Lesser Known Locations of the Italian Lakes
By Joel Draba-Mann
6 November 2015
The lesser known facts and locations of the Italian Lake District and where else to go to escape the fast-growing crowds around the more famous lakes.Read more
Milan is compelling for many reasons. In this ancient city in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, world-leading fashion, magnificent architecture, a rich history and culture, and a collection of some of the world's most exquisite artworks collide to create a destination of unsurpassed beauty and fascination.
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By the Middle Ages a city that began life as a Celtic settlement and subsequently became a stronghold of the Roman Empire was already established as a prosperous trade centre; an early indication of the business and financial powerhouse that Milan remains today. But a colourful and often turbulent history has bequeathed a far greater legacy to Milan in the form of outstanding buildings such as its breath-taking cathedral, La Scala opera house and the grandiose Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II; an elegant and opulent shopping arcade quite unlike any other.
The sheer wealth of Milan's outstanding architecture is itself sufficient justification to visit, but this is just the beginning of the city's treasures. But amid the city's many excellent museums and galleries, masterpieces by Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Raphael, Modigliano and most every other notable Italian artist you could name demand attention.
Whatever your reason for visiting Milan, it is impossible not to succumb to the city's undeniable beauty, culture and history as every street, piazza, building and park seems purpose-made to feast the senses and the soul.
No visit to Milan can be considered complete without a visit to the city's stunning 14th century Gothic cathedral; the largest in Europe. Clad in pink marble the cathedral's exterior features thousands of sculptures. Inside, 250 steps climb to the roof from which unparalleled views of Milan can be obtained.
Arguably the greatest of all of Milan's art galleries and housed in a former sixteenth-century convent, the Pinacoteca di Brera is considered of equivalent importance to the Louvre in Paris, and contains masterpieces by, among others, Tintoretto, Rubens, van Dyck, Titian, Caravaggio and Rembrandt.
Milan's Church of Holy Mary of Grace is home to perhaps the world's most famous painting:The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Booking ahead to view this masterpiece is essential and viewers are limited to a strict fifteen-minute slot, but those who have seen this iconic fifteenth-century painting are unanimous in their agreement that the experience is truly unforgettable.
Milan's impressive fifteenth-century defensive castle and ducal palace is easily reached by public transport and houses a collection of excellent museums and galleries including the Archaeological Museum of Milan, the Museum of Musical Instruments, and the Applied Arts Collection.