A while back I was lucky enough to spend a week in Milan.
What an incredible city. It’s old. It’s new. The locals are impeccably clad in clothes way cooler than anything you could pull out of your closet. And let’s not forget the food and wine.
The first tourist-y thing I did was visit the Sforzesco Castle. It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan. But don’t let looks deceive you. It’s pretty young in the grand scheme of Milan’s history, which dates back to 300 BC.
Above you’ll see a dragon eating a child. Believe it or not, this is the historic symbol of Milan (aka the biscione). Pretty morbid and also pretty cool. Eventually the odd depiction found its way onto the Visconti family’s coat of arms. They took control of the area in 1277.
Nowadays, you can spot it on Inter Milan’s branding or the hood of an Alfa Romeo car.
Statue of Bonaventura Cavalieri, Italian mathematician and monk, inside the Pinacoteca di Brera
Milan is the second largest city in Italy, following Rome. But this fashion haven is known as the economic center of the country. It’s an intersection of industries and culture.
You’ll find the best tiramisu at Cova Montenapoleone.
Milan has been a fashion capital since the Middle Ages.
In fact, many Italian designers were strongly influenced here.
Maybe you’re heard of a few of these folks:
- Giorgio Armani
- Dolce & Gabbana
For hundreds of years, skilled artisans made luxury goods unlike anywhere else. In fact, the city influenced 16th century English word “milaner” or “millaner,” which referred to fine wares like jewelry, cloth, hats, etc. By the 19th century, the world “millinery” eventually came to mean maker or seller of hats.
Around a quarter of Milan’s population are transplants.
In fact, it’s home to the largest Chinese community in the country. Chinatown is a really fun neighborhood–bustling with shops, restaurants, and art.
Danielle, one of my dearest friends who lived in Germany at the time, came on this trip and it was such fun. Turns out, running around Milan in the rain eating endless amounts of piping hot bolognese with one of your best friends is awesome.
The Duomo, the world’s 6th largest Christian church, was completed in 1386.
Can you believe this old cathedral is covered in over 3,400 statues?
They started building the joint in 1386, but didn’t get around to finishing it until 1965.
inside the Duomo:
(right) Saint Bartholomew Flayed by Marco d’Agrate, (left) inlaid marble floors
Below you’ll see Italy’s oldest active shopping gallery, Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, built in 1877.
Its glass dome was the largest the world had ever seen.
Inside the mall is a mosaic of The Lucky Bull. Supposedly, if you spin around a few times with one foot planted firmly on his you know what’s–it’s good luck.
The Bosco Verticale, which translates to Vertical Forrest, is a pair of residential towers with over 900 trees. The building’s architects collaborated with horticulturalists and botanists to create one of the most striking structures I’ve ever seen.
outfit inspiration at the Nike Milan store
Nike Air Force 1 Shadow
Milan is home to 25 skyscrapers–more than any other Italian city.
The UniCredit Tower, Milan’s tallest building, stands at 758 ft tall and was completed in 2011.
more contmeporary buildings inside The Centro Direzionale di Milano
Milano Centrale, the largest European rail system, dates back to 1931.
La Mela Reintegrata (The Apple Made Whole Again) by Michelangelo Pistoletto
Milan’s tramway system is one of the largest in the world. In 1892, the Edison company began electrifying the network. During the 1950s and 60s, the lines came dangerously close to closing after the introduction of buses. It wasn’t until the 1990s that a revival of the trams began. It’s now a charming and cheap way to get around.
a photo taken my last morning in Milan: Cimitero Monumentale from the rooftop of Hotel Viu