Italy
Milan

Here you’ll find travel reports about Milan. Discover travel destinations in Italy of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

128 travelers at this place:

  • Day7

    Hotel Da Vinci - Milan

    September 5 in Italy

    We have arrived in Milan after almost missing our flight. Thanks to the fabulous Alitalia staff member who checked us in and remembered who we were and came to find us and get us on the flight. Oops we were last on board.
    I must say the Hotel Da Vinci is very different to the Villa Pantheon in Paris. Huge room and very modern, with a touch of quirky, compared to the very traditional hotel we just came from.
    Both have their charms.
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  • Day8

    Castello Sforzesco

    September 6 in Italy

    After getting lost on the way to the Metro we finally made our way into Milan central and the view of the Duomo as we climbed the steps of the Metro was breathtaking.
    Seeing it in photos does not fully display the sheer size of the Cathedral. However this was not our first stop for the day.
    We made our way to Castello Sforzesco, the core of which was built between 1358 and 1368. Originally built as a fortress, it was enlarged in the 14th and 15th centuries and was rebuilt after it was destroyed in 1447. It was rebuilt as a castle by Francesco Sforza who made himself Duke of Milan in 1450.
    While not as elaborate as some of the other sites we have visited it certainly made up for that in the size of the site. It was a pleasant start to our day.
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  • Day8

    L.O.V.E.

    September 6 in Italy

    We joined a Walking Art Tour through the streets of Milan and first stop was Piazza Affari. Here stands a very unexpected statue in this cultured city, a marble statue of a hand with the middle finger extended. The statue has the title of L.O.V.E. which stands for Liberta, Odin, Vendetta, Eternita - Freedom, Hate, Vengeance, Eternity. It was created in 2010 by Maurizio Cattelan as a temporary work of art but the city government decided to keep it there indefinitely due to the fact it draws people to the area.
    The fact that it stands in front of the Italian Stock Exchange it is often taken as a F#*$ You to the world of bankers and CEOS.
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  • Day8

    Next stop on our Art Tour was the beautiful San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore and it was simply amazing. Very plain on the outside, the inside was a sight to behold. Every surface is covered with beautiful and interesting frescoes.
    Originally attached to the most important female convent of the Benedictines in the city, it is now a museum and sometimes used as a concert hall.
    Construction commenced in 1503 and it took 15 years to complete. It was originally divided into two parts, one for the faithful and one for the nuns. Up until 1794 it was completely forbidden for the nuns to cross the dividing wall.
    Today we got to enter the nuns’ section and it was just as stunning as the outer area, if not more so. Sitting in the seats the nuns once sat was pretty surreal. The organ was amazing and is still used to this day, and the frescoes depict so many well known religious stories. I could have spent hours here admiring the artwork. Although I must admit there were a couple of strange images in amongst the beautiful frescoes.
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  • Day8

    The last stop on our tour was the famous Last Supper painted by Leonardo da Vinci from 1495 to 1497.
    The painting is in the former Dominican convent’s refectory and over time has suffered various degrees of damage. Even though the painting is now not in the greatest condition it is still one of the most iconic images in art and all steps are being taken to preserve the image.
    It was very interesting learning about the history of the painting and the restoration processes that have taken place over the years.
    It was also interesting seeing the fresco, The Crucifixion, painted on the opposite wall to the Last Supper. Due to the different painting methods this 1495 fresco has not deteriorated over time and the colours are still vivid today.
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  • Day9

    Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

    September 7 in Italy

    Just to the left of the Milan Cathedral is the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It is Italy's oldest active shopping mall and a major landmark of Milan. Housed within a four-story double arcade in the center of town, the Galleria is named after Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. It was designed in 1861 and built by architect Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1867.
    While there is no chance I could afford to shop in the many exclusive shops there, I loved the structure of the roof and the geometric patterns of it against the elegance of the old buildings. So many interesting angles from which to photograph it.
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  • Day9

    Basilica di Sant’Eustorgio

    September 7 in Italy

    Today was a bit of a church going day. I didn’t think I was into churches as such, but have discovered they hold so many great works of art, so much history and so many stories. And the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio has many stories.
    The Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio is one of the oldest churches in Milan and it is believed it was founded in the 4th century. In 1764, when an ancient pillar was removed, a Christian burial was discovered, housing coins of emperor Constans, the son of Constantine the Great who ruled from 306 to 337 AD.
    It was for many years an important stop for pilgrims on their journey to Rome or to the Holy Land, because it was said to contain the tomb of the Three Magi or Three Kings. In the 12th century, when Milan was sacked by Frederick Barbarossa, the relics of the Magi were appropriated and subsequently taken to Cologne. It was only in 1903/4 that fragments of the bones and garments were sent back to Sant'Eustorgio's. Nowadays they are in the Three Kings altar nearby the empty Three Kings sarcophagus.
    Also located inside the Basilica is the Portinari Chapel replete with a handsome dome, an ornate marble sepulcher adorned in bas-relief, and rich frescoes that include… a depiction of Mary and Jesus with devil horns! But just like the story that inspired the fresco, this image is not quite what it seems.
    Portinari Chapel was built from 1462 to 1468 and was consecrated to St. Peter of Verona, whose head rests in the elaborate marble shrine that serves as the chapel’s focal point. Also known as St. Peter Martyr, Peter of Verona was a Dominican friar who spearheaded the Inquisition in northern Italy in the early 13th century, at the height of the Catholic Church’s persecution of Cathars. He was famous for his persuasive sermons.
    One such story involved St. Peter of Verona seeking to “win back” an eminent man who had converted to Catharism after seeing the Madonna at a Cathar meeting. Determined to get to the bottom of this, St. Peter attended a meeting of the same group and saw the holy mother and child but—thanks to his unerring faith—saw also that they bore horns, revealing that this was actually the devil in disguise. Thus, he offered the false apparition a piece of sacramental bread, saying, “If you are the Mother of God, adore your Son!” The devil fled and as a result, all the Cathars present returned to Catholicism.
    The frescoes of this and the other events of the life of St. Peter of Verona were painted by Vincenzo Foppa. After years of neglect, they were rediscovered in the late 19th century, and restored in the early 20th century.
    While this isn’t one of the biggest, brightest or “best” basilicas we have visited so far, it has amazing stories. I loved seeing the horned Madonna and child painting and the crypt beneath the church, but the most eye-catching was the multicoloured scalloped dome in the chapel. Brad even lay on the floor to try and get the best photo.
    This was definitely worth the visit.
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  • Day9

    Second stop for the day was Santa Maria Presso di San Satiro, a small church dating back to the 9th century. The Gothic frescoes, two bays and a vaulted ceiling still remain from the original structure.
    In the 15th century architect Donato Bramante transformed the church in an effort to expand its limited size and to make the church appear even larger he added a trompe l'oeil painting adding depth to the church behind the alter. The illusion uses trompe l'oeil paintings of realistic looking columns, arches and a dome to extend the 97cm space to look more like almost 10 metres. This is the first known use of the trompe l'oeil painting technique.
    I have to say this is very well done. As you enter the main doors of the church the alter is directly ahead and you cannot tell that the space behind the alter is less than a metre deep. Its only until you get a side on view and you think your eyes are playing tricks on you that you see how the trompe l'oil painting has been created. Pretty impressive.
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  • Day9

    Third stop for the day was another of my "unusual" finds - the San Bernardino alle Ossa. This church in Milan is best known for its ossuary, a small side chapel decorated with numerous human skulls and bones.
    In 1210, when an adjacent cemetery ran out of space, a room was built to hold bones. A church was attached in 1269. Renovated in 1679, it was destroyed by a fire in 1712. A new bigger church was then attached to the older one and dedicated to Saint Bernardino of Siena.
    The ossuary's vault was frescoed in 1695 by Sebastiano Ricci with a Triumph of Souls and Flying Angels, while in the pendentives are portrayed the Holy Virgin, St. Ambrose, St. Sebastian and St. Bernardino of Siena. The part that most intrigues me is how the niches and doors are decorated with bones. It seems so sacrilegious yet amazing at the same time. Once again it was something we had to get our heads around.
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  • Day9

    Thankfully we had pre-booked our tickets to go into the Duomo and to go to the rooftop, and once again we somehow managed to avoid the long lines and crowds. It has been a great day for this with big tour groups entering places as we are leaving and we have had room to view everything without the crowds. Hope this luck continues.
    I'm not sure there are words to actually describe the Duomo and being one of the more famous in the world I don't know that I actually need to. It is still so hard to fathom how such impressive structures were constructed in the time they were built.
    It is the largest church in Italy (the larger St. Peter's Basilica is in the State of Vatican City) and the third largest in the world and took nearly six centuries to complete. Construction of the cathedral began in 1386 with the help of Milan's first duke, Gian Galeazzo Visconti. The duke made all of the most valuable resources available so that the edifice would be the greatest in the world. In 1418 the cathedral was consecrated, but construction was still underway, the building process continued until 1813. Up until 1965 finishing touches were still being added to the church. As the cathedral took so long to build it was influenced by a number of architectural styles but overall the general impression is of an elaborate Gothic design.
    The cathedral is 157 meters long and can accommodate 40,000 people. The exterior, covered with marble, is topped with 135 spires and pinnacles bearing statues while the central spire is 109 meters from the ground. In all the building has 3159 statues of which 2245 are on the exterior. The Madonnina is the most famous of the cathedral statues, a copper figure which stands on the cathedrals central spire.
    There was just so much to look at and admire and I was really disappointed that this was the day my camera had decided to no longer work and all I had was my iphone camera. Just not the same zoom power.
    Going up to the rooftop was unbelievable. We were standing on the roof of the Milan Cathedral and were up close and personal with a lot of the amazing statues, gargoyles, arches and facades. It was very impressive.
    Even more impressive was the interior, the stained glass windows, the alters, the columns, everywhere we turned we would utter yet another "wow". Yet again a place filled with history and beauty. I totally understand how this is one of the world's most famous cathedrals.
    We end our sight-seeing with a visit to the excavations of a 4th century Christian baptistery, After seeing so much history I am surprised that this still astounds me but it does.
    I absolutely loved spending time in the Duomo and would visit it again if we returned to Milan.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Milano, Mailand, Milan, Milán

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