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When my wife and I travel in Europe, we tend to focus each trip on a small region. Generally we visit one or two major cities, each for 5-7 days including day trips into the countryside. Also, if our schedule allows and we find one of interest, we will go on a food tour in the cities we’re visiting.
When we visited Milan this past fall, we enjoyed a very fine food tour. Our guide was Paulo, a professional guide who works for different companies around the city of Milan. Our particular tour was focused on the city’s popular Brera neighborhood. He did a great job guiding us through sights in Brera and explaining the city’s food cultural traditions and dishes.
If its magnificent Duomo is the heart of Milan, then the Piazza which faces this church certainly is the town’s main gathering place and foremost tourist attraction. Always filled with throngs of people, the cathedral’s rectangular square has several sights worthy of note besides its famous church (we’ll learn more about the Duomo in a future blog).
The piazza was created in the 14th century and developed over the years as construction on the Duomo progressed. Most of the buildings and monuments you see date to the 19th century. Our rented apartment was across the street from the Piazza, so we visited it often and frequently walked through it on the way to restaurants or to see an attraction. It was …
Construction of Milan’s great Cathedral (Duomo) began in the late 14th century and continued for half a millennium. One of the last details to be completed were the main central entry doors, which date to the late 1800s.
The church is lovely and its grand entry doors fit well with the overall opulence of the structure. They are often admired, but only rarely opened. These doors were crafted between 1894-1908 by Italian sculptor Ludovico Pogliaghi, themed on “stories from the life of Mary”. Here are some of the features and panels which caught my eye.
The doors are busy and it’s easy to overlook the many exquisitely detailed panels in it. including scenes of Jesus’ life and death, as well as those …
Stazione Milano Centrale is the main station in Milan and has the most passenger traffic of any train station in Europe. It is large and very busy, connecting Milan with many of Italy and Europe’s great cities.
The station was officially inaugurated in 1931 to replace the older central station (built 1864). Its reconstruction coincided with Benito Mussolini becoming Prime Minister. Mussolini wanted the station to represent the might of Italy’s Fascist regime, so the architecture and details were tweeked to represent what’s now called “fascist architecture”. The architectural details are powerful but not very refined, and are present throughout the structure.
Although we used the station twice, I never managed to head outside (given the luggage we were totting), so I didn’t photograph the …
Milan Fashion Week was founded in 1958 and is held twice a year– once in the spring, and once in fall. We were surprised to find ourselves in the middle of the fall show during our recent visit to the city, especially notable in the Brera and Duomo neighborhoods.
Fashion Week is a clothing trade show spread over multiple events and venues, including the stereotypical models on runways, models and their photographers on the streets, promotion of clothes and such. Fashion Week is run by a non-profit association which coordinates and promotes Italian Fashion, both male and female.
Milan’s is one of four important international Fashion Weeks, the others being held in Paris, London and New York.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right …
The da Vinci Science Museum is spread over 40,000 m2 and is in three separate buildings, one of which was a 16th century monastery. There are more than 15,000 pieces in the museum’s collection, so trying to see everything is like taking everything at the Louvre — an impossibility in a week, much less in a single day.
It’s hard for anyone with a love of science not to be drawn to a museum with the great Leonardo da Vinci’s name in it. I wish I could gush about what a wonderful museum this was, but that would mostly be untrue. There were a few aspects to the museum that were quite imaginative and interesting, but overall it was a rambling unfocused collection …
The most unusual chapel I’ve ever visited is this one in Milan. It’s located not far from the great Duomo — about a 10 minute walk — and probably would be interesting to most travelers. Some might argue it’s a morbid sight and I suppose that’s true, but many might regard being buried in a church a great honor. There are several other bone-filled churches in Europe, although I’ve never visited any before this one.
The main sanctuary of San Bernadino is nice but similar to thousands of other churches in Europe. Attractive but not very remarkable, in direct contrast to its unusual ossuary. To find San Bernardino’s famous chapel of bones you need to divert down a corridor to …