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Piazza Mercanti

"Merchants square" is former epicentre of the city where swords, hats and suits of armour were once sold.

TravelCurious Tip

Avert your eyes from the lurid McDonalds sign encroaching on the piazza; instead enjoy some modern Italian food at the family-run Ristorante Al Mercante

In the Middle Ages, Piazza Mercanti was the central square of Milan and the heart of the city. These titles may since have passed to the Piazza del Duomo, which holds the resplendent Milan Cathedral, but Piazza Mercanti is no less worth visiting — here you can find an authentic slice of the Middle Ages.


Back then the Piazza Mercanti housed the city hall, law courts and a prison. Weddings were also commonly announced here and, true to its name (Merchants’ Square), you could buy just about anything. The cacophonous crowds are no more, but the historic architecture remains: pay special attention to the Palazzo della Ragione and the Loggie degli Osii.


Bottoms Up

At the centre of the square there is a well, surmounted by two columns. Centuries ago a large stone was found there, known as the “bankrupts stone”. Those guilty of bankruptcy would be stripped here and have their naked bum exposed as penance.


Oh bej! Oh bej!

More or less translating as “Oh so nice! Oh so nice!”, this is the most important Christmas fair in Milan. It dates back to the 13th century, when Giannetto Castiglione, delegate of Pope Pius IV, visited Milan and sought to ingratiate himself by bringing sweets and toys for the city’s children. Ever since, a festival has take place on December 7th, with its name inspired by the cheerful cries of the children. Until 1886 it was hosted in the Piazza Mercanti, but it has since relocated and now takes place in the Sforza Castle — but they still hold Christmas markets here, too.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Milan
The Theatre la Scala
An iconic theatre built in 1778 which has consistently held the most famous opera and ballet performances.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
One of the world's oldest shopping malls, this vast emporium is known locally as "Milan's drawing room".
Milan Cathedral
This spectacular Gothic cathedral, took 600 years to build. With Napolean finishing the facade in 1805.
Museo Poldi Pezzoli
Founded by Gian Poldi Pezzoli this art museum holds a wide variety of Italian and Northern European work.
San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
A royal chapel built in the 16th Century, with stunning frescos that often go missed by tourists.
Museo Bagatti Valsecchi
Originally the Bagatti brother's house, it contains Renaissance furnishings, tapestries and art works.

Related Tours

Full Day Highlights of Milan with Da Vinci’s The Last Supper
In this six hour walking tour, your expert local guide will direct you to some of the most important historical and cultural sites of this magnificent city. 

Milan is a vast, modern city which plays an important role as an Italian economic and industrial hub. However behind this industrious veneer lies a city steeped in history, culture and fashion. Milan is home to stunning frescos and art including that of the great Leonardo Da Vinci. 

Note: this tour must be booked one month in advance for the last supper to be included.

  • Commence at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie
  • Snap pictures of Da Vinci's iconic The Last Supper
  • Visit Milan's historic theatre, the Theatre la Scala
  • Walk through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the world's oldest shopping mall
  • Enjoy your time at Piazza Duomo, where the Gothic cathedral stands
  • Stroll through Piazza Mercanti, where suits of armour were once sold
  • Explore the artwork of  Sforza Castle
  • Learn about neoclassical artwork inside Brera Palace
  • Stand in awe of  the San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, a royal chapel
The Last Supper

Your guide will take you to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a Dominican convent and world heritage site which contains world famous mural of Da Vinci's The Last Supper. This iconic mural depicts the moment Jesus realises that he will be betrayed by one of his disciples. This tour includes skip the line tickets. 

The Heart of Milan

You will visit the Theatre la Scala, an iconic theatre built in 1778 and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world's oldest shopping malls. A vast emporium known locally as "Milan's drawing room". Get to the heart of Milan’s fashion at the Quadrilatero d'oro, the world's most famous upmarket shopping district. Walk through the Piazza Duomo, "Cathedral Square" which is regarded as the heart of Milan to the spectacular Gothic cathedral itself, which took 600 years to build.

Your guide will take you to the Piazza Mercanti or "Merchants Square" where swords, hats and suits of armour were once sold. Explore Sforza Castle, which holds some of Milan's most important artistic work. You will visit the Brera Palace a neoclassical construct containing the Pinacoteca di Brera, an art gallery showcasing Milan's most famous work. Visit the San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore; a royal chapel built in the 16th Century, with stunning frescos that often go missed by Milans' tourists.
Half Day Highlights of Milan with Da Vinci’s The Last Supper
In this four hour tour, your expert local guide will direct you to some of the most important historical and cultural sites of this magnificent city.

Milan is a vast, modern city which plays an important role as an Italian economic and industrial hub. However behind this industrious veneer lies a city steeped in history, culture and fashion. The majestic churches and cathedrals contain stunning frescos and architecture that cannot be missed, and the world renowned fashion district is a fascinating place to explore. In addition the art collections found in Milan boast a wide variety of work which include none other than the great Leonardo Da Vinci. 

Note: this tour must be booked one month in advance for the last supper to be included.

  • Commence at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie
  • Snap pictures of Da Vinci's iconic The Last Supper
  • Visit Milan's historic theatre, the Theatre la Scala
  • Walk through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the world's oldest shopping mall
  • Enjoy your time at Piazza Duomo, where the Gothic cathedral stands
  • Stroll through Piazza Mercanti, where suits of armour were once sold
  • Explore the artwork of  Sforza Castle
The Last Supper

Your guide will take you to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a Dominican convent and world heritage site which contains world famous mural of Da Vinci's The Last Supper. Da Vinci's iconic mural depicts the moment Jesus realises that he will be betrayed by one of his disciples. This tour includes skip the line tickets. 

Mercantile Milan 

You will visit the Theatre la Scala, an iconic theatre built in 1778 which has consistently held some of the most famous opera and ballet performances. Next will be a stroll in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world's oldest shopping malls. This vast emporium is known locally as "Milan's drawing room" and is built with an impressive glass-vaulted arcade design.

Your guide will be pleased to take you to the Piazza Mercanti or "Merchants square" where swords, hats and suits of armour were once sold. Explore the adjacent Sforza Castle, the former home of the ruling Sforza dynasty for centuries. It now holds some of Milan's most important artistic work.
Private Walking Tour of Milan with a Local with a free drink
A 6th-century Celtic village that grew into one of Italy’s most prosperous cities, the centre of Milan is easily navigable on foot. Famous historical attractions, the Duomo Cathedral and La Scala Opera House, are easily reached as is the temple of Italian designer brands, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. On your private walking tour of Milan with a local, you will:

  • Enjoy meaningful insights from a local Milanese as you wander side-streets which parallel and cut across tourist-havens. 
  • Hear how locals describe Milan - the experiences that have shaped their worldview, how they feel about fashion, tourism and the future. 
  • Pick up invaluable recommendations, advice, and tips on finding the best, local food as you explore highlights and off-the-beaten-track side streets.
  • Grab a drink - an espresso and nibbles or a glass of wine- in your local guide’s favorite cafe.
  • Learn first-hand what locals love about Milan from someone who knows the city like the back of their hand.
Strolling Milan doesn’t necessitate striding a catwalk, for the city - a world fashion capital - isn’t purely supermodel haute couture. Looking good is an art form in the city and people-watching the oh-so-stylish Milanese is a lesson in panache. Style-wise, Milan is wholly self-determining. Financially too, as Europe’s wealthiest non-capital city. Cuisine however is peppered with exotic influences, from border nations and globe-trotting chefs to migrant kitchens. Not a lover of fancy restaurants? Head to Milan’s finest flavours in the city’s unpretentious cafes and side streets trattorias.

Enjoying a private, guided tour with a local will help you discover the treasures hidden in plain sight throughout. As you snap pictures of the Piazza del Duomo, and tiny squares accessed through pedestrian archways, hear how Milan became one of the most important financial and fashion centres in Europe. Your walking tour through Milan’s largest park and through its world-renowned shopping streets is immersive. At the end of your tour, enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine, as you jot down your guide’s version of “must do Milan,” which will keep you on your feet for the rest of your time in Milan. 
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