Lombardia, Italia… beautiful region, beautiful country, great time in expensive, kinda boring but nice city known by arts, commerce, design, entertainment, fashion and tourism.
I arrived in the morning to Airport Milanesa and around 10:00 I was in the city center at Piazza del Duomo where the Monument to King Victor Emmanuel II stands as a first italian king from 19 century.
At Piazza del Duomo, I’ve been admiring the cathedral, ita Duomo. The fifth biggest church the world and only the second (after St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican), the moment when the gothic architecture descends from north and testimonies its glory.
Dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity, this gothic cathedral derives from 14th century. The first cathedral, the “new basilica,” ita. basilica nova was completed by 355 which archeological rests can be seen below the cathedral together with the old octagonal baptistery, the Battistero Paleocristiano, under the Milan Cathedral.
It was Napoleon who finished the façade and inner part of the basilica and jump-started the final stages of construction in the early 19th century. Considering its construction is still continuing, this could be considered the longest-worked cathedral in the world.
The floor is 15 century white Candoglia marble with Varenna black marble and Arzo red marble, obtaining its own style amongst the world basilicas.
They say there are more statues on this gothic-style cathedral than any other building in the world. There are 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures that decorate Milan Duomo! I climb the stairs to the rooftop to fully appreciate the architecture of the most renowned silhouette in the city.
I was admiring the archades and kontrafors and after 10 min clinbng up the stairs, I was breathtaken for some time…
From the terrazza you can see breathtaking views across Milan and also the famous Madonnina, the gold-colored statue of Mary that stands on the cathedral’s highest spire.
After visiting the cathedral I spent some time walking inside the Galeria Vittorio Emanuele – the oldest shopping centre in the world. The floor is a mosaic with the picture of the bull on whose balls one should stand with heel, spin around and make a wish.
Closeby is the statue of Leonardo DaVinci and the museum of his life and discoveries. This world famous scientist and artist lived in Milano for 16 years. He influenced the town planning since severe plagues in 1484 and 1485 drew his attention to problems.
Leonardo’s fresco of the Last Supper is placed in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. This world famous painting from 16th century was ordered by Leonardo’s patron Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan.
Milan is famous for La Scala or the official name Teatro alla Scala. It is is an opera house dating from 18 century. Many of the finest singers and great opera artists have appeared at La Scala during the past 200 years as this building has prestige accoustic hall.
From the other adventures worth to mention, I would state the faboulous 19 century Cental Station building of the Art Nouveau style 🙂 As me living currently in Belgium, I couldn’t resisit falling in love with this architecture style. Later some renovations were done so its bombastic appearance with muscular sculptures was a good fit with Mussolini’s preferred architecture style.
When mentioning Duke of Milan and Sforza family, their greates oponent was Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor known as Barbarossa (ita. red beard). Spreading his power over Lombardy, the anti-German sentiment was increasing and the locals forced Barbarossa’s wife to ride through the city on a donkey in a humiliating manner. Barbarossa implemented his revenge for this insult by forcing the magistrates of the city to remove a fig from the anus of a donkey using only their teeth.
So the todays insulting gesture, (called fico), of holding a fist with the thumb between the middle and forefinger came by its origin from this event. 🙂