Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Inspiration for the blog: Milan, Part 2

In all I took 5 trips to Italy last year.  I wasn't able to get into Milan during all of them, but I was able to do enough  to get a pretty good feel for the city.  On one of my trips I spent over a week in Italy due to how much work I had to get done.  This meant I had an entire Sunday free to head into the city (the Italians at my place don't work Sundays).  I decided to spend the entire day seeing things around Milan.  Since it wasn't 11 PM this time I was actually able to go inside and enjoy places, which was pretty exciting!

You are able to go up to the roof of Milan's massive Duomo during the day.  If I remember correctly it was 3 euros to go walk up and 5 or 6 euros to take the elevator.  I needed the exercise and didn't mind the stairs so I walked up.  The views and architecture were beautiful and seeing everything up high is totally different from peering up from the main square.
Roof and buttresses of the Duomo

Detail of the buttresses


You are also able to go inside the Duomo during the day.  Since it was Sunday there were services going on, but only a small portion of the Duomo was filled for mass.  I wish I was able to go to such a beautiful church every week!  I don't recall seeing any no picture signs around so I snapped a few photos.  The detail of some of the stone work was amazing!  The columns that reach to the ceiling are so massive as well.  The entire structure is very impressive.  One thing that surprised me was how dark it was inside.  Even with the artificial lighting the entire place was very dark.
Looking towards the front of the Duomo

Amazingly detailed stone work

More awesome stone work

Huge stained glass windows

Each pane is a different person (saints I think).  There are so many!
 After visting the Duomo I headed towards the Castello Sforzesco.  The Castello houses many impressive museums.  At the time I arrived the museum was close to closing, so I was able to get in for free!
Castello Sforzesco from a side street
 There were many beautiful works of art inside of the museum.  Some of the more unique ones were the stone carved "pictures" with frames.  Once again, so detailed!

The museum also had a special Michelangelo sculpture on display called Rondanini Pietà.  The piece was Michelangelo's last work and depicts Mary mourning over Jesus' death.  He was working on it until the day he died.  It was very interesting to see a piece from a master artist in an unfinished form.  If you are able to zoom in, you can see how Michelangelo decided to change where arms and legs were throughout the sculpting process.  I guess he did a couple of "rough drafts" in the block of marble before deciding on the final shape and position of the subjects.

Behind the Castello Sforzesco is a large park where many people were playing games and hanging out.  Towards the other end is a large gate called the Arco della Pace (arch of peace).  It is modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and construction was started in the Napoleonic era.  The road that the gate sits on connects Milan to Paris through the Alps and is still in use today.
Arco della Pace

Castello Sforzesco from the Arco della Pace

Detail on the Arco della Pace
 As the day was coming to an end I walked around the park a little more and took the long train ride back to Sesto Calende.  For the next post I'll detail my trip to the Lake Maggiore area and Switzerland.

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