We decided to go to Milan for a few days due to the cheap flights and it was somewhere that my partner and I wanted to go so after a two hour flight from Manchester to Malpensa Airport, we hopped on the Malpensa Express coach which took us to central Milan which took about an hour or so. Because we landed early evening by the time we found our hotel which was close to the fashion district I was to tired to go exploring so just crashed out for the night and decided to leave the exploring until the morning.
The next morning we got up bright and ate a good breakfast before setting out to catch the metro into the city centre. Milan’s metro is clean and efficient but it was difficult to navigate unless you speak Italian. There are hardly any signs in the stations and tickets are only available from shops and newsagents and there were no self service ticket machines like you see in other cities. After finally buying a ticket we had a quick journey into the centre. We stopped and exited the metro and we came out on the central square which is home to the Duomo, Milan’s impressive cathedral one of the largest churches in the world. The cathedral has 135 spires and 3,400 statues. It was commissioned in 1836, but it didn’t get finished until the early 1800s. The Duomo has spent several years under restoration and covered completely in scaffolding which was luckily removed during our visit. After a great stroll around this massive and impressive building we ventured to the nearby Galleria Vittorio which is Milan’s famous shopping area and home to many top notch designer boutiques and restaurants. The Galleria Vittorio leads directly into another square which is home to the famous La Scala opera house.
That evening we decided to get tickets for the Milan Philharmonic at the La Scala theatre which was a great performance. However we made one small mistake we bought our tickets which cost about 12 Euros rather than buy the tickets for 20 and although we could hear everything we couldn’t see the orchestra, because we were right up in the top tier. So it would have been better to have spent the extra money to see the orchestra.
The following morning we decided to take a tram tour. It was on the tram that was built in 1820 and has been renovated solely for tour rides. It starts near the palace and goes around the city for about 90 minutes. You get given headsets with a choice of different languages and the narrator explains the sights along the way. Once we had fished we had a walk through the Castello (Castle) Sforzesco and the park situated behind it. The castle was built by Francesco Sforza as his residence and fortress in 1450.
Since most of the museums are closed on Monday in Milan we decided to go as visit Bergamo which is an ancient town situated in the Italian Alps. So we headed for Central Station of Milan which is huge and looks like it is made of white marble and you also get a great view of the famous Pirelli Skyscraper, which was one of the first in modern Europe. So we jumped on the train and after about an hour we arrived in Bergamo which was is a really nice town. From Bergamo station you get great views of After a pleasant stroll through the streets and a sit down in a small cafe with a slice of real Italian Pizza and Ice Cream we hopped on the Funicalar railway which takes you to the more interesting place of Citti Alta. Here you can just wader around the narrow alleyways and charming little streets of this medieval town which has hardly changed over the years. The views from the top are awesome and overlook the whole of Bergamo and the Po Plain heading towards Milan. We then wandered to the centre of the old town and to Piazza Vecchia which is home to the cities cathedral and other historic buildings. After a another stop for some great Italian coffee we headed back to Milan.
The following morning we went out on another walking tour again. We walked over to the Cenacolo Venciano which is where Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous masterpiece, which he completed in 1498, is kept. Unfortunately there were slots available for visits because the museum only allows a certain amount of visitors in at a time and then only 15 minutes per group. The museum was booked solid right until the end of May 2009 so we were unable to get in.
From the museum we went and saw the Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore, which was built between the 4th & 5th centuries. There are 16 columns made of marble, which stand in front of this church and are the most important remains of Mediolanum, capital of the Roman Empire of the West, they belonged to a Roman building of the Imperial period 2nd or 3rd century B.C.they were either baths, a temple or a palace. They were then bought here in the IVth century and lined up to form the front of the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
Our hotel was actually located close to the fashion district and Milan is definitely the fashion capital of Italy. We managed to do a couple of hours of window shopping and If there’s a brand name you want in fashion, shoes, or bags then Milan is definitely the place to go.
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