Type: City Break
Best Date to Visit: April – July (Summer)
Things to Do: Shopping, Sightseeing, Museums
Points of Interest: Duomo, San Siro, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Sforza Castle, Last Supper, ect
The Good: City was pretty small, with limited things to see and do.
The Bad: Lots of scattered scammers preying on tourists.
Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region in the north of Italy. The city highlights both old and modern Italy with the city hosting many exclusive events such as the Fashion Week but also homing many historic artifacts, most notable being the ‘Last Supper’ painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. Milan is also the country’s main financial, industrial and business centre and gets its luxury profile by being the fashion capital of the world.
The City of Fashion
Milan for me was small but extravagant, the city in a tourist’s perspective would be concentrated around the Duomo area, with only Sforza castle and the San Siro probably being the other major places to visit in Milan.
Duomo which is the most visited area of Milan is home to the ‘Milan Cathedral’ which in my opinion is the cover attraction of the city. Milan Cathedral which like many around the world is a church dedicated to Mary of the nativity and is said to be one of the largest church in Italy along with ‘St Peter’s Basilica’ in the Vatican. The building itself was amazing, every block and corner had statues which you would have thought would only be found in museums. Entering the church is quite annoying as there is a ticket charge (for a place of worship), however it is only 3 euros which also permits entry to their museum which is just left of the cathedral. The collection in the museum is actually worthwhile as it had many different religious art the cathedral has or had in the past.
Just left of the Cathedral is a special arcade of shops, the ‘Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II’ which has an amazing architecture, the shops and restaurants here are luxury with upper class restaurants and high end Italian fashion chains such as Armani, Prada, Gucci and Versace being the brands with stores in this small outside mall. The building has of 4 quarters with a roof installation that consists of a huge glass iron dome in the centre, all buildings were also covered with a luxurious decorative design which illustrated the extravagance of its resident shops and restaurants. Further more the floor are also a thing of beauty as rather just a plain old concrete or tilling, a beautiful art and mosaic display is at you just at your feet throughout the building. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II also has the ‘Town house Galleria’ which is a 5 star hotel and the most central of Milan.
Sforza castle is another amazing place in the city, it is just a 15 minute walk from Milan cathedral. The castle which is also easily visited through many of the surrounding metro stations, is situated at the front of ‘Sempione Park’ which also has another attraction in the ‘Arco della Pace’. Renovated and enlarged through three different centuries of a late gothic and early renaissance fortification, the castle is now a museum which host many of the cities art collection. When I was there a Michael Angelo exhibition was on which seemed very popular, however the castle itself is a sight to see and very nice to roam around.
You can forget the football
‘San Siro’ is another place to visit if you like football, it is the largest stadium in Italy and is the home ground of both of Milan’s major teams Inter and AC Milan. The stadium itself is away from the centre of the city however it is possible to reach by metro with various stops surrounding the stadium. San Siro is the largest stadium in Italy and one of the largest in Europe with just over 80,000 seating capacity. The architecture is not as impressive like other stadiums around Europe as it is also one of the oldest, being built in 1925. Nonetheless it is still massively visited by football enthusiast whether on match days or not.
A huge turnout in Milan usually happens when the world famous ‘Milan Fashion Week’ occurs. This event happens twice a year for the autumn/ winter and spring/ summer collections, and is one of the big four fashion week of London, Paris and New York. Within this week there are many celebrities, photographers and press around Milan.
Overall as a major city, Milan proves to be smaller than other European destinations. Although only a number of attractions and landmarks, they are not without their merits. Milan also has plenty of treasures that people come to see, such as the ‘Last Supper’ in ‘Santa Maria delle Grazie’. A popular time to visit Milan would be on one of their fashion weeks, which would make Milan much more extravagant. Visiting Milan should not be limited to staying within the city, as a quick day tour to Lake Como is also very popular with tourists.