The most outstanding example of Gothic-Lombard architecture, the Duomo dates back to 1300. It was built on the wishes of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. This imposing religious building, second only to St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, houses almost 3500 statues that are spread over an area of almost 12,000 square meters. The tallest spire, which has the famous “Madonnina” on top of it, is 108 meters high. The statue of the Virgin Mary, the “Madonnina”, is covered in 3900 pieces of gold leaf.
in Piazza San Ambrogio. A beautiful and huge Byzantic/Romanic church which was almost destroyed by allied bombing in World War 2, although some of its Byzantic mosaics are well preserved. Reachable by subway: MM2 Sant'Ambrogio.
Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio
This is the symbol of Milan’s religiousness. It was built in 379 A.D. in the Romanesque-Lombard style, and was consecrated by the famous Bishop Ambrogio, who lent his name to the Ambrosian Church. Inside there are valuable artifacts and works of art that tell the story of about 1600 years of Milan’s history.
Basilica of Sant' Eustorgio
A wonderful medieval religious building that was built at the beginning of the fourth century on the wishes of the Bishop Eustorgio who brought the remains of the wise kings here from Constantinople, that can still be seen in the Chapel bearing their name today.
Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore
This wonderful basilica, located opposite the Roman columns that are the only remains of a third-century temple, includes many different architectural styles, due to the various renovations that the building has undergone. The main elements are Paleo-christian (for example the mosaics) but other more recent styles also stand out, including ones from 1600 (the dome) to 1800 (the façade).
Santa Maria delle Grazie
This church was built in the second half of the fifteenth century. It was only completed years later by “il Bramante” on the wishes of Ludovico il Moro. The famous architect designed the wonderful apse, the cloisters and the old sacristy. Leonardo da Vinci painted “The Last Supper” in the refectory, which is one of the most famous works of art ever painted.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
The mother of all shopping malls: upscale shops in a splendid 19th century palace of a mall, with a stunning mosaic floor, and wonderful glass roof and cupola. Contains boutiques such as Louis Vuitton and Prada, a McDonald's fast-food restaurant, a silverware store called Bernasconi, and eating places such as the Zucca in Galleria, Biffi or a Gucci cafe (and loads more, notably art galleries, fashion boutiques, bookstores and restaurants). At Christmas time, it becomes an enchanting place, with beautiful lights and glitzy decorations. For real Milanese cheap food, go to Luini for a Panzerotti on nearby Via San Radegonda. Get off at the Duomo station.
The Castello Sforzesco
Where the Sforza-Visconti ruling families of Milan resided. Later it was the Austrian governor's residence, when Lombardy was part of the Hapsburg empire. It houses several museums. Reachable by subway: MM1 Cairoli - castello Station.
Certosa di Pavia
The Carthusian Monastery of Pavia is a living museum, an architectural treasure box containing prized artworks and run by the monks who produce excellent Chartreuse liqueurs. Located 140km (87 miles) south of Milan, in an idyllic setting, the monastery is reachable by bus or train. The Certosa di Pavia is a 15-minute walk (skirting the Certosa walls) from the station. Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti ordered the monastery's construction in 1396, the same year as Milan's cathedral, as a monument to the Visconti dynasty. The Cistercian monks conduct tours, showing the cloisters, cells and beautiful frescoes by Pietro Perugino and Bergognone. The ornate marble facade by Amadeo is a masterpiece, famous throughout Italy.
Between 1495 and 1498, Leonardo da Vinci painted the whole wall of the refectory in the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with a fresco of The Last Supper, one of the most famous masterpieces in history. This work of art has undergone a restoration that lasted twenty years and which was only recently finished, bringing it back to its full glory and halting the deterioration that was turning it into a faded, shapeless stain.
La Scala Theater Museum
Founded in 1913, this interesting museum houses exhibits of various costumes and theatre sets that are of great historical and artistic value. Some rooms are dedicated to the La Scala Theater’s architecture and the life of the famous composer Giuseppe Verdi, while others house ancient musical instruments, curtains and costumes that belonged to famous artists such as Maria Callas and Rudolf Nureyev.
Pinacoteca di Brera
The Pinacoteca di Brera is an art gallery set up in 1809 by Napoleone Bonaparte. It houses a great number of works of art that were “confiscated” from churches and convents throughout Europe. Works to be seen range from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries, and include masterpieces by artists such as Piero della Francesca (Pala d’Urbino), Raffaello (Sposalizio della Vergine), Mantenga (Cristo Morto), il Bramante and Caravaggio. The courtyard holds a wonderful statue of Napoleon that was created by Canova.
This is Milan’s oldest museum, which was opened in 1609 It is home to some masterpieces by artists such as Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaello and Botticelli. The Ambrosiana also houses an important library which contains some ancient codes, illuminated manuscripts, and ancient books.
The Museum of Ancient Art
This interesting museum is housed in the splendid Castello Sforzesco, and is home to some of the most important sculptures that help to understand Lombard history and culture. The works come from a period ranging from the 4th to the 16th century. They include the funeral monument for Gaston di Foix and the “Pietà Rondinini” by Michelangelo.
Museum of Science and Technology
This interesting museum, which is named after Leonardo da Vinci and which was recently renovated and housed in an old monastery, is one of the most interesting science museums in the whole world. 40,000 square meters of exhibition space for subjects ranging from astronomy to computers. The models and machines built to the design by the great Tuscan genius cannot be missed.
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