quick links: Milano / the Duomo / Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II /
La Scala / Castello Sforzesco / L'Ultima Cena / I Navigli / Shopping
modern city with an ancient history.
The Duomo, which traditionally symbolizes the city of Milan, is the most extraordinary example of Italian late Gothic art. It ranks third in terms of dimension after the Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in Rome and Seville's Cathedral. Located in the very heart of the city it represents both the core of the city and the unavoidable destination of countless visitors from Italy and abroad. The construction of the Duomo began in 1386 promoted by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, lord of Milan, and continued for centuries. The Duomo is entirely covered from its base with pinkish-white marble. In the facade five large portals are inserted carrying high-reliefs illustrating sacred and historical scenes such as "The life of Sant'Ambrogio". Wide slabs of marble make up the roof of the Duomo which can be reached by a steep external staircase, consisting of 919 steps, carved between the left side and the transept. The effort of "climbing" the Duomo is highly rewarded by the magnificent view of the surrounding plain up to the Alps; should the weather be ungenerous it will still be possible to enjoy the vision of the "Madonnina" , the golden statue of the Virgin Mary, the 135 lace-like spires and the many statues which decorate the roof. On entering the majestic interior of the cross-shaped cathedral, the sight is captured by the polychrome stained glass windows depicting scenes from the life of the saints. The eight naves of the Cathedral are divided by 52 gigantic pillars topped by a series of niches with statues.
The renowned Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the first buildings in Europe built in glass and iron, was inaugurated in 1867 by King Vittorio Emanuele II himself.
history, acoustic and the outstanding level of its performances have made
La Scala Theatre one of the best known temples of lyric and classical
music in the world. The theatre was founded under
the auspices of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria to replace the
Royal Ducal Theatre, destroyed by fire in 1776. On 7 December 2004 the
season was opened at La Scala after a three-year break due to complex
restoration and renovation works. During the restoration the artistic
activity took place in the Arcimboldi Theatre. The most evident
aspects of the works undergone are the modernization of the service mechanical
plants and the new stage tower now sitting at the back of the building.
The 7 December première is one of the most awaited cultural and
social events in the year and gathers the most prominent personalities
from the fields of culture, politics, industry worldwide as well as the
most popular TV and cinema stars. La Scala Theatre is home to the best
opera singers and conductors and offers a broad repertoire which attracts
thousand of visitors and opera buffs.
This famous painting, commenced by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1495 and completed in 1497, is considered one of the most significant art creations worldwide. The painting shows Jesus announcing to his twelve Apostles that one of them was going to betray him. Da Vinci painted his masterpiece using strong tempera on a dry wall instead of a wet one; this is the reason why it begun to fade soon after its completion. In time, the fresco has undergone a number of restoration interventions, of which the most recent was begun in 1978 and finished in 1999. The work has made original pictorial excerpts re-emerge and has shown more of Da Vinci's sense of color and drawing techniques. After the restoration, a sophisticated air filtering system was installed to impede the entry of dust, damp, vapor and polluting substances.
The area characterized by the Navigli is certainly one of the most picturesque in the city. Its core is constituted by Porta Ticinese, one of the ancient city gates and the Darsena, the famous dockyard of the past which is no longer in use. Here, every Saturday morning the Fiera di Senigallia takes place, the bustling flea market where second-hand goods and antiques may be found at very colourful stalls. At the great basin of Darsena Dockyard meet the Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Interno: the former carries the waters of Lake Maggiore and the latter the waters of Como Lake. A third one, the Naviglio Pavese flows towards River Ticino and joins after a while River Po. Nowadays along the Canals, boutiques, ateliers, craftsmen's workshops and antique shops which build up one of the most exclusive shopping areas in the city, display their beautiful creations and products. Along the canal banks many opportunities of nightlife entertainment are offered by the district's countless bars, pubs, wineries, osterie, traditional restaurants and discos.
In Milan, nearly all shops are shut on Sundays. Non-food shops
are closed on Monday mornings as well: food shops are open on Monday mornings
but closed on Mon afternoon. For Sunday shopping, there are the
multimedia stores in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Piazza Duomo, Corso Vittorio
Emanuele and Via Torino, a few fashion stores on Corso Vittorio Emanuele,
and, near Garibaldi station, Corso Como.
Montenapoleone and the adjoining streets (within the area bordered
by Via della Spiga, Corso Venezia, Via Bigli and Via Manzoni) are the
high fashion area.
There are furniture and lighting shops in Corso Matteotti, Corso Monforte and Via Durini.
Piazza San Babila, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Piazza Duomo (including Galleria Vittorio Emanuele) and Via Dante form a continuous pedestrian precinct with many shops, mainly clothes, but also books and media.
Other important, less central shopping streets include Corso Buenos Aires (near the station), Corso XXII Marzo, and Corso Vercelli. Via Torino is strong on fashion for young people.
The Brera district, around the like-named academy and gallery, was once the reign of artists: there are still a number of private galleries in Via Brera, Via del Carmine and Via Solferino, but these streets are now great for shopping.
Via Fiori Chiari, Via Madonnina and Piazza del Carmine form another attractive pedestrian precinct with small, interesting shops, and in the evening the area is kept lively by virtue of the many bars and cafés.
Corso di Porta Ticinese, particularly in the stretch between the churches of San Lorenzo and Sant'Eustorgio, has many trendy, ethnic-type shops for clothes, furniture etc., and it has also become a focal point for young nightlife.
It is close to another characteristic shopping and nightlife area, the Navigli canal district (Ripa di Porta Ticinese, Via Ascanio Sforza). On the Naviglio Grande canal, on the last Sunday of each month, there is a large antiques market with stalls selling everything from postcards to furniture.
Via Paolo Sarpi is the home to Milan's Chinatown (actually just a few streets), and so here there are many shops selling their specialities, in particular leatherware.