Experiences & Tours

Experiences & Tours

Milan has become the third most visited destination in Europe after London and Paris, and for very good reason – there’s something for everyone of all ages in this vibrant and constantly evolving city. Whether you have a yen for seeing the sights and experiencing the breath-taking culture with its unique masterpieces, want to explore its many gastronomic delights or prefer to indulge in a spot of world-class shopping, the possibilities are endless.

Milan is a city that can easily be explored on foot, but it can be all too easy to walk past the many hidden treasures if you don’t know they’re there : make the most of your visit and join a semi-private or small group tour to get off the beaten track and discover the secret stories and anecdotes behind the scenes. Please find below a selection of the most popular guided walking tours; do contact us for information on additional or customised tours for you and your group, and assistance with planning your personalised itinerary : [email protected].

 

PRIVATE GUIDED TOURS

Scaling the Heights of Milan’s Duomo Cathedral

Skip the long lines and discover the highlights of the most famous landmark of the city with the assistance of an expert guide, who will whisk you to the first floor terraces of the cathedral in the fast track lift, and regale you with fascinating stories of its construction over six hundred long years. Together you will make your way through narrow passageways and up a steep staircase to the very summit of the Duomo, where the golden Madonnina gazes out, protecting the entire city with her watchful eye.

Along the route, your guide will reveal some of the emblematic and anachronistic gargoyles and statues featured on the 135 spires and 3,400 individual sculptures, including many details you would easily miss on your own. After admiring the panorama over the whole of Milan, you will then make your way down by lift to the ground floor and enter the main cathedral to marvel at the massive stained-glass rose windows, identify the place where a nail from the cross of Jesus is in safe keeping and wince at the grotesquely detailed anatomical statue of skinned martyred Saint Bartholomew.

Here To Stay blog article – read more here.

Private Guided Tour incorporating Milan Cathedral and Rooftops duration : 3 hours

Maximum size of group : 6 people

Request further information and reserve your guided tour here.

 

Revealing the Masterpiece of Leonardo’s “Last Supper”

At the top of everyone’s Wish List, it’s a blessing if you can get to see da Vinci’s most famous work during your stay – and a wonder that it is still standing at all. Miraculously saved by the perspicacious actions of a quick-thinking and anonymous benefactor, who protected the mural from being destroyed during the second world war, it’s now possible to secure your place to view this astonishingly masterly piece of artwork, hidden away on a wall of the refectory adjoining the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie and lovingly restored over twenty meticulous years.

See for yourselves the luminous qualities of this unique psychological work capturing the instant following Jesus’s revelation that one of his 12 disciples will shortly betray him, and find out why the Last Supper should not be called a fresco during this excellent guided tour, which includes individual head-sets so that you can follow every moment even when inside the sacred spot where the painting is displayed. Advance reservation is indispensable, as tickets are like gold dust and need to be confirmed up to three months in advance.

Private Guided Tour incorporating The Last Supper duration : 3 hours

Maximum size of group : 6 people

Request further information and reserve your guided tour here.

 

Visiting Milan’s Magnificent Pinacoteca Art Galleries

Milan is home to a staggering sixty public and private museums, so culture-lovers are spoilt for choice, with everything from ancient pre-historic artefacts to modern day multi-media installations to choose from. Two of the city’s best-loved institutions share the same name, and both offer a wealth of complementary artworks. The Pinacoteca di Brera gallery, located in the heart of the fashionable Brera area, exhibits the most important art collection in the whole of Italy, including masterpieces from the 13th to the 20th century by greats such as Mantegna, Bellini and Caravaggio. You can also catch a glimpse of the impressive Braidense National Library and its Reading Room dating back from 1770, and take a turn in the neighbouring Botanical Gardens originating from the same period.

Just across the city and 5 minutes’ walk from the Cathedral, the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana has even earlier roots and is Milan’s oldest museum. Established in 1618 with Cardinal Borromeo’s paintings, it showcases works by Raphael, Botticelli, Titian and Leonardo da Vinci. Do not miss Raphael’s Cartoon filling an entire wall and Room 7, devoted to Jan Brueghel’s Allegories, not to mention the largest collection of Leonardo’s writings and drawings, his unique “Codex Atlanticus”.

Private Milan Museums Guided Tour duration : 3 hours

Maximum size of group : 6 people

Request further information and reserve your guided tour here.

 

Going Behind the Scenes at Milan’s one-and-only “La Scala” Opera House

Regarded as one of the world’s leading opera and ballet theatres, La Scala has seen the greatest operatic musicians and the finest singers in history grace its stage ever since its inauguration in 1778. Whether or not your visit to Milan includes tickets to watch a live performance, you can breathe in the heady atmosphere of the theatre by visiting its rich Museo Teatrale attached to La Scala, which houses costumes, set designs, paintings of the actors and scenery backdrops, as well as the Steinway that once belonged to famous composer Liszt. There’s even a section devoted to the paraphernalia of opera-going, including examples of board games which used to be played in the foyer, while it is often possible (depending on the rehearsals programme on the day) to step inside the theatre for an enraptured gaze at the stage with its plush red and gold embellishments. Hopefuls will also be able to admire the interior and central grand chandelier with its 383 bulbs; this was the first place in Milan to be illuminated by electric light in 1883 and the lighting today is a faithful copy of the original, which was destroyed during the air raids of 1943. The Scala opera house, meanwhile, fortunately lives to tell the tale…

Private La Scala Museum Guided Tour duration : 3 hours

Maximum size of group : 6 people

Request further information and reserve your guided tour here.

 

A Church-Lover’s Paradise : Visiting the Inner Sanctuaries of Milan

In addition to the extraordinary “Sistine Chapel of Lombardy” at San Maurizio church, there are countless holy sights for sore eyes to take in. The patron saint of Milan Sant’Ambrogio, whose honeyed tongue was so eloquent that bees were said to fly into his mouth, began building his Basilica in AD379, while the earliest collection of Roman and early Christian remains can be found in the nearby San Lorenzo church with its formidable row of 16 Roman columns up front and its own version of the Last Supper indoors. Further up via Torino is one of Milan’s secret treasures, which it would be all too easy to miss: San Satiro church (featured above) boasts one of the finest examples of trompe-l’oeil in the history of art, with its hidden painted perspective created by Renaissance architect Bramante up at the altar. Meanwhile, San Bernardino alle Ossa church displays a wholly unexpected wall in its chapel composed entirely of skulls and bones taken from defunct seventeenth-century cemeteries and executed prisoners, while the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio originally housed the relics of the Three Wise Men and even contains an enigmatic frescoed vision of a horned Madonna and Child. Guaranteed to enthral, this is a reverent guided tour with a difference.

Personalised private Milan Churches Guided Tour duration : 3 hours

Maximum size of group : 6 people

Request further information and reserve your guided tour here.

 

Our recent trip to Milano was unforgettable thanks to Nicola’s expert planning. Our itinerary was a perfect mix of guided cultural visits (including da Vinci’s Last Supper!), great restaurants, interesting shopping and lovely walks. All of her recommendations were spot on and she is so lovely to work with! We can’t wait to go back and will use her services again, without hesitation! Grazie Mille!” Caroline.

Thank you so much to Here To Stay for giving us a true slice of ‘la dolce vita’ – the sweet life Milan-style! Our 4 day visit was a breeze from start to finish, thanks to your superb organization and we especially enjoyed the made-to-measure tours that you planned for our group. In between tours, you recommended one delightful café after another, which we would never have found on our own.  Amazing coffee and mouth-watering pastries! – what more can I say other than that we will be returning to Italy next year, and will definitely use Here To Stay to help us plan our holiday.” Deanne.