Warm sunny days, blooming of the first flowers and fresh buds are just here: it’s spring outside 🌺🌺🌺 All eyes turn to parks and gardens, like a breath of fresh air for most of the people living the hectic pace of the city. Milan offers many spots for outdoor picnics, walks, sport activities and relax in touch with nature. To feel like a local you just need to have lunch or coffee right there at the park 😉
Let’s discover together the most beautiful parks in Milan:
1. Sempione Park / Parco Sempione
Designed due to architect Emilio Alemagna as an English garden in a romantic style, it’s one of the most famous park in Milan located in the historic center close to the Sforzesco Castle. Sempione Park is a beloved place for a picnic, sport activities or just to stroll through its tree-lined avenue among milanese. I come here a lot when I need to decompress, personally I find that feeding ducks and fishes is relaxing.
Besides greenery, there are several things to see in Parco Sempione:
The Arch of Peace (Arco della Pace) at the entrance to Sempione Park
💡 Interesting to know:
- It’s one of the 5 oldest gates in Milan and one of the most important neoclassical monuments in the city.
- The triumphal arch marks the beginning of the road that connects Milan to Paris.
- It was built in 1807 by the architect Luigi Cagnola to celebrate the Napoleonic victories and is made of marble from the Swiss Alps.
- The main oddity concerns the horses that draw the Chariot of Peace located above the arch. Their position, in fact, has been modified by the Hapsburgs. To mock the French after the fall of Napoleon, the horses have been turned 180 degrees in order to have their lower back oriented towards France.
The Bridge of the Little Mermaids (Il Ponte delle Sirenette)
💡 Interesting to know:
- It is considered as one of the most romantic places in the city.
- The name of the bridge derives from the four statues of mermaids placed, in pairs, at the two entrances.
- Initially, the bridge was in a completely different place. It was part of the city life until it was moved from Naviglio della Martesana (Martesan Canal) on the San Damiano road (now called via Visconti di Modrone) to the heart of Parco Sempione in 1930.
The Sforzesco Castle dating back to the fifteenth century, is one of the symbols of Milan, commissioned by Francesco Sforza when he became Duke of the city. It is one of the most beautiful castles in Italy, it is also home to civic museums and one of the largest art collections in Milan.
Other points of interest to visit in Sempione Park are “La Triennale”, l’”Arena Civica” and the “Civic Aquarium of Milan” built in style liberty.
2. Indro Montanelli Public Gardens / Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli
It is the oldest city park in Milan that has been welcoming visitors since 1784. Initially the park was called the Gardens of Porta Venezia or Via Palestro and since 2002 it has been renamed after one of Italy’s greatest historians and journalists, Indro Montanelli, who spent part of his free time in the park, walking and reading.
The park itself is very picturesque, there are lots of trees, small streams, plenty of artificial lakes and ponds with swans, sculptures and architecture, you find such trees like magnolia, cedar, maple, red oak, and elm.
Within the park, visitors can find several attractions and monuments as the Museum of Natural History and Civic Planetarium.
Right in front of one of the entrances to the public garden, there is another splendid corner of nature that will appear magical and mysterious to you, it is the park of Villa Reale with an english style Garden that was designed by Leopoldo Pollack and dates back to the end of 18th century.
3. Gardens of Porta Nuova & Library of the Trees Park / Giardini di Porta Nuova & Biblioteca degli Alberi
Among the most modern parks in the city, the new green urban space named “Biblioteca degli Alberi” (that lliterally means Library of Trees) is the third largest green area in the center of Milan and it represents a new kind of public park, a unique design of trails with irregularly shaped fields with over 135.000 plants of 100 different spieces, some of them even rare.
From here you can enjoy a view of the skyline of the new city: the impressive residential building Bosco Verticale (literally Vertical Forest, awarded as the most innovative skyscraper in the world in 2014), the Diamond Tower, Solaria, Unicredit Tower, Palazzo Lombardia and Palazzo Pirelli designed by Giò Ponti.
4. CityLife Garden & Public Park
It is a real new part of the city, an extensive green area of 170,000 square meters with cycle paths, walkways and gardens.
The CityLife Park can be divided into four different parts: the park itself with area for break and kids to play, the shopping distric with shops and restaurants, the accommodation buildings with modern and original design and the Three Towers square with impressively high towers that were named after the three architect responsible for their construction: Zaha Hadid, Arata Isozaki and David Libeskind.
💡 Good to know about the towers:
The most impressive one is the Torre Hadid, “The twisted one”, which is 177 meters high fully made of iron and glass and represents an amazing curvy design.
The other tower, located right next to this one, is the Allianz Tower, also called Torre Isozaki (209 meters high) or “The straight one”, it’s the second tallest building in Italy without considering its antenna. The third one, Torre Libeskind (“The curved one”), with a height of 175 m was completed in 2020.
5. Botanical Garden of Brera / Orto Botanico di Brera
A secret garden in the very center of Milan tucked away on the grounds of the museum Pinacoteca di Brera. It is a historic garden and a real open-air museum, a place for the protection of biodiversity and rare species. In its collections, it has more than 3.000 different species of plants spread over 5.000 square meters of usable area. During the week of Fuorisalone plenty of events, exhibitions and art installations take place here.
💡 interesting to know:
The Brera Botanical Garden, founded in 1775 at the behest of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, had previously been a vegetable garden for the Jesuit Fathers who, since the end of the 16th century, lived in the adjacent Palazzo Brera.
Admission is free for everyone.
6. Portello Park / Parco del Portello
A part of a new residential district which has been built on the former site of famous Italian car producer Alfa Romeo.
The park takes form from a series of circular lines that together define three “green sculptures” as well as the entire park. The three hills refer to Prehistory, History, and Present time and have different heights and characteristics. Parco Portello isn’t only a place to relax but also a place which can be accessed at different levels and where all people could find something to be interested in.
By walking up you can discover different views of the surrounding landscape, even a complete panoramic view of the Alps. Paved areas with gravel, big lawns, bushes, an eclosed garden, a lake which becomes a skating rink during winter time are the main elements of the park.
I hope I have inspired you to discover the mentioned places😉! Which one will you visit next time?