It’s summertime! Well, almost. Tree buds and blossoming flowers are already here and the temperatures are on the rise. It’s a good time to head outside. While iconic images of paradise, such as Lake Como, are a quick trip from Milan, there are also plenty of options within the city for picnics, scenic walks or runs, and other fun activities. Add a lunch or café into the mix, and you’re set for the perfect Milano day!
Here’s your informal invitation to check out 50 shades of greenery – our selection of the best parks in Milan – whether you’re living in Milan or visiting for a few days. Stay hydrated with the public water fountains placed around the city and don’t forget your sunscreen!
– 8 Best Parks in Milan –
1. Sempione Park / Parco Sempione
This is the largest park in Milan, host to events for Piano City, yoga classes, all in the backyard of historic Castello Sforzesco. There are plenty of dog-friendly spaces for your pup to run around in a gated area as not to disrupt the activities of others. A walk around the perimeter will show off Arco della Pace, Triennale Design Museum, and La Torre Branca for a great view of Milan’s cityscape. It’s a beautiful choice for a picnic, game of frisbee, or listen to some music.
2. Leonardo’s Vineyard / La Vigna di Leonardo
Across the street from Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, is a quiet courtyard that leads to a magical vineyard and garden, which was gifted to Da Vinci himself in 1498 by the Duke of Milan. You’ll want to reserve a spot ahead of time online in order to tour the museum and vineyard. It’s full of history with plenty of Renaissance interiors to peruse inside Casa Degli Atellani, with renovations by Piero Portaluppi. Grab a coffee or snack from the café and gift shop at the entrance.
3. Botanical Garden of Brera / Orto Botanico di Brera
This is almost like a secret garden, tucked away on the grounds of Pinacoteca di Brera. It is a real treat for all of the senses. Take a walk through the herb garden or marvel at the lovely wisteria climbing up the building. Milan Design Week exhibits are always hosted here, but the crowds aren’t packed year-round, so head here with a sketch pad, book, or just a comfortable pair of shoes.
4. Indro Montanelli Public Gardens / Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli
The royal Habsburgs opened the first public park in Milan in 1784. Now, named after one of Italy’s greatest historians and journalists, Indro Montanelli, this expansive park near Porta Venezia includes the Museum of Natural History and Civic Planetarium. You’ll find plenty of artificial lakes and ponds with swans, sculptures and architecture, and trees including magnolia, cedar, maple, red oak, and elm.
5. Villa Bonaparte Belgioioso Garden / Giardino della Villa Belgioioso Bonaparte
After a visit to GAM (Galleria d’Arte Moderna) or PAC (Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea), mosey behind the villa to enjoy a stroll through this English-style garden. You’re assured a balance of peace and whimsy from the artificial lake with plenty of critters to observe. Leopoldo Pollack laid the grounds for this charming garden alongside the Neoclassical Villa Reale aka Villa Belgioioso Bonaparte in 1790-1796.
6. Guastalla Garden / Giardino della Guastalla
If you’re looking for something with paved pathways and a delightful array of architecture to browse, head here. This Italian-style garden was designed in 1555 and the old charm remains today as it was opened in 1939 to the public. This is a small and peaceful place to take a walk or a break from the city. It includes a baroque fountain backed by tulip and wild linden trees, fish pond complete with wandering turtles, 16th century marble statues, an area for kids to play, and plenty of benches. There’s also a dog friendly area.
There’s a new park on the block, complete with a vegetable garden at CityLife. The new district is only open to pedestrians and cyclists, which leaves you free to wander on the paths or grass with some of the freshest air in the city. CityLife is committed to sustainability and biodiversity, with the addition of 1,500 new trees planted in the park. It’s a perfect place to walk, play with your dog, or connect with nature. The landscape design is consistent with region of Lombardy, including high, mountainous levels and lower points more similar to the plains.
8. Gardens of Porta Nuova & Tree Library / Giardini di Porta Nuova & Biblioteca degli Alberi
While stopping by to see the Vertical Forest (Bosco Verticale) residential buildings by Stefano Boeri, see what seeds are being planted for the Tree Library as part of the Gardens of Porta Nuova. This park is still in progress, so don’t expect to see these images just yet. They’re great blueprints for what the gardens of Porta Nuova have in store, though. This initiative by Studio Giorgetta for the Municipality of Milan was designed to interact with the city and its inhabitants throughout many seasons to come.
Snap a photo and tag us with #milanobark if you visit any of these spots.
If you’re more into staying indoors (with air-conditioning), there’s always brilliant museums and galleries in Milan to visit. Enjoy!