I often set off on long walks in Milan. And on every such promenade, I look forward to a short break in a beautiful piazza. From the grand Piazza del Duomo to the pleasant Piazza del Carmine, each square has a story, a vibrance, and a charm of its own. Some are crowded with excited tourists and buzzing with activity, others are quiet and offer a tranquil getaway from the former.
Piazza del Duomo
This spectacular piazza, dominated by the grand Duomo of Milan, is a focal point for visitors to Milan. Visit the beautiful church (you can even climb to the top and walk among the spires), spend time at an art exhibition at the Palazzo Reale, or shop at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. If you prefer the outdoors, grab a delicious panzerotto or two from the “oh-so-popular” Luini nearby(do not let the queue outside deter you, it moves very quickly), choose your favorite spot in the square, and enjoy your meal. The Piazza del Duomo is, occasionally, a venue for concerts and exhibitions. In December, a gigantic Christmas tree finds pride of place here.
Junior loves the open space and innumerable pigeons in the square.
Piazza della Scala
A short walk from the Piazza del Duomo through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, leads to the smaller Piazza della Scala. Milan’s renowned opera theatre, Teatro alla Scala (or simply, La Scala), is this square’s claim to fame. A statue of Leonarda da Vinci stands tall in the center of the square, and the edifices of the Palazzo Marino and the Banca Commerciale Italiana dominate one side.
I have opted for a _panzerotto_ break in this square on a few occasions.
Piazza San Babila
“Shop until you drop” at Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, a long pedestrian street leading from Piazza del Duomo to Piazza San Babila. In this fashion district, dozens of stores greet excited shoppers and no trip to Milan would be complete without some designer labels in hand. “Weary from” or “wary of” shopping? The Piazza San Babila, at the other end of this street, boasts of a couple of fountains and the little church of San Babila across the square.
Every now and then, I stroll along Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and take a short break at this piazza, before hopping into the metro at San Babila metro station.
The Cadorna station is a major transport hub in Milan. The Malpensa express (with connectivity to Milan’s Malpensa airport) and various suburban trains start (or end, depending on your perspective) their journey here. Two major metro lines (red M1 and green M2) pass through Cadorna. It is no wonder, then, that Piazzale Cadorna is always buzzing with activity – commuters hurrying to and from work, visitors arriving from or leaving for the airport, and other folks like me enjoying the melodious notes played by musicians in the square.
The Ago, Filo e Nodo (Needle, Thread and Knot) sculpture is a unique attraction of Piazzale Cadorna.
Piazza Duca d’Aosta
Just outside the magnificent Central Station (Stazione Centrale) of Milan, lies the Piazza Duca d’Aosta. Amid the travellers rushing to board a train and tourists clicking photographs of the huge impressive structure of the station, youngsters try their hand at skateboarding in the square.
Considering Junior’s fascination for “train-watching” and our umpteen visits to Stazione Centrale, this square is among our “most-visited” spots in Milan.
More on piazzas in Milan in the next post!