There are many wonderful things to see in Milan. Here’s a quick look at the most relevant.
Since 1386, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, founded by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, has represented the heart of Milanese spirituality, with over 4 million visitors a year.
From an architectural point of view, the Cathedral represents a precious testimony of Lombard Gothic even if the construction of the cathedral lasted for over 5 centuries, so much so that it is usual to distinguish 6 successive phases of construction: Viscontea (1387-1447 ); Sforzesca (1450-1520); Borromaica (1560-1650); 17th-18th centuries (1650-1800); Nineteenth century (1800-1900); Twentieth century (1900-today). This very long time span also explains the high number of statues: over 3000 both inside and outside.
The 135 spiers that decorate the exterior of the Cathedral, together with the Relic of the Holy Nail (according to the legend it would be one of the nails of the cross of Jesus), constitute two of the major elements of charm of the Milan Cathedral.
Also not to be missed is the ascent to the roof terraces and the visit of the underground with the archaeological remains of the original Basilica of Santa Tecla.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Quadrilatero della moda
In Milan it is impossible not to shop. The so-called “Quadrilatero della moda” (via Montenapoleone, via della Spiga, via Manzoni, via Sant’Andrea) is the temple of Milanese shopping. Ferragamo, Prada, Valentino, Gucci, Krizia, Dolce & Gabbana, Trussardi, Chanel, Moschino, Versace and other big brands are practically all present in such a concentration that is not matched anywhere else in the world, even in New York.
The Sforzesco Castle, is located not far from the Duomo. And, just like the city cathedral, the construction of this fortress is due to Gian Galeazzo Sforza who, continuing the initial work of his predecessor Galeazzo II Visconti, built the lodgings for the troops, simultaneously rearranging the park and the whole moat.
There are two reasons why the Castello Sforzesco is one of the main tourist attractions in Milan. The first is because, right behind it, there is the beautiful Parco Sempione, an oasis of peace in the city center. The second reason is the presence, inside the building, of several museums. First of all, the Museum of Ancient Art, with the section dedicated to Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini, but the Museum of Musical Instruments, the Prehistoric Museum and the Egyptian Museum are also worth a visit.
Pinacoteca di Brera
Just to mention a few: the Pietà by Giovanni Bellini, the Dead Christ by Andrea Mantegna, the Marriage of the Virgin by Raphael and the Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio. In short, the Pinacoteca di Brera is another obligatory stop on a visit to Milan, especially since the collection, as mentioned, does not end only in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries but also hosts significant contributions of Flemish art, without forgetting some of the the best interpreters of Italian painting at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
To see the Last Supper, a reservation is required. be done either by phone (calling 02 92 800 360) or online from the following site: www.vivaticket.it. Not to be missed!
Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio
Second in importance only to the Duomo, the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio is undoubtedly another obligatory stop on a visit to Milan. The basilica of the patron saint is worthwhile from an architectural point of view. Art historians, in fact, agree in considering it the most shining testimony of the Lombard-Romanesque, a source of inspiration for the construction of many other churches around the region. Not to he missed, the Sacello di San Vittore in ciel d’Oro, a small chapel near the altar and the Golden Altar created by the master Vuolvinio. The older of the two bell towers, built by Benedictine monks, dates back to the same period. The other, the higher one, was built three centuries later by the canons as a result of a long conflict between the parties about the use of the church altar.