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Italy

The Best of Milan: Historical Gem, Modern Marvel

Program No. 23344RJ
Experience some of Italy’s most spectacular cultural treasures as you explore the artistic masterpieces, breathtaking architecture and historic landmarks of Milan with local experts.
Length
9 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
3,599
Flights start at
1,000

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Mar 26 - Apr 3, 2023
Starting at
3,599
May 14 - May 22, 2023
Starting at
3,599
Sep 17 - Sep 25, 2023
Starting at
3,599
Oct 22 - Oct 30, 2023
Starting at
3,599
May 5 - May 13, 2024
Starting at
3,649
May 19 - May 27, 2024
Starting at
3,649
Oct 6 - Oct 14, 2024
Starting at
3,649
Oct 20 - Oct 28, 2024
Starting at
3,649
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Mar 26 - Apr 3, 2023
Starting at
4,419
May 14 - May 22, 2023
Starting at
4,419
Sep 17 - Sep 25, 2023
Starting at
4,419
Oct 22 - Oct 30, 2023
Starting at
4,419
May 5 - May 13, 2024
Starting at
4,479
May 19 - May 27, 2024
Starting at
4,479
Oct 6 - Oct 14, 2024
Starting at
4,479
Oct 20 - Oct 28, 2024
Starting at
4,479

At a Glance

Though from the outside Milan may look like a modern metropolis, beneath the surface you’ll find an elegant culture rooted in a thriving art scene, dating back to the Renaissance and an 18th-century architectural boom. Delve deep into this complex and sophisticated city as you learn about its history through the artists that chose Milan as inspiration for their most prized works. As you spend an enlightening week in the design capital of the world, explore Milan’s functional art – from intricate cathedrals to spectacular courtyards – and discover how its historic architecture blends seamlessly with its modern society to create one of the Italy’s most magnificent cultural epicenters.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn about Leonardo Da Vinci through an expert lecture before seeing The Last Supper at the beautiful Santa Maria delle Grazie Church.
  • Venture to Monza on an expert-led field trip to see its royal palace and church, where the Iron Crown, an important Christian relic, resides.
  • Explore some of Milan’s beautiful palaces – including Palazzo Morando, Palazzo Castiglioni and Palazzo Berri-Meregalli – to learn their unique history.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Alessandro Pini
Alessandro Pini lives in both Milan and his native Lake Como. He studied art history, literature and languages, helping inspire him to become a professional group leader in Milan, the Italian Lakes and Lombardy regions. Allessandro has spent the past 15 years working as a group manager in central and northern Italy. He is fluent in English and Germany and loves sharing his love for botany, art, history, and, of course, food and wine.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Alessandro Pini
Alessandro Pini View biography
Alessandro Pini lives in both Milan and his native Lake Como. He studied art history, literature and languages, helping inspire him to become a professional group leader in Milan, the Italian Lakes and Lombardy regions. Allessandro has spent the past 15 years working as a group manager in central and northern Italy. He is fluent in English and Germany and loves sharing his love for botany, art, history, and, of course, food and wine.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Milan: Highlights
by Massimo Zanella
Art & History of Milan
by Bonechi
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9 days
8 nights
15 meals
7 B 6 L 2 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Milan, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Milano
D
Hotel Cavour

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After checking in to the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation session. Orientation: 6:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to applicable requirements and guidelines throughout the program. Educational content will be provided by a local expert and our knowledgeable Group Leader. Program-related travel will be primarily via motorcoach — requiring ascending and descending a few steps — unless specified otherwise. Meals will feature local cuisine and will include wine, coffee, and water with other beverages available for purchase. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We’ll then enjoy a welcome drink together before dinner.

Dinner: At a restaurant in Milan.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Milan Lecture, Museo Teatrale alla Scala, Duomo
Milano
B,L
Hotel Cavour

Activity note: Getting on/off public transportation. Walking approximately 1.5 miles throughout the day; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will be joined at the hotel by a local expert who will give us a lecture on Milan as an economic capital and the “driving engine” of Italy. Then, with our Group Leader, we will explore the city center on foot and get familiar with the public transportation system. We will then take public transportation to the Museo Teatrale alla Scala — La Scala Theater Museum — celebrating the history and heritage of one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, inaugurated in 1778. Here once, composers, singers, other musicians, and dancers entered with hope and not a little anxiety. If the public approved, they came out as renowned.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Next, we will take public transportation to the Duomo, the symbol of Milan and the sixth-largest cathedral in the world. Construction began in the 14th century, but the project, including its amazing façade, was completed only in the 19th century. The expert will lead our exploration. We will have also some time on our own to explore the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the elegant covered arcade linking La Scala and the Duomo that is a masterpiece of architecture in itself. Surmounted by an exceptional iron and glass dome, it was built from 1865-1877 and is named in honor of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of united Italy. Filled with boutiques, cafés, and restaurants, the Milanese consider it their “salon.”

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Fashion Day, Porta Nuova District, Free Time
Milano
B,L
Hotel Cavour

Activity note: Getting on/off public transportation. Walking about 1.5 miles throughout the day; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will set out with our expert for a field trip to visit artisans at a local workshop in Quadrilatero della moda, also known as Quadrilatero d’oro, the golden quadrangle. We will have some time to explore independently. This center of the fashion world is formed by four of the most famous and expensive streets in Italy: via Monte Napoleone, via Manzoni, via della Spiga, and Corso Venezia — comparable to Fifth Avenue in New York and the Champs Élysées in Paris.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Next, we will take public transportation to the Porta Nuova — New Gate — District. It was named for a gate built here during the Napoleonic era (1810-1813). The Porta Nuova covers more than 300,000 square feet and connects three different sections of Milan. Amid what were once abandoned railway yards, it was one of the largest urban regeneration projects in Europe and has become a contemporary focal point featuring skyscrapers and futuristic designs. The Piazza Gae Aulenti, named for the notable Italian architect who designed the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, is a centerpiece of this vibrant area. We will have excellent views of the district and skyline of the “new” city. We will also see the Bosco Verticale — Vertical Wood — consisting of two residential towers with “sustainable” credentials. The façades are covered by 800 trees, 4,500 shrubs and 15,000 plants that produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, and provide a home for bird life. We will have time to explore independently.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Royal Palace of Monza, Duomo
Milano
B,L
Hotel Cavour

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 80 miles, approximately 1 hour riding time. Walking about 2 miles, approximately 1 hour; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach with our Group Leader for a field trip to the Villa Reale di Monza, the Royal Palace with its gardens, a priceless heritage of landscape, history, and architecture as well as the museum. It was commissioned by the Archduke Ferdinand of Habsburg, Governor-General of Lombardy during the period of Austrian domination. With funds from his mother, the Empress of Austria, the palace was constructed from 1777 to 1780 and was enjoyed by subsequent royal families until 1900, when it was abandoned after the assassination of King Umberto I. Renovations began in 2012. The surrounding gardens comprise nearly 100 acres designed in “the Engish style” that now boasts centuries-old oaks and other impressive trees as well as a lovely rose garden. Led by an expert, we will learn about the Neoclassical architecture that was later renovated during the reign of the Habsburgs.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Monza.

Afternoon: On our way back to Milan, we will stop for an expert-led exploration of the Duomo of Monza, built on the site of an earlier basilica. Construction began in the year 1300 and it was finally completed in 1681. Its treasury includes the historic Iron Crown of Lombardy that tradition says incorporated one of the nails from the crucifixion of Jesus. Returning to Milan, the remainder of the afternoon and evening will be free.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Leonardo, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, The Last Supper, Concert
Milano
B,L
Hotel Cavour

Activity note: Getting on/off public transportation, on/off a motorcoach. Walking about 2 miles, approximately 1.5 hours; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will be joined by a local expert who will give us a presentation on the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), an anatomist, architect, botanist, engineer, inventor, mathematician, musician, polymath, scientist, and writer who is regarded as one of the greatest artists in history. We will then take public transportation to the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana. This gallery was established in 1618, when Cardinal Federico Borromeo donated his collection of paintings, drawings, and statues to the adjacent Biblioteca Ambrosiana he had founded. Led by an expert, we will admire works by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, da Vinci, and more.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will take public transportation to Santa Maria delle Grazie, the church with Leonardo’s masterpiece, “The Last Supper” in the Cenacolo Vinciano museum. Leonardo painted it around 1495-1498 to decorate the dining room of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. This is without a doubt the most famous representation of the Last Supper in art history, in spite of its poor condition due to da Vinci’s experimental technique. The painting was under restoration from 1978 to 1999 but it was not possible to bring it back to its splendor, lost soon after it was completed. Note: Due to preservation concerns, groups are limited to 35 for 15 minutes of viewing. Returning to the hotel, we will board a motorcoach ride to the Auditorium di Milano Fondazione Cariplo, one of Milan’s principal cultural centers.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like.

Evening: At the Auditorium di Milano Fondazione Cariplo, we will attend a concert. Our program was planned far in advance when details of performances were not available. When confirmed, the information will be posted on the Road Scholar website under this program number and will also be included in preparatory materials sent following enrollment.

DAY
7
Courtyards of Milan, Villa Necchi, Free Time
Milano
B,L,D
Hotel Cavour

Activity note: Getting on/off public transportation. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will set out with a local expert for a field trip on foot and by public transportation to explore the courtyards of Milan, one of the city’s wonders. We will see Palazzo Morando, a 16th century noble residence that was donated to Milan at the beginning of the 19th century and now holds a collection documenting the history, noble architecture, and culture of Milan including the renowned sculpture “Preghiera del Mattino,” by Vincenzo Vela. This is also the home of the collection of Fashion and Costume of the City of Milan. Next, we will explore the Palazzo Castiglioni, Palazzo Berri-Meregalli, and the Villa Necchi Campiglio reflecting a mixture of styles including Art Nouveau. The interior of Villa Necchi is a blend of original and later additions that together create a very special home reflecting the wealth of the Necchi family who commissioned the villa, one of the first in Milan to have a swimming pool.

Lunch: At the cafeteria of Villa Necchi Campiglio.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests each of us most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration. The Group Leader will accompany those who wish to return to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Pinacoteca Brera, Sforza Castle
Milano
B,L
Hotel Cavour

Activity note: Getting on/off public transportation. Walking about 2 miles throughout the day; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will start the day with a local expert and take public transportation to the Pinacoteca Brera, the national gallery for antique and modern art in Milan. The gallery specializes in Venetian and Lombard painting, including artists such as Caravaggio, Piero della Francesca, Mantegna, and Raphael.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will take public transportation to Sforza Castle. Over the centuries the castle and its defenses have involved and impassioned various designers and architects, including Leonardo da Vinci, called to Milan by Ludovico il Moro in 1482. From an architectural point of view, the most interesting parts of the building are the castle defenses, the towers and the battlements, the courtyards and the environments of Sforzesca origin. We will then return to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy the local cuisine of your choice.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
9
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m. See your program’s GETTING THERE information regarding transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel depending on departure times. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.