View of the Duomo from La Rinascente View of the Duomo from La Rinascente

Milan's Duomo neighbourhood: a guide

The area surrounding the Cathedral has been the city's centre for over 630 years

In terms of architecture, there is a lot happening in Milan, with some interesting tall buildings in various locations. But the centre is always the Duomo, undoubtedly Milan’s most famous building. In 1386, when the foundation stone was laid, it was unbelievably ambitious. The central dome required consultancy from no less than Leonardo da Vinci who was conveniently in the city when they reached that part of construction a century later. One of the most surprising features, considering the war-torn period in which it was commissioned by Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti, are the rooftops, with only a slight downwards slope. From the outset, Gian Galeazzo intended the building to provide a lofty viewpoint for the people of his city.

La Rinascente

Rinascente MI 7Piano 1M IMG 5112La Rinascente

Milan’s most famous department store has important links to the Cathedral, and not just because the café-restaurant on the top floor provides a superb viewpoint onto the Gothic spires. The Duomo is dedicated to ‘Santa Maria Nascente,’ and perhaps poet Gabriele D’Annunzio was inspired by this when he coined the store’s name in 1917. The design department is always a pleasure for browsing and purchasing.

Related: Interview with La Rinascente's Alberto Baldan


ferrariFerrari store

Ferrari’s new flagship opened on Via Berchet in March 2015, with interiors by architect Massimo Iosa Ghini, and a whole range of accessories, design objects and garments ideal for all fans of the brand. With interactive video walls and F1 simulators, this is an entertainment venue as well as a store.

Museo del Novecento

novecentoMuseo del Novecento

This collection of mainly 20th-century Italian art is in the spaces of the Arengario, converted by architects Italo Rota and Fabio Fornasari. Highlights include Il Quarto Stato by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, works by Modigliani, Boccioni, Morandi, de Chirico, Arturo Martini, Lucio Fontana and many others, along with pieces by Picasso, Braque and Kandinsky.
Palazzo dell’Arengario, Piazza Duomo.

Palazzo Mezzanotte

palazzomezzanottePalazzo Mezzanotte -

Piazza Affari is one of Milan’s few squares with a unitary architectural style, in this case the blend of Rationalism and Neoclassicism that developed during the 1930s. The Palazzo was designed by Paolo Mezzanotte as Milan’s stock exchange, based on studies of analogous buildings in Amsterdam, Paris, Zurich, Berlin and London. At the centre of the square, Maurizio Cattelan’s famous 2010 sculpture ‘L.O.V.E.’, acronym for Libertà, Odio, Vendetta, Eternità.

Related: A timeless guide to Duomo

1 La Rinascente
2 Ferrari
3 Museo del Novecento
4 Palazzo Mezzanotte