“Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building after seeing Italy.”– Fanny Burney quotes (English Writer, 1752-1840)
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy and the capital is Milan (Milano) the second-largest city in Italy (Rome is the first largest city). All of the biggest players in the fashion world have set up shop here i.e. Gucci, Prada, Armani, Versace, and Dolce & Gabbana have their headquarters based in Milan, making the city the fashion capital of the world. Milan is considered to be the 12th most expensive city in the world. Famous people from Milan are: Leonardo Da Vinci born in 1452 in Vinci, not far from the city of Florence and moved to Milan in 1482 and produced some of his best works, notably ‘The Last Supper’ (1498) and ‘Madonna and Child with St. Anne’ (1499). Gianni Versace moved to Milan at the age of 25 and began working as a freelance designer. In 1978, along with his brother he founded a private company and owned a boutique on Via Della Spiga. Giorgio Armani born in 1934 and grew up near Milan. Armani’s success was his “power suit,” which became an unmistakable symbol of the 1980s business boom
What I see in Milan are The Duomo Cathedral and the 19th century Victor Emmanuelle II Galleria. Walking through Galleria, you will arrive in Da Vinci Square where you can find a statue of Leonardo Da Vinci as well as the world famous La Scala Opera House
The Duomo of Milan/ Duomo Cathedral
Dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente (Saint Mary Nascent), located on Piazza Del Duomo city center and a major tourist attraction in Milan, considered the second largest Roman Catholic cathedral in the world, after Seville doesn’t count St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome as this building is not a cathedral. The word Duomo derives from the Latin word “Domus”, meaning house, as a cathedral is the house of the bishop. To properly categorize the places of worship; a “Chapel” can apply to anything from a section of a much larger church or cathedral. A “Church” generally any building set aside in perpetuity for the public exercise of worship. A ‘parish church’ is the place specially consecrated for the members of a parish to come together for Mass. A “Cathedral” (from the Latin word “cathedra” – chair) is the chief church of a diocese and where the Bishop is based. A “Basilica” is a church of pre-eminence due to its great architecture or historical importance.
The Duomo took almost 6 centuries to complete from 1386 to 1887, though it passed through the hands of different architects the outcome was magnificent. I have never seen so much detailed and complexities in one mega structure, its pallid marble was a feast to the eyes and gloriously stunning. Upon seeing the façade and spires of this cathedral I finally understood and appreciate what Gothic architecture means. The Duomo has about 135 spires, each mounted with a statue depicting important people in Milan’s history and different characters in the bible. The highest spire and the tallest part of the cathedral hold the most important symbol of Milan the Madonina or Little Madonna. It’s a golden statue that is so important that by law no any other building should pass its height therefore no skyscrapers in Milan. Actually, most of European skyline doesn’t have high rise building clusters because they are longstanding capitals that preserved their classic look.
What I didn’t know when I was standing in front of the Duomo or I guess the local guide informed us of these but I was too busy striking a pose:
1. Unlike other European churches the Milan cathedral has no bell tower.
2. The most cherished relic of the cathedral is a nail from the Christ`s cross. Placed on a grandiose crucifix above the chancel. — Note to self: Google about the place before going on a tour, bummer that I missed that! Phew!
3. A tour of the cathedral roof is available. It is a perfect opportunity to explore the spires and sculptures, and to have a panoramic view of the center of Milan.
I didn’t get a chance to have a peek inside. There was a mass and important mass and security was heavily guarded the entrance.
Victor Emmanuelle II Galleria
World’s oldest shopping mall named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy. Built by Giuseppe Mengoni in 1865 but did get to see this done as during construction Mengoni fell from a scaffold and died. Elegant and glass-roofed this gallery was built to connect Duomo Cathedral and Piazza Della Scala. On the floor there are the arms of the four most important Italian cities: the bull of Turin, the wolf of Rome, the lily of Florence and the red cross on a white ground (Milan).
Our local tourist guide informed us that there’s a popular belief for those who will be able to put his/her right heel at the bull’s genitals and turn counter clockwise three times and that will bring good luck. This practice caused damage to the mosaic there was actually a hole in the place of the bull’s genitals
In the gallery there are many bookstores, restaurants and famous shops such as Prada, Tods, Louis Vuitton, etc. In one of the shops here I tasted my first authentic Italian pizza and it was sumptuous.
Da Vinci Square
A few steps from the gallery are the Da Vinci Square. Raised In 1872 this monument was erected in honor of Leonardo DA Vinci, a Renaissance man considered one of the most multi-talented people to have ever walked on this planet. The monument, sculpted by Pietro Magni, shows a statue of Leonardo da Vinci on a pedestal. At the foot of the pedestal stand his four favorite students. Reliefs depict some of the disciplines that da Vinci mastered: painting, sculpting, engineering and architecture
I don’t know if I can appreciate this theatre just sees it from the outside, nothing special with the walls either. It’s said to be one of the largest and most prominent opera houses in Europe and seats over 2,000 people at any given time. Recognized as one of the leading opera and ballet theaters in the world. It is home to the La Scala Theater Chorus, La Scala Theater Ballet and La Scala Theater Orchestra. The theater’s academy, l’Accademia Teatro alla Scala provides professional training in the arts: dance, music, stage performances etc. It would have been a great experience being inside.