Discover 10 secret places and hidden gems in Milan
The beauty of Milan lies in the discovery of secret places, which are hidden in the less crowded streets, inside courtyards and buildings.
Our list of hidden places in Milan is full of magical places where to walk, go cycling and relax.
10 secret places to be discovered in Milan
Leonardo’s vineyard is the only vineyard in the world still existing in a metropolitan centre. The ancient vineyard, already mentioned in 1498 and about 8300 square meters wide, is located in the heart of the city. It was donated by Ludovico il Moro to Leonardo da Vinci as a gesture of gratitude for “the various and admirable works he performed for the duke”.
The vineyard was created in the fields of the Casa degli Atellani’s garden, courtiers of Ludovico il Moro.
Across the street, there is Santa Maria delle Grazie – the Church where you can admire the artist’s famous Last Supper.
Billiard room out of time
A few steps from the Darsena, near the Porta Genova metro, there is a historic venue where you can experience a timeless atmosphere. The Euro Jolly Room hosts 25 billiard tables, perfect for an evening with friends between cues and marbles. The staff service directly at the pool tables is ideal for not losing the rhythm of the game.
Here you can also watch football matches in the first room used as a bar. A true concentrate of Italian sport.
Ballroom and bowls club
Another timeless place, which runs through the history of Milan, is the Balera dell’Ortica. You eat, drink and dance on a budget.
The music is always played live by the orchestras who alternate every week and propose: ballroom, mazurka, brick dance and group dances.
In addition to the dance floor, the Balera also includes a bowling club open from 2 pm until evening.
The cascina is the Lombard term used to indicate a farm in the centre of tens of hectares. Due to urbanization, it is unusual to find them in large cities, even rarer in the centre.
Cascina Nascosta, on the other hand, is immersed in the greenery of Parco Sempione. Inside this renovated old farmhouse, there is La Latteria di Cascina Nascosta, where you can relax and enjoy excellent dishes, from breakfast to evening. In addition, various activities related to food, local agriculture and sustainability are organized.
The hidden terrace
In the very central Corso Como, there is a well-kept art gallery that hides a hidden treasure. You have to go up to the first floor and take a spiral staircase following the sign “roof garden”. The terrace offers a space of quiet and peace, with a splendid view of the classic Milanese railing houses (casa di ringhiera) and modern skyscrapers. This space guarantees relaxation and tranquillity, thanks also to the various tables and chairs, which can be freely used to relax without worries. Definitely, one of the best secret places in Milan not to be missed.
Designed by famous architects Pei Cobb Freed, Palazzo Lombardia houses the Lombardy regional council. Its secret is the Belvedere on the top floor which allows you to enjoy a 360-degree view of the city.
On clearer days, the view can reach as far as the Alps passing through Lake Como.
The Belvedere can be visited on Sundays, from 10 to 18. It is worth a visit even if there is almost always a queue to enter. On the ground floor, you can visit the “Columns of Art” room, with the works created by some emerging artists.
Strolling up and down via Lincoln will surely delight all architecture enthusiasts and beyond. It is a street dotted with colourful terraced houses that transform the street into a small Milanese Burano, in the “Arcobaleno district” as it is often defined.
These houses were designed and conceived in the nineteenth century by a building cooperative for the workers who worked in the area. The intention was to build simple and affordable houses. Today they are obviously exclusive, but this does not detract from the pleasure of visiting this colourful street.
Villa Invernizzi is an Art Nouveau building that overlooks Corso Venezia, in the centre of Milan, once the street that ladies walked up and down in carriages during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today it is considered one of the most fascinating gardens in the city, with pink flamingos, peacocks and ducks roaming freely. It is worth a visit to admire these animals imported from Chile and Africa. Every now and then they throw strange verses all together with incredible synchrony. Among the most unusual hidden places to see in Milan.
Martesana cycle path: the route
Once, along the Naviglio Martesana (also called Naviglio Piccolo), goods travelled to Milan, while today the canal is used for irrigation and crossed by not very indigenous turtles that attract the curiosity of cyclists.
The Naviglio Martesana cycle path starts from Via Melchiorre Gioia, more precisely in Cassina de ‘Pomm and extends for 30 km passing through the north-eastern outskirts of the city.
A characteristic corner not to be missed is the Ponte delle Gabelle which was the historic access to Milan for those arriving from the north sailing along the Naviglio della Martesana. Right here he had to pay the duty, or the gabelle, for the boat and the goods transported.
A bit of Barcellona
Walking along one of the most beautiful and popular walks in Milan, from Crocetta along Corso di Porta Romana, you come across Casa Maiocchi, a 5-storey building, built in 1920. It is here that the street arter Cheone created a mural inspired by the lines of Gaudi, transforming the building and the entire course of Porta Romana.
The mural seems alive, in constant movement, ready to hypnotize the gaze of passers-by thanks to that optical illusion obtained from the trompe-l’oeil.