Archive for the ‘parco sempione’ Tag

Milan Day 2   7 comments

The sun had gone in leaving us with a hot and humid day. Time to explore the west of the city and its churches. This is the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio.

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A huge building with what I was recognising as the northern Italian style of red brick and white fresco exteriors. I rather like the look.

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This is the Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper (the painting not a leftover sandwich and packet of Jaffa Cakes)

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Even bigger and more impressive and seemingly very unspoilt and quiet, off the tourist tracks.

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We wandered the pleasant and wealthy looking streets back to the Castello Sforzesco.

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We were heading back to the Parco Sempione with a idea to climb this, the Torre Branca. Sadly it doesn’t open in the morning. 😦

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We wandered about the park as its rather nice, up to the Arco Della Pace, and then decided we were hungry and needed to eat.

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Onwards to the modern Piazza Gae Aulenti (more on that in a minute) and then down to a luxury food store called Eataly which had a fine cafe for lunch.

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Milan has a few old trams like Lisbon.

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Back to the Piazza. I’m a big fan of tall buildings and glass and steel skyscrapers so I liked it here. This tower block seemed be sprouting a forest. It was really odd.

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The Unicredit Tower is the centrepiece and a striking sight. I rather liked it, as you’d expect.

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We’d walked a long way so everyone wanted some R&R. I on the other hand wanted to explore some more so I was soon out beating the streets again.

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I wanted to see one of Milan’s more unusual sights, the Torre Velasca.

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It divides opinion in the city, some think its a unique and arresting example of contemporary modernist architecture, others just think it’s plain ugly. It appeared derelict and pretty much ready to fall down. Worth a walk though.

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I got thoroughly lost on the way back although I did find a few more interesting buildings while I searched for a way back.

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Another wonderful meal out to end our stay and a last lingering look at the courtyard of our apartment block.

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And the grandiose Milan Central station before we hit the tracks to the South of France.

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Milan Day 1   14 comments

Leaving Zurich for or continuing journey south leaving behind the grey gloomy skies and a large chunk of the children’s inheritance. I mentioned how sometimes the weather on the southern side of the Alps can be radically different to the north. We entered the new Gotthard tunnel with the mountains smothered in cloud. We emerged on the other side to this.

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And so to Milan. I’ve only ever been here to change trains so we decided that as we had to do so again we’d stay a couple of days for a look around. It was hot, very hot when we got there but we had a really nice and air-conditioned apartment to ease the burden. After settling in we headed out for a meal. Milan has canals in the Naviglio district and its been revamped into a an area bustling with crowds and restaurants. I loved it

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We ate down here every night and had some superb food. Everyone talks about France as being the home to great cuisine, but for me its Italy all the way.

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Our first full day the grey clouds cleared to a glorious blue sky. We went straight to Milan’s premier site, the Piazza del Duomo. This the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, shopping arcade full of designer brand stores and ludicrously expensive fashion.

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The square is stunning, huge and less packed than the main squares of Rome or Venice.

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Its dominated by the huge Duomo di Milano.

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Its a gleaming white and huge building and breathtaking in its detail.

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You can enter for free but the queue for security checks was in full sun and we couldn’t be bothered. The sun was in the wrong place so see it ints full glory so we’ll come back here later in the post.

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A walk through the Galleria to see the eye popping prices – think four figures for a dress!

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Small pleasant square with a statue of Leanardo da Vinci, a famous resident of the city

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Onwards to the Castell Sforzesco. Not something I’d ever heard about before before but its massive and very impressive. It also has a mighty fine fountain outside which is always a winner for me.

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There are various museums, galleries and the like inside but you can wander through the courtyards for free and I decided I liked Milan.

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Behind the castle is the equally impressive Parco Sempione. Huge lawns interspersed with ponds of wildfowl and turtles.

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After an excellent lunch the rest of the family needed some air-conditioned comfort so I took another stroll around the streets on my own. I went straight to the Piazza del Duomo to see if the sun was better placed and I caught it perfectly.

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Its a truly stunning building now that its detailed facade was lit up by the afternoon sun.

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Away from the crowds, Milan has some lovely streets and churches and other intriguing buildings.

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The Basilica di San Lorenzo.

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Porta Ticinese Antica.

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I loved this church for its complex range of towers and features, the Basilica di Sant’Eustorgio.

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The Arco di Porta Ticinese

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And another stroll around the Naviglio Canal basin.

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As the evening draws in, crowds of people line the banks, picnicking and drinking wine. It’s all rather fine.

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And back to the street where we stayed.

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Off out in the evening for another meal. Well, you have to when in Italy.

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I’d read that Milan is more an industrial and finance capital than a tourist destination so I wasn’t sure what to expect. From a first day of wandering I really like it. Doesn’t have the charm of Rome or Venice but nor does it have the crowds. Well worth a visit and another day to come

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