Centro Storico symbolises the allure and attraction of Milan. The area refers to everywhere within the city's original medieval walls, which means it's packed with historic monuments. These monuments come from various eras, including the Gothic Duomo Cathedral, the neoclassical Royal Palace, and the 4th century Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore. These historical icons are contrasted with the dozens of designer boutiques and showrooms, whose cutting-edge designs stand in elegant arcades and malls.
With so many attractions visible in just a short walking distance, Centro Storico is where visitors can capture the essence of Milan's appeal. It's centred on Duomo Square, which is surrounded by the Royal Palace, Duomo Cathedral, and the glamorous 19th century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Head past the designer stores in this arcade to the Teatro alla Scala opera house, or turn the other way to find magnificent churches like the fully Renaissance-frescoed San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore or the Romanesque Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio. Discover modern art in Museo del Novecento or walk down Via Dante, Milan's most fashionable high street. In between, visitors will find countless places to stop for a gelato or coffee.
The Centro Storico is compact and easily walked. While the medieval walls are no more, this central area is marked by the city's inner ring road. Part of the area is pedestrianised, and there are various metro stations and lines that connect to Centro Storico.
Milan is a combination of eras, with every century seeing a new masterpiece added to the mix. A good way to explore the history is in the piazzas of Centro Storico. Piazza del Duomo is the grandest and a great display of 18th century design, while Piazza dei Mercanti is surrounded by the medieval Broletto Nuovo and Loggia degli Osii. The modern Piazza San Babila features art deco from the 1930s, while neoclassical design dominates Piazza Belgiojoso and Italy's banks fill the 19th century buildings around Piazzale Cordusio.