Italy 2015 Parte Due - Milan

Had enough of mad rush and long queues at the World Expo, with each day overwhelmed by contemporary architecture, bright multimedia screens and massive exhibition walls. It's time to give our mind a break, take things slow, smell the Milano air and start the day with a cup of frothy cappuccino...


 Our Airbnb accommodation, a beautiful attic located just 3 minutes walk from Cadorna Station.

 Small but well-equipped attic.

View from our tiny roof balcony into the courtyard of the residential cluster.

A visit to the famous Castello Sforzesco in Milan. A massive castle and fortress built from the 14th to 15th century.

Beautiful exhibits in the numerous museums within the castle.

Remains of Leonardo da Vinci's decorated painting at the Sforza Court, the Sala delle Asse (Room of Wooden Boards). Probably the most iconic room in the castle.

Sculptural conversation.

The Pietà Rondanini by Michelangelo on exhibit. It's placed on a specially designed seismic pedestal and platform to absorb the slightest vibrations from the subway lines running below the castle, as well as any seismic shock. Too precious for a sculpture that Michelangelo had worked on till the last days of his life.

"The last incomplete work by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), the Pietà is a meditation on death and the salvation of the soul. In this work the sculptor discards the perfection of the human body and its heroic beauty and transforms the dead Christ into an emblem of suffering. The physical arrangement of Mary and Jesus, the mother's head above that of the son, is suggestive of various moments of the life of Christ: the deposition from the cross; the burial and even the resurrection: in the dissolution of Christ's body in the mother's embrace. Left incomplete due to the death of Michelangelo, the Pietà is a testament to the last period of the great master's creative genius." - Castello Sforzesco

Love birds at Castello Sforzesco.

A panoramic view of the huge compound in Castello Sforzesco. Be prepared to spend at least half a day in this massive complex.

One of the many ubiquitous Italian icons on the streets.

Walking down the streets of Milan and peeking through the entrance of different houses.

Graffiti or playground? Walking down the beautiful via Dante - a pedestrian street lined with shops, restaurants and cafes.

Classic trams still run around the city, adding a rich historical flavour of sight and sound. A good place to catch all the trams in action is at Piazza Cordusio.

Beautiful architecture along the streets.

The awe-inspiring symbol of Milan - The Milan Cathedral, commonly called Duomo di Milano. Dedicated to St. Mary of the Nativity, it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan. This exquisite gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete and is the largest cathedral in Italy. Standing across the square is a bronze equestrian statue of the first king of united Italy - Viktor Emmanuel II.


A fisheye view of Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral behind me).

Tourists flooding the Piazza.

 Grand and monumental architecture of the Milan Cathedral.

The height of the nave is about 45 meters, the highest Gothic vaults of a completed church. The five broad naves are divided by 40 majestic pillars.

Beneath Milan Duomo lies the Battistero Paleocristiano, ruins of an early Christian baptistery dating from the 4th century. The Battistero is a magnificent example of an ancient octagonal baptistery and it is almost certainly where St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, baptized St. Augustine.

Flooring was designed by Pellegrino Tibaldi and installed in 1584 - 1940. It is made from the white Candoglia marble with Varenna black marble and Arzo red marble.

 The awe-inspiring interior and central nave.

Do not miss the tour of the cathedral's roof. The perfect way to get to know the Duomo better and closer. There are 135 spires that rise above the cathedral like a marble forest all linked with flying buttresses.

 Looking up between the flying buttresses.

 135 unique gargoyles detailing the spires, each serving as a drainage spout.

 Exquisite carvings on the flying buttress.

The cathedral is adorned with some 3,400 statues. These statues have been made and donated by numerous sculptors and made in numerous styles - starting from the Gothic style and ending with Art Deco from the 20th century.

 An array of flying buttresses lining the cathedral exterior.

A different (contemporary) view of the Duomo roof.

For the first time in history on the roof terraces of the Duomo of Milan, a contemporary art exhibition by Tony Cragg, an internationally renowned artist, with his works animated by movements ascending towards the sky.

Looking down from the roof terrace and admiring how majestic the cathedral is.

Welcome to Prada. Their first store which opened in 1913 at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Mario Prada and his brother Martino set up their first shop as a leather goods shop in 1913. They called in Fratelli Prada, meaning Prada Brothers.

The Turin Coat of Arms in mosaic on the floor of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Tradition says that if a person spins around three times with a heel on the testicles of the bull, it will bring them good luck. This practice causes a deep hole on the bull's genitals. Ouch...

Main facade of Duomo di Milano painted by the evening sun. Probably the best time of the day to visit this majestic architecture.

A panoramic view of Piazza del Duomo.

In the heart of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world's oldest shopping malls built between 1865 and 1877. The structure consists of two glass-vaulted arcades intersecting in an octagon.

The street is covered by an arching glass and cast iron roof, with the central octagonal space is topped with a glass dome.

Beautiful façade and glass-vaulted arcade.

Piazza del Duomo at night (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II on the left and Milan Cathedral on the right).

Walking back to the hotel along via Dante.

The Milan train station, waiting for our train en-route Cinque Terre.
To be continued in Part 3...


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