5 Places to Discover Historical Heritage of Milan
There is a belief that Milan is just an industrial city attractive only for glamorous girls hunting the latest fashion collections. Luckily, Milan is much more interesting than it seems.
Under the layer of Milan’s gloss hides a rich historical heritage and outstanding architectural and cultural attractions.
Time will pass, and luxury boutiques and shopping malls will sink into oblivion, but the spires of majestic Duomo will be still towering over the city for hundreds of years attracting visitors from all over the world.
Piazza del Duomo
It’s a heart of Milan, and its major square named after the Cathedral (Duomo) located here. First, that you’ll see are kids happily chasing doves, and thousands of tourists running from one place to another in search of the perfect angle for a photo.
Piazza del Duomo is a traditional starting point of the most city tours. Just a few stapes away, all major attributes of Milan are located – the city hall, La Scala theater, a huge cinema and famous shopping centers of La Rinasente and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Still, the main attraction of square and the city in general is majestic Duomo di Milano.
Duomo di Milano
Observation desk: 7 – 13 EUR
Treasury: 2 EUR
Baptistery: 4 EUR
Permit for taking pictures: 2 EUR
Milan Cathedral is a jewel of Italian Gothic that can be ranked as one of the wonders of the world. The Cathedral is really huge. In all pictures, it seems smaller than it actually is, because it stands on spacious square. In fact, Duomo di Milano is the world’s third largest Catholic cathedral that can fit up to 40 thousand people!
If to look at the Cathedral from bird’s-eye view, it becomes clear that its shape resembles the Catholic cross with the total length of 158 meters and the maximum width of 92 meters.
The facade, spires and interior are decorated with 3400 statues of historical figures, saints, martyrs, prophets, other biblical characters and gargoyles and chimeras.
The Cathedral is completely made of white marble and because of this, the building looks slightly different under different lighting conditions. Some people like the Cathedral in the rays of the dawn sun, other prefer to look at it in the warm glow of sunset. Famous German poet Heinrich Heine said there is nothing more mystical and beautiful than Milan Cathedral illuminated by moonlight.
Coolness and dim lights expect visitors inside Duomo. You’ll see many colorful stained-glass windows illustrating different biblical scenes. Sunbeams passing blue, red and yellow glasses are bizarrely reflected on the floors and walls. And over the central altar, under the high dome, there is an important relic – the nail Jesus Christ was crucified with.
You can enter the Cathedral without paying any fees, but if you want to visit observation desk located on the roof you’ll need to pay either 7 EUR and climb 500 stairs or 13 EUR and use an elevator.
Monumental Cemetery occupies an area of 250,000 square meters in about 4 km from the city center. Yes, walking on a cemetery isn’t the common thing you do on holidays, but Cimitero Monumentale is a special place. In fact, it looks more like an open-air museum consisting of numerous interesting monuments and sculptures and each of them represents someone’s story of life, love and death. A stroll along tombs in the atmosphere of silence and peace makes you think about life and your place in it.
Admission to the castle territory: free
Admission to the museum: 3 EUR
It’s the most famous architectural monument in Milan after the Cathedral. This huge and seemingly nondescript castle has survived many historic events – wars and destructions, riots and revolutions. The castle is named after the duke of Milan Francesco Sforza, who used it as its personal residence from 1450 to 1466 .
The fortress located right in the center of Milan and you can easily reach it on foot from the Piazza del Duomo. The first thing you’ll see is a large Wedding Cake Fountain located in front of the fabulous red facade of the castle.
Castello Sforzesco houses seven museums, but most important and interesting among them is the art gallery with more than 230 works by famous Italian artists including da Vinci and Michelangelo. You can visit all museums for free each Friday afternoon. After excursions, don’t hesitate to have a stroll in the lovely Sempione park occupying 50 hectares right behind the castle.
The most favorite resting place of the locals, Sempione park was founded in the distant year of 1893. Here you’ll find beautiful flowerbeds and lovely ponds inhabited not only by fish, but also turtles. The park can boast of rich flora and numerous entertainment facilities for adults and children. No wonder, here always a lot of people doing sports, walking or just enjoying picnic.
The major attractions of the park are Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) and beautiful aquarium with a large collection of fish (Acquario Civico). On the top of the ach, there is an observation desk offering nice views of surrounding area.
General impression of the city depends on many factors besides attractions themselves. Your mood, fatigue from travel and even weather – all this might affect your holiday not in the best way.
Try to spend less time and nerves on transportation throughout the city. Public transport in unknown city might throw everyone off balance and make vacation less delightful. Luckily, there is an easy solution – car rental. Your own rental vehicle with GPS makes exploring Milan a true pleasure! A lot of practical and luxury cars can be rented at the airport.