Italy is known for its stunning villas, parks and gardens. Milan, Italy is a city with many gardens and parks and each is unique and special. We’ve made a selection of some that you may enjoy on your next trip to Milan. These public spaces offer something for everyone and will make your experience in the city even better. They’re perfect spots for taking a stroll or reading a book while enjoying some of Italy’s most stunning architecture.
Modern Urban Parks in Milan
Milan dreams big – and dreams “green” – working towards improving the city’s public spaces with innovative and environmentally sustainable ways. Milan is already an innovative and sustainable city where the construction of new parks and green spaces are underway with the aim of improving the lives and leisure time of both visitors and citizens.
The Mayor of the city, Beppe Sala has announced the ForestaMI project which aims to have 3 million trees planted by 2030, making Milan a more sustainable and eco-friendlier city. The program relies on donations and volunteers. Click here to give a tree as a gift. The idea is to reduce pollution by increasing green areas and therefore remedying Europe’s fashion capital carbon output.
A new district called MIND (Milano Innovation District) is being built at the former 2015 World Expo site and has already been dubbed “Italy’s Silicon Valley” and will be home to an innovative residential and business area where Milano plans on placing emphasis on green living. They are working to improve public spaces and be able to create harmony between building structures, landscaped parks, outdoor sports facilities and green spaces.
City Life Park
The City Life Park in Milan is a new example of this fusion between modern technology and green urban spaces. The park has a residential vegetable garden and an outdoor bar, sport facilities and one of Milan’s largest pedestrian areas. City Life is the new urban project on a 366,000 square meter plot of land near the former Fiera Milano trade fair venue. The area now houses modern glass mirrored skyscrapers, the luxury apartment complexes known as Hadid and Libeskind and a shopping mall.
Biblioteca degli alberi (Library of Trees)
In the newest area of Milan, the Porta Nuova district, famous for the Bosco Verticale twin skyscrapers, there is the Porta Nuova Tree Library. Biblioteca degli alberi (Library of Trees) is a public park just behind Piazza Gae Aulenti square. There are more than 100 different species, 500 trees arranged in 22 rings and 135,000 plants. Also known as BAM (Biblioteca degli alberi Milano) it has become a favorite for school groups and horticultural clubs.
Classic Urban Parks & Gardens in Milan
Although Milan is now moving forward into a bold and modern direction, the city has always had beautiful parks and outdoor spaces. Surrounding the Sforza Castle is the well-known Sempione Park and in Brera is the hidden Botanical garden of the Basilica di Brera, but there are many more classic city parks in Milan, try a 2 Hour Walking Tour of neoclassical Milan or visit these parks.
By far, Milan’s most famous park, Parco Sempione is a green space which spans from Castello Sforzesco to Arco della Pace. Originally Sforza’s private hunting grounds, in 1889, the park was transformed into a public area for recreational and urban use.
Parco Sempione has eight entrances, expansive lawns, dirt paved jogging trails, and treasures such as Mermaid Bridge and the Aquarium of Milan. A centerpiece of this park is Teatro Continuo (Continual theatre), which offers an amphitheater where percussion groups often perform on congas with views overlooking Parco Sempione’s lush greenery.
Parco delle Basiliche
The Parco Giovanni Paolo II delle Basiliche, known as “Parco delle Basiliche”, stands between the basilicas of San Lorenzo and Sant’Eustorgio. It forms an “archaeological walk” between the apses of the two basilicas. The park offers leisure under the shade of maple trees, black pines, elms and plane trees in the historic center of Milan.
Located not far from the fashionable Naviglio area, Parco delle Basiliche has become a meeting point for Milan student life. The Park also has Roman remains and a monument to witches, Il Monumento alle Streghe, marking the place where executions of witches and heretics took place in Milan at the Tribunal of the Inquisition of Sant’Eustorgio.
Villa Bonaparte Belgioioso Garden (Giardini della Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte)
An exclusive park for the most esteemed citizens of Milan: children. Adults can enter only if accompanied by a child. Giardini della Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte is one of Milan’s most charming green spaces. It was Leopold Pollack, Viennese architect, who had laid out the charming Villa Bonaparte Belgioioso Garden alongside the Neoclassical Villa Reale, the Villa Belgioioso in 1796. Today, on the villa grounds there are the Galleria d’Arte Moderna (GAM) and Padiglione d’Arte Contemporane (PAC). After a morning of modern art, visit this English-style garden, a guaranteed moment of peace and tranquility.
Parco Segantini is a stunning, residential green space near the Navigli where the Sunday antiques market takes place. With its 115,600 square meters of land and cool open spaces to relax in, Parco Segantini is a pleasant place to get away from the crowds. The Segantini park, once housed the Milanese serotherapy institute, founded in 1896 by Prof. Belfanti but was closed in 1993. The west and north sides of the Park are delimited by small canals, the Roggia Boniforti, and surrounded by dense, wild vegetation. It also has Milan’s only Bamboo forest! Residents living near the park have created a neighborhood vegetable farm and can use it for gatherings and picnics.
Adjacent to Parco Segantini is Parco Baden-Powell, named after the famous British soldier who founded scouting 100 years ago.
Parco del Portello
The former Alfa Romeo Industrial Park is now an urban green space, Parco del Portello. Meant to represent the expansion of time, the curved line is the hallmark of this park where you can rest and run. It is a garden made of two hills, the first of which is crossed by a spiral while the other has a curve that protects the pond and muffles the noise from the road. Built on the site of the ex-Alfa Romeo car manufacturing plant, it encompasses the nearby Monte Stella Park where the two hills made from recycled debris have been cleverly shaped into circular cone spirals.
The Public Gardens (Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli)
Know to locals simply as i giardini pubblici (the public gardens), this top-ranking green area is the Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli (near Porta Venezia) which can be found in Milan’s city center, not far from the shopping districts. The English style garden designed in 1786 with geometric flower beds and wide paths is perfect for lazy strolls or taking pictures of this beautiful urban-park landscape. The Indro Montanelli Public Gardens features eight magnificent artificial lakes and ponds where resident birds thrive, sculptures and architecture that spans far back into antiquity, trees like magnolia, cedar maple, red oak and elm- all with paths for visitors who want to stroll through some of Italy’s most beautiful scenery! The garden surrounds the Museum of Natural History and the dome of the Planetarium where you can learn more about the wonders of nature.
Guastalla Garden (Giardino della Guastalla)
One of Milan oldest noble gardens, Guastalla is an Italian garden built as part of a larger project at the behest of Paola Ludovica Torelli, countess of Guastalla, and was completed in 1555. A beautiful baroque fountain provides an eye-catching backdrop, while kids can have fun on the playground area or feed turtles in one of many ponds around this peaceful location. The garden is home to centuries-old trees, including a group of beeches, magnolias, silver maples and an imposing black walnut. The catalpa stands out, known as the cigar tree, with its monumental, twisted trunk and asymmetrical foliage.
Leonardo’s Vineyard is the only vineyard in the center of Milan. It was gifted to Leonardo Da Vinci himself by the Duke of Milan, back when it was just a simple courtyard. While Leonardo Da Vinci was painting the Last Supper (1495-1498), under patronage of Ludovico “Il Moro” Duke of Milan, he was given the area which he transformed into a 16 row vineyard. Nature lover and self-taught botanist, Da Vinci tended to his vines with both love and scientific accuracy.
In 2015 the Portaluppi Foundation started the Vigna di Leonardo regrowth project and opened the residence, the Atellani House (Casa Degli Atellani ) to the public. Both can be visited. Tasto Atellano is the name of the wine produced and can be enjoyed at the Museum bistrot.
Brera Botanical Garden
Last but certainly not least is in the Brera neighborhood. One of Milan’s best kept secrets is the Botanical Garden at the Basilica di Brera. The Brera Botanical Garden is located in the center of Milan in the Palazzo di Brera where the Pinacoteca Art Gallery and Museum is located. The botanical garden was commissioned by the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1774 and preserves about 300 different species of plant life. The gardens are a tranquil and beautiful oasis that will take your breath away with every turn you make. This secret garden has it all – peace, beauty, fresh air but most importantly its own unique character.
You can find these beautiful parks all over the city, so be sure to explore some of them on your next visit to Milan!
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