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Milan Itinerary

MilanThe Duomo (cathedral) is Milan’s main attraction.  It is a striking and memorable sight, 135 spires and 3200 statues populate the roof and marble facade of this magnificent cathedral.  On the central 108m tall spire is a gilded copper statue of the Madonnina (little Madonna), the city’s ever present protector.  It is possible to reach the roof via 165-steps or the lift at the back of the cathedral, take your pick!  Once there stand in awe at the beautiful panorama.

There are many other attractions in and around the city’s central square Piazza del Duomo.  The Palazzo Arcivescovile and neo-classical Palazzo Reale, once the traditional seats of Milan’s rulers from the 11th and 12th centuries, dominate the southern side.  The extremely opulent Palazzo Reale hosts a wide range of world class art shows.  The Museo d’Artre Contemporeana is home to works by the famous Italian Futurists and other genres.  There is also a museum, the Museo del Duomo, dedicated entirely to detailing the cathedral and its six centuries of history.

MilanMilan’s second main attraction is undoubtedly the Castello Sforzesco and is located on the northern end of Via Dante.  It holds a vast selection of 12 mini-museums from Palaeothic history to mid-20th century interior design.  Originally built as a fortress for the Visconti family it was later remodelled and Leonardo da Vinci helped design its defences.  The mini-museums include an enormous collection of Lombard sculptures, with Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini and a fresco by Leonardo da Vinci on display in the Museo d’Arte Antica.  In the Pinacoteca e Raccolte d’Arte there is work from Bellini, Titian and van Dyck.  Entrance to the Castello Sforzesco is via the huge Piazza d’Armi into the Cortile (courtyard) and Palazzo della Corte Ducale.  At the rear of the castle is Parco Sempione.  Napoleon inaugurated the 47-hectare park in 1806.

MilanSant’ Ambrogio (St Ambrose) is the city’s Patron Saint and once charismatic bishop who defended Christianity against Arians (a sect that denied Christ’s oneness with God).  He had the Basilica Martyrum built which bears his name today.  The basilica is situated south of Castello Sforzesco and the saint himself is buried within the crypt.  The biggest festival in the city celebrates this important public functionary who represents the triumph of spiritual over secular power.

Along with the history and great cuisine, most tourists come to Milan expecting the best of Italian shopping. The Milanese have their fingers on the fashion pulse and you’re guaranteed to catch the latest trends and up to date styles shopping around Milan. Start in the centre at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, known as ‘il salotto di Milano’ (Milan’s drawing room) because of its sophisticated cafes, and then visit the famous Golden Quad.

MilanInquisitive music lovers should try their best to get a ticket for the unique Teatro della Scala. It offers some of the best acoustics in the world attracting the best performers and with its massive stage and 2,015 seats, is best enjoyed on a big performance night with a full house. Many of the best works by Puccini, Verdi and Bellini premiered here. Stroll northwards through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele from Piazza del Duomo and you will arrive at Piazza della Scala home to the officially named Teatro della Scala and a monument dedicated to the great Leonardo da Vinci. Tickets can be bought from the Teatro della Scala box office on line or by phone.

MilanMilan boasts some of the best clubs in Italy. If you are looking for some good music, refreshments and fancy doing a bit of socialising head to the Brera or Navigli & Porta Ticinese areas of the city. Brera is frequented by the trendy Milanese where the drinks are slightly more expensive. The Navigli & Porta Ticinese area is a good alternative and found south of the city along Corso di Porta Ticinese. Many bars are floating canal barges moored along Via Ascanio Sforza.

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