Sam's Exotic Travel to Milan - Italy's Business Hub
Milan is Italy's business hub and crucible of chic. It is the country's most populous and prosperous city, serving as the capital of commerce, finance, fashion, and media. It's also Italy's transport hub, with the biggest international airport, most rail connections, and best subway system. Da Vinci's Last Supper and other great works of art are here, as well as a spectacular baroque Duomo, the finest of its kind.
And yet, Milan hasn't won the battle of hearts and minds. Most tourists prefer Tuscany's hills and Venice's canals to Milan's hectic efficiency and wealthy indifference, and it's no surprise that in a country of medieval hilltop villages and skilled artisans, a city of grand boulevards and global corporations leaves visitors asking the real Italy to please stand up. They're right, of course. Milan is more European than Italian, a new buckle on an old boot, and although its old city can stand cobblestone for cobblestone against the best of them, seekers of Roman ruins and fairy-tale towns may pass.
I found it particularly appealing, full of charm, history and grace. I was so sorry not to have been able to see more than I could fit into three short hours.
Here's my albums:
The Duomo Cathedral - St. Peter's in the Vatican may be the largest, Notre Dame in Paris may be better known, but in my opinion The Duomo Cathedral is the best. It is truly awe-insirping. Built in the 14th century, this Gothic masterpiece has it all: pinnacles, buttresses, rampant arches, pillars and statues - 3,500 of them, all lovestakingly carved in white marble. It is also large, and according to the Milanese, it is the third largest after St. Peter's and the Cathadral of Seville. The highest pinnacle is topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary, covered in gold.
Sforza Castle - Built in 1450 as a military fortress, the Castle was later changed into the residence of one of the richest courts in Europe. With the end of the Sforza family, the castle was later used as military barracks. It was restored at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The Arcades - Designed by the architect Giuseppe Mangoni and finished in 1877, it is built on the plan of a cross with an octagon of iron and glass in the middle. It's not your average shopping mall!
People - A good selection of Milanese at work, at church and at play.
Street scenes - From their buses and streetcars, their sidewalk cafes to their buildings -- uniquely Milan.
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