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Finding Sforza

Milan Travel Blog

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PIAZZA DEL DUOMO, with the arches of the GALLERIA behind
Driving into Milan is entirely different than stepping off the train and being surrounded by industry and glory. Boring, ugly, billboards and commercial buildings line the streets that lead into the city center. Once in the center of this city of fashion and industry, one is overwhelmed by the massive buildings, the cathedral, the narrow streets, the few parkouses, and the limited parking.

We used the milan cathedral as an orientation point and found a parkhouse with help of our navigation system. across busy streets and narrow alleys we finally came upon the "piazza duomo," where the cathedral and the galleria are located. probably the only impressive architechtural structures in the entire city, many will say that milan is not known for its good looks, but thrives on the fashion, the club scene, and its gastronomy.
inside the cathedral


though the milan cathedral is unique with its gargoyles, statues, and spires, inside it is like virtually all others. those that are interested in gothic architechture will enjoy the largest gothic cathedral in the world; those that do not will, however, find 3 interesting things to do and see here.

first, take the 160+ stairs, or elevator (for a fee of 4-6 euros) to the roof of the cathedral. here you can see the 96 gargoyles up close, 2245 statues, and the half mile of tracery. the views of the city are far-reaching on a clear day, and you will want to take a rest up there if you have climbed the stairs, like we did.

inside the cathedral are two very unique objects, neither of which come from the treasury. the first is the statue of St. Bartholomew, who was skinned alive and is carrying his skin, displayed in a macabre statue.
(1562) St. Bartholomew, who was skinned alive and is carrying his skin, displayed here in this macabre statue.
the second is the crypt containing the remains of San Carlo Borromeo, one of the early cardinals of Milan. He was canonized for his devoted passion for the poor, and his fight against church corruption. The coffin is glass, something I have never before seen. I thought the body was an effigy, a statue of the real saint, as it was clothed, down to the leather gloves and slippers, bejewled, crowned, and a mask covered his face.

Once we were back in the light of day, we headed across to the GALLERIA VITTORIO EMANUELE II, a late 19th century masterpiece, possibly the oldest shopping mall in the world. It is glorious, with its mosaic flooring and glass ceilings, but don't expect to find much in terms of variety. PRADA and VUITTON are found here, as well as mc donald's...but i didn't enter a single shop.
National Geographic Travelers describes this cathedral as a "masterpiece in decorative elaboration."


we thought we would find amazing shops and boutiques elsewhere, so we went straight towards city center. honestly, we did not find what we were looking for. perhaps we were on the wrong street, the wrong part of town...who knows, but i didn't find anything i liked. the things that i could have possibly found interest in purchasing, cost too much! milan may be the fashion capital of the world, but i found nothing here unique, titillating, or original. suppose i was looking for flair, daring costumes, pieces that i could pass on to my children...but with all honesty i enjoyed shopping the boutiques in germany a hundred times more.

so, on to the next destination. i had keen interest in visiting milan's museum of science and technology, as i had read that many of da vinci's sketches and inventions were here.
Gargoyles on the cathderal
he also resided at the sforza castle for some years, as court artisan. well, we made it to the castle, but at that time we were frankly exhausted and just wanted to get out of the city. in addition, it was 5pm, the castle's museums had closed, and we were no longer interested in staying the night here just to visit the science and technology museum in the morning.

we did walk the grounds of this incredibly large fortress, and tried to imagine what it must have been like to live here, when this was the center of life in milan.


Grpablo says:
Very nice review: I think it's really a good description of Milan :)
Posted on: Jun 24, 2006
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PIAZZA DEL DUOMO, with the arches …
PIAZZA DEL DUOMO, with the arches…
inside the cathedral
inside the cathedral
(1562) St. Bartholomew, who was sk…
(1562) St. Bartholomew, who was s…
National Geographic Travelers desc…
National Geographic Travelers des…
Gargoyles on the cathderal
Gargoyles on the cathderal
sitting on the roof of the cathedr…
sitting on the roof of the cathed…
GALLERIA VITTORIO EMANUEL II, a la…
GALLERIA VITTORIO EMANUEL II, a l…
the designer of the galleria fell …
the designer of the galleria fell…
cupola of the galleria
cupola of the galleria
mosaic floor tiling of the zodiac.…
mosaic floor tiling of the zodiac…
poor testicles...
poor testicles...
facade of the cathedral is being c…
facade of the cathedral is being …
CARABINIERI, italian motorcycle po…
CARABINIERI, italian motorcycle p…
SFORZA CASTLE
SFORZA CASTLE
15th century fortress that was nea…
15th century fortress that was ne…
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photo by: williamsworld