Milan - the capital of northern Italy and the epicenter of fashion, commerce and a host of cultural influences.
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Milan in 20 seconds
When visiting Milan, it is obvious that we are now in the rich part of Italy, which shows in the composition of the city, and where it is impossible to miss the countless shops and malls.
Milan also has a wealth of exciting offerings, from the Duomo, the largest and most complex building in Italy, to the Teatro alla Scala, the most famous opera house in the world.
Milan is located in Lombardy
Holiday in Milan
With an absolutely high level of shopping, world-class museums, the Piazza Duomo and last but not least, Milan and Inter at the San Siro, there are many reasons why you should visit Milan.
The grand cathedral lies right in the center of Milan, and is the grandest and world-famous landmark of the city, being the most complex and largest Gothic building in Italy. The church is gigantic. It covers an area of more than 11,000 square meters, and rises more than 108 meters into the Milanese sky, with the main spire featuring the golden statue of the Madonnina.
The most striking feature of the church however, is the fantastic roof which is adorned with 135 spires and many statues. From here the view stretches as far as the eye can see, and if the weather is clear you can even see the Alps. You can also walk on the terraces on the roof, and from up there you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the city.
The roof is accessible using the many stairs, but there is also an option to take the lift.
The cathedral is something you simply must visit when traveling to Milan, especially when you are already walking around the city center doing some typical shopping or exploring.
One of the most prestigious and popular monuments of Milan is Castello Sforzesco. This marvel has been used for centuries as a fortress, residence, barracks, museum and various cultural institutions.
The first buildings date back to 1358-1368, where they were called “di Porta Giovia”. Francesco Sforza came to power in Milan in 1450, and after it had suffered great damages between 1447 and 1450 he started a massive reconstruction of the place.
Today the Castello houses museums for the public to explore, and since 1896 it has been home to one of the largest art collections in the city. You can even see the Egyptian Museum, an art gallery known as the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesca, a museum of musical instruments, and a handful more museums.
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The Church of Sant’Ambrogio can be found on Via Carducci, situated close to Santa Maria delle Grazie and just a short distance from Castello Sforzesco. This is a beautiful medieval building, perhaps the most beautiful in Milan according to various travel books about the city.
To enter the church you will have to walk down steps from the street level, and make your way through a small courtyard. The cathedral is at the heart of religious life in Milan. The basilica is a popular destination for pilgrims.
The large colonnade is typical of the church, with large pillars that are decorated with carved letters. The basilica is an excellent example of Romanesque architecture. St Ambrose is the patron saint of Milan and was bishop of Milan way back in the 300’s.
This is the basilica which was built between the year 379, and which was completed in the year 386. It was extensively modified in the 9th century, hence the Romanesque style.
We also recommend visiting the seventh chapel that leads to the chapel of San Vittorio in Ciel d’Oro. Here you can enjoy the mosaic depicting Saints Gervasio and Protasio, as well as the impressive Roman sarcophagus called “di Stilicone”.
The church hardly needs much introduction, for it contains Leonardo da Vinci’s world-famous painting, The Last Supper. Almost everyone regardless of age has heard of this painting. You will find the church on Via Giuseppe Antonio Sassi.
This is an absolute masterpiece of world art. And if you need proof of that statement, just consider it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1980.
The image depicts the dramatic event in which Christ tells his disciples that one of them will betray him and cause his crucifixion.
The Last Supper is a gigantic work by da Vinci, who did not use the standard technique for painting frescoes, but instead painted on wet plaster. The author of this text admits to not having much knowledge about it, but the restoration of the painting which has been necessary, is said to have been very difficult.
The painting was saved during the bombings of August 1943. For almost two years, until the end of the war in 1945, it was kept in the open, covered only by rags and sandbags.
You will need to book an appointment in order to see the painting.
The finest art collection in Milan can be found between the Duomo and Castello Sforzesco, requiring a small detour to the right if you come straight from the Duomo. The art collection is housed in an impressive 1600’s building called Palazzo di Brera.
The Accademia di Belle Arti was founded here in the 1700’s, and the collection of paintings was developed alongside the art academy itself. The paintings came from oppressed churches and monasteries, and these were intended to support the studies at the art academy.
When visiting the Brera you will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful paintings from both the Renaissance and the Baroque periods. Among the famous works you will find “The Dead Christ” by Mantegna, “The Last Supper at Emmaus” by Caravaggio, the 16th century painting “Madonna and Saints” by Piero della Francesca and Raphael’s “The Betrothal of the Virgin”, a true masterpiece from his Umbrian period.
We find the church San Lorenzo Maggiore at Corso di Porta Ticinese, which has the largest collection of Roman and ancient Christian relics anywhere in Milan.
In the 4th century the church was located outside the center of Milan. Along the Via Ticinensis, which connected Pavia to Milan and was the main trade route into the city, the church presented itself as a symmetrical building in the Western Christian world.
While usually the Italians tend to be on top of dates and history, there are no official dates for the original origin of the church. It is estimated that the church was completed between the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th century. A period marked by great historical changes.