I had never been to Milan, but I have, for a time. wanted to photograph the Duomo. After a little more research I thought the Navigli district sounded worth a visit too. But the rest of Milan, the fashion, the shopping, nah, not for me.
My next major destination beyond Florence was Colmar, in France. Getting there involved a train to Milan, then another to Basel, in Switzerland, and another to Colmar. A lot for one day, and the appeal of the Duomo in Milan was enough for me to schedule a night there.
I reluctantly left Florence, oh my I love that city, and caught my train to Milan. A pretty quick trip and, despite all the bad press that Italian trains get, yet another smooth journey. And the blood orange juice was fabulous once again 🙂
I used the wifi on board to plan my one night in the city. The food tour in Florence made me want to do another so I did a quick google search for food tours in Milan. Oh, look, an afternoon food tour with beer tasting, sign me up! That combined with my already booked visit to the Duomo seemed plenty for a one night stay.
I arrived at Milano Centrale, found my way to the metro trains and before I knew it I was emerging from the underground to a view of the Duomo. Seriously impressive building. And beautiful piazza.
My hotel was a short walk from the station, a block behind the Duomo. I checked in and made my way straight to the Duomo. I had pre booked a ticket for the Cathedral and roof. There was still quite a queue for the security check despite the pre booking.
The Duomo is beautiful, and huge, inside. I have been into a lot of churches and this one still impressed me. There is a fabulous sculpture of St Bartholomew flayed alive and wonderful stained glass.
But the real attraction of the Milan Duomo is the roof and the facade. There are stairs to the roof or for a higher payment there is a lift. I’ve never seen a set of stairs I haven’t climbed and this was no different. The access to the roof is quite incredible. I had known the Cathedral had a lot of spires but I’d never looked any closer than that. Once on the roof it becomes clear that every spire is actually a sculpture of a figure, standing majestically high in the sky.
The open terrace at the top allows people to wander and take photos at their leisure or simply sit down and reflect on how amazing it is to be sitting on the roof of a Cathedral in Italy! I did a bit of both.
With the Duomo done and my food tour not for a few hours I did what I do best, walked my feet off exploring. Milan has a very iconic shopping mall right by the Duomo called the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II so after a few more pictures of the Duomo facade and the crowds it attracts I headed into the mall, for photos.
Shopping and fashion just don’t excite me when I am travelling. They really aren’t my thing on a good day but when I am half way across the world and carrying my own luggage, I can’t think of anything worse than making it heavier. So it was a quick walk through the mall in the direction of the Brera district which I understood was the old town of Milan. By this time I had seen so many people who were obviously dressed to be seen that I was wondering if this was a city solely built on narcissism. I think the hectic pace of my trip was catching up with me and my tolerance levels.
Brera was pretty but full of expensive restaurants and really didn’t hold my interest for too long so I headed back closer to my hotel to find some food. I was struggling to find the love for Milan at this stage. It was pretty but I struggled to find its soul.
Something that I wandered past several times during the day and gave lots of coins because of the joy it brought me was a sand sculpture of a dog and her puppies. It was so satisfying the see the finished product late in the day.
After some feet up time I headed to my food tour, which I will cover in a separate post. Suffice to say that food helped me find my love for Milan.