Tour of Italy: Milano

Milano (Milan) is the second largest city in Italy and its business mecca. It is said that for every church in Rome there is a bank in Milan. The city is also an international fashion center.   

The community that became Milano began 300 years BC and, by the 4th century AD, was a primary city in the Roman Empire.  Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 while in Milano.

Construction on the Milano Duomo (cathedral) began in 1386 and was completed almost six centuries later.  

It is the fourth largest cathedral in Europe with a standing capacity of 40,000. Notice the mosaic floor. This view is looking towards the central altar from just inside the main entrance.

 It was once the home cathedral of the largest segment of eastern Christians.   

In 1565 the Milan Duomo joined with the Roman Catholic Church.  There have been ten services each Sunday ever since.

This statue on the right depicts the Apostle Bartholomew who was skinned alive for spreading Christianity in Armenia.

Built of marble in an overdone gothic style, it is believed there are more statues in this building than any other in the world. There are 3400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures.

The Milano Duomo also contains the most works of stained glass anywhere, some from the 1300s. 

Over the centuries, the glass artists used different techniques.

One hundred and forty-four stained glass windows depict scenes from the New and Old Testaments.

Despite the passage of time, and World Wars, five original works remain complete. Some windows were removed during times of war to protect them. Different sources say they were removed to the basement and/or to an island.

Light coming through the stained glass is evident on one of the 52 pillars. This view is from the main altar looking back toward the entrance.

There are side chapels and memorials along the lengths of both sides.

Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, served as Cardinal of the Milan Duomo and fought to save Jews and the city during World War II. At his death he was served by a young pall-bearer who became pope. Pope John Paul II beatified Cardinal Schuster in 1996.

Outside the Duomo, in the large piazza, is a statue of Victor Emmanuel II – the first king of the united Italy.  In 1850 there was a collection of colonies and small states. Those became a united country in 1870.

Built to honor the king, and to celebrate unification, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Italy’s oldest active shopping gallery. It opened in 1877 and is a major landmark in Milan. The galleria was the first building in Milan to use electricity.  (If it looks familiar, we saw something similar in Naples.)

The central area has works that represent the continents.  

Corridors branch out from the central area.

We walked through the galleria to arrive at another Milan icon – The LaScala Opera House.

MILAN, ITALY – NOVEMBER 05: A general view of Teatro Alla Scala on November 05, 2020 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

The Teatro alla Scala is the world’s most famous opera house.  It opened in 1878 and all famous opera singers have performed there.  

The theatre has seating capacity for 2300 guests and the acoustics amplify seven times. Performances have utilized 65000 costumes!  

We were able to enter the theater boxes but employees were working on staging the lights for an upcoming performance. As a result, we had a disappointing darkened view.

Our tour guide redirected us in hopes of a better view later. She had all of us acting out Milano history. 

It was a very good time, but we never did get a better view inside.

We visited the on site LaScala Museum.  The theatre was bombed during World War II and repaired in just 30 months. 

If we are ever in Milan again, I’d love to attend a show at Teatro alla Scala.  I might not understand a word but it would be a feast for the senses.

Speaking of additional things to do on another trip to Milan….It is possible to walk on the roof of the Duomo.  That wasn’t offered on our tour but we’ll know it for next time.

We’ll also learned that Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper is in Milan but we didn’t see it either.  Leonardo lived in Milano from 1482 to 1499, fleeing when the French invaded. This 1872 monument shows the artist with four of his disciple artists.

There are always reasons to go back!

About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
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5 Responses to Tour of Italy: Milano

  1. Kim Goehring says:

    How long is this cruise your on? The pictures are beautiful! 😊❤️

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. catie Ireland says:

    Thank you again for such a wonderful history lesson with pics. Milan has not been on our list and now we don’t have to stop there. Although I am surprised at how much history is there. Hugs

  3. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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