Top unusual things to do in Milan

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An Alternative Guide to Milan

Milan is not always a grey and boring city. It’s lively and vibrant, full of cultures from all over the world, food to die for and lots of alternative people. If you want to see the Duomo and all that, do so but leave a few days to discover the underbelly of Milan, its alternative heart and unusual sights.

Unusual Churches

Ok, so you’ve checked out the Duomo because you simply HAVE TO. You’ve visited Santa Maria delle Grazie on the way to the Last Supper. What else? There are four other churches worth the visit for different reasons – and all of them but one are very little known beyond Milan. Sant’Ambrogio, San Bernardino alle Ossa, San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, Santa Maria presso San Satiro. At first glance, these churches may seem like many others. But if you enter them, you’ll find yourself surrounded by frescos and trompe l’oeil decoration.

Street Art Hotspots

Milan has had a lively street art scene since the Eighties and Nineties, when the whole street art movement started to emerge from its underground roots. Nowadays, there are several places where you can appreciate excellent examples pieces. Leoncavallo is far and away the best street art hotspot. It’s in the northern neighbourhood of Greco, around the Leoncavallo social centre in Via Watteau. You’ll find loads of political art plus pieces by famous Blu, Mr.Blob, Seacreative and more – just wander around and look at the colorful walls.

Alternative Districts

Milan is not all fashion and €7 coffees. You can find post-industrial neighbourhoods turned design hubs and streets where steel and glass skyscrapers and the ‘old Milan’ atmosphere survive side by side. Lambrate is a working class area, now famous for Birrificio Lambrate (one of the best breweries in town) and for the redevelopment of the area around Via Ventura, where former industrial buildings have been turned into design hotspots.

Weird Museums

These are some lesser-known museums, each of them with something special.

Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica: Besides the usual labs and science exhibits, in this museum you can visit a ship. And that’s not all – you can visit a SUBMARINE. How cool is that?

Fondazione Prada, opened last year, it’s a venue for installations and contemporary art exhibitions, some permanent and some temporary – check the Fondazione Prada site for more info. Permanent projects include Haunted House, with some artworks by Louise Bourgeois, and Percorso Grottesco, the cardboard reconstruction of a Mallorca Cave. Don’t miss Bar Luce, designed by film director Wes Anderson and inspired by Milan bars from the 1950s.