Parco Sempione is a great place to find green space and off-the-beaten path sightseeing in Milan. This large park, covering 116 acres, is located in the northwest of Milan. It’s the ideal place for a run or walk among the greenery and flowers, away from the bustle and hustle of the city. But the park, constructed back in 1888, is also full of attractions–including an aquarium, sports stadium, Napoleonic arch, and even a medieval castle.
These are six must-see places in Milan’s Parco Sempione.
1. Castello Sforzesco – This castle was built in 1300, but was destroyed by multiple attacks on the city. The current, and final… at least for the moment! Francesco Sforza Duke of Milan in 15th century commissioned the current version.
It is now open to visitors, although it does not have any residents. The castle houses masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s unfinished final work, and frescoes from Bramante and Da Vinci. There are also international art exhibitions and events like Milan Fashion Week, which takes place in the courtyard. (Here’s all you need to know about Milan Fashion Week. ).
2. Arco della Pace – The “Arch of Peace”, a recently restored piece of Milan’s history, is one of Milan’s most stunning, but off-the-beaten path, treasures. The arch is made of marble and decorated with horse-drawn carriage chariots. It was constructed as a tribute for Napolean’s victories.
3. Arena Civica: Another famous Milan sporting arena, also designed and built by Canonica, dates back 1807. This neoclassical stadium can hold 10,000 people. It hosts major soccer and rugby matches as well as international concerts. You can visit the massive doors and take a ride around the historic track. It is open daily to the public.
4. Acquario Civico is a stunning building that houses more than 100 species of fish. It features a large statue of Neptune the god of the ocean. Every day, except Mondays, the aquarium is open to all visitors. Entry is free. The large tanks of Mediterranean and rare fish are worth a visit, as well as the video presentations.
5. Torre Branca: Although it may look ordinary from the ground, the Torre Branca is anything but! The tower is one of Milan’s tallest buildings and offers spectacular views of Milan.
You can see Parco Sempione (Milan’s cathedral), the Duomo (Milan’s cathedral) as well as the modern skyscrapers of the city. On clear days, you may even be able to see the mountains beyond Milan. If you are looking for stunning nighttime views of Milan, the tower can be reached from the ground floor at EUR4 and is open until midnight. (Check the opening hours before you go!) ).
6. Palazzo dell’Arte : Originally built to house the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts for a permanent period, the “Palace of the Arts”, now houses the Triennale Design Museum. Some exhibits feature contemporary art, architecture and design, while others offer free entry.