They say that the Cathedral of Milan is second only to St. Peter’s in Rome. I cannot understand how it could be second to anything made by human hands—Mark Twain 1867
Milan was not on our radar as far as destinations to visit.
However, through a few twists from our family’s adventurous desire to rendezvous and convincing the missus and me to come along, we wound up on a spur-of-the-moment trip to this wonderful city in northern Italy. We used Milan as a meeting place to go to our ultimate destination of Lake Como.
Though Mrs. Big Surf and I decided to leave a couple of days earlier so we could explore some of Milan sans grandchildren, we neglected to factor in the air travel schedules…as in the willy-nilly schedule. After the initial flight cancellation due to a sick crew, the reschedule had to be changed due to a covid policy we did not meet for our connection into Amsterdam. Thankfully, a maverick gate supervisor got on the computer and found us a flight that would route us through Paris. Evidently the French didn’t care what our covid history looked like as long as we had Euros. But this delayed us so much, we lost a full day in Milan. We made the best of the day we had before the grandchildren onslaught and chaos ensued.
Now Milan is known for fashion and banking, two well-versed soliloquies that won’t be uttered from my lips. Milan is also known for its magnificent cathedral, Duomo di Milano, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s, THE LAST SUPPER. The former a huge gothic edifice in the center of town that is hard to miss, the latter in a small church you have to look for.
The Duomo is a marvel of engineering, started in the late1300’s and supposedly built over the baptismal site of Augustine of Hippo, has been added to and renovated down through history. It survived bombings in WWII, and even started another restoration in 2016. I love the dedication of Europe to it’s historical buildings and churches.
The Duomo of Milan with its piazza.
The Duomo with the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II entrance on the left.
The Duomo with lions from the Vittorio Emanuele II statue in foreground.
One of the many statues that adorn the Milan Duomo.
It is a wonderful experience to wander through the old cathedrals of Europe, thinking of all the Christians that have come inside to seek peace and comfort. And the Milan Duomo has the same experience (if you can tune out the hundreds of tourists).
I was mesmerized by the intricacies of the St. Bartholomew statue inside the Milan Duomo. I will spare you the details of his demise, but you can probably guess by the detail. Incidentally, that is his skin draped over him.
My lovely blue-eyed darlin’ and I love to sit on the steps of these cathedrals and watch the people in the piazzas.
Statue of Leonardo Da Vinci near the Galleria and Duomo.
The dancing bull mosaic on the floor of the Galleria is the coat of arms for Turin. For some reason if you put your heel in a certain spot and spin, it will give you good luck. You can tell where the magic spot is because it has worn away by all those people who suddenly have experienced good luck. Yes I did it, too…still awaiting for the Milan financiers to call me.
This small (by European cathedral measures) church and former convent is San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore. It is a very special gem in the Milan necklace of sights. If you have time to visit this place, make every effort. It’s entire inside is made up of frescoes and ornate decor. It was built in the 1500’s.
Just one small section of the interior of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore.
Santa Maria delle Grazie houses THE LAST SUPPER. My advice get tickets in advance.
I was surprised to find THE LAST SUPPER was a frescoe.
Now let’s talk fashion…of which I know nothing about. I am not on the cutting edge of fashion, more likely on the cutting floor.
I will say the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the best mall I have experienced. It is the oldest shopping center in Milan. I went looking for some white socks.
When the missus and I couldn’t find anything in our price range at the Galleria, we offered this couple 100 Euros for their outfits.
I thought you could haggle in Milan…