Breakaway to Milan
Milan might have a reputation for business and fashion, but the allure of the city extends far beyond its boutiques and corner cafés. When venturing into Milan for a city break, the wary traveller has the chance to uncover some truly spectacular secrets that lie waiting to be discovered among the terracotta houses and the hidden gardens of the city.
A Place to Call Home
As with any city adventure, you’ll want to base yourself somewhere fairly central to the destinations on your bucket list and you could do a lot worse than Brera. Home to the Pinacoteca di Brera art gallery, Leonardo’s Last Supper and some of the best eateries in the world, this district is a prime location for those looking for all of the most obvious tourist must-sees, as well as those lesser-known, but no less impressive, sights.
A Stroll through Leonardo’s Vineyard
Once you’ve paid a visit to see one of Leonardo’s most famous works, The Last Supper, take a walk across the road to stroll through his vineyard. This historical treasure was gifted to the artist by the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. After Leonardo’s death, the area was abandoned and forgotten, and it was only in 1919 when it was rediscovered completely intact. The area was then destroyed by fire, but was luckily restored in 2015. Visitors can now enjoy coffee in the vineyard’s cafe.
The Lesser Known Last Supper
Most people who have been to see The Last Supper up close will be aware that it has aged and weathered with time, making it difficult to fully appreciate. A trip to Milan is never complete without a viewing of this famous painting, but before leaving Brera, a trip to see the lesser known copy of this famous work of art is a must.
The copy of The Last Supper was painted by an apprentice to Leonardo himself, and as it is in a much better condition than the original, it actually allows viewers the chance to appreciate some of the intricacies of the original in a way that has not been possible before. It is by viewing this painting, for example, that you can actually see that all of the subjects within the painting have halos, except for John and Judas.
The Church of Human Skulls
The Santuario di San Berdardino Alle Ossa is decorated in a rather unusual way – with the skulls of those that have passed. This began in 1210 when the local graveyard ran short of space, and so the tradition began whereby the bones were used to decorate the niches and doorways. Anyone visiting the Duomo will want to take the five minute walk to view the church after which King Joao V of Portugal modelled his own church.
No visit to Milan is complete without a trip to Duomo. This enormous cathedral has been standing for over 600, undergoing constant construction and renovation, and it is still incomplete. There are only a handful of Christian churches larger than this behemoth, including St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and it boasts the highest number of statues in the world.
Those visiting the cathedral can choose to climb the stairs or opt for the lift, which goes all the way to the rooftop. From there, visitors will be treated to a rare and vast view of the city. On a clear day, visitors will even be able to catch a glimpse of the snowy-peaked Alps.
Milan is a treasure-trove of historical secrets – secrets that are scattered throughout this beautiful city, calling to visitors to blow the dust off, open the page and jump into a world full of adventure.