Things to do in Milan

There are a lot of people who wouldn’t give a second thought to visiting Milan, after all it’s a business city with supposedly little to appeal unless you’re in business yet I could immediately think of half a dozen things Milan is well known for and all are reasons I visited. Of the ones detailed below, my favourites are seeing AC Milan play (it’s a guy thing!), going to a Milan fashion house (keeps my wife happy!), seeing Da Vinci’s The Last Supper up close and seeing an opera at La Scala, after Sydney, probably the most famous opera house in the world!
Posted on: June 01, 2012 by David Lewis
1. Up on the Duomo Roof
The Duomo is by far the most popular tourist destination in Milan. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world! Taking 500 years to build it only takes a look at a map of Milan to see the importance of the building as all roads lead from it or circle it. An unusual aspect of a visit is to take the elevator up to the roof for a look at the beautiful statues atop the buttresses and for a view out over the city. Look out for the golden statue of the Madoninna, the little Madonna, symbol of the city.

2. da Vinci’s Last Supper
The Santa Maria delle Grazie church is the next place to head to as da Vinci’s Last Supper, displayed there is a must see too. Now fabled in much historical literature it is a huge talking point over the supposed heresies of the artist in painting Jesus with seemingly a woman’s hand and having what is thought to be Mary Magdalene at his side, showing the potential that Jesus had married her. You will need to book tickets to see it well in advance as only a limited number of people are allowed in the room at a time.

3. Spin on the Bull’s Balls
A rather bizarre visit next, to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, which is a shopping centre with a rather unusual feature. In the middle of the centre is a tiled image of the symbols of four northern Italian cities. The symbol for Turin is the bull and a myth for good luck has been perpetuated here. If you do a little spin on the spot where the bull’s testicles would have been it is meant to bring you luck. Whether you try this or not is up to you but it can be hilarious watching locals and tourists alike performing the feat, often trying to look nonchalant about it.

4. Visit La Scala
Absolutely the epitome of the opera world, La Scala cannot be missed. It is renowned throughout the world for its fabulous performances and consequently the tickets are very expensive yet they sell out well in advance. For a sneaky look inside the theatre, buy a ticket to the Opera House Museum and you’ll be allowed a look from a box as long as there are no performances on that day.

5. Quadrilatero d’Oro
Milan’s version of Fifth Avenue, you’ll need plenty of money to be one of the bag carrying elite here. Home to Milan’s fashion houses such as Prada, Armani, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, and Valentino you’ll see exquisite fashion, beautifully tailored and rather a lot of very wealthy Italian men and women buying and wearing the gear. You may have to dress up a bit yourself or be thought of as a down and out amongst the glitterati!

6. AC or Inter at the San Siro
Boy thing now. AC  Milan at the San Siro, interestingly shared with their arch rivals Internazionale. The quality of the soccer you’ll see will astound you, Robinho, van Bommel, Inzaghe, Nesta, Seedorf, the list goes on. The ultimate game would be the local derby but you’d have to sell your mother to get one. If you miss the game then the San Siro museum is still worth a visit.

7. Art at the Pinacoteca di Brera
It wouldn’t be an Italian city without an art gallery and museum and Milan won’t disappoint as it has the lovely Pinacoteca di Brera whose collections are world class. There’ll be many pictures you’ll recognise from books and TV from artists like Caravaggio, Raphael, Mantegna, Hayez, Rembrandt, and Tintoretto. Once you’ve had enough art for one day you’ll emerge into a very pretty part of the city, La Brera with quaint narrow cobbled streets and little boutiques and cafes

8. Relax in One of Milan’s Parks
Milan is brash, noisy and busy and it can be hard to get away from the hustle and bustle but for a moment’s peace and quiet you could always head for one of the many parks where the Milanese stroll, take lunch or just meet friends. Many of the parks have staggeringly out of proportion architecture in them so you could be sipping a cool drink underneath a huge renaissance arch or by an oversized tomb.

9. Eat a Panzerotto from Luini
I think pretty much every Italian city has its own food delicacy and Milan is no exception. Here you need to visit the café Luini and sample one of their panzerotto.
In describing it, it’s possible to put you off as the delicacy is a folded piece of light sponge filled with mozzarella and tomato before being deep fried. Probably very unhealthy, it’s the Milanese favourite fast food and very reasonably priced too.

10. Discover Milan’s Canals
Leonardo da Vinci is also credited with designing one of the two canals in the city which are lined with weathered elegant buildings. In the summer, it’s possible to join a boat trip on them and see the run down area of Navigli, now being reborn as the artist’s area of the city complete with some very arty and charming restaurants. At night the area comes alive with some very trendy bars and clubs.

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