Milan is a beautiful Italian city famous for many things. Some come here for shopping and dining, while others visit to dive deep into art, culture, and architecture. It’s one of the world’s fashion capitals and a major art city, with new exhibitions and installations attracting locals and tourists. No matter your reason for visiting, no trip to the city is complete without touring the majestic Duomo di Milano, Italy’s largest church and Milan’s undisputed symbol.
As the capital of Lombardy in Northern Italy, Milan boasts natural wonders that are equally impressive and provide a perfect spot to stop, relax, and reconnect with nature in this fast-paced modern metropolis. Amidst the skyscrapers and iconic landmarks are gardens and parks in Milan, offering opportunities for relaxation and activities, such as scenic walks, pony rides, and picnics.
So, take a break from luxury shopping or exploring the town’s great sites, and let’s discover the best Milan parks, gardens, and hidden patches of greenery nestled among busy streets and historic buildings. Stow your shopping bags or any item in our bounce luggage storage facility in Milan and start your nature adventure without burden.
Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli
Spanning 160,000 square meters, the Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli is the second-largest park in Milan, offering a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of city life. It was established in 1784 for mass entertainment, making it the city’s oldest park.
The Indro Montanelli Public Gardens have changed and been repeatedly enlarged over the centuries. The area was a flat piece of land in the 18th century owned by the Dugnati family. It had vegetable gardens and two monasteries. In 1780, architect Giuseppe Piermarini was commissioned to transform the place into a public park, so Piermarini created French-style formal gardens with geometric flower beds and tree-lined pathways. Then in the 1871 World Fair, the park was expanded, featuring water elements like an artificial lake and streams.
Today, the Indro Montanelli Public Gardens is a favorite spot for picnics, exercise, and relaxation. Visitors can explore the tree-lined paths, get active by weaving in and out of the tree-lined paths, and enjoy sightseeing. Besides trees and flowers, the Indro Montanelli Public Gardens is home to several attractions, including the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano (Natural History Museum) and the Palazzo Dugnani, an elegant Rococo-style mansion and the first location of the Natural History Museum.
Parco delle Cave
Parco delle Cave is one of the best parks in Milan for outdoor recreation. It invites everyone to discover the park’s history and its flora and fauna and get fit with numerous sports facilities and activities for all ages. The park isn’t fenced and, therefore, always accessible for anyone who wants to enjoy the great outdoors and escape the stresses of city life.
The Cave Park is expansive, so you can spend hours enjoying the sun and wandering the area. There’s a four-kilometer run in the park, numerous biking and walking trails, a play area, and fields for basketball, football, bowling greens, and even equestrian trails. The park also has picnic tables, benches, and spaces for barbecues. You can bring your dog as long as they remain on a leash.
Parco delle Cave was built around ponds and wetlands. Today, it features water reservoirs, an agricultural area, urban gardens, and woodlands. It’s a short drive from San Siro Giuseppe Meazza, one of the world’s largest stadiums that cater to small and large events in Milan and the country.
Parco Agricolo Ticinello
This lovely park is the fourth largest in Milan, covering 88 hectares of land. It’s part of the Parco Agricolo Sud Milano, managed by the Metropolitan City of Milan. But what makes it unique is the balance of agricultural activity and public use. Its green system structure is a great example of the Lombardy countryside, with water meadows and agricultural areas bordered by irrigation ditches.
The highlights of Parco Agricolo Ticinell are the two farmhouses: Campazzo and Campazzino. At the entrance is the Cascina Campazzo, just a short walk from the Piazza Abbiategrass underground metro station. It’s a typical Lombard farmhouse but has undergone modifications in the last 165 years. It’s a multifunctional space that offers numerous recreational and didactic activities and hosts agricultural festivals, meetings, and concerts.
Bring your family and friends or tour on your own to witness and experience farm life near the city center. The Parco Agricolo Ticinell is also an excellent place for bird watchers and animal lovers, with numerous bird species, farm animals, and amphibians, not to mention little egrets, herons, and wild ducks lurking in the park.
Considered the green heart of Milan, Parco Sempione is a must-visit natural sanctuary covering 47 hectares of green space. It brings nature and history together, featuring several historic buildings and hundreds of plants and animals. It’s a gorgeous place for sightseeing and taking respite from the crowds of the busy city.
Parco Sempione is a large park located in northwest Milan. Towards the entrance is the Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace), a triumphant arch built in 1807 in neoclassical style. It’s one of Milan’s interesting pieces of history, made of bronze, marble, and stucco and with horse-drawn chariots on top. Other attractions in the park include the Arena Civica, La Triennale, and the Acquario Civico Milan, a civic aquarium constructed for the 1906 Expo. The aquarium has thirty-six tanks, which house over a hundred different species of marine life.
While exploring this beautiful park in Milan, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Sforza Castle, a 14-century fortress, which, years later, was built to become a majestic ducal palace. It was then destroyed during the Golden Ambrosian Republic but was reconstructed by the Sforza family, making the castle one of Italy’s most magnificent residences. It experienced a series of destruction and restoration but is now one of Milan’s famous landmarks, featuring numerous museums in central Milan.
Combine nature and wildlife tours with discovering history at Parco Sempione. That’s why it’s best to dedicate a few hours to maximize your experience and see everything it has to offer. On any day, you’ll often find locals and tourists resting in the large green space and taking in the sights around them.
Giardino della Guastalla
Giardino della Guastalla is a small park in Milan with a play area, a Baroque-style pond, and several monuments and statues, which were erected when it was a private garden for the school. Its history can be traced back to 1555 when the Countess of Guastalla, Paola Ludovica Torelli, ordered the building of the Guastalla Gardens. It’s a serene place for a peaceful walk near the University of Milan and the Ospedale Maggiore.
This traditional Italian garden is a family-friendly spot with a children’s area where kids can play while their guardians can sit on the grassy area or chill by the pond. You’ll also see a neo-classical temple designed by Luigi Cagnola, a renowned Italian architect who designed the Arco della Pace and other iconic structures in the city.
Although the high wall that once stood in the area is now gone, Guastalla Gardens retains its cloistered atmosphere, allowing visitors to escape the bustling city noise. In terms of plant life, the garden has numerous trees, including a group of magnolias, silver maples, beech trees, and more.
Parco Nord Milano
Another great park in Italy is Parco Nord Milano, nestled on Milan’s eastern-northern outskirts. It was recognized as a regional park in 1975, consisting of 790 hectares of grasslands, wetlands, urban forest plantations, agricultural fields, gardens, and other natural elements.
This metropolitan park in the town of Milan is safe, clean, and well-maintained, welcoming locals and international visitors who want to experience Lombardy capital’s natural wonders. It’s unique in the country and comparable to the best examples of other urban parks in Europe. For those who want to stretch their muscles and sweat, tackle one of the exercise routes, bike paths, and walking trails. It also has visitor centers, open-air chess boards, a cycle racing track, and more.
As you wander and explore, you’ll find some historical and cultural spots that serve as evidence of the strong industrial past in Milan’s Northern area. These include iron and steel factories and steel mills, which stand along ancient historic places, such as the Monumento al Deportato, I Bunker Breda, Le Ville, and Villas Torretta and Manzoni. While you can always tour the park on your own, Parco Nord Milano also hosts environmental education programs for students to discover the area through guided walks and storytelling.
Brera Botanical Garden
Located in the city center, Brera Botanic Garden is a spectacular urban oasis among the fashion houses and impressive buildings of the chic Brera neighborhood. It’s an ancient garden that can be traced back as early as the 1500s when monks cultivated medicinal herbs and vegetables on the land. In 1774, thanks to Arch-Duchess Maria Teresa of Austria, it was transformed into a botanical garden to promote art and agriculture.
Some call it the secret garden in the heart of the city, a protected place for rare plant species and biodiversity. It is open to the public, and admission is free. It welcomes visitors to a tranquil enchanted place to take a break surrounded by century-old trees, flower beds, and exotic plants.
Look around the garden, and in unassuming and unexpected corners, you’ll find benches to admire nature, listen to birds singing in the background, or engage in romantic conversations. In addition to providing a quiet and serene area, the garden also hosts educational activities, research events, guided tours, and meetings.
BAM – Biblioteca degli Alberi di Milano
Refuel and recharge after a day of work or be part of exciting cultural activities at BAM, the Library of Trees in Milan. Biblioteca degli Alberi di Milano is the city’s newest botanical park and the third green lung in the Lombard capital. It was completed in 2018, boasting over a hundred botanical species, more than 500 trees that form twenty-two circular forests, and 135,000 aromatic and herbaceous plants, shrubs, hedges, bulbs, and creepers. There are also aquatic plants thriving in a small pond.
Spreading over ten hectares, Biblioteca degli Alberi isn’t as vast as other parks in Milan included in this list. However, this magical place is an obligatory stop if you want to experience nature, culture, and art in the center of Milan. It serves as a contemporary park, a cultural campus, and an urban connector where paths from residential, governmental, and commercial areas intertwine.
Since its inception a few years ago, Milan’s Library of Trees has been a beloved trendy park among residents and visitors. You’ll often find people gathering, sitting on the vast lawns or benches around, relaxing on a warm afternoon with fantastic views of the new buildings. With a park in a corporate area, employees now have a pleasant spot to relax during breaks or after a long day at work.
Check the park schedule if you plan to visit to know what’s going on at BAM, as it regularly hosts seasonal events and fun activities. If you get lucky, you might see musicians perform on an all-music picnic on the lawn. It’s also common to encounter film crews shooting in the area.
Find your ideal urban oasis in Milan
Though Milan is a busy city with flocks of international tourists each year, there are numerous places here where you can sit back and relax away from the crowd. Among the shops, historic landmarks, and grand sites are patches of nature where you can reconnect with nature in the middle of this buzzing Italian capital. If you’re looking for more places to discover, check out our guides on the 10 Best Hikes in Milan and the 6 beaches near Milan.