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Piazza Mercanti

Piazza Mercanti ("Merchant square") is the former epicentre of the city where swords, hats and suits of armour were once sold in the middle ages.

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
La Scala Theatre
La Scala Theatre (Teatro alla Scalla) is an iconic theatre built in 1778 which has consistently held the most famous opera and ballet performances in Milano.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world's oldest shopping malls and it's known locally as "Milan's drawing room".
The Milan Cathedral
The spectacular Gothic Milan cathedral took 600 years to build and it's an iconic landmark of the city. Its construction began in 1386 and was completed with all its final details in 1965.
Museo Poldi Pezzoli
Founded by Gian Poldi Pezzoli this art museum holds a wide variety of Italian and Northern European work.
Chiesa San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore is a royal church built in the 16th Century in the historic centre of Milan, 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 Private Tour
Explore the fashionable Italian city of Milan with its splendid castles, churches and of course the Duomo, on this full-day private tour. Experience the vibrant atmosphere of the fashion district and enjoy a guided tour of the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, with tickets to see the iconic fresco of The Last Supper by Da Vinci. On your private tour you will:

  • Enjoy the personal attention and expert insights of your private guide. 
  • Explore the many cultural and architectural highlights of Milan, and learn about its long and varied history from a humble village in the 6th century BC to an important Renaissance stronghold, to the modern financial and fashion centre of Italy today. 
  • Admire the Sforzesco Castle, a medieval fortification dating to the early 15th century, and its magnificent park. 
  • Walk around Palazzo Clerici, a lavish 18th-century neo-classical residence and see the famous Teatro all Scala, Milan’s grand opera house dating to 1778.- Walk along with the luxurious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II with its high-end shops and haute couture houses, like Gucci and Versace. 
  • Admire Milan’s spectacular Duomo, the centrepiece of the city that took over 600 years to build and is the second-largest cathedral in the world. 
  • Wander quaintly cobbled backstreets to discover hidden gems, and see the Royal Palace, the church and columns of St Lawrence, the only surviving ancient Roman ruins in the city
  • Explore the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio: One of the oldest buildings in Milan dated to 379 BC.
  • Finish your tour outside Santa Maria Delle Grazie with tickets to see the iconic painting of "The Last Supper" by Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Please note: our team will be in touch to find out the name of each guest on the tour, as tickets must be in each guest's name.
Experience the vibrant atmosphere, stunning architecture, palaces, museums, mansions, churches, modern shopping galleries, and the beautiful parks at the heart of Milan, Italy’s most fashionable city on this full-day tour of the city highlights. 

Milan began as a humble 6th-century Celtic village and grew into one of Italy’s most prosperous cities. While it is a large city, the highlights are easily navigable on foot, on this full-day walking tour with your private guide. Experience both modern Milan, with its financial district, and fashionable shopping in the dazzling Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - home to the major fashion houses like Gucci and Versace, Armani and Ferragamo, as well as its venerable history, from castles to churches and old market squares. 

Admire medieval fortress castles and visit the historic Piazza Mercanti – the medieval hub of the city where swords and suits of armour could be bought and sold. It is surrounded by several grand old buildings which your guide will introduce you to: Palazzo della Ragione, Palazzo delle Scuole Palatine, Palazzo dei Giureconsulti, Casa dei Panigarola & Loggia degli Osii. 

Stop outside the Duomo for some holiday snaps – the famous centre point of the city with its Gothic style spires, an astonishing cathedral that took over 600 years to complete. Wander through some cobbled back streets and discover some hidden gems, including the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio: One of the oldest buildings in Milan dating back to 379 BC, as well as the amazing Columns of St. Lawrence: one of the few ancient Roman ruins left in the city outside the grand basilica of the same name. 

Finally, head towards Santa Maria Delle Grazie, and hear the amazing stories, theories, and conspiracies that surround Da Vinci’s iconic rendering of the Last Supper. Your guide will give you your tickets for you to enjoy at your own leisure. 
Half Day Highlights Private Tour of Milan with Da Vinci’s The Last Supper
Experience the very best of Milan, on this four-hour private walking tour of the city highlights, including tickets to see the iconic painting of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci in Santa Maria Delle Grazie. On your private tour you will: 

  • Enjoy the personal attention and meaningful insights from your private guide.
  • Explore the city highlights and some hidden gems.
  • Learn the history of Milan and the people that created the city – from a humble Celtic settlement two thousand years ago, to a Renaissance powerhouse and today’s thriving financial and fashion centre. 
  • See some of the most iconic buildings, piazzas and monuments in Milan for some fabulous photos, including the Duomo, Castillo Sforzesco – and its magnificent park, the Royal Palace, the Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore and the ancient Columns of St. Lawrence, Piazza Mercanti and Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio. 
  • Stroll along with the exclusive Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, home to Milan’s haute couture and admire La Bella Figura
  • Finish your tour with tickets including seeing Da Vinci's painting of "The Last Supper". Please note: your guide will not join you for this portion of the tour. 
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. 

You will see all the major highlights of this prominent Italian city, including Theatre la Scala (external only), an iconic theatre built in 1778 which has consistently held some of the most famous opera and ballet performances. Enjoy a stroll in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world's oldest shopping malls and experience the fashion hub of Italy with its exclusive shops and haute couture. This vast emporium is known locally as "Milan's drawing-room" and is built with an impressive glass-vaulted arcade design.

Visit the fascinating 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. Pop into churches, and admire ancient ruins, before coming to Cenacolo Vinciano the world heritage site, which contains the 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, and of course has been made mega-famous by Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”. 

Please note that the visit to "The Last Supper" lasts 15 minutes due to Covid restrictions at the site.
Introduction to Milan: Private Walking Tour
Experience the vibrant atmosphere, stunning architecture, ancient ruins, modern galleries, beautiful parks and the heart of fashionable Milan, the financial and fashion hub of Italy with an expert private guide. On your private walking tour you will:

  • Enjoy the personal attention of your private guide.
  • Take an orientating city stroll of the highlights of Milan, Italy’s financial and fashion centre. 
  • Hear how locals describe Milan - the experiences that have shaped their worldview, how they feel about fashion, tourism, and the future. 
  • Stop for photos in front of the famous Duomo, Milan’s stunning centrepiece. 
  • Walk along with the iconic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, with its luxury fashion shops.
  • Pick up invaluable recommendations, advice, and tips on finding the best, local food as you explore highlights and off-the-beaten-track side streets.
  • See the famous Teatro Alla Scala, Sforzesco Castle, and the royal palace. 
  • Admire the many fabulous basilicas of Milan including, San Lorenzo Maggiore, and see the ancient columns, Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio and Santa Maria Delle Grazie. 
  • Wander through Piazza Mercanti, Porta Ticinese, and Parco Sempione learning all about modern life in Milan while taking in the atmosphere and the beauty of this vibrant city. 
  • Grab a drink - an espresso and nibbles or a glass of wine- in your local guide’s favourite cafe.

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, like the Duomo Cathedral and La Scala Opera House, are easily reached as is the temple of Italian designer brands, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Milan is famous as the financial and fashionista hub of Italy. Looking good or ‘La Bella figura’ is an art form in the city and people-watching the oh-so-stylish Milanese is a lesson in panache. Milan is also Europe’s wealthiest non-capital city. Its cuisine is Italian of course, but peppered with exotic influences, from border nations and globe-trotting chefs to migrant kitchens. Full of Michelin restaurants, but also out of the way tavernas, local trattorias, and unpretentious cafes down cobbled side streets, Milan has it all. 

Enjoying a private, guided tour with a local guide will help you discover the treasures hidden in plain sight throughout the city. 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. Enjoy an immersive walking tour through Milan’s largest park and through its world-renowned shopping streets. 

At the end of your tour, enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine, on us with your guide!
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