Milan, the city of high fashion, culture, and music. Famous for its style, fashion designers, and music, Milan is also the centre of Italian industry and finance. It has a very practical role in modern Italy, and its business district is one of the most important centres in all of Europe. It is also one of Europe’s biggest cities, with its outskirts and commuter towns sprawling all the way into the Alps. But what makes it worth visiting for tourists like you and me?
Firstly, there’s the iconic Duomo Cathedral. This is a Catholic cathedral built in Gothic style, and though the shape of the building is quite simple, it has towering spires and incredible statues that make the building look and feel absolutely spectacular. Built over a duration of almost 6 centuries, this cathedral features many different architectural styles, and it includes bits and pieces from across the ages. Also adding to this church’s appeal is the fact it is the largest in Italy, and only the 5th in the world. The largest is St. Peter’s Basilica, which is in Vatican City (a completely separate and tiny country in the centre of Rome). You can also go up to the roof of the church and admire the statues close up, and look out across the city. A vantage point people throughout time will have stood at, though no doubt the view is changing all the time.
Next to the Duomo is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This is basically a big, old, classy shopping centre, and many of the world’s most famous (and expensive) designers have their flagship stores here. Walk around to window-shop and to admire the architecture of the Galleria itself, as it’s very famous. Don’t think you can’t afford anything in there, though – you can. Happily for us, there is in fact a McDonald’s inside one of the world’s most famous landmarks. Whatever next? Outside the Galleria and around the area of the Duomo in particular, there are many other shops which sell their products at far more affordable prices. You’re in Milan – you should probably buy at least one item of clothing, even if it’s just a little scarf.
Walk through the Galleria and away from the Duomo, and you’ll come across La Scala. This is one of the world’s (if not the most) famous Opera Houses in the world. Built in the 18th century, the interior of this beautiful theatre is much more spectacular than our Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. After all, Italian operas are loved the world over, and this building is the centre of it all. The tour also teaches you about the history of the building, the chandeliers and the music, as well as an entire room on the weird and wonderful costumes actors in operas have worn in the past. Even if you don’t like operas, it’s a great opportunity to learn something new, especially as music is so key to Milano culture.
Milan is very easy to get to from the UK, flights take just an hour and a half from London airports, and both Easyjet and Ryanair operate regular flights to there. Milan is also conveniently located for the Italian Lakes, particularly Lake Maggiore. Close enough to go for a day trip, easily! It’s extremely well connected to Rome by rail, so why not take yourself on an Italian journey this summer? You’ve really no reason not to.
Image from: http://www.viator.com/Milan/d512-ttd