About Sonia C
Lives in London, United Kingdom
Since Sep 2013
35-49 year old female
I am passionate about travelling, foreign cultures and languages. I spent quite a lot of my life in Milan and I really feel at home here!
Churches & Cathedrals, Architectural Buildings, Religious Sites
Operas, Theaters, Specialty Museums
Churches & Cathedrals
Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings
Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings
Located in the very heart of the city, the famed Duomo is one of the largest Gothic churches in Italy. Its highest spire is dominated by a golden statue of the Virgin Mary, affectionately known as the 'Madonnina,' the protector of Milan. The most precious relic on display inside is the True Cross, believed to belong to Jesus when he was crucified. Weather permitting, visit the rooftop to gaze at an amazing view of Milan and its courtyards - a great photo opportunity. To reach the rooftop, you can choose to take the lift or use the stairs. Bear in mind that there are still some stairs to reach the rooftop, even if you chose to take the lift!
While the Opera House facade is not that impressive, the luxury interiors are breathtaking. If you like Opera and Ballet, this could also be the ideal occasion to enjoy a performance and test the sound quality of the acoustic system, which was remodeled in 2004. Otherwise, you can glimpse the auditorium from the boxes by taking a tour of the theater's museum, as long as rehearsals are not taking place.
To the left side of Teatro alla Scala Opera House, you'll find Giuseppe Verdi road, a street lined with antique shops and stores selling professional products for fine arts. Follow this to the pretty neighborhood of Brera, with its narrow streets, cute chops, and tasty restaurants. Via Fiori Chiari, one of the most iconic streets here, is full of good restaurants. Brera is also famous for Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan's main art gallery which houses beautiful paintings of the Lombard and Venetian schools. The most famous of these include Caravaggio's 'Supper at Emmaus', 'The Kiss' by Hayez and 'The Montefeltro Altarpiece' by the Italian Renaissance artist, Piero della Francesca.
Sforza Castle was built in the XV century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan. Today the impressive structure is home to several museums, including the Egyptian museum and the Museum of Ancient Art, which features Michelangelo’s final (and unfinished) sculpture, Rondanini Pietà. After your visit, exit from the rear entrance to find yourself in Sempione park, the biggest green area in Milan. If you have time, continue walking until you reach the Arch of Peace, the triumphal arch and a sort of virtual gate to Sempione Street.
Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio is one of the oldest churches in Milan, and second in importance only to the Duomo Cathedral. The Church is dedicated to St Ambrose, bishop of Milan, whose remains lie in a crypt here, together with the bodies of martyrs Gervasio and Protaso. Milanese people are proud of the Ambrose religious rite, which includes a mass celebrated with a slightly different liturgy to the Roman one, and more holiday days during the Ambrosian Carnival.
Founded in 1973, the Museo della Scienza is dedicated to Italian genius Leonardo da Vinci. It is the largest museum of its kind in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. There are seven departments in the museum: Art & Science, Energy, Communications, Materials, New Frontiers, Transport and a section with interactive labs for children. Don't miss a guided visit onboard the majestic Italian submarine in the transport section - I can still remember when it was driven through the narrow streets of Milan on its way to the museum in 2005. It was the talk of the town for weeks!
This beautiful church, built in the second half of the 15th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to da Vinci's 'The Last Supper,' a definite Milanese must-see. The seven chapels located on either side of the church were originally used as burial places for the most important Milanese families, and are also worth exploring. Of these, the Chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Graces is the most interesting - it existed before the church itself.
Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, which was once one of the most prestigious Benedictine female monasteries in Milan, is often referred to as the city's 'Sistine Chapel' because it hosts some of the most important frescos from the Milanese Renaissance. Visit Bezozzi Chapel to admire astonishing frescos by Bernardini Luini, a famous Italian painter who was clearly influenced by Leonardo da Vinci. Among his works are scenes of the life and martyrdom of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, as well as his last paintings, which were finished posthumously by his sons Aurelio and Giovan Pietro.
This beautiful Roman church is one of the oldest in Milan and is located in front of Colonne di San Lorenzo, another famous tourist hotspot. I highly recommend a visit to Saint Aquilino's chapel, a mausoleum featuring a third-century fresco, fragments of precious mosaics dating back to the Paleochristian period, and a sarcophagus believed to have been built for the burial of Galla Placidia, daughter of the Roman Emperor Theodosius. The presbytery also hosts a casket containing the remains of Saint Aquilino, and behind the altar there is a small ladder leading to the basement where you can see the foundations of the old church.
´Naviglio´ is the name we use to refer to the canal system that runs through Milan. Starting in the 12th century, Navigli were built to connect Milan with Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and the city of Pavia. Unfortunately, as part of a regeneration project, by 1960 most of them were covered, and today only two canals are still open. The area is beautiful however - lively and romantic, buzzing with art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and bars. But remnants of the area's history also remain - while walking through, you'll discover many 'tenements with communal balconies,' typical Milan council houses also called 'case di ringhiera.'
It may be hard to believe, but Monumental Cemetery is the second most visited place in Milan, after the Cathedral. Also called an 'open-air museum,' the Cimitero Monumentale is an ode to history, art, and ostentation. Founded in 1866, the cemetery is the final resting place of many Milanese elite, most of whom are celebrated in grand style with monuments commissioned from well-known artists like Luca Beltrami, Pietro Cascella, Lucio Fontana, Arturo Martini, Giò Pomodoro, Giò Ponti, Medardo Rosso and many more. Start your visit at the Famedio (the Temple of Fame), a majestic building that contains the tombs of some of the most prestigious citizens of Milan: Luca Beltrami, Anna Kuliscioff, poet Salvatore Quasimodo, Francesco Hayez (painter of 'The Kiss'), composer Arturo Toscanini, poetess Alda Merini, singer and composer Giorgio Gaber, actress Franca Rame, and many more. Several Milanese industrialist families, like Alemagna, Bonomelli, Campari, and Salmoiraghi, are also buried here.
Situated on a quiet street near Corso Venezia, Villa Necchi Campiglio once belonged to the Necchi Family, the manufacturers of the famous Necchi sewing machines. In 2001, Gigina and Nedda Necchi, who had no direct heir, donated their historic villa to the Italian National Trust, and the beautiful estate is now part of the Milanese Historic Museums network - together with the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, Casa Museo Boschi-Di Stefano, and Museo Poldi Pezzoli. The beautiful and well preserved villa is decorated with furnishings, paintings and sculptures that mainly belonged to the Necchi Campiglio family.
Located in the city centre, not far from the Fashion District, this beautiful garden is a favorite spot for a morning jog or bike ride, and the small lake is a pleasant place to rest on sunny days. It has always been known as Giardini Pubblici and Giardini di Porta Venezia, but was renamed in 2002 as a tribute to Indro Montanelli, a famous journalist who died in 2001. The garden also hosts Italy's largest Planetarium, 'Ulrico Hoepli,' and the Civic Museum of Natural History, the biggest natural history museum in Italy and one of the most important ones in Europe.
Literally translated as 'Quadrilateral of Gold,' Quadrilatero d'Oro is also known as the 'Fashion Quadrilateral' because it is home to some of the most famous Italian and international luxury brands. On its main streets - Via Montenapoleone, Via Della Spiga, Via Sant’Andrea, and Via Borgospesso - you'll find labels from Armani, Prada, and Gucci to Chanel, Tiffany, and Yves Saint Laurent - plus many, many more.
Located near Sforza Castle and Parco Sempione, La Triennale di Milano is not only a museum but a cultural institution, hosting temporary exhibitions and events that involve design, architecture, urban planning, music, and arts. There are always many things going on at once here!