Saturday, July 04, 2009

Italy - Milan

I'm back from Italy and armed with tons of pictures (seriously a ton, be prepare to wade through a lot). The plan is to do a post for each stop on my trip, but it may take a while to sort through all my photos and write it all up. First up, Milan.

The motivation for the trip was a week-long workshop in Cogne, in Valle d'Aosta, up in the Alps near the French and Swiss borders. Getting there meant that a friend and I had to fly to Milan. We left a day early and got in 1 1/2 days of sightseeing before heading to the conference. With no guide book (we only had a guide book for Florence at the end of our trip), the only things I knew were in Milan were da Vinci's The Last Supper (which requires a reservation months in advance to see) and the Duomo of Milan.

The Duomo is the fourth largest church in the world (according to Wikipedia). Here's the back:

Here you can see it from across the plaza:

And the inside:

A trip to the tourist information office gave us a few ideas of other things to see. The Basilica of San Lorenzo has some cool things about it.

For one, outside of the church is the Colonne di San Lorenzo, a row of Roman columns marking off the church from the street. The street, however, is tiny (one lane) and, across it, it just looks like an ordinary street in Milan.

Inside, in the Chapel of Saint Aquilino, there are 4th century mosaics. This one shows "Christ the Lawgiver."

And stairs going below the chapel show the old Roman foundations:

The Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio was built by St. Ambrose in 379-386, although it's current appearance dates to 1099 (Wikipedia again).

Inside the courtyard, the walls were embedded with what I assume are remnants from the older building.

We were there on a Saturday and it was a little odd because there were plenty of tourists around at the same time that there was a wedding being performed inside. After the wedding was over, I wandered inside where -- after a few minutes -- I noticed an odd uptick in the number of wedding guests (yes, another wedding was about to start).

Our last stop of the day was Castello Sforzesco. Currently, it houses a bunch of museums, but since we had arrived late, all we did was wander around and take pictures. I tried to capture how big it is, but it was tough.

In front, was a big park.

The following morning, before hopping on the subway (followed by a bus, followed by another bus), we went to the Teatro alla Scala, one of the most famous opera houses in the world. In fact, they had performed Aida the night before. For 5 euros, you can go to the museum, the highlight of which is, of course, the chance to stand in the balcony of the opera house for a few minutes. A display of costumes from different productions, some dating to the 19th century and including several different productions of Aida in different decades, was also pretty neat.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Welcome back. I've never been to Milan, but I loved Florence when I was there several years ago.