Milano

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There should be some famous quotation about travel stereotype-busting.  Where was it that I heard “Milan is just a big industrial town and if you have to avoid one city, it should be Milan.”  Who the heck ever told me that?  .  I owe that person a huge kick in the butt.

Im sorry, Milan.  I apologize.  I was wrong, wrong, wrong to avoid you.  I’m here to make amends.

First magnificent site of the day :  Chiesa di San Maurizio, one of the hidden gems in Milan.

Frescoes looked as if they'd been painted last week.

Frescoes looked as if they’d been painted last week.

The church was originally one of the most important female convents in the north of Italy.  The structure is interesting and unusual, being divided into two sections.  The front one looks like this :

imageA wonderfully helpful guided showed us how to get into the back part of the church, where the nuns worshipped.  Don discovered a small box through which nuns were given communion.

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I'm picturing nuns sitting in these stalls singing, praying, or reading.  I cynically said to the guide that it felt to me like they were second class citizens.  He chuckled.

I’m picturing nuns sitting in these stalls singing, praying, or reading. I cynically said to the guide that it felt to me like they were second class citizens. He chuckled.

we headed toward the historical center, discovering Castello Sforzo along the way.  Later in the day we learned the long history of the fort and its current use as a place for classes, library, and museums.  A huge market and festival concluded a few days before we got there.  It celebrated St. Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan.

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 Strolling along we marveled at the amazing architecture,  the trolleys, the shop windows, the wide pedestrian walkways. . .

Strolling along we marveled at the amazing architecture, the trolleys, the shop windows, the wide pedestrian walkways. . .

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There’s an Old World charm about Milan with the clanging of the trolley bells, the maze of steel tracks underfoot when you cross the street.  The oldest wooden trolleys feature dinners each night at 8 pm. . .65€ a person.  Maybe next time. . .

The sight of the duomo was an all-time, suck-your-breath-in moment.image

The duomo comfortably seats 40,000 people.  Imagine that.  The inside is large, cold, and dark.  My next trip to Milan will include a 150step walk to the roof to look up close at the 135 statues.

And then. . .and then. .. We discovered the largest Christmas mArket ever around the outside of the duomo. It went on and on  and was filled with every good thing imagineable.imageimageimageimageimageimage

We had booked a tour in the afternoon, so it was off to La Scala.  The glamour and charm . . . And oh, the chandeliers.

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The main he main chandelier has 365 lights, one for each day of the year.

the tour included the museum with costumes from Cinderella.imageimageimage

A visit to the famous galleria was next, and the world-famous bull.  Three counter-clockwise turns assures good luck and a return to Milan.

Guess we'll be back!

Guess we’ll be back!

Our tour concluded at The Last Supper. . L’ultima Cena.  I didn’t know it would be so big.  There’s actually only about 25% of the original remaining and the rest has been filled in with water colors or other media.  Our guide shared much history about the building and the sketches.  Earlier that day there had been one of the frequent Italian strikes and tours were not allowed in the building.  Fortunately that had ended by the time we arrived.

Jet lag is catching up with me so that’s it for now.

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