Our visit to Milan began with a few minor troubles. Due to poor weather in
New Jersey, our 3-hour layover had evaporated to something around a 30
second layover and our luggage was sadly, unable to join us in Italy.
Later, as if for revenge for being forced to spend the night in Jersey,
it would travel to Rome without us. Approximately 36 hours after
our arrival in Italy we were finally reunited with our luggage however,
and boy were we excited about changing clothes. In the meantime,
we had no cameras so there are no pictures from our first day in Milan.
Luckily, we revisited many of the same places so this page is an amalgam
of the first two days. This first image is of the Victor Emmanuel
Galleria, a pedestrian mall which was covered with a glass ceiling in the
The official postcard sight of Milan is the Duomo (cathedral) almost exactly as shown
here but maybe slightly less tilted. The most impressive thing about
the Duomo of Milan is the roof. Unlike other major cathedrals in
Europe, the Milanese seem to have spent most of their energy on the outside
of their cathedral.
Not that the inside is hideous or anything, but it's just not that spectacular compared
to other European cathedrals.
Nevertheless,it's a great place to visit because they let you up on the roof.
Yes for only a slightly exorbitant fee, you can take an elevator ride (or
stairs) up to the top of the cathedral and roam about. Apparently
it has become a very popular sunbathing area for locals as well.
Here is David on top the Duomo.
The roof is nothing close to flat, and it can be fairly challenging to get
around. This view along the side of the church shows the top of the
flying buttresses supporting the main vault. When walking along the
side, the pathway narrows around each buttress so that only one (thin)
person at a time can pass.
Speaking of stone-work, it is truly amazing. There are over 3200 statues on
the Duomo filling up nearly every conceivable space along the vault, the
buttresses, and the spires. What isn't covered by statues is almost
as elaborate. Some of the decorative work can be seen in this picture
From atop the cathedral, one can look down at the Piazza del Duomo. Along
with the people in the square below are hundreds, maybe thousands of tiny
black specks. Those are pigeons, which are at least as dangerous
as the roving groups of small children trying to sell you things.
We had a brief recreation of a scene from 'The Birds' in this piazza.
Across the street, under the YKK sign is our personal favorite gelateria
in Milan, probably because it was the first one we went to. We visited
the gelateria each time we happened to be in this part of Milan.
Gelato, is what Italian Ice aspires to be like but fails at completely.
At this particular location we sampled
and,just for good measure, one more dish of
In case you're wondering, yes we still managed to eat two pizzas for dinner.
Along with the statues, the Duomo has 132 spires, and more are added from time
to time thanks to a special tax the people of Milan pay. The central
highest spire, shown here, is topped with a copper statue of the Madonna.
This is a particularly fine viewpoint of the central spires because you
can't see any of Milan's other high-rise buildings in the background.
This is because it is our opinion that you do not want to see any of Milan's
Across town from the Duomo is the Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle). Originally
built by the Visconti family the Sforzas took it over in the 1500s.
Today it contains several museums and most of it is open to the public.
This picture is taken from the confusing mass of traffic in front of the
castle. As far as we can tell, the Milan road system was not part
of the original defense systems of the castle, but they do a fine job these
The castle contains several open courtyards which tended to be filled with
picnickers and stray cats. Our hotel in Milan (the San Guido - which
we recommend) was within walking distance of the castle, although Milan
seems to have a very nice subway system as well. Not too far away
from the site of this photo was our personal favorite pizza restaurant.
It was also the first restaurant we visited in Italy, but they secured
their place in our hearts by adding egg as a topping to one of the pizzas
we ordered. This sounds a bit odd at first but we were definitely
This photo is actually of a completely different tower than the previous one.
This side of the castle faces the part of Milan that contains the convent
of Santa Maria del Grazie. If you're wondering why we've mentioned
this, it is because in the refectory of that convent stands Da Vinci's
'Last Supper'. We headed over to the convent on Sunday morning
but unfortunately it was closed due to restoration. So instead we
went to the Pinacoteca Brera - Milan's largest art museum.
This view is from inside the castle where we spent some time sitting about on
the lawn drinking orange Fanta. (Melanie's favorite European pastime
is sitting about drinking orange Fanta)
Behind the castle lies the largest public park in Milan, the Parco Sempione.
Actually, it was the only public park of any size we saw in Milan.
It consists of several winding paths, a small amusement park, a tremendous
number of soccer balls and frisbees, and a healthy supply of strolling
drug dealers. We'd recommend visiting anyway though, it's fairly
unobtrusive. The monument on the far side of the park visible in
this photo is the Arch of Peace.
This is the pond we were considering washing our clothes in if our luggage continued
to spend time in cities other than Milan. Okay, maybe not, but our
observations were that Milan would not be a good place to re-stock your
wardrobe if you're on any sort of budget.