It wasn’t originally part of my plan for us to visit Milan while we were in Italy. I had hoped to book a day of train travel all the way from Florence to Paris, but since that wasn’t possible, we had to overnight somewhere along the way. We didn’t want to take an overnight train as our main reason for choosing to travel by train instead of flying was to see a bit of the countryside.
We arrived in Milan early in the afternoon the day before yesterday and had the rest of the day to experience a bit of the city. Milan is a financial hub as well as a global capital of fashion and design. At first glance, it looks much like any other modern city, but it has a historical side as well.
As soon as we were settled into our guest house near the train station, we jumped on the metro and headed for the Duomo, the Milan Cathedral. Dedicated to the Nativity of St Mary, it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan. We’ve seen a lot of amazing churches on this trip, but emerging from the metro right in front of the Duomo was definitely another breathtaking moment!
The sheer immensity of the cavernous interior was amazing. Look at the size of that pillar!
It was the stained glass windows that most astounded me though. There was no way to truly capture them in photographs. This shows just two of the three enormous panels at the front of the building and there were many more narrower ones along its sides.
Each section depicts a scene from the Old or New Testament. The ones toward the top are so high up that we couldn’t even see the details in them.
After visiting the interior of the church, we took an elevator to the rooftop which was without question the highlight of our short stay in Milan. We could have saved the price of a ticket and climbed the approximately 250 stairs, but our old knees have had a major workout on this trip and the elevator was worth every cent. It also saved us time which we didn’t have a lot of.
After leaving the Duomo, we walked through the gorgeous and glitzy Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a very high end shopping mall. With it’s glass ceiling, the whole place has a light, airy feel.
The entire floor of the gallery is mosaic and near the centre is the image of a bull. Tradition has it that good luck will come to anyone who places their heel on the bull’s testicles and spins in a circle three times. Of course, I had to place my heel in the indentation that has been worn into the floor in that spot and spin myself around!
Our final stop in Milan was Castello Sforzesco, a medieval castle in the middle of a mostly modern city. Built first as a fortress in 1368 and later transformed into a magnificent palace, it now houses many museums. We didn’t have time to enter any of those, but we enjoyed a quick exploration of the grounds.
The next morning, we were back on the train on our way to Paris but very glad that we’d had to stop in Milan!