Milan is one of the leading destinations in Europe and the world, and many people visit the city every year. Most of them end up seeing the same places over and over again. Since our idea was always to bring excellent people to fantastic places, we decided to come up with this list of unusual places to visit in Milan.
This list of unusual places to visit follows the same concept from our article on London. There, we mention a few exciting areas for those who have been to the city and are eager to see something different.
We have been to Milan a couple of times since we moved to Europe back in 2012, and we were surprised by the city in every way possible. Probably because most people we talked to about the city didn’t help us with any tourist spot besides the obvious. Maybe because of that, we reached the town with a lower expectation than most, which made us enjoy it even more. Who knows?
Either way, enough about that, let’s talk about some unusual places to visit in Milan.
Our List of unusual places to visit in Milan
The Wall of the Dolls
During our first time in Milan, we stayed in the Ticinese district. It was there that once, crossing the street to go somewhere to take pictures, we found the Wall of Dolls. And it was hard to ignore it, so we stopped and took way too many pictures.
Later, we had to research what was that, and we realized that the Wall of Dolls is an art installation to protest violence against women and condemn femicide. There you will find photos, posters, dried-up flowers and dolls, as the structure’s name goes.
Some of these dolls have been there for a while, and they went through a lot, giving them a striking visual that reminds us of lost childhoods.
You can find the Wall of Dolls at Corso di Porta Ticinese with Via Edmondo de Amici.
Il Ditto: a middle finger statue in front of the Palazzo Mezzanotte
New York celebrates the stock market and the Wall Street environment with a charging bull. Milan decided to go in the opposite direction. In front of the Italian stock exchange, a middle finger proudly stands in the middle of a square.
Il Dito is how this statue is known in Milan, but its name is slightly different. Maurizio Cattelan, the sculptor behind this middle finger, calls it L.O.V.E., which means Libertà, Odio, Vendetta, Eternità (Freedom, Hate, Vengeance, Eternity in Italian).
This middle finger to the stock exchange makes a lot of sense to us when you think about the financial crisis that ruined many people in Italy in recent years, and you can visit it in the Piazza Degli Affari.
San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
During a trip to Milan in the fall of 2019, we were looking for the Archaeological Museum of Milan when we discovered one of Milan’s best-kept secrets. From the outside, there is no way to know how gorgeous the San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore is from inside, with walls covered in fantastic sixteenth-century frescos.
The San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore church was built as part of a Benedictine convent, and this temple is divided into two because of it. One part is reserved for the city’s people, located near the entrance and close to the street. While the other is kept for the convent nuns. Both are open to the public today and are magnificent.
We even read somewhere that this is the Sistine Chapel of the North of Italy, and we believe you need to go there to check it out.
St Bartholomew Flayed in the Duomo di Milano
Everyone knows about the Duomo di Milano, and we advise anyone in town to go there and catch the sunset from the church’s rooftop. But we are here to talk about unusual places in town, so our focus is on one of the most impressive statues inside the Duomo.
Created by Marco d’Agrate back in 1562, the statue known as St Bartholomew Flayed portrays a saint skinned alive and beheaded. This statue shows him carrying a drape around his shoulders and his body. A drape that is his skin.
It may look creepy to some, but the statue of St Bartholomew Flayed is a beautiful and careful study of muscles and the human body’s structure. Some might call it an artist exercise.
The Devil’s Column next to the Saint Ambrose Church
When you leave Saint Ambrose Church, pay attention to your surroundings since this is where you are going to find the Devil’s Column! This Corinthian column has seen better days and dates back to the second century, but it used to stand somewhere else before it was transported to the Piazza Sant’Ambrogio.
The column gets its name from a legendary battle between the Devil and Saint Ambrose, who defended himself by pushing the Devil against the column behind him. This is why you can see two holes in the column today. They are the mark of the Devil in the marble column!
The legend around the Devil’s Column even mentions that you can hear hell by placing your ear against the marble. We tried, but we only listened to the cars going by…
You can find the Devil’s Column and all the other unusual places to visit in Milan right on the map below.
More than Five Unusual Places to Visit in Milan
Since you are already looking for places to visit in Milan, you can take a car or a bus and stop by Birrificio Lambrate and enjoy some of the best Italian craft beers in town whenever you feel like taking a break from all the walking. We loved this place so much that we even found their bar in Berlin!