10 Hidden Gems of Milan, Italy: Secret Spots and Local Hangouts

Milan is known worldwide for its high-end fashion, stunning architecture, and iconic landmarks like the Duomo di Milano and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. However, beyond the touristy areas, lies a city full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From quaint cafes to secret gardens, here are ten secret spots and local hangouts in Milan that will make your visit truly memorable.

1. Chiesetta di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore

Address: Corso Magenta, 15, 20123 Milan, Italy

Chiesetta di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
Hidden behind the inconspicuous Monastero Maggiore, Chiesetta di San Maurizio is a hidden gem known as the “Sistine Chapel of Milan.” As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking frescoes covering every inch of the church’s walls and ceilings, depicting scenes from biblical stories and the life of Saint Maurice. The level of detail and the vibrant colors of the frescoes are truly awe-inspiring. Make sure to take some time to sit and soak in the peaceful ambiance of this lesser-known gem.

Website: https://www.monasteromaggiore.it

2. Fondazione Prada

Address: Largo Isarco, 2, 20139 Milan, Italy

Fondazione Prada
Located in an industrial district, Fondazione Prada is a contemporary art and culture institution housed in a former gin distillery. This hidden gem offers a unique blend of art, architecture, and culture. Wander through the various exhibitions featuring contemporary artworks, installations, and multimedia displays. The remarkable architecture of the building itself is a sight to behold, with its blend of restored structures and new additions, creating a striking contrast. Don’t miss the Wes Anderson-designed bar, where you can relax and enjoy a drink amidst the art-filled atmosphere.

Website: https://www.fondazioneprada.org

3. Pasticceria Marchesi

Address: Via Monte Napoleone, 9, 20121 Milan, Italy

Pasticceria Marchesi
Nestled in the heart of Milan’s fashion district, Pasticceria Marchesi is a historic pastry shop that has been delighting locals since 1824. As you step inside, you’ll be transported back in time by the elegant decor, refined atmosphere, and mouthwatering displays of pastries and chocolates. Indulge in their signature Panettone or treat yourself to a perfectly frothy cappuccino and a pastry of your choice. Pasticceria Marchesi offers a glimpse into Milan’s rich culinary heritage and is a must-visit for any food lover.

Website: https://www.pasticceriamarchesi.com

4. Biblioteca Sormani

Address: Via Francesco Sforza, 7, 20122 Milan, Italy

Biblioteca Sormani
Tucked away in the historic Sforza neighborhood, Biblioteca Sormani is a hidden gem for bookworms and architecture enthusiasts alike. This awe-inspiring library boasts an exquisite blend of neo-Renaissance and Art Nouveau architecture, with its stunning domed ceiling, ornate balconies, and intricate decor. Take a moment to browse through the impressive collection of books or simply find a cozy corner to immerse yourself in the peace and quiet that this hidden gem has to offer.

Website: https://www.bibliotecasormani.it

5. Orto Botanico di Brera

Address: Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milan, Italy

Orto Botanico di Brera
Escape the bustling city streets and step into the tranquil oasis of Orto Botanico di Brera. Tucked away behind the iconic Pinacoteca di Brera, this enchanting botanical garden is an idyllic retreat filled with lush greenery, colorful flowers, and winding pathways. Stroll through the garden, discover rare plant species, and find a peaceful bench to soak up the serenity of this hidden gem. The Orto Botanico di Brera allows visitors to connect with nature in the heart of Milan, making it a perfect spot to unwind and recharge.

Website: https://www.brera.unimi.it

6. Luini Panzerotti

Address: Via Santa Radegonda, 16, 20121 Milan, Italy

Luini Panzerotti
When in Milan, sampling the local culinary delights is a must, and Luini Panzerotti is a hidden gem that will leave your taste buds rejoicing. Located just a stone’s throw away from the Duomo, this tiny no-frills bakery has been serving up deliciously crispy panzerotti since 1888. Sink your teeth into these half-moon-shaped fried pastries filled with a variety of mouthwatering ingredients, such as mozzarella, tomato, and ham. The queues are often long, but the wait is definitely worth it for this local favorite.

Website: https://www.luini.it

7. MUDEC – Museo delle Culture

Address: Via Tortona, 56, 20144 Milan, Italy

MUDEC - Museo delle Culture
Nestled in Milan’s vibrant and artistic Tortona district, MUDEC is a cultural hub that showcases the diversity of the world’s cultures through art, photography, and multimedia exhibitions. Its striking modern architecture attracts visitors, but it’s the thought-provoking exhibitions that make this museum a hidden gem. From ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, MUDEC offers a unique insight into different cultures and traditions from around the globe.

Website: https://www.mudec.it

8. Giardino della Guastalla

Address: Via Francesco Sforza, 13, 20122 Milan, Italy

Giardino della Guastalla
Tucked away near Porta Romana, Giardino della Guastalla is a hidden gem where locals gather to relax and enjoy a peaceful moment away from the bustling city center. This secret garden boasts lush green lawns, colorful flowerbeds, and a charming fountain. Take a leisurely stroll through its winding paths, find a cozy spot under the shade of a tree, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this hidden oasis. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic or a moment of reflection.

Website: https://www.visitamilano.it/giardino-della-guastalla

9. Osteria del Binari

Address: Via Tortona, 1, 20144 Milan, Italy

Osteria del Binari
Hidden under the train tracks near Porta Genova, Osteria del Binari is a local haunt that serves up traditional Milanese cuisine. This rustic restaurant, with its cozy ambiance and friendly staff, offers a menu filled with classic dishes like risotto alla Milanese, ossobuco, and cassoeula. The food is made with love and attention to detail, showcasing the rich flavors of the Lombardy region. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of local wine for the complete experience.

Website: https://www.osteriadelbinari.com

10. Pinacoteca Ambrosiana

Address: Piazza Pio XI, 2, 20123 Milan, Italy

Pinacoteca Ambrosiana
While the famous da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus might steal the spotlight, the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana is a hidden gem for art enthusiasts. This art gallery houses an impressive collection of artworks from renowned Renaissance masters like Caravaggio, Botticelli, and Raphael. Discover masterpieces like Caravaggio’s “Basket of Fruit” or Leonardo da Vinci’s preparatory sketches. The museum’s quiet atmosphere allows visitors to admire the artworks up close and truly appreciate their beauty.

Website: https://www.ambrosiana.it

Venturing off the beaten path in Milan rewards travelers with unique experiences and a glimpse into the local culture. From hidden churches and captivating museums to picturesque gardens and mouthwatering food, these ten hidden gems offer a side of Milan that many visitors overlook. So, during your next trip to Milan, be sure to explore these secret spots and local hangouts for an unforgettable and immersive experience in one of Italy’s most vibrant cities.