Lombardy Region - Milan
Our travels start with five days in Milan. We have not been to Milan for a number of years and I am looking forward to the opportunity to have a number of days to explore the city. On previous trips we went to the "hot spots" which were great, but I have seen so many beautiful photographs of Milan posted on Instragram I know there is more to see.
We have a beautiful apartment books in the central historic centre. This will be our base to see the city.
It was a poster of the Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II which fueled my initial desire to travel to Italy. Who would have known that my trip to Milan in 1986 would have ignited such as passion for Italy.
The Galleria was designed by architect Giuseppe Mengoni and construction started in 1865. It took only two years to complete. Mengoni never saw it open to the public. He was found dead under the scaffolding days before it opened.
I am looking forward to a new feature, the walk on the roof. There are now two high-speed elevators at via Silvia Pellico 2 that take visitors up to the roof (open 9 am to 11 pm). There is lots of high end shopping, but I know from previous trips to Milan that I can't really afford high end Milan shopping - but I am going to enjoy the building itself.
I will stop by Bar Camparino, famour for the iconic Campari and soda drinki, or the Negroni. Both two drinks that I have enjoyed for years.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, this is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. It can hold up to 40,000 people. It was built in the 14th century and took over 500 years to complete. The roof is topped by 135 delicately carved stone pinnacles and the exterior is decorated with 2,245 marble statues. The interior is quite dimly lit but you will certainly see the 52 gigantic pillars. The stained-glass windows in the nave are the largest in the world. Check out the seven-branched bronze candelabrum by Nicholas of Verdun (c. 1200) in the north transept, the 16th-century tomb of Gian Giacomo Medici, and the jeweled gold reliquary of San Carlo Borromeo in the octagonal Borromeo Chapel leading off the crypt. Behind the high altar, the choir has deeply carved panels, and misericords under the seats.
Walk along the roof. There are great views. There is an elevator and all but the 73 steps to the platform.
It is located, appropriately, on the Piazza Duomo.
This is the “Arch of Peace”, a Neoclassical gate located between the Arena Civica and the Torre Branca. It is a grand entrance to the beautiful Parco Sempione. The arch is located at the start of Corso Sempione, a road which connects Milan to Paris.
Located on Corso Magenta, this is where Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper is housed. It is painted on the refectory wall of the former Dominican monastery. Hard to get into and booking takes place many months in advance. Unfortunatey for our trip, no tickets are available.
Walking from Piazza Duomo through the Galleria's corridor to the other side is La Scala, one of the most famous and beautiful opera houses in the world.
An an important art museum exhibiting contemporary Italian works from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Castello Sforzesco was held by the two major families that ruled Milan from 1277 to 1447 and from 1450 to 1535 respectively: Visconti and the Sforza. It was built in 1368 and rebuilt in 1450. The 70-meter Torre de Filarete is a 1905 reproduction of the original gate-tower. The Castello houses the Musei del Castello Sforzesco, a series of museums, one of which features sculpture. The collection includes the Pietà Rondanini, Michelangelo's last masterpiece, brought here in 1953 from the Palazzo Rondanini in Rome. Other museums feature a collection of decorative art, prehistoric and Egyptian antiquities, a collection of musical history, and an armory of weapons and medieval armor. The picture gallery includes paintings by Bellini, Correggio, Mantegna, Bergognone, Foppa, Lotto, Tintoretto, and Antonello da Messina. Between the two rear courtyards of the Castello, a passage leads into the park, originally the garden of the dukes of Milan and later a military training ground.
The church of San Maurizio, located at Corso Magaenta 15, is for many considered to be the most beautiful in Milan. It was built in the early 1500s. As a convent of Benedictine nuns, the entire interior is covered in frescoes of biblical scenes. Not only are these by some of the best Lombard artists of the 16th century - principally Bernardino Luini and his sons - but the colors of the paintings are as vivid as if they'd been painted yesterday. The long nave is divided into two sections, the rear one reserved as the nuns' choir. The extensive monastery was built over the ruins of the Roman circus and portions of the Roman walls, all now part of the Civico Museo Archeologico (Archaeology Museum), where you can see these excavated remains of Roman Milan. Along with the ancient history of Milan, you'll find Greek, Etruscan, and Roman finds from elsewhere in Italy, including sculptures in stone and bronze. Particularly good are the third-century sculpture of Maximilian, a bronze head, and a female statue with folded drapes.
In central Milan, along the square in front of the Basilica di San Lorenzo in central Milan are some ancient Roman Ruins estimated to date back to the 2nd Century. The square is a popular place for young adults to meet and socialize in the evenings and is an interesting spot to grab a unique shot between ancient ruins and modern graffiti art.
This district of Milan is all about colourful houses, cosy shops, excellent restaurants and photogenic spots. There are lots of flower shops in this area.
The Renaissance Palazzo di Brera, built between 1651 and 1773, was originally a Jesuit college, but since 1776 has been the Accademia di Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts). Along with a library and observatory, it contains the Pinacoteca di Brera, one of Italy's finest art museums. Much of the art was acquired as churches closed or were demolished, and the museum is especially strong in paintings by northern Italian masters. As you enter through the courtyard, you'll see an 1809 monument to Napoleon I by the sculptor Canova. Notable among 15th-century pictures are works by Mantegna (Madonna in a Ring of Angels' Heads and Lamentation). The Venetian masters are represented by Giovanni Bellini (Lamentation and two Madonnas), Paolo Veronese, Titian (Count Antonio Porcia and St. Jerome), and Tintoretto (Finding of St. Mark's Body and Descent from the Cross), and portraits by Lorenzo Lotto and Giovanni Battista Moroni. The Lombard masters, disciples of Leonardo da Vinci, are well represented, as are artists of the Ferrarese school. Correggio of Parma is represented by a Nativity and an Adoration of the Kings. Artists of the Umbrian school include Piero della Francesca (Madonna with Saints and Duke Federico da Montefeltro) and Bramante (eight frescoes Christ of the Column). The most famous picture in the gallery is Raphael's Marriage of the Virgin (Lo Sposalizio), the finest work of his first period.
Outstanding among foreign masters are Rembrandt (portraits of women, including The Artist's Sister), Van Dyck (Princess Amalia of Solms), Rubens (Last Supper), and El Greco (St. Francis). It's not all old masters - you'll also find works here by Picasso, Braque, and Modigliani, too. Most visitors miss the Brera's little secret: the Orto Botanico di Brera, a charming garden in one of its inner courtyards, a hidden oasis of exotic trees, pools, and flower beds with a 19th-century greenhouse. Located at Via Brera 28.
Considered the most prestigious opera house in the world, La Scala has rung with the music of all the great operatic composers and singers, and its audiences - the theater seats 2,800 people - are known (and feared) as the most demanding in Italy. The season begins in early December and runs through May, but tickets are often difficult to come by. The best way of getting tickets is through your hotel concierge, but it's worth checking at the box office. In the same building is the Museo Teatrale alla Scala, where you'll find a collection of costumes from landmark performances and historical and personal mementos of the greats who performed and whose works were performed at La Scala, including Verdi, Rossini, and the great conductor Arturo Toscanini. If there is not a rehearsal in progress, the museum offers access to see the inside of the opera house itself, one of the world's grandest. Located at the Piazza della Scala.
The church of Sant'Ambrogio was founded in 386 by St. Ambrose, who was born in Milan and is the city's patron saint. The present church is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, built in the 12th century around the choir from an earlier ninth-century church. There's a lot to see here, beginning with the large portico, also from the ninth century, and the atrium, whose carved stone capitals and portal rank it high among Europe's best examples of the Romanesque period. Inside, be sure to see the pulpit with late Romanesque carving, and the richly carved 4th-century Stilicone sarcophagus underneath it. The casing (paliotto) of the high altar is a masterpiece of Carolingian art made in 835 at either Milan or Rheims. It's easy to miss the mosaic dome of the original 4th-century Sacello di San Vittore, accessed through the last chapel on the right. Located at Piazza Sant'Ambrogio 15.
With all of Italy's magnificent architecture and art from Ancient Greek and Roman, medieval, and Renaissance eras, it's easy to forget that Italy also has some outstanding examples from the Art Nouveau period, known here as Stile Liberty. Cimitero Monumentale, near Stazione Porta Garibaldi rail station, is an outdoor gallery of Art Nouveau sculptures, many by noted Italian sculptors. Behind a monumental and flamboyant striped marble portico, these monuments mark the tombs of Milan's rich and famous from the late 1800s through the mid-20th century. A map in English helps you find the most outstanding examples. Located at Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale.
From the outside, this church on a shopping street not far from Piazza del Duomo seems relatively small and unimpressive. Step inside to see that it is quite grand, its majestic, deep, vaulted sanctuary stretching into an apse that's nearly the length of the main part of the church. Or is it? Keep your eyes on it as you walk forward, and watch as it melts into an almost completely flat wall behind the altar. It's all an optical illusion, a very clever trick played by the architect Bramante to give grandeur to a church with only a limited space. Located at Via Torino 9.
Housed in a former Olivetan monastery, the museum illustrates the history of science and technology from the work of early scientists into modern times. Of particular interest is the Leonardo da Vinci Gallery with working models of many of his inventions and machinery, created from da Vinci's drawings. In the physics exhibits are apparatus used by Galileo, Newton, and Volta, and there are sections relating to optics, acoustics, telegraphy, transport, shipping, railroads, flying, metallurgy, motor vehicles, timekeeping, and timber. In all, more than 15,000 technical and scientific objects represent the history of Italian science, technology, and industry. Located at Via St Vittore 21.
For the young people who frequent the canal-side cafés and music clubs, Naviglio is one of the top things to do in Milan at night. Although it's the most active in the evening, go in the daytime for the boutiques and artists' workshops, and for the restaurants and frequent festivals held here. In April, the neighborhood along the canal is filled with flowers for the Festa Di Fiori, and the Festa del Naviglio brings concerts, processions, crafts, and an antique market. Barges along the canals are decorated in mid-June for the Sagra di San Cristoforo (Festival of Saint Christopher), and the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi performs about 50 concerts on Thursday and Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons at the Auditorium di Milano. Located at Corso San Gottardo.
Corso Como is a famous department store, located next to the Garibaldi metro station. Photos? Try the cafe on the first floor.
Corso Como, 10 - a shopping and dining complex located in the North end of the city. A ‘modernized’ neighbourhood there is art, displaying exhibits of local designers and artists, books, and more, there is much more than meets the eye upon your arrival.
Stazione Centrale - gorgeous train station.
The “Vertical Forest”, two residential buildings as a project for reforestation. The towers are home to approximately 800 trees, 4,500 shrubs, and 15,000 plants (consisting of a wide range of flowers, herbs and more). These buildings are not only incredibly photogenic, but are also an amazing display of design, art, and environmental innovation.
I would not normally think twice about a Starbucks location in Italy, but the reserve, at via Cordusio 3, very close to the Duomo is an impressive classifical building.
Oh no. I am like a drug addict with European Trams, and these are the old iconic cars. Located in Brera as well as near the Duomo.
Bar Luce, Largo Isarco 2 - one of the most photographed locations in Milan. Designed by film director, Wes Anderson.
Maio Restaurant - located on the top floor of La Rinascente, the restaurant offers stunning views of the Duomo and the Piazza del Duomo.
Il Salumaio di Montenapolcone - via Santo Spirito, 10. One of the best looking lunch spots in Milan. Located in a hidden courtyard.
Our apartment is on Piazza San San Carlo in the central area of Milan. The apartment looks very comfortable.
I like the kitch and it opens onto a patio.
The patio will be great for drinks and meals.