting activities to enjoy in the area, such as tasting local specialties, going on nature excursions, taking themed tours, and relaxing at a spa.

A day trip from Milan is also a great opportunity to visit some of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy. Here are a few of the most popular: Crespi d’Adda, a 19th century industrial village; Monte San Giorgio; Sacred Mountains of Ossuccio and Varese; Mantua; Santa Maria delle Grazie and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper; Liuteria in Cremona… To name but a few.


Milan Day Trips

If you’re thinking of visiting Milan, be sure to take advantage of day or weekend trips to the most interesting places to visit in the surrounding area. You can easily reach these destinations by car or train, and they offer something for everyone, from stunning natural scenery to fascinating historical sites.

Let’s start with the first stop! 👇


1. Crespi d’Adda (UNESCO heritage site) and Trezzo d’Adda

day trips from milan


Crespi d’Adda is a 19th century workers’ village located in the Bergamo area, just under 40 kilometers from Milan, named after its founders, the Crespi family, Lombard cotton industrialists.

The “Ideal Workers’ Village” was built next to the Crespi textile mill, on the Bergamo side of the Adda river, to provide housing for employees and their families. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, still inhabited by the descendants of the workers of the historic textile factory, and is home to Villa Crespi, a neo-Gothic castle that was once the owners’ residence.

Not to be missed the small village of Trezzo sull’Adda, located on the river of the same name, a must-visit for anyone interested in medieval history. The village is home to the ruins of the Visconti Castle, which was built in the 13th century by the powerful Visconti family. The castle was once a strategic stronghold, but it was destroyed in the 16th century.


2. Montevecchia

flickr, Sa Mu


For a day trip from Milan consider Montevecchia, the mountain of Milan, known for its production of aromatic herbs, is a town perched on a small mountain, just 30 kilometers from Milan.

It belongs to the province of Lecco and is located within the Curone Park, along with the medieval Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine del Carmelo, surrounded by sixteen sandstone aedicules with 18th century sculptures.

The Sanctuary can be reached by a flight of steps leading to the top of the hill (503 meters), from where there are stunning views of the surrounding countryside, including Milan in the distance.

In addition to the Sanctuary, there are many other things to see in Montevecchia, including villas, churches, and walks along the paths leading to Montevecchia Alta, which is a charming hamlet with terraced fields and vineyards.


3. Lake Como, a day trip from Milan

Lake Como


Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. It is located in the Lombardy region, and it is surrounded by the provinces of Como and Lecco. A day trip to Lake Como from Milan is an opportunity to discover beautiful villages, villas, parks, gardens, and beaches.

Some of the most beautiful beaches on the eastern shore of the lake include Riva Bianca beach (Lierna), Oro beach (Bellano), Onno beach, and Colico beach. On the western shore, there is Careno beach (Nesso), San Giovanni beach (Bellagio), Lenno beach, Griante beach, San Siro beach, San Vito beach (Cremia), and Sorico beach.

A walk along the lake also leads to the discovery of paths such as the Viandante path in Abbadia Lariana and the Greenway dei Patriarchi, a flat road that starts in Varenna and runs for about ten kilometers through small villages such as Sala Comacina, Ossuccio, Lenno, Mezzegra, Tremezzo, and Griante.

From Abbadia Lariana, one of the most popular tourist resorts on Lake Como, you can reach the most beautiful waterfall in all of Lombardy, the Cascata del Cenghen (580 meters).

Three villages that are not to be missed are Lierna, Varenna, and Bellagio. Varenna is home to some of the most beautiful villas in the area, such as Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi.

On the eastern shore of the lake, the small town of Lierna is famous for its beautiful villas surrounded by parks, and for the Riva Bianca beach.

Finally, Bellagio is renowned as the most charming village of all. Also called “il Borgo”, it offers beautiful views thanks to its location between the hills, the lake, and the Alps.


4. San Pellegrino Terme and Val Brembana

trips from milan
flickr, Jan Sluijter


Among Milan day tours, you can consider an excursion that is both beautiful and active in Val Brembana. The valley is a beautiful and refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of Milan.

Located at the foot of the Orobian Alps in the Bergamo province, Val Brembana is a popular destination for hikers, bikers, and nature lovers.

In the valley you can visit small, historic villages, as well as the spa town of San Pellegrino Terme, which is famous for its S. Pellegrino mineral water. San Pellegrino Terme is located 24 kilometers from Bergamo and 70 kilometers from Milan.

Here are some of the things you can do in Val Brembana:

  • Hike or bike along the trails that wind through the valley.
  • Visit the small villages, such as San Giovanni Bianco, San Pellegrino Terme, and Camerata Cornello.
  • Take a dip in the thermal baths of San Pellegrino Terme.
  • Go whitewater rafting or canyoning on the Brembo River.
  • Visit the Orobie Park, a protected area with stunning scenery.


5. Franciacorta

Just a short drive from Milan, you can find Franciacorta, a wine region located on the shores of Lake Iseo in the province of Brescia.

The Franciacorta Wine Route winds for 80 kilometers through hills, vineyards, villages, and castles. It is a wonderful territory to discover, with opportunities for excursions, wine and food tastings, and more.


6. Orta San Giulio and Lake Orta

orta san giulio


Orta San Giulio, named one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, is another ideal stop for a day trip from Milan, which is about 90 kilometers away. Orta is located in the province of Novara, in Piedmont.

The hub of the town is Piazza Motta, a delightful square overlooking the lake, from which you can embark to reach the island of San Giulio. The islet lies in the middle of the lake, just opposite Orta.

On top of the hill overlooking Orta San Giulio is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sacro Monte d’Orta, dedicated to St Francis of Assisi. A tour stops at 20 chapels frescoed with episodes from the life of St Francis.


7. Stresa and the Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore

best day trips from milan
flickr, Enrica


For a day trip from Milan, you should consider Lake Maggiore, the largest of the Piedmontese lakes. On its waters rest the famous Borromean Islands: Isola Bella, Isola Madre with its Borromeo Castle and Isola dei Pescatori, between Stresa and Verbania.

There are also many villages to visit around the lake, where you can discover noble villas, historical palaces, churches, and ancient castles.

Stresa is worth a visit because it is the most beautiful of the villages along the western shore of the lake in the Piedmont province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, with its historic center where you can see ancient villas and palaces. These include Villa Pallavicino, dating back to the 19th century, surrounded by the garden that houses the zoo and botanical garden; and Villa Ducale, an ancient noble residence.


8. Zegna Oasis

oasi zegna
Flickr, gian claudio perino


The Oasi Zegna, in the province of Biella, is another ideal destination for a day trip from Milan. A protected mountain area with 26 nature trails set against the backdrop of the Biellese Alps. It can be visited all year round.

The Oasi Zegna was established in 1993 on the initiative of Ermenegildo Zegna, who wanted to create a natural paradise. The Oasis hosts workshops dedicated to children, exhibition routes and marvelous blooms, such as the Conca dei Rododendri in spring.

It is also a great place to see flora and wildlife. Driving along the Panoramica Zegna (SP 232), one of the most scenic roads in Italy, which winds for 26 kilometers above Trivero in the Biella region, the view is breathtaking, taking in Monte Rosa, Alta Valsessera, Valsesia, and the Po Valley.


9. Valsesia

day trip from milan
flickr, Marta Dionigi


For a trip out of Milan, Valsesia is certainly one of the most beautiful valleys in Piedmont.
The area stretches along the course of the Sesia river, dominated by Monte Rosa, to the plains of Biella. It is a popular destination for those who enjoy sport fishing, rafting, trekking, mountaineering, and climbing.

Valsesia is full of small, characteristic villages to visit. One of the most beautiful villages is Varallo, in the Mastallone Valley area. An area populated by small, ancient villages surrounded by dense forests criss-crossed by walkable paths.

Here are some other things to do in Valsesia:

  • visit the Sacro Monte di Varallo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • hike to the summit of Monte Rosa, the second highest mountain in the Alps.
  • go whitewater rafting on the Sesia River.
  • visit the town of Alagna Valsesia, a popular ski resort in the winter.


10. Valtellina and the Bernina red train

bernina train


Valtellina is one of the most famous valleys in Lombardy. If you are looking for a relaxing and scenic place to visit in Lombardy, Valtellina is a great option. The valley has something to offer everyone, from winter sports enthusiasts to hikers and nature lovers.

It is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, as it is home to several ski resorts, including Bormio and Livigno. However, Valtellina is also a great place to visit in the summer, as it offers stunning scenery, charming villages, and plenty of hiking and biking trails.

Some of the main towns in Valtellina include Sondrio, Chiavenna, Tirano, Morbegno, Teglio, and Sondalo. In addition to these towns, there are also several smaller villages that are worth visiting, such as Grosio, Aprica and Madesimo.

Valtellina is also home to two national parks: the Stelvio National Park and the Parco delle Orobie Valtellinesi. These parks offer stunning scenery and plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and camping.

The Bernina Express, also known as the Little Red Train because of the color of its carriages, departs from Tirano, a town in Valtellina. It is the highest train in Europe that climbs the mountains (2,253 meters above sea level) arriving in St. Moritz, a famous Swiss resort in the Engadine.


11. Lake Garlate

day tours from milan
flickr, Danilo Manzoni


If you are looking for a relaxing and scenic place to visit in Lombardy, for a best day trip from Milan then Lake Garlate is a great option. The lake is surrounded by mountains and hills, and the water is crystal clear. There are also several places to visit in the area, including monasteries, castles, and villages.

Lake Garlate is a small lake located to the south of Lecco, in Lombardy. It is connected to Lake Como by the River Adda, which can be traveled along the looped pedestrian cycle path, the “cycle path of the lakes”.

This path starts in Lecco and passes through places such as Pescate, Garlate, and Olginate on the right bank, and through Calolziocorte and Vercurago on the left bank.

Along the way, you will encounter several places of interest, including:

  • The Lavello Monastery in Calolziocorte
  • The Sanctuary of San Girolamo Emiliani and the Castle of the Innominato in Vercurago, in the upper hamlet of Somasca
  • The old fishing village of Pescarenico in Lecco
  • The Pozze di Erve in the province of Lecco, natural pools, waterfalls, and slides forming pools of crystal-clear water originating from the Gallavesa stream on the slopes of Mount Resegone.


12. Sculpture Trail in the Campo dei Fiori Regional Nature Park

Around Lake Maggiore is the Wood Sculpture Trail (Trail No. 17), starting from Cerro di Caldana in the Campo dei Fiori Regional Park, a protected nature area in the province of Varese with many other numbered trails.
The park was established in 1984 and is still a popular destination, especially for trekking and mountain walks lovers. The creator of the sculptures depicting faces and animals, carved from chestnut tree trunks, is Sergio Terni.

The Wood Sculpture Trail is a 3-kilometer loop that takes you through the woods of the park. Along the way, you can see over 30 sculptures of faces and animals, all carved from chestnut tree trunks. The sculptures are the work of Sergio Terni, a local artist who has been carving wood for over 30 years.


13. The Pavese: Certosa di Pavia, Pavia and Vigevano

flickr, Guido Pusceddu


A day trip from Milan takes us to visit Pavia and Vigevano.
In the area, there are not only the famous lavender fields and delightful villages to visit. A cultural and spiritual destination is the Certosa di Pavia, one of the most famous religious architectural works of the Renaissance, built as a private chapel and family mausoleum in the 15th century at the behest of Gian Galeazzo Visconti.

After visiting the monastery, you can make a stop in Vigevano, the most important center of Lomellina, land of rice and rice paddies.

In Vigevano, it is worth visiting its splendid Piazza Ducale (1492), one of the most beautiful in Europe, built at the behest of Ludovico il Moro as access to the castle. On three sides of the square are buildings decorated with frescoes, on the fourth, the Cathedral Church of Sant’Ambrogio.

The small city of Pavia is also worth a visit, a university city that can also be reached in half a day from Milan by bike along the Naviglio Pavese canal. The Ticino river divides Pavia in two, on one side the historic center, on the other the Borgo Ticino district, connected by the Ponte Coperto. symbol of Pavia.
Worth seeing in Pavia are:

  • The cathedral, the third largest in Italy dedicated to Saint Stephen Martyr and Santa Maria Assunta, built during the Sforza dynasty.
  • Piazza della Vittoria, the heart of the city, is home to the oldest palace in Lombardy, the Broletto (1100), once the seat of the bishop, then of civil power. Today, it houses the Istituto Superiore Universitario.
  • The Castello Visconteo (1360), now home to the Musei Civici and the Pinacoteca Malaspina.



14. Abbey of Morimondo

About 15 kilometers from Milan and a few kilometers from Abbiategrasso, on the border with the territory of Pavia, is the Abbey of Morimondo, an ancient Cistercian monastery nestled in a valley on the Ticino river.
The monastery with its cloisters was founded in 1134 by a group of Cistercian monks from the mother house of Morimond in France. The building, constructed of clay bricks, stands on two floors. Inside, it preserves some valuable works of art, including a cycle of frescoes by Michelino da Besozzo (1448).
The abbey is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims alike. It is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit, and it offers a glimpse into the history and culture of the Cistercian order.


15. Rocca di Angera and Sanctuary of Santa Caterina del Sasso

milan day trips
flickr, Joël Le Montagner


On Lake Maggiore, just over 60 kilometers from Milan, is the Rocca di Angera, near the town of the same name.

The Rocca was once the property of the Visconti family, later acquired by the Borromeo family. It houses historical rooms decorated with frescoes and paintings, antique furniture, as well as the Museo della Bambola e del Giocattolo (Museum of Dolls and Toys), with over a thousand dolls made from the 18th century to the present day.

Overlooking Lake Maggiore, another historical monument, but of a religious and spiritual nature, is the Hermitage of Santa Caterina, an ancient monastery built into the rock in the 14th century.
The hermitage is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists alike. It is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit, and it offers a glimpse into the history and culture of the Catholic Church.


16. Lake Iseo and Monte Isola

Classified as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”, Monte Isola is another stop on this list of places to see near Milan.

The island’s characteristic feature is its quiet life, as no cars circulate here, only mopeds, bicycles, and a few service vehicles.

Ancient fishing villages such as Maraglio, Carzano, Novale, flanked by streets dotted with centuries-old olive trees, stand on the island. At the top of the island, on the highest peak, stands the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ceriola. A sacred place and belvedere from which to photograph Lake Iseo and Franciacorta.

Here are some other things to do in Monte Isola:

  • Visit the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ceriola
  • Hike to the top of Monte Isola for stunning views of the lake and surrounding area.
  • Visit the ancient fishing villages of Maraglio, Carzano, and Novale
  • Sample the local olive oil and wine
  • Take a boat trip around the island


17. Castles: Malpaga Castle, Soncino Castle

day trips milan
flickr, ZaffiroeAcciaio Marco Ferr – Castello di Soncino


The Malpaga Castle (1300) in Cavernago, a few kilometers from Bergamo, is one of the most important in the Lombardy region. It is housed within the Serio River Park, and was once the home and fiefdom of the condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni, Captain General of the Venetian Republic. It later passed to the Roncalli Counts and the Crespi family.

The castle is immersed in the Bergamo countryside and retains a medieval appearance with its watchtowers, crenellated walls, large moat, loggias, and ancient drawbridge. Inside, it houses marvelous frescoes by the Renaissance painter Il Romanino.

Soncino Castle, on the other hand, is an example of Lombard military architecture built by Galeazzo Maria Sforza around 1470, in the locality of the same name. A visit to the Rocca Sforzesca reveals its fascinating structure with towers and bastions, drawbridges, and defense systems.

In addition to the castle, it is interesting to take a tour of the village of Soncino, where you can see its churches and historical palaces, and where the Printing Museum is also located.


18. Labyrinth of the Masone

A must-visit for a walk outside Milan is the Labirinto della Masone, a cultural park near Fontanellato, in the province of Parma. It is home to the largest labyrinth in the world, consisting of around 300,000 bamboo plants, between 30 centimeters and 15 meters tall.

The labyrinth was designed by Franco Maria Ricci, an Italian publisher and art collector. It is made up of 7 concentric paths that wind their way through the bamboo plants. The paths are all different lengths, so it is impossible to get lost.
The labyrinth is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. It is a great place to get lost in thought, or to simply enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. There is also a museum on the grounds of the park, which houses a collection of Ricci’s art and artifacts.


19. Monza

flickr, Sandra Pires


Monza is about 30 kilometers from Milan by car, making it an ideal destination for a day trip. The city is known for its famous autodrome, but it also offers many other attractions, including:

  • The historic center, with the cathedral built by the Lombard queen Teodolinda.
  • The Chapel of Theodolinda in the cathedral, which houses the precious Iron Crown.
  • The Museum and Treasury of Monza Cathedral.
  • The Palazzo dell’Arengario (13th century), once the seat of civil power.
  • The Reggia or Villa Reale of Monza in neoclassical style, once the private residence of the Habsburgs (18th century).
  • The historical Park dating back to the 19th century, commissioned by Napoleon, with over 700 hectares of meadows and woods, a river, small lakes; and the ancient bridges over the Lambro river.


20. Oasis of Sant’Alessio, with the Castle

The Sant’Alessio Oasis is a protected natural area in the province of Pavia, worth visiting for its natural beauty and its variety of animal and plant species. The oasis is the natural habitat of various native bird species, such as storks and peregrine falcons.

It is also easily accessible from Milan, only about 30 kilometers away.

Next to the oasis, in Piazza della Chiesa, is the historic Castle of Sant’Alessio (14th century), one of the most intact fortifications in the province.


21. Voghera and the Cowboy Park

The Oltrepò Pavese territory is all about agricultural activities, including viticulture. And so Voghera, once an important salt route, retains this tradition. Among the activities not to be missed in these parts are tastings of the area’s good wine, Pinot Noir.

s for places of interest, here are the most important ones:

  • The Cathedral of San Lorenzo, whose interior houses a reliquary from the Holy Land.
  • The Shrine Temple dedicated to St Hilary and St George, also known as the Red Church.
  • The Church of San Giuseppe Calasanzio and Santa Maria Assunta.
  • Palazzo Gounela, seat of the municipality of Voghera.
  • The ‘Giuseppe Beccari’ Historical Museum.
  • The Visconti Castle.

Voghera is also home to Cowboyland, inside the Cowboy’s Guest Ranch, an Italian western-themed park with typical North American prairie and ranch animals, riding stables, saloons and spectacular rodeos.


22. Historic Villas

milan trips
flickr, renzo dionigi


Trips from Milan should also include a tour among the most interesting villas, historical residences located between Milan, Como and Varese, which are worth seeing for a different kind of tour, among them:

  • Villa Fogazzaro (by the writer Antonio Fogazzaro) from the 19th century, about 1.30 hours from Milan.
  • Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como, near the villages of Colonno and Ossuccio (about 1 hour 30 minutes from Milan).
  • Villa Carlotta in Tramezzina, in the province of Como, with a botanical garden and museum.
  • Villa Litta in Lainate, 30 minutes from Milan.
  • Villa Panza in Varese dating from the 18th century (inside it houses a collection of contemporary art.
  • Villa Olmo, on the promenade of Lake Como, is a beautiful late 18th century building in neoclassical style, the summer residence of the Marquis Odescalchi.


23. Varese and the Sacro Monte of Varese

places to visit around milan
flickr, Ed Fulton


About 60 kilometers from Milan, on the shores of Lake Varese, lies Varese, a town at the foot of the Alps on the Swiss border.

Entering the historical center of Varese, one comes across the San Vittore Cathedral (9th century), dedicated to Saint Victor the martyr. It is recognizable by its neo-Gothic façade and imposing Baroque bell tower.

Strolling around the city, one encounters the famous Art Nouveau palaces.

Above the S. Ambrogio district, the Sacro Monte di Varese trail starts on the slopes of the Parco dei Fiori (Flower Park). It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and passes through 14 chapels with their life-size statues. The route leads up the hill to the village of Santa Maria del Monte, where the Lombard Baroque-style sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary is located.


24. Mantua

A day trip from Milan can certainly take you to Mantua, the city of the Gonzaga family, who were responsible for its architectural beauty. Mantua is a Renaissance town, so rich in value that in 2008 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The historic center is small and intimate and can be visited well in a day. It is here that the main monuments of the town are located, including:

  • the Castle of San Giorgio, a former fortress built by Francesco I Gonzaga in 1395.
  • Piazza Sordello, the largest square in the historic centre, where you can see the Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace, the Ducal Palace (or Palazzo del Capitano), the Bonacolsi Palace (now Castiglioni) and the Acerbi Palace.
  • Palazzo Ducale, the oldest of the Gonzaga residences, was built by the Gonzaga family in the 14th century.
  • Duomo di Mantova, or St Peter’s Cathedral (11th century), with its late Baroque façade and Gothic right side in red brick.
  • Piazza delle Erbe, once the location of the traditional fruit and vegetable market, where you will find shops, bars and trattorias. This square is overlooked by the Palazzo della Ragione and the Clock Tower, the Rotonda di San Lorenzo, and the Casa del Mercante.
  • Clock Tower, next to the Palazzo della Ragione.
  • The Rotonda di San Lorenzo, the city’s oldest church (late 11th-early 12th century).


25. Bergamo

flickr, michele carbone


Among the best day trips from Milan, less than an hour away, there is Bergamo, a city rich in history, art, and culture.

Bergamo is divided into two levels: Bergamo Alta (Upper Bergamo) and Bergamo Bassa (Lower Bergamo), connected by stairs, paths, and a funicular railway that starts at Porta Sant’Alessandro.

In Bergamo Bassa, after Porta Nuova, begins the Sentierone, a tree-lined avenue with many shops and historic buildings: the Donizetti Theatre, the Church of San Bartolomeo, Palazzo Frizzoni, the Monument to the Partisan.

From Via Pignolo begins the ancient suburb that leads to Bergamo Alta, the medieval town that can be toured on foot, surrounded by the 5-kilometer-long Venetian walls (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which can be walked and visited in the underground tunnels.

In Bergamo Alta, you walk through narrow alleys leading to beautiful squares with historic buildings and monuments:

  • Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe, where you will find the Cloister of San Francesco, and from where you can reach the Rocca, an ancient fortress.
  • Piazza di San Pancrazio, where there are the medieval palaces, the Church of San Pancrazio, the Fountain, and the Torre del Gombito, the highest tower in Bergamo.
  • Piazza Vecchia, known as “the most beautiful square in Europe” as defined by architect Le Corbusier, or as German writer Hermann Hesse called it, “the most beautiful corner of Italy”. Here you will find the Palazzo della Ragione, the Contarini Fountain, the Palazzo del Podestà, and the Campanone, the very tall Civic Tower.
  • Piazza Duomo, where you can visit the Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colleoni Chapel.
  • Piazza della Cittadella Viscontea, where the Adalberto Tower stands. Here, those who wish can visit the Archaeological Museum and the Enrico Caffi Natural Science Museum.
    Crossing the square and passing through Porta Sant’Alessandro, you can reach Colle di San Vigilio by funicular railway, where you can visit the small church and the ancient castle.


26. Novara



On the border between Piedmont and Lombardy, halfway between Turin and Milan, lies Novara.
Small but with substance, there are many things to see in this city, starting with the historical center with its colorful buildings.

The main pedestrian avenue is Corso Italia, which allows a glimpse of the Duomo, or Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistry of San Gaudenzio and Antonelli’s dome. Another church worth visiting is San Marco, not far from Corso Italia.

A few steps from the cathedral there is the Arengo del Broletto, a quadrangular courtyard surrounded by historic buildings. Among the most important buildings are:

  • Palazzo Cabrino (17th cent.), seat of Novara’s City Hall
  • Palazzo Langhi Leonardi (18th century)
  • Palazzo Bellini
  • Palazzo Cacciapiatti Fossati (17th cent.), seat of the Palace of Justice
  • Casa della Porta, a medieval historical building in Gothic style

Among the most important buildings for defense purposes is the Castello Visconteo (1200), now a venue for exhibitions and cultural events, surrounded by one of the most beautiful parks in the region.


27. Vercelli

About an hour away from Milan you can reach Vercelli, known as the European capital of rice.
Vercelli has a small historic center, which can be pleasantly walked around to admire its historical palaces and sacred buildings, including the majestic Basilica of Sant’Andrea (1219 – 1227), an example of several Lombard, Emilian, Gothic and Romanesque styles.

The main attractions to see in Vercelli include:

  • Piazza Palazzo Vecchio, also known as “Piazza dei Pesci” for the fish market it once housed.
  • Piazza Cavour, an ancient Roman forum with some of the oldest buildings and the Torre dell’Angelo.
  • The Portici dei Brentatori (1300s)



28. Monferrato

Monferrato is the historical region between the provinces of Asti and Alessandria, in Piedmont, the land of Piedmont’s most famous wines, as well as small, delightful medieval villages and ancient castles.

From Milan it takes just over an hour to reach some of the most beautiful places, such as:

  • Gavi, a town known for its white wine.
  • Alessandria, a city with a beautiful historic center and a castle.
  • Rosignano Monferrato, a town with a well-preserved medieval center.
  • Canelli, a town known for its sparkling wines.
  • Nizza Monferrato (UNESCO World Heritage Site), a town with a beautiful historic center.
  • Cella Monte, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.



29. Alba

alba piedmont
Alba Piemonte – Flickr, Tommy Cavaglia’


About 120 kilometers from Milan, this Piedmontese city in the province of Cuneo belongs to the beautiful Langhe area, which lies between the provinces of Asti and Cuneo and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2014 together with Roero and Monferrato.

Alba – nicknamed the “City of a Hundred Towers” for the many towers built in the past for defensive purposes – stands on the Tanaro river, surrounded by hills dotted with vineyards.

Small but full of things to see and do, as well as food and wine delicacies to taste. Among other things, Alba is the land of truffles, where the International White Truffle Fair is held every year.

Here are the most important monuments to visit in Alba:

  • In Piazza Risorgimento, the Gothic-style Cathedral of San Lorenzo and the Town Hall.
  • On Via Vittorio Emanuele, the Church of the Maddalena, with Baroque interior decorations.
  • The three towers that have remained intact: Bonino Tower, Astesiano Tower and Sineo Tower (12th century).
  • The underground passages of Alba.
  • The 13th-century Gothic church of San Domenico.



30. Modena

Modena is a city in Emilia-Romagna, about two hours’ drive from Milan. Hence another best place to visit around Milan.

An excursion outside the city could include this stop for several good reasons. Motor lovers, for example, might want to visit the Ferrari Museum dedicated to Formula 1. While families with children, or even slightly older collectors, might want to pay a visit to the Panini Museum, all dedicated to the much-loved figurines from every era.

In addition to these attractions, there is so much to discover in Modena, starting with the Ghirlandina, the symbol of the city, a bell tower some 86 meters high.

An itinerary to follow in Modena includes these stops:

  • Piazza Grande with the most beautiful buildings, including Palazzo Comunale and the historic “herring stone” or “haranguing stone”, used in the Middle Ages as a tribune and pulpit by Modenese orators.
  • The Ducal Palace, once the seat of the Estense Court, now houses the Military Academy.
  • The Galleria Estense which, among others, houses works of art owned by the Dukes of Este.
  • Palazzo del Foro Boario
  • The Novi Ark Archaeological Park
  • The Acetaia Comunale – Modena is famous for its PDO and PGI Balsamic Vinegar
  • The Luciano Pavarotti Municipal Theatre



31. Cremona

milan day tours
flickr, IBramba


A day trip from Milan takes you to the heart of the Po Valley, Cremona, a small town about 70 kilometers from Milan.

Cremona is known as the city of the 3 T’s in reference to the Torrazzo, one of the tallest bell towers in the world and symbol of the city; to Torrone (Sperlari and Vergari), which has its origins here 500 years ago; and to the famous actor Tognazzi (but this is not certain) who was born in Cremona.

The town is also famous for its historic lutherie, from which violins have been making their way around the world for centuries, and for its medieval and Renaissance palaces and churches.

Some of the most beautiful buildings, recognizable by their typical Lombard red bricks, overlook Piazza del Comune. It is here that the Torrazzo (1305), the highest stone bell tower in Europe (112 meters), stands majestically; the Duomo (or Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, 1100), known as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Po Valley’ for its marvellous frescoes.

Other monuments not to be missed:

  • the Palazzo Comunale and the Loggia dei Militi (1200), where another symbol of Cremona, Hercules, its mythical founder, holds the city’s coat of arms
  • the noble palaces such as Palazzo Trecchi (1496) and Palazzo Raimondi, and several famous churches such as San Sigismondo (1463), in Lombard Renaissance style
  • the Baptistery of San Giovanni Battista, a Romanesque building (1167)
  • the Violin Museum in Palazzo dell’Arte, which houses violins made by Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri, and a reconstruction of a violin-making workshop
  • in Corso Garibaldi 57, the House of the violin maker Antonio Stradivari and the workshops of the violin makers recognised as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.


32. Verona and Lake Garda

One of the most beautiful places to visit around Milan is Lake Garda, which spans three regions: Lombardy, Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto. On the Veneto side are some of the most beautiful villages, including:

  • Peschiera del Garda
  • Castelnuovo del Garda (where Gardaland is located)
  • Lazise
  • Bardolino
  • Garda
  • Torri del Benaco
  • Brenzone sul Garda
  • Malcesine

Verona has many places of interest, including Piazza delle Erbe, the square in the historic centre from which to begin a tour of the town. On the Piazza delle Erbe you can visit Palazzo del Comune, Palazzo Maffei, the Casa dei Giudici, Casa Mazzanti and Casa dei Mercanti.

Here is what to see in Verona,

  • the Arena of Verona
  • the Palazzo della Gran Guardia
  • Palazzo Barbieri
  • Via Giuseppe Mazzini, the shopping street
  • the Lamberti Tower, 84 metres high
  • Piazza dei Signori (or Piazza Dante) with the Domus Nova, the Palazzo degli Scaligeri, the Palazzo del Capitano and the Loggia del Consiglio
  • the Palazzo della Ragione with its characteristic Scala della Ragione (Staircase of Reason) in red Veronese marble, home to the Achille Forti Gallery of Modern Art
  • the Arche Scaligere, a short distance from Piazza dei Signori, ancient monumental tombs where the remains of the great lords of Verona are buried, such as Cangrande I, Mastino II and Cansignorio
  • the balcony of Juliet, protagonist of the Shakespearean drama.



33. The “Maldives of Milan

maldive of milano
flickr, -libellenwellen-


Did you know that near Milano there are “Maldives”? “The “Maldives of Milan” are located in the Verzasca Valley, near Locarno, in Canton Ticino, in Switzerland. In this place you can find natural swimming pools with crystal-clear waters of the Verzasca River, where you can swim in summer and enjoy river sports. The area is also a destination for hiking and cycling.


Now that you know how to organise perfect day trips from Milan, remember that, with Italia Delight, you can book food and wine experiences and trips throughout Italy, conceived and realised by local experts! 😍


Cover photo: leah-wilson-unsplash

Featured photo: vitaliy-zamedyanskiy-unsplash


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