Milan, unlike New York, does not have its own Central Park or any huge green area where everyone meets. To make up for this, however, Milan boasts more than 80 public gardens, both large and small, many of them rich in history and all of them loved by the public. Listing them all would be nearly impossible so we have decided to choose a few that have some special feature we know you will enjoy.
A favourite Milanese public garden is Parco Sempione, a large green area running from the Castello Sforzesco to Arco della Pace. The park — with its Britishstyle jogging tracks, green lawns and romantic bridges — is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the sunshine. Although the park has eight entrances, its main access points are from the Castello or the Triennale Museum.
Another top-ranking green area is the Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli (Porta Venezia): designed in 1786 with geometric flower beds and wide paths, the gardens host the Museum of Natural History and the Planetarium. Abounding in a number of interesting botanical species, the gardens offer a delightful play area and an oasis of butterflies. In fact, the gardens were one of the favorite haunts of renowned Italian journalist, Indro Montanelli, to whom the park was dedicated in 2002.
On the other side of via Palestro you can find another small green area: the Giardini della Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte (which the Milanese usually refer to as the “gardens of the Royal Villa”). Here, a rather strange though charming rule exists: in theory, adults can only enter the park if accompanied by children. Boasting an expanse of water and a small temple dedicated to Love, the park has a typically 19th century appearance. Today, the Neoclassical Villa hosts Milan’s GAM (Modern Art Gallery).
Also worthy of particular note due to its combination of nature and architectural marvels is Parco Giovanni Paolo II, once known as ”Parco delle Basiliche”, situated between the two ancient basilicas of Sant’Eustorgio and San Lorenzo. Amidst Roman remains and well-equipped play areas, the park is a meeting point for young people, also due to its proximity to the fashionable Porta Ticinese area.
In all the parks in Milan you can find small drinking fountains offering passersby an incessant stream of water to refresh themselves. The Milanese call them “vedovelle” (young widows) because they never stop “crying”!