October 26, 2007
We arrived at our hotel, the Sheraton Diani Majestic, in Milan. It is an older building as is most of Milan on a beautiful square. After checking in Nita, and I set out to see the city in a light rain. We walked down Corso Buenos Aires towards the center of the city. Milan is not what I had expected being one of the largest cities, with a municipality population of 7.4 million, in Italy and the commercial center of the country. I expected to see skyscrapers and busy streets. Instead I found beautiful old buildings none over eight floors tall, the streets are not so crowded that j-walking is a problem. Milan has a terrific public transit system including a subway, electric trolleys and a bus system. Milan’s history is complicated in that it has been to position of the Roman Empire, the Spanish, the French, and the Austrians before it became a part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
Milan is a shopper’s paradise; the streets are lined with beautiful stores and shops displaying the highest fashion in their windows. I expected that from the Prada, and Gucci, but their high class influence has extended into the everyday clothing stores as well. That being said with the cost of the euro at $1.46 it’s tough to buy anything but food in Europe today. As we reached the center of the city my eye caught the top of the Duomo di Milano, one of the world’s largest churches, being second in size within Italy only to Saint Peters Basilica in Rome, and the second largest Gothis Cathedral in the world, after the Cathedral of Seville. It’s construction started in the 1400’s and continues today, having never reached completion. It is huge, it is ornate, and it is something to see. In 1805 Napoleon ordered the Façade to be finished so that he could be crowned the King of Italy inside the Duomo seven years later. You can find his stature atop of one of the spires.
Adjacent to The Duomo is the Galleria Vittorio Enanuels in the Plazza Duoma, the worlds oldest shopping mall. It was completed in 1877 the street below is covered with a steel and glass arched root four stores above. We made a special trip to Santa Maria Delle Grazie, a famous church in Milan and the home of the mural of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Having read the Da Vinco Code Nita and I wanted to see for ourselves who was sitting next to Jesus. The world will have to wait; the workers at the museum were on strike and thus the building was closed. “How do things like this happen?”
After five hours of walking, and a glass of wine, Nita and I decided it was time to learn the subway system. We found ourselves back in our room at six, decided not to go out for dinner and went to bed exhausted. It’s now 1:50 in the morning and I am wide awake (6:50 PM Birmingham time). I’ll go to bed and try to fall asleep, we’re heading for Florence tomorrow afternoon after some photo opportunities here in Milan; the sun is supposed to come out.
October 27, 2007
I was wrong, there are a few skyscrapers in Milan, in what I would call the mid-town area. We caught the subway to the Duoma area this morning and I was able to get some good pictures as the sun came out and the sky turned blue, it’s a beautiful day in Milan. (I’ll be posting my pictures on my Google Picasa sight if you are interested firstname.lastname@example.org/picasa)