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Six things to do in Milan in February 2024

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected]
Six things to do in Milan in February 2024
A view of Milan's Piazza del Duomo in February 2023. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

Cold and wet weather may put a damper on everyday life in Italy this February, but Milan's mix of cultural events and local celebrations will help you overcome the winter blues.


February is often considered one of the least exciting times of the year to be in Milan, as short days, grey skies and cold temperatures can all make daily life far from joyful.

But while weather conditions may be something of a downer, it’s not all gloom and doom in the northern city in febbraio as you’ll find plenty of cultural events and opportunities to help you get over the winter blues in no time.

Celebrate Carnevale

Milan may not be the first city that comes to mind when thinking of carnival celebrations in Italy, but the city does host a number of citywide events and shows over carnevale.

What’s more, carnival fun in Milan lasts longer than anywhere else in the country as the festival ends on the first Saturday after Shrove Tuesday (that’s February 17th this year), as opposed to Shrove Tuesday itself, due to the city following the Ambrosian Rite instead of the Roman Rite.

The main highlights of carnival celebrations in Milan include a parade of floats weaving its way through the city centre and ending up right in front of the Duomo cathedral (the exact date for this year hasn’t been confirmed yet), and a four-day Clown Festival offering some 150 music, dancing or theatre performances at various locations around the city.

Carnival in Milan is also a golden opportunity to sample traditional sweets such as chiacchiere (fried dough strips sprinkled with icing sugar) and tortelli (soft fried dough balls filled with custard or chocolate cream).

Get into a museum for free

Milan opens several museums and cultural sites for free on the first Sunday of every month as part of the popular nationwide Domenica al Museo (or ‘free museum Sundays’) scheme.

‘Free’ sites on Sunday, February 4th will include the world-famous Pinacoteca di Brera gallery, the Sforza Castle museums and the Last Supper Museum.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Italy's free museum Sundays

Note that for some of the most popular venues you may need to book your free visit ahead of time.

If you’re not going to be in Milan on February 4th, don’t worry: the city has plenty of cultural sites that are completely free to visit all year round, including Palazzo Morando, the Museo delle Culture’s (Mudec) permanent collection and the Risorgimento Museum.

Milan, Brera gallery

A view of the main courtyard of Milan's Pinacoteca di Brera gallery. Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP


Learn about the latest couture trends at Milan Fashion Week

Milan will once again become the world’s fashion capital this February as the city is set to host the second instalment of the popular Milan Fashion Week (the first one took place in mid-January) from February 20th to February 26th.  

The show will spotlight the Fall/Winter 2024 women’s collection, featuring leading Italian designers such as Fendi, Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana as well as prestigious couture houses from abroad.

A full list of scheduled events should be released in the coming weeks, though the main runway shows should once again take place in the upscale Quadrilatero della Moda district, with top shopping streets such as Via Monte Napoleone, Via Manzoni and Via della Spiga expected to be right at the heart of the event.

Lose yourself in an art exhibition

There’s never a shortage of art exhibitions in Milan, and there are plenty of exciting events that you can look forward to in February.

Just to name a few, the Palazzo Reale, right next to Milan’s Duomo, will put on two major international exhibitions next month by pairing the largest-ever display of works from Giuseppe De Nittis, a pivotal figure in Italian Impressionism, with a curated collection of urban-themed photographs from Hungarian–French photographer Brassaï.

The Museo delle Culture (Mudec) will focus on another photography maestro, collecting over 200 of English photojournalist Martin Parr’s best pieces of work. 

Finally, the Mudec will also explore a nucleus of Pablo Picasso’s paintings, drawings and sculptures, tracing their origins back to African art and beyond.

Milan, Mudec

A view of the main entrance of Milan's Museo delle Culture in March 2015. Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP


Attend a jazz concert 

Milan is one of two Italian jazz capitals together with Rome, and the winter months are generally the best time of the year to catch a show in the city. 

Historic jazz venue Blue Note Milano will have a busy calendar in February as it’ll feature a number of renowned Italian artists alongside several prestigious international acts including drummer and former Miles Davis collaborator Billy Cobham. 

But fans of the genre are advised to also keep an eye on the event calendars of other live music events, particularly Spirit de Milan, Circolo Masada and Hosteria della Musica.


Relax inside a caffè letterario

Reading a book while sipping on a hot cup of coffee is an experience that has very few equals, especially in the event of cold and wet weather conditions (which are quite the norm in northern Italy in February). 

Very conveniently, Milan has plenty of literary cafes that will allow you to do just that.

READ ALSO: Six of Milan’s best bookshop cafes

Gogol & Company, Verso, Lapsus Caffè and LibrOsteria are all household names, but there are plenty of lesser-known cafès scattered around the city that are just waiting to be explored.


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