Centro Storico is the heart of Milan, located in the centre of the city and containing the primary collection of its most historic and famous landmarks, as the most recognisable and iconic boroughs of Milan. A small but saturated neighbourhood, the central district is full of the heritage and culture that makes the city so appealing, ranging from old monuments to modern shopping facilities. The boundaries of Centro Storico were once defined by the medieval walls but is now marked by various streets that clearly separate the area from the rest of the city, containing the district with only a few kilometres.
A key defining feature of Centro Storico is the Duomo, the iconic Cathedral of Milan, which visitors can explore to appreciate its Gothic architecture, white marble decoration, numerous spires, statues and monuments and a rooftop with views over the city. There are other churches in the area including the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, one of the oldest of its kind in Europe with Roman columns and a vast courtyard, and the Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore, a Renaissance church containing valuable paintings by Bernardino Luini. For more culture, visitors can explore the Ambrosian Library or various museums, theatres and art galleries such as the world famous Scala Theatre, an iconic opera house. More modern attractions can be found in the shopping areas and streets like Via Dante, which is lined with fashionable stores and exclusive brands, or more historic streets like Via della Spiga, which contains both ancient buildings and luxury labels.
As the heart of the city, Centro Storico is a major transport hub, with key metro and tram links at the Piazza Duomo, and the nearest train station, Milano Cadorna to the west. The area itself is easily walkable, although international travellers will need to get a local tram, metro or express service from any of the three airports that serve Milan.
The history of Centro Storico started with a bishop during the Roman Empire, Sant’Ambrogio, who built the four foundational basilicas of the city that still stand in the centre of Milan. Wars during the Middle Ages destroyed the city, although many buildings survived and others were rebuilt, then developed and decorated by wealthy Italian families. In modern times, Centro Storico became an important historical centre of the city developed around it into a financial district and modernised centre of art, industry and science.