walking path in a hidden milan_what to see

UNUSUAL MILAN: walking itinerary to discover the hidden spots in the city

I would like to suggest you a walking itinerary in what is the so-called unusual Milan. We will discover hidden and less known places and attractions to visit in the city, without going far from the historic center.

Anyone who visits Milan goes to Duomo di Milano, to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and to Castello Sforzesco. But Milan is not just this.

If you already know the city and you want to discover some more curious, hidden and unusual places in Milan, I suggest avoiding the most touristic attractions.

The best way to discover the authentic Milan is a walking itinerary outside the historic center. You will find a different Milan: much more fascinating and unusual.

Street art in Giardino della culture_walking itinerary in milan

Street art in Giardino della Culture


Walking in Milan is the best way to discover the hidden side of the city and its lifestyle. This will allow you to discover characteristic views, local shops and other small curiosities that are a part of everyday life and the soul of this city. This is why I propose you a walking itinerary to visit the unusual Milan.

First of all, go to the Palestro underground station (red line). Our itinerary will start from here.
We will then move on foot until we reach Piazza Duomo, which will be the end of our path.

The walking itinerary in Milan takes about 1 hour, excluding the time to visit each attraction.

This is the route map of the itinerary to discover the unusual Milan:

WALKING ITINERARY IN MILAN: the most unusual and secret places to visit

Have you already seen the main tourist attraction in Milan? Are you ready for a nice walk in the city? Well! I will show you my walking itinerary to discover a hidden, secret and unusual Milan.

VILLA INVERNIZZI: unusual flamingos in Milan

In Via dei Cappuccini, 9 there is something really unusual. I suggest you to peek through the gate and the plants of the park of Villa Invernizzi. The palace cannot be visited but you will find pink flamingos bathing in an artificial pond in the hidden garden. Yes, you have read that right: flamingos in the centre of Milan!

What are they doing here? Mr. Invernizzi, a famous cheese maker, really loved these animals so he asked to keep the animals even after his death.

Time to reach this place: 3 minutes on foot.

flamingos in milan_villa invernizzi_walking path

Flamingos in Villa Invernizzi (photo credits Hotelwindsormilan.com)

VILLA NECCHI CAMPIGLIO: discover the bourgeoisie of Milan

Villa Necchi Campiglio is a curious house built in the early decades of the 20th century. It has recently been purchased by the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) and reopened to the visits. The villa is an excellent opportunity to understand how the bourgeoisie of Milan lived in the last century.

Furthermore, the history of the Necchi Campiglio family is really curious. I can only tell you that the two sisters and one of the husbands, who lived in the villa, participated a lot in the social life of the city.

Time to reach this place: 3 minutes on foot.

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Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan

VIA ABRAMO LINCOLN: Milan’s secret Notting Hill

Many people say that Via Abramo Lincoln is similar to Burano or Notthing Hill. In this short street you will find 20th century buildings in pastel colours.
This is one of the things to include in the walking itinerary for the unusual Milan!

The small neighbourhood was born as a working-class area for people who worked nearby. Contrary to its humble origins, Via Abramo Lincoln has become much more exclusive today.

This quiet area is very pretty, especially if you have access to some private courtyards.

Time to reach this place: 15 minutes on foot.

abramo lincoln street in Milan_colorful houses

Colorful houses in Via Abramo Lincoln in Milan

GIARDINO DELLE CULTURE: unusual murals in Milan

Street art lovers will appreciate the two large murals painted on the buildings overlooking Giardino delle Culture. This small park is located in Via Morosini and the street artist is Millo.
The work is entitled Lost and Found and represents two people overwhelmed with the chaos of the city. The whole painting is in black and white except for two large red hearts.

The entirely paved “garden” is an unusual playground with spaces for bookcrossing, skating, cycling or playing football.

Time to reach this place: 7 minutes on foot.

street art_milan_best place_murals

Street art in Milan: Giardino delle Culture

MUBA AT THE ROTONDA DELLA BESANA: a hidden loggia in Milan

The MUBA is a children’s museum located in the Rotonda della Besana, a complex with some green space and a beautiful colonnade all around.
The museum aims at helping children develop their own creative thinking, not conditioned by stereotypes and external influences.

Even if you are not interested in the museum, I recommend you to enter and examine the outdoor spaces, because the access to the museum is free.

Rotonda della Besana is a late Baroque complex that was originally a cemetery of the nearby hospital. It seems that over the centuries up to 145,000 people were buried here.
Today MUBA has been set up inside the church and the space around it has become a city garden.

Time to reach this place: 9 minutes on foot.


Rotonda della Besana: walking itinerary in an unusual Milan

GIARDINI DELLA GUASTALLA: an oasis of peace in Milan

Located near the Università Statale of Milan and the Ospedale Maggiore, Giardini della Guastalla are among the oldest and the most curious gardens in Milan.
Originally, they were a part of the Collegio della Guastalla, built in the 16th century, but the gardens were later transformed into a public park in 1939.

Inside the park, look for the neoclassical Cagnola temple and the beautiful 17th century Baroque-style pond surrounded by white granite balustrades.

The Sinagoga Centrale of Milan overlooks the garden. The synagogue was built at the end of the 19th century and it is still the main place of worship for the city’s Jewish community.

Time to reach this place: 7 minutes on foot.

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Giardini della Guastalla: hidden Milan

SANCTUARY OF SAN BERNARDINO ALLE OSSA: the unusual and macabre Milan

The walking itinerary of the unusual Milan could not exclude the Sanctuary of San Bernardino alle Ossa. One of the most curious and unusual places in Milan, as well as one of my favourites, this church can seem uninteresting at first sight.

Go inside the sanctuary of San Bernardino alle Ossa and look for the side chapel. You will find the most macabre thing you could imagine: a sumptuous baroque style ossuary where skulls and human bones decorate the walls up to the dome (which has a beautiful fresco). Bones are everywhere: in the niches, on the pillars and on the cornices.

It seems that the bones belonged to the dead of leprosy who were being treated at the nearby Ospedale del Brolo.

Time to reach this place: 4 minutes on foot.

human skulls and bones in Milan_San Bernardino alle Ossa

Human skulls and bones in San Bernardino alle Ossa


At this point, the walking itinerary in Milan is about to end. Did you like discovering the most unusual and secret side of Milan?

You will reach Piazza Duomo in about 8 minutes from the sanctuary of San Bernardino alle Ossa. If you want, you can continue your visit of Milan with the most famous and traditional places to see in the city, such as  Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Castello Sforzesco.

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Piazza Duomo, the end of our walking itinerary in Milan


There are many other places to visit in Milan. Here are some suggestions if you like guided tours:

Here are other things to see in Milan (text in Italian):

You can read my article in Italian here: Itinerario a piedi in una Milano insolita

beautiful colonnade in milan_MUBA_rotonda della besana

The colonnade at the Rotonda della Besana in Milan

♥ Thanks to Amra Nadarevic for supporting me with the translation.