Milan is a wonderful and busy city. Known mainly for being the capital of fashion and design. It is also the leading financial centre and the most prosperous manufacturing city in Italy.
The weather is often hot and humid in the summer and damp and chilly in the winter. There is often snow between December and February and the spring usually brings rain. In Winter the temperature is between −1 and 10 °C and the summer can reach 20 and 30 °C.
Arriving in Milan
Airport: Milan has two airports, Malpensa and Linate. Malpensa is the located about 30 miles out of the city centre and is the largest of the two, with two terminals and can take about an hour on the train. Most flights fly into Malpensa from both USA and UK. Linate is about 25 minutes away on the shuttle bus and a few airlines fly to this airport from the UK (Easyjet, Alitalia, BA).
Train: Milan’s main train station is Milano Centrale. It is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. From Rome it takes about 3 hours, from Venice and Florence about 2 hours. The train station is a little way from the centre, about a 40 minute walk or a 20 to 30 minute ride. Taxi are always available outside the train station.
Milan is a beautiful and vibrant city that is able to mix the old-world with the new. Milan is world famous in fashion and shopping is one of the main attractions. A city lovers place, there are many attractions and experience in this exceptional city. The food, architecture is why Milan is a city not to miss.
We always recommend a gentle stroll around the city to introduce yourself.
For your first full day, we recommend starting with a visit to the beautiful Duomo di Milano and then visit the Theatre.
Milan’s Duomo is an extravagant Gothic Cathedral and is one of the most impressive structures in the city. Commised in 1386 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti it is a vision in pink Candoglia marble. It has 135 spires and 3400 statues and the interior has three huge stain glass windows and Carlo Borromeo is interred in a rock-crystal casket.
The design was thought of as unfeasible, with canals being dug just to transport the vast quantities of marble from around Lake Maggiore. It is the fifth largest Christian Cathedral in the world.
And it still isn’t finished. Politics, lack of funds, changes in fashion and indifference playing a role, with 78 different head architects over the years and thousands of artists, sculptures and specialist workers the plans grew and grew and the building project started to drag on. The original design was Gothic and considered ‘too french’ (as at the time Milan was more politically connected to France), the years and the centuries with some of the final touches applied in the 1960s.
How about a visit to La Scala after the Duomo?
Teatro alla Scala is the opera house in Milan. Commissioned after the original Ducal Theatre burnt down, it is built on the former site of the Church Santa Maria alla Scala, hence the name.
The theatre museum contains large collections of the history of theatre, with paints, busts, costumes, musical instruments and the huge Bohemian crystal chandelier with 383 bulbs. It will take you on a theatrical journey through the centuries. You are able to marvel at the elegant hall and the small box seats that are covered in red satin where the people of high society would have sat to enjoy the performance (or in most cases gather gossip by watching unsuspecting people in the crowd). It is a must see for anyone who enjoys the theatre.
In the afternoon, visit the striking Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II for shopping and more.
This neoclassical structure of iron and glass is much more than a shopping arcade. With the nickname il salotto di Milano, the living room of Milan, it has been the core of life in the city since 1877.
Know for high-end boutiques, the original Prada store is located here, there is also an amazing place for dinning. It is a beautiful place to explore.
Its known for its high-end boutiques (the original Prada store is located here) and equally lofty dining. While it’s packed by day, a stroll during the late evening gives you a chance to experience its beauty without distraction.
An unusual tradition of spinning with your heel on the balls of the (poor) bull is a tourist must. Located in the middle of the arcade, it is said to bring good luck and it is so popular that a hole has now been worn into the mosaic. No one knows how the tradition got started, got to love a tradition that gives you good fortune.
There are four distinct mosaics on the floor, each portraying the coast of arms of three capitals of Italy. Rome, represented by the she wolf with Romulus and Remus, Florence is the flower of the lily, Milan’s mosaic is a red cross on a white background and Turin with the bull or torino in Italian.
Starting with the Last Supper, the most famous mural. Hidden away on a wall in the refectory adjoining the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. It is said that Leonardo da Vinci, when working on the piece would sometimes arrive in the morning, stare at the work done on the previous day and promptly leave. Much like Leonardo, the visit to The Last Supper only lasts about 15 minutes. It is also difficult to get tickets, as you can imagine, they sell out in minutes of opening and booking in advance and being flexible with times and days is a must!
It is often complained that the mural is dull and in a fragile state, even after a 22 year restoration! Da Vinci can also be partly blamed for the state of his masterpiece. He experimented with a mix of oils and tempera which was applied between 1495 and 1498, which is a long period of time as most frescoes were applied within the week. Also, Dominicans decided that they would raise the refectory floor, which destroyed the lower section and Jesus’ feet. And finally, in the 19th century, restorers used cotton wool and alcohol to clean up the image and ended up taking an entire layer of paint off.
But it is worth a visit and all of the happenings the mural went through, it has not lessened it’s unique and inspiring beauty.
Please note: The Last Supper sells out months in advance, if you are visiting Milan, it is best to have a number of different days and be flexible with your times. Keep an eye on the tickets and as soon as your dates of travel are confirmed, best to book the tickets as soon as you can.
In the afternoon, take a stroll to the Castle, Castello Sforzesco
The iconic red-brick castle was originally a Visconti fortress, it was later remodelled by Francesco Sforza in the 15th century, with Leonardo da Vinci helping to design the defences.
Today it is home to seven museums, one is the Museum of Ancient Art, which includes collections of ancient to modern art and richly decorated furnishings. You can still admire the frescoes that were designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
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