I recently spent 20 days in Italy (yes Italy again) – check my previous post here https://heelsandspices.com/2018/10/long-time-no-see-blame-my-holidays-in-italy and had a terrific time.
I never had Milan in my travel plans, it was never a focus, as I had many other destinations on my mind. So, why Milan?
Well, it was the cheapest and easiest landing point to start my holidays. TAP (Portuguese airlines) prices were too high for Venice or Bologne, my other two options.
I thought to myself “well, if I am landing there, and taking the train from there to Venice, I might as well spend a few hours”.
I planned to be in Milan for 3 hours, but my plane was delayed and then I lost the bus, so I had only 2 hours in Milan, including leaving the luggage at the train station, picking up the metro, and returning to the train station with enough time to catch the train to Venice.
We arrived (me and my son) in Milan, looked for the locker (6 Euros per piece of luggage for 3 hours), left the luggage there and looked for a place to activate the Milan Card I had bought online a couple of months before.
We took the metro and in just 4 stops we were at Milan historical center. As we climbed the stairs, BOOM! The magnificent Milan Duomo hit me right in my face, leaving me breathless.
I promise, it is even more beautiful than the photos can show. I was truly awed and could not stop looking at it. It is located in a beautiful square – Piazza del Duomo, where there is also the world famous Galleria Victorio Emanuel II.
The Duomo is a Gothic cathedral, that took almost six centuries to be completed, and it is the 3rd largest in Europe and 4th in the World.
It is a really beautiful and fine example of Gothic architecture that has app. 3,000 statues, more than 100 gargoyles and 700 figures.
The Cathedral was commissioned by bishop Antonio da Saluzzo in 1385 and the construction continued until 1813, being the final touches being applied in 1965.
The roof roof is open to tourists for a 7 Euro fee – stairs and 13 Euro fee – lift. We did not have much time and the cue to the inside of the Duomo was long, so we decided to take the lift.
Facing the front of the cathedral, the elevator is on the left rear corner, but tickets are bought across the street on the right hand side (if facing the front).
The roof allows a close-up view of spectacular sculptures and details of the Duomo as well as admiring Milan’s skyline and the surroundings of the Duomo. The roof is a collection of pinnacles and spires of astonishing detail.
We were able to have a closer look at the Madonnina, the famous gold colored statue of virgin Mary, standing on the highest spire). The statue is 4m16cm high and once marked the highest point in Milan at app 108 meters.
We spent some time at the roof, admiring the Cathedral and the skyline, and then headed to galleria Victorio Emanuel II. I was impressed with the beauty of it. It is a “street” that connects Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala, covered by a glass and iron roof.
On the ground of the central part of the gallery, in octagonal format, there are mosaics that portray the coat of arms of Turin, Florence and Rome. In Turin’s coat of arms there is a bull, and the tradition says that if a person spins around three times with a heel on the testicles of the bull it will bring good luck, so expect to see people there spinning around like crazy.
From the Gallery we had almost no time left so we just took a look around Piazza della Scala.
The piazza is named after the Teatro alla Scala (the opera house), that also houses La Scala Museum. The square also houses Palazzo Marino, the city hall, Palazzo della Banca Commerciale Italiana, Palazzo Beltrami and the monument of Leonardo da Vinci.
And so it was, time to get back to the train station and take the train to Venice (I did buy the ticket two months in advance). Taking one last look at the Duomo, we headed to the metro thinking that 2 hours is just not enough to see a Milano that I was not expecting to be so stunning.