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Milan, the capital of Lombardy, is the second largest city in Italy. It is the country’s economic centre with financial services, car industries, media empires and fashion houses. It is a large bustling city with most of its attractions at its centre. It has the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, a fifteenth century castle, art galleries and museums displaying works by the old masters. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is claimed to be the oldest shopping mall in the world.
Milan is a beautiful city with some very impressive architecture. Its churches, museums and galleries house wonderful works of art including the Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper in the Dominican Convent next to the church of Santa Maria delleGrazie. If you have time and need some respite from the city, the lakes are only forty miles away.
Milan is popular with most age groups with the exception possibly of families with very young children. Milan is an exciting vibrant city that attracts adults of all ages and couples in particular.
A city break to Milan can be enjoyed at any time of year as it doesn’t have extremes of temperature. It can be hot at the height of the summer and this is when the Milanese take their summer holidays and head off to the beach or the hills and lakes.
Milan, the capital of Lombardy, lies in the fertile plains of the Po Valley only forty miles from the beautiful Lake District. The mountains to the north and west protect it from extremes of winter temperatures making it a year round holiday destination.
The treasures of Milan are mainly found in its centre. The awe inspiring Duomo is one of the world’s largest churches. This Gothic cathedral took over four hundred years to complete with its foundation stone laid in 1386 and its façade finished in 1813. It is possible to climb to the roof of the Duomo where you can get a closer look at its spires, statues and gargoyles. There are many cafes around the square where you can rest awhile and wonder at the craftsmanship that produced such magnificence.
The Pinacoteca di Brera, displaying some of the best Renaissance works, is not to be missed. Here you will find work by Raphael, Caravaggio and Canaletto as well as many others.
The castle dating from 1451 houses collections of art and sculpture from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century including Bellini’s Madonna and Child.
A visit to Milan would not be complete without visiting Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. This fresco draws thousands of visitors every year and it is best to book ahead in order to avoid disappointment.
When you are tired of sightseeing you can rest in the parks and gardens around the city or take refreshments in the pavement cafes.
If you have time a visit to the lakes is recommended as it is an area of outstanding beauty.
Milan has some of the best clubs in Italy which offer entertainment until dawn. A trip to Milan should include a visit to the opera house La Scala, though possibly not to see a performance. Recently reopened after refurbishment, the tickets are very expensive.
Milan offers one of the greatest shopping experiences in Europe ranking with Paris and London in the field of fashion. There are many top fashion houses on the via Montenapoleone while in the Piazza Duomo there is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, said to be the oldest shopping mall in the world. The quality of Italy’s hand crafted items can not be denied and ceramics, leather goods and jewellery make excellent gifts or holiday mementoes.
There is no so- called ‘pub culture’ in Italy so instead of drinking in the evening, many people go out for a meal and a glass of wine. The warm mellow evenings encourage al fresco eating and many restaurants provide this facility. Meals in Italy are to be savoured and much time is allowed between courses. Don’t mistake this for tardy service. Traditional cooking in Milan is a long slow process using a low heat. Risotto, that well known comfort food, is one of great dishes to come from Lombardy’s kitchens. Veal is the favourite meat and turkey is also popular. The local Grumello wine, a light red, is very pleasant.