Milan: the city of shopping

Letter 76

I was unsure of Milan when we first arrived. I thought there may not have been much for me here. However, after a day exploring, this large city has started to win me over. We visited some beautiful spots of the city and I’ve actually had a really nice, sunny, relaxing day. Just what I needed before we head back to Edinburgh tomorrow.

Milan Cathedral

We arrived into the centre on the metro at 10. We got into the cathedral at 11. The queues for tickers were quite long and then we had to wait to actually get into the building. This wasn’t too bad though and we were in good spirits and excited to see inside this monumental building. We paid 3€ to do the cathedral, Duomo museum and a church attached to the museum. We thought about walking up to the top of the Duomo for the view for an extra 9€ but decided against it. The cathedral is absolutely stunning. The stained glass casts watery colourful shadows across the heavy columns holding up an elaborate vaulted roof way above. The sheer volume of the space is something to behold.

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Museo del Duomo and Chiesa di San Gottardo

These were both included in the ticket price so we decided to have a wander round them. It was actually quite fun. We saw countless statues, some beautiful tapestries and a scale model of the Duomo (my favourite part). We also visited the church, which I love to do, which was very sweet in dusky pink shades with a piece of modern art outside it.

Piazza del Duomo

By the time we’d got through those 3 we were ready for lunch so we sat in the sunshine on the steps of the Duomo for about an hour. It’s fantastic for people watching because of how many people are on the square. It really is a stark contrast to peaceful Turin.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele 11

This was probably the place I was most excited to see in Milan. The shopping centre. Not at all for the shops of course, but for the architecture. This building is absolutely stunning in glass and steel. Walking through it is an experience, whilst much of Milan is generic of a big city, this is truly Italian. It contains a huge variety of shops as well, so you’re spoiled for choice.

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Piazza della Scala

This little square contains a palace, a monument to Leondardo and some lovely seating areas. We used this as a through-way to our next destination but we did stop for a second to enjoy it. The buildings and streets around it are beautiful and, again, feel very Italian. This was something I was craving in Milan and started to feel it more here.

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Via Brera

Brera was an area I had read about and liked the sound of. I wasn’t wrong. It’s a beautiful part of the city that feels older, less touristy and prettier than the big centre. It has winding cobbled streets, unique shops and quaint piazzas. This road goes straight through the area so we wandered up here and even grabbed some delicious sorbet on the way.

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Pinacoteca di Brera and Orto Botanico di Brera

Along this road, you’ll find the Pinacoteca di Brera which is a palace containing galleries, a library and an observatory. People were clearing up from a show in fashion week inside so we couldn’t get a proper look round. The building and its courtyard were stunning though. Out the back is a small botanical garden which was very peaceful and pleasant in the sun. I can imagine it completely comes to life in summer.

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Castello Sforzesco

Not far from the palace, nothing is in the centre of Milan, is Sempione Park hosting many things in Milan. There’s an arena, aquarium, lake, art museum and fair (which I presume is temporary. However, the main attraction is the castle which is completely free to wander around, but you have to pay for the museums. It’s a monumental building with sun-trap courtyards and heavy stone ruins. Tonnes of people are always walking through here as it’s a main through-road for the city. One of my favourite things I saw was a violin exhibit. They have turned one of the rooms (high up in the castle – many many stairs) into a giant violin that you walk through and learn about the instrument. They also had some Italian violin makers in to explain and show people how the violins are created. It was absolutely fascinating. On the opposite to the park side of the castle is a square with a beautiful fountain in it that was buzzing with people. This was one of my favourite places we visited.

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Parco Sempione

As I mentioned, this is a huge park with a lot of things to do in it. You could easily spend a whole day exploring this area. We simply meandered through to get to the triumphal arch at the end. It was great to see so many locals out relaxing, spending time with their families or playing sports.

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Arco della Pace

Our last destination for the day was this arch and its piazza. Another great spot for people watching and for admiring the wonderful architecture that surrounds you. Not just the arch and it’s symmetrical buildings either side, but also the lovely Italianate buildings beyond it that make up a residential quiet part of the city. We sat here listening to a busker until the sun was setting and then walked back through the park and castle.

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So that was our full day in Milan. I think we managed to see most of the big sights and still had time for lots of sitting and relaxing. The city has definitely grown on me. Tomorrow we have a couple of exciting things in store before we head home mid afternoon. I can’t quite believe I have to say goodbye to Italy so soon.

Thanks for reading,

From Lou

About Me

milan-dog

Possibly my favourite photo of the day…

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