We arrived in Milan yesterday afternoon and decided to take it easy checking out the area around the hotel. We found a great place for dinner called New Friday just down the street from the hotel. After eating a wonderfully cheesy risotto and drinking some house wine we pretty much crashed for the night. The next day however was a different story. Picking up an all day metro pass we headed straight for the Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (which I’m told inspired the Eaton Centre right here in the middle of Toronto). Upon exiting the metro the huge gothic cathedral of Milano’s Duomo rose high above us. It’s an amazing thing to walk out subway station to a city’s monument, having already had this occur in Roma with the Colosseum.
There are gargoyles on the high spires that act as drainage for the rain when it falls. The huge stain glass windows are stunning to view both inside and out.Inside the Duomo it is a different world with its statues and arching ceilings. The large altar at the rear of the church soars so high it’s hard to believe that this was built so long ago.
Just across from the Duomo is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II with its skylight ceiling and mosaic floors. Shopping here is only for those that can afford such items as Prada, Louis Vuitton and Mercedes. Luckily they still let the rest of us admire the amazing glass ceilings reminding me only slightly of the Eaton Centre in Toronto.
Another day in Milano after reading about a castle located a short metro ride away from our hotel we packed up our day packs and heading on over. Castello Sforzesco houses several art collections and museums and used to be the seat of the Duchy of Milan. At one time it was one of the largest citadels in Europe. One can walk the grounds for free but to see the collections there is a fee. We decided to walk the grounds as we were all museumed out. The castle has been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times in its history the last being in WWII.
The grounds are a great place to take a break from all your shopping. A large park sits behind it and towards the back of the grounds resides the Monument of Napoleon.