I never thought that I will travel to Milan one day, but I did. I enjoyed my time in Milan, as much as I did in Switzerland. Italy's 2nd largest city, Milan is such an elegant city, often known as the fashion capital of the world and praised for its cuisine and entertainment. Milan is also a city with a rich history and home to some of the world’s best architecture and art. Many tourists come to Italy for the past. But Milan’s today’s Italy. In this city of refined tastes, window displays are gorgeous, cigarettes are chic, and even the cheese comes gift-wrapped. Yet, thankfully, Milan is no more expensive for tourists than any other Italian city. It’s worth noting that the city is known as ‘Milano’ locally. With two nights and a full day, you can gain an appreciation for the city and see most major sights.
This huge, sternly decorated, facist-built (in 1931) train station, Milano Centrale, is a sight in itself. I noticed how the monumental halls and art make you feel small – emphasizing that a powerful state is a good thing. In the front lobby, heroic people celebrate “modern” transportation (ships, trains and cars) opposite reliefs depicting old-fashioned sailboats and horse carts.
In the plaza in front of Central Station Milan, there is a giant, white Apple with a bite that has been repaired with steel stitching. It is a sculpture by Michelangelo Pistoletto which had been donated to the city of Milan in honor of the food and nourishment themed Expo of 2015.
The famous Duomo is a less than 30-minute walk away from Milano Centrale. The city’s centerpiece is the third-largest church in Europe. If you are in Milan, the Duomo will probably be the first site you want to visit. This beautiful Roman Catholic Cathedral is an example of Italian Gothic Architecture. The Duomo ground breaking was in 1386 and its completion was in 1965, meaning it took 579 years to complete the construction!
Standing facing the main façade, the Duomo is huge and angular, with prickly spires topped with statues. The church seems to flicker toward heaven with flames of stone. The façade is a pentagon, divided by six vertical buttresses, all done in pink-white marble. The dozens of statues, pinnacles and pointed-arch windows on the façade are just a fraction of the many adornments on this architecturally rich structure.
I then headed up to the roof top that was very detailed and impressive – a MUST see.
Strolling between the frilly spires of the cathedral rooftop terraces is the most memorable part of a Duomo visit. You can climb the stairs or take the elevators. On the left side, the stairs are in front of the transept, and the elevator is behind it (even those taking the elevator will have to climb a lot of stairs). On the right side, look for the “fast-track” elevator behind the transept. Once up there, you’ll loop around the rooftop, wandering through a fancy forest of spires with great views of the city and the square. So many arches, spires, and more made this such an impressive cathedral to visit and I would highly recommend it.
Stand in the center of Milan’s main square, Piazza del Duomo and take in the scene. The huge equestrian statue in the center of the piazza is Victor Emanuel II, the first king of Italy. He’s looking at the grand Galleria named for him.
This breathtaking four-storey glass-domed arcade, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, just next to Piazza del Duomo, is a symbol of Milan. The iron-and-glass shopping mall showcases a new, modern era. It was the first building in town to have electric lighting, and since its inception it’s been an elegant and popular meeting place. Sadly, its designer, Giuseppe Mengoni, died the day before the gallery opened.
Wander around the Galleria. Its art celebrates the establishment of Italy as an independent country. Around the central dome, patriotic mosaics symbolize the four continents. The mosaic floor is also patriotic.
面对着米兰大教堂的埃马努埃莱二世长廊（Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II），是世界上最古老的购物商场之一，建于1865年至1877年之间，以意大利王国的第一位国王的名字命名。这座商场主要售卖高级时尚品牌，仿佛是为了彰显这里是米兰最奢华购物街的身份，周边所有的店面招牌均是纯黑背景加上耀眼的金色文字，形成了一股辉煌的时尚文化，有种让你心甘情愿掏空钱包的非凡魅力。
Here, in this covered piazza, you can turn an expensive cup of coffee into a good value by enjoying some of Europe’s best people-watching.
Milan's famous opera house, Piazza della Scala, is just a 5-minute walk from the Galleria Vittorio Eanuele II. There is a statue of Leonardo da Vinci outside the Piazza della Scala and it is a reminder that Leonardo spent his best 20 years in Milan, where he found well-paid, steady work. The statue of Leonardo is looking at a plain but famous Neo-classical building, arguably the world's most prestigious opera house (described next).
Milan's famous Teatro alla Scala (a.k.a. La Scala Opera House) opened in 1978 with an opera by Antonio Salieri (Mozart's wannabe rival). Today, opera buffs can get a glimpse of the theater and tour the adjacent museum's extensive collection, featuring top hat, eyeglasses, stage sets, portraits and death masks of great composers and musicians. The main reason to visit the museum is the opportunity to peek into the theater (on many mornings you'll see the orchestra practicing). The stage is as big as the seating area on the ground floor.For true devotees, Teatro alla Scala is the Mecca of the religion of opera.
米兰的音乐剧享誉世界，尤其是传统歌剧，曾经孕育出许多重要的作曲家，著名的斯卡拉大剧院（Teatro alla Scala）就坐落在这里。能在这里登台演出，是所有艺术家梦寐以求的夙愿。与米兰大教堂相距咫尺，它的外观并不那么显赫，甚至过分朴实，但里面却十分豪华。雕梁面栋，金碧辉煌，不但音响效果世界一流，而且观众席特别宽敞。歌剧院的屋顶呈三角形，如同一座古老的神庙，上面刻着阿波罗战车的浮雕。在古希腊神话中，阿波罗是主管艺术与音乐的神。
Porta Garibaldi, an elegant neoclassical arch made from stone extracted from the Viggiù quarries, is popular amongst tourists and locals alike.
布雷拉大街 (Via Brera) 被称为是米兰的艺术心脏，拥有许多有趣的别致古董店、画廊等。过去这里曾是艺术家和波西米亚人聚居的区域，如今这里是米兰最热闹的街区之一，狭窄的鹅卵石街道仍然保持着一种艺术与生活交融的独特氛围。当穿过这个历史悠久的街区时，会被才思纵横的艺术家工作室和出售画布和颜料的古色古香的商店所震撼。著名的布雷拉画廊（Pinacoteca di Brera）就坐落于此，画廊是如此精致，其中收藏着过去几百年的意大利艺术品。
Milan's top collection of Italian paintings is world class at Brera Art Gallery (a.k.a Pinacoteca di Brera). Established in 1809 to house Napoleon's looted art, it fills the first floor above a prestigious art college. You'll dodge scruffy starving artists and wonder if there is a 21st-century Leonardo in your midst.
Little did I know, this 10 Corso Como is more than a simple shop, a bar or a bookshop, someone called it a concept store. The dining area functions as a casual café by day and a trendy restaurant at night. At the restaurant entrance courtyard, a very large ‘garage door’ style opening blurs the line between indoors and outside. Luscious green vines, trees and plants, separated only by the glass panels, help to set a relaxing, natural atmosphere.
One of the first in its genre, it is a real point of reference for fashion lovers and hip people. 10 Corso Como was opened in 1990 by Carla Sozzani, former fashion editor and publisher, and sister of Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italy. At the beginning, there was only the art gallery; the store was open one year later and then gradually other areas were included. Today, it is a place that features an art gallery, a bookshop, a concept store (selling clothes, accessories, jewellery, perfumes, make-up, etc) a cafè and a restaurant.
米兰城市中有许多旧车库的Corso Como街区。在1990年，前VOGUE编辑 Carla Sozzani把一个破旧废弃的旧车库摇身一变成艺廊，吸引了许多艺界名流、艺术家和名人前来，如今 10 Corso Como一带已成精品店、时髦咖啡店与酒吧的驻点之地。10 Corso Como曾被意大利社会学家Francesco Morace称为“概念店”（Concept Shop）后，从此概念店一词才开始在世界蔚为风潮。10 Corso Como是店名也是地址，外墙爬满绿色藤蔓也没有显眼橱窗，不仔细找寻的话还真容易错过。穿越过幽暗的绿色藤蔓大门后，映入眼帘的是截然不同的面貌，迎面即是琳琅满目的商品，这里艺术与时尚气质并存，就像一本翻开的立体杂志，包罗万象，令人回味无穷。
EATALY (also in Rome, Florence and New York) has turned the former Teatro Smeraldo into a gourmet megastore. It's overwhelming but oddly enchanting, with its overpriced Italian market goods and resturants serving all the major food groups - pasta, meats, vegetables, chocolate, and, of course, gelato.
游米兰，不一定独沽一味逛名店，可以品味新鲜美食或亲自挑选优质食材，在旅游期间享受入厨乐。享负盛名的意大利饮食集团EATALY，在全球合共设有以高级食材作主打的美食超市。EATALY，由英语单词“EAT” 和“ ITALY ”结合起来的单词，翻译过来即“吃在意大利”。EATALY米兰店的美丽建筑以音乐为主题，由一家旧剧院——翡翠（Smeraldo）剧院改造而成，这家EATALY正是以它的名字命名。众多国内和国际知名的伟大艺术家都曾在那里表演，一旦进入里面后，抬头往上看，可以欣赏到那些曾在翡翠剧院表演过的著名艺术家的海报。为了保持与当地历史使命的衔接，这间EATALY Milano Smeraldo保留了翡翠剧院旧舞台的板条和木板建造，经常安排音乐人即场演奏，让人们一边选购食材，一边欣赏典雅音乐，完全推翻传统超市概念，让购买食材的过程成为了一种态度、一个节目。
The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie survived World War II unseathed and is worth a quick look. Its fine Gothic arches lead to a Renaissance Bramante-designed dome.
Decorating the former dining hall of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, this remarkable, exactingly crafted fresco, The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the ultimate masterpieces of the Renaissance. Milan's leading family, the Sforzas, hired Leonardo to decorate the dining hall of the Dominican monastery that adjoins the church (the Dominician order traditionally placed a Last Supper on one end of their refectories, and a Crucifixion at the other). Leonardo worked on the project from about 1494 until 1498. Deterioration began within six years of the Last Supper's completion because Leonardo painted on the wall in layers, as he would on a canvas, instead of applying pigment to wet plaster in the usual fresco technique. The church was bombed in World Wall II, but miraculously, it seems - the wall building The Last Supper remained standing. A 21-year restoration project (completed in 1999) peeled away 500 years of touch-up, leaving Leonardo's masterpiece faint but vibrant. Reservations are mandatory and should be booked long in advance.
圣母玛利亚圣衣教堂（Santa Maria delle Grazie）也位于此区，这里收藏着列奥纳多·达·芬奇（Leonardo da Vinci）享誉的世界绘画作品《最后晚餐》，是游客们的“必看之物”。《最后晚餐》其实不是一幅画，而是列奥纳多·达·芬奇的在 1495 年至 1498 年间在圣玛丽亚感恩教堂食堂墙上绘制的一幅壁画。这幅作品生动地呈现了耶稣在最后的晚餐中向众圣徒宣布他们其中的一位将背叛他时的场景，至今仍保留着许多神秘之处，因此依然精彩而充满了未解之谜。而在夜晚，由于内部的灯光，看起来更是诡异。参观《最后的晚餐》必须提前预约，名额非常有限，但是依然有不同的途径来获取这个难能可贵的机会。
Milan, although far from any major lake or river, has a sizeable port, literally called the "Big Canal" or Navigli. Since 1170, boats have been able to sail from Milan to the Mediterranean via the Ticino River (which flows into the Po River on its way to the Adriatic Sea). Five hundred years ago, Leonardo helped design a modern lock system. During the booming Industrial Age in the 19th century and especially with the flurry of construction after Italian unification - ships used the canals to bring in the marble and stone needed to make Milan the great city it is today. Today, disused train tracks parellel the canal, old warehouse buildings recall the area's working class heritage and former workers' tenements - once squalid and undesirable - are being renovated. The once-rough area now dubbed Milan's "Little Venice" is trendy, traffic-free and thriving with inviting bars and eateries.
I find Milan is best experienced on a slow, aimless stroll. It’s on these wanderings and meanderings that I fell for Milan. If you’re the kind of person who loves to wander off the beaten path while still having plenty of entertainment options and amenities, Milan is for you. In a country packed with natural wonders, Milan may often be overlooked. Yet those who know Italy well would never dare skip a visit to the fashion, food, architecture and art capital of the country. Roam the fabulous streets and pretend you’re a resident of this stylish & charming city!