Skip to content

Give Milan a few days.

While I was going through the Frommer’s Italy travel guide few years back to figure out our itinerary for a 16-day and first Europe trip, I stopped at the page that showed the Duomo (cathedral) in Milan. It was one of the most amazing architectural works I had seen, well, on paper. However, Milan did not seem to offer much else, so Milan was dropped off our Italian itinerary. Milan does tend to get bumped off in the trifecta of Rome-Florence-Venice that primarily mark a tourist’s Italia vacation.

I did visit Milan though more recently and it turned out to be a revelation! Thus, when you are planning an itinerary for Italy, I would strongly recommend giving Milan atleast 2 days for 2 very specific reasons. Please read on.

Reason number 1 – the Duomo:

The cathedral or Duomo of Milan is stunning. It took my breath away the moment I entered the Piazza del Duomo. The gothic towers and the triangular and marble-checkered facade with countless intricately carved  apostles and the large stained-glass windows make this cathedral very unique. Some details from Wikipedia – this is the fourth or fifth largest church building in the world, and the largest in Italy after St. Peter’s basilica in Vatican City. Its construction began in the late 1300’s and took around six centuries to complete.

The awe-inspiring Duomo of Milan

The awe-inspiring Duomo of Milan

The Duomo - even more spectacular in its three dimensional view

The Duomo – even more spectacular in its three dimensional view

On paying a small ticket price, you can take the stairs or the elevator to the roof of the Duomo (I confess I am partial to monuments that have the option of the elevator). Even before I reached the roof, I found myself in a passage of gothic architecture. This interaction with the Duomo’s architecture at such close quarters was quite intriguing. The interior of the Duomo is equally impressive, with massive floor to ceiling windows adorned with stained-glass paintings.

The roof of the Cathedral

The roof of the Duomo

Looking down from the Duomo roof

Looking down from the Duomo roof

Reason number 2 – The Last Supper

Many people don’t know (me included..until I did) that the Iconic masterpiece, “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci is actually a large-sized mural and not a painting and it resides not in Rome or in Florence but in Milan. The Last Supper which depicts the moment when Jesus Christ announces that one his disciples is going to betray him, is full of enigmas and mysteries and numerous interpretations have been made of the hand gestures and facial expressions of the disciples and even of the items lying on the table.

Seeing the original Last Supper in Milan was nothing short of exhilarating. This is perhaps due to the mural’s extremely precarious existence through its history – painted in the 15th century by Da Vinci on the refectory wall of convent of Santa Maria della Grazie, the mural has survived (albeit barely) a doorway cut through its center-base (you can still see this in the mural) in the 17th century, the desecration by anti-church soldiers in the 18th century, a bombing during World War II, and numerous botched restoration attempts. A final 20 year restoration was completed in 1999 when the mural was opened for public viewing under a sealed climate controlled environment. Only 20 visitors who have booked in advance are allowed in the room for a total viewing time of 15 minutes.

What can I say, just staring at this piece of art only for 15 minutes made the trip to Milan worthwhile.

The convent of Santa Maria della Grazie where the Last Supper resides - photo taken from across the road and tram lines

The convent of Santa Maria della Grazie where the Last Supper resides – photo taken from across the road and tram lines

Not the ORIGINAL - no photography allowed of the original mural, but this reproduction is in the room outside, for pictures.

Not the ORIGINAL – no photography allowed of the original mural, but this reproduction is in the room outside, for pictures.

More reasons to visit Milan:

Visit Milan for the marinara pizza (mouth-watering combination of marinara sauce, olive oil & oregano) and the celebrated gelatos. Also, Milan is only a few hours’ drive to Lake Como and other gorgeous lakes of the Italian Alps. I don’t know much about it but apparently you can get some steals on the very high-end Italian brands, many of which have flagship stores in the landmark Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.  And there is a piazza dedicated to Leonardo Da Vinci (with his statue of course) that made the art and history geek in me jump with joy!

Here are some more Milan moments:

Advertisements
16 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ugh wanna go soooo bad!

    Like

    January 8, 2014
    • Hi Jeremy, you have already been to England and France.. I am sure Italy (and Milan) is not too far!

      Like

      January 8, 2014
  2. Raina.. I just saw your pictures of Amalfi Coast on facebook. That coastline literally takes your breath away. I did go to Amalfi Coast, but only for 2 days. Does not even count. Must visit atleast one more in this lifetime 🙂

    Like

    January 8, 2014
  3. siddharthajoshi #

    I completely agree with the two reasons for Milan, especially the roof of Duomo is an absolute stunner!

    Like

    January 15, 2014
    • Glad you agree Siddhartha, and thanks for stopping by. I think your blog on Blogger is awesome by the way! How do I follow it?

      Like

      January 15, 2014
  4. Lovely post Shikha. For me, the ‘Last Supper’ would be number one! Has been on my list for a while, but will have to wait until I am done with the tougher destinations on there 🙂

    Like

    January 16, 2014
    • Madhu.. thanks for stopping by! The “Last Supper” was totally worth it. On a side note, I really like your blog and your photographs. Keep writing and inspiring newbie bloggers like me!

      Like

      January 16, 2014
  5. Shikha, thanks for yet more inspiration to visit Milan. The Duomo exterior along seems enough to make an excursion there worthwhile!

    Like

    January 17, 2014
    • Thanks Tricia. Yes, the Duomo does make it worthwhile. It will take your breath away for a few seconds!

      Like

      January 19, 2014
  6. Had been to Milano years ago and these pics revive pleasant memories. Thanks 🙂

    Like

    January 25, 2014
    • Hi Dilip, happy to have brought fond memories back. Italy is really my favorite country. Where else have you been, in Italy?

      Like

      January 25, 2014
  7. My favorite too but also Austria especially Vienna! In Italy it was Milano, Rome, Naples and Venezia 🙂

    Like

    February 13, 2014
    • Dilip, Austria has been on the top of my list for places to visit for such a long time! I better make it there soon! I will definitely be looking at you for recommendations then!

      Like

      February 14, 2014
  8. The story of the cathedral or Duomo of Milan is amazing! six centuries to complete it!

    Like

    March 3, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Travel Bloggers – Shikka from It’s a Wonderful World | Andy's World Journeys

What did you think about this post?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: