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0549 Milano is not Overrated (Ita 068—new)

Milan Travel Blog

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After 67 Italian towns cities, countless beautiful cathedrals, plazas, ruins, fountains castles and monuments… I think that I’ve run out of superlatives to describe what I’ve seen.   But now I’m going to visit Milan, one of Italy’s “Big Four” most popular destinations, and I’m going to see if it really outshines the rest of Italy.

 

It’s dark as I approach Milan and as we pass one dingy graffiti covered station after another, I start to wonder if it’s really such a good idea to show up in this big city late at night with no hostel reservation. 

 

But when we reach the glorious Stazione Centrale, I temporarily put my concerns behind me to enjoy the magnificence of the building… With its super high, arched, intricately decorated ceiling, it might actually match Washington DC Grand Central for grandeur…

 

I decide to break with protocol and grab a subway to where this hostel should be out on the west side of town instead of walking there.

  I get off in a neighbourhood of midrise apartments and start looking for my hostel.

 

Unlike the sprawling dormitory style hostels I’ve gotten used to, this one is crammed into the 6th and 7th floors of an apartment building, you take an antique elevator with swinging wood and glass doors to get up there…

And once again I get lucky… they’ve got a room… And they tell me that in two days the hostel will shut down for good…

 

Next morning I set out to explore grand city.

 

With its narrow stone streets, very classy shops, baroque architecture and streetcars, it has a classy 19th century aura to it--  different from  the Renaissance or Medieval feel in most Old Towns.

 

My first priority is to check Milan’s most famous landmark--  the Duomo Cathedral.

  See if it’s all that it’s cracked up to be…

It is.  It immediately shoots its way to the top as my Most Favoritest Cathedral in the World.  It outshines both Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.  The size… the forest of spires… the intricate carving on every door panel…. The dark, interior with its huge pillars and thousand panel stained glass window.  You look at it and you can’t help but think of the tens of thousands of painstaking hours that were put into building this masterpiece.

 

The area around the cathedral is pretty cool as well… there’s the luxurious gallery/shopping area with arched glass ceiling and murals high up on the walls…

 

Yes, I am impressed by Milan…

 

For a change of pace, I continue on east to the edge of the old town into an enormous park where I take another clip with an interesting sculpture sculpted right in a rock formation.


I pull out my guitar and a couple fellows come over to listen.  One Sicilian fellow asks to borrow my guitar for a bit.  He’s sixty years old, retired and just started learning to play the guitar a 4 months ago!

 

It’s quite inspiring to see an old fellow excited about learning to play guitar for the first time.  I’ve tried to teach a lot of people guitar, and I’ve rarely found someone older than 25 who has sufficient discipline and passion to stick to it until he learns to play…

 

I head on back towards town, up towards the Stazione Centrale, through a modern business district that feels more like London or New York City… then on west down some quaint café lined pedestrian streets…

The map says that there’s a big castle not far from here, so I have to check it out…

 

The Milan Castle is another magnificent structure, nicely restored since being damaged in World War II with vast inner courtyards and huge towers.

  Within the walls there are a number of museums--  I decide I’ll go ahead and splurge and cough up a few Euros to see them…

 

The museums are quite interesting… there’s a museum that shows the evolution of home furnishing century by century--  an interesting glimpse in from another angle into the change in culture and priority and art appreciation from the Middle Ages until the present… There’s a Rennaissance art museum and an Egyptian display…

But my favourite museum is the musical instrument museum where you can see the great-great-granddaddy of the guitar…

 

On back towards the west, I come across a fascinating church that was first built in Roman times.  It has be rebuilt and reworked multiple times, leaving traces and fragments of every era of the last 1500 years…

 

And thus my Milan adventure comes to a close.

  A day of discovery and inspiration…

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Milan
photo by: williamsworld