Sunday, 3 April 2016

Milan Brera/Sempione Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 4.6 km (2.9 miles), terrain: flat

Milano running routes:
Milan Centro Storico old town loop
Milan Navigli canal route 

Milan Navigli Grande  
Milan Brera/Parco Sempione  route
For more running routes, see Route List.

Brera is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Milan, with its little lanes lined by interesting bars, restaurants and antique shops. And nearby Parco Sempione, with its extensive gardens and giant castle, is the perfect section of green-space to complement it.
Statue in Brera
So this little route combines them together into one memorable run. It actually overlaps the longer Centro Storico run at the beginning and end, but this one has a different flair.

So, if you're ready to discover another great Milan neighborhood, off we go!
There are more pigeons than tourists out front of the Duomo
We'll start -- like the other runs -- right in the heart of the old town, in front of the Duomo cathedral. This is one of the most magnificent churches in the world, with its pink-and-cream marble glowing in the sun.

Turn north and head through the giant archway into the elegant Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping center, with its marble floors and glass dome. You'll have to zig-zag through the shoppers, but we'll soon be out of here.

You'll exit into a little square, the Piazza della Scala, with its statue of Leonardo da Vinci. Across the street, on the left is Milan's famous opera house, La Scala, with the historic trams of Line 1 rolling by.
Tram in front of La Scala
Cross the street to the right side of La Scala and enter that street, Via Guiseppe Verdi, running northwest. The street name changes to Via Brera after a block, and we're entering the Brera neighborhood. You'll pass impressive palaces on the left and right.

The right-hand palace houses the Pinacoteca di Brera, one of the oldest art museums in the world. You can run into the courtyard, dominated by the big bronze statue of Napoleon, who donated a lot of artwork to the museum after closing down numerous Catholic Church institutions.
At the Pinacoteca
Just after the Pinacoteca, you'll see the first bars for this great night-life neighborhood.

Turn left at the first bar, into the pedestrian lane called Via Fiori Chiari, running westwards. This is one of my favorite streets in town, with a relaxed mix of boutiques and restaurants. The street gets narrower as you run westwards.
Fiori Chiari restaurants
The street ends at Via Mercato, where you turn right to head northwards for a few blocks. Cross a busy street with tram tracks and continue northwards, where the street name changes to Corso Garibaldi.

In just a block, you'll pass a church with its little courtyard on the left. Turn left onto the the pedestrian way just after the churchyard, Via Visconti.

This will take you to the street and tram-line that edge the northeast corner of Parco Sempione, at Via Legnano. Keep to the right side and cross the tram tracks and street, and you'll find yourself at the park gate, facing the old sports arena within.
Entering Parco Sempione, with arena straight ahead
Run into the park, towards the arena, then circle it along the right side, with the arena to your left. You'll suddenly find yourself among lots of runners! This is the most popular running area in town.

Circle the arena back to its western entrance, where you are facing south. Now turn right and cross the park westwards.
The western entrance to the arena
When you reach the basketball courts, you can turn left and cross one of the bridges over the narrow pond, with the castle beyond.
Runner crossing the park, with the castle in background
Now just keep towards the right, running westwards, with the brick castle off to the south. Run towards the western side of the castle and run past the castle walls along its western edge.
Running along the castle walls
When you get to the giant round tower at the south end of the castle, turn left to run to the front (south) entrance of the castle, with its tall clock tower.
Heading into Via Dante
Now turn your back to the castle and run past the fountain and cross the street at the Cairoli metro-and-tram station and head past the two pointed, white pavilions to run southeast along Via Dante, a wide pedestrian shopping street.
Musician on Via dei Mercanti
At the next big crossing, where more trams cross the street, keep left to run through Piazza Cordusio and then follow Via dei Mercanti the last two blocks back to the Duomo, past the medieval market and the renaissance Chamber of Commerce.

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