Watched over by the Madonnina, the cathedral's high marble spires represent the city's most famous artistic and religious monument. The dimensions of Christendom's third-biggest church are still awe-inspiring, spanning 108 meters (354.3 feet) high and 158 meters (518.3 feet) long. A range of architectural styles feature the doorways of the 17th Century, the central balcony from the late 18th Century and the three main upper windows which are early 19th Century pieces by Carlo Amati. The Gothic cathedral's vast interior is grand with its impressive pillars, vaults, streamlined arches and wonderful statuary surrounding the nave. Light filters in through a crevice in the wall, positioning itself on the sundial that frames its main entrance. Gleaming statues carved out of Condoglian marble are perched atop its spires. Whether one is seeking religious fulfillment or is simply sightseeing, the Duomo leaves one spellbound.
Located in downtown Milan, the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum expresses the taste and lifestyle of a wealthy, cultured, aristocratic Milanese family at the end of the 19th century, and is one of Europe's most important historic house museums. Here, the precious permanent collections of 15th and 16th-century Italian art and decorative arts, assembled by the Bagatti Valsecchi brothers during the second half of the 19th century, are found in their original positions. Because of this, the museum not only offers Italian Renaissance art, but also presents an authentic "magic window" onto Milan's aristocratic past, fascinating to many kinds of visitors.
Construction of the "Galleria", a typically 19th-century public building that is now one of the oldest shopping malls in the city, began in 1865 following a series of competitions for the design won by Giuseppe Mengoni. Large plaster eagles support its dome, 47-meter high and made of iron and glass. Note the designs on the interiors and the Neo-Renaissance-style stucco work and graffiti. The floor of the building was completely restored in 1966 in a rare mosaic showing the emblems of Italian cities.
Once the palatial symbol of Visconti nobility, the Sforzesco Castle was reconstructed by Francesco Sforza, the duke of Milan in the 15th Century. He rebuilt parts of the original fortification, including the Torre del Filarete that towered 70 meters (230 feet) above other small towers. Deemed to be one of the largest bastions in Europe, this monumental citadel underwent several expansions and changes in the years that followed. When under Spanish rule, it was largely used as a barrack, before parts of it were demolished by Napoleon's troops. In the 19th Century, it was salvaged by architect Luca Beltrami. He rebuilt several parts of the castle, including the towers, the moat and even restored the historic Torre del Filarete to its former glory. The castle's archways give way to the regal courtyards of Rocchetta and Ducal, which house several archaeological and art museums.
Beautiful sculptures adorn the graves of those interred at the Monumental Cemetery. Originally laid out in the 19th Century, the cemetery encompasses a staggering collection of sculptural and architectural gems, each gracing the burial site of some of the country's most prominent families and individuals. The Famedio, or Temple of Fame, is one of its most distinctive features. Originally designed to serve as a church, the neo-Medieval structure now has the sarcophagus of the novelist, Alessandro Manzoni. The tomb of the Campari family is adorned by a large, bronze version of the Last Supper, while that of Arturo Toscanini is a masterpiece fashioned by the sculptor, Leonardo Bistolfi. Marvelous funerary art and ornamentation abound at the Monumental Cemetery, a favorite among art lovers.
The sprawling expanse of the Piazza del Duomo forms the heart of the city of Milan, both geographically and in terms of its cultural significance. While the site has always been an important reference point for town planners, the origins of this public square can be traced back to the 14th Century. It was Azzone Visconti who demanded the removal of the taverns that surrounded the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Basilica of Santa Tecla, thus creating one of Italy's most iconic squares. Although both churches were eventually demolished to make way for the ambitiously designed Duomo, their foundations are still visible to this day. Today, the vast open space is crowned by the Duomo on one side and the Royal Palace on the other. Alongside them are sweeping arcades designed by Giuseppe Mengoni. A space surrounded by some of Italy's most recognizable structures, the Piazza del Duomo has rightly been termed as the focal point of Milan.
Appian Line offers a host of local sight-seeing tours under the guidance of experienced, multilingual experts. You can take a walking tour of this historic city and even explore it by night. Whatever your needs and preferences, Appian Line will ensure that you have a memorable experience. For more information, please visit the website.
Dating back to the 14th Century. the church of Santa Maria presso Santa Satiro is best known as an exemplary specimen of a trompe l'œil, or optical illusion, that creates a false impression of depth and space. At the time of its construction, Donato Bramante's original plans for the church were foiled when he received notice that he would not be allowed to take over the street behind the plot. Half-way through construction, it was too late for Bramante to alter the entire plan. Instead, he came up with an ingenious way to maintain the balance and proportions of his design despite the limitations thrust upon him - he created an optical illusion. Considered by many to be one of the earliest examples of the trompe l'œil, the false apse appears to be much deeper than it actually is when perceived from anywhere along the axis of the church. However, step to either side and the illusion is shattered. Besides this brilliant use of illusionary space, the church also boasts beautiful terracotta decorations, frescoes, and gilded details.
The Monument exemplifies the Italian proficiency over the art of sculpture, and architecture. Witness the excellent work of Ercole Rosa in the late 19th Century, as the particularly fascinating sculpture of Vittorio Emanuele riding his horse, with the pedestal flanked with sculptures of warriors, forms the focal point of the Duomo Piazza.
On the southern side of Piazza dei Mercanti, there is the 'Loggia degli Osii', where, from the balcony or 'parlera', the edicts and sentences issued by the municipal government were read. Dating to the early 14th century, commissioned by Matteo Visconti, it underwent refurbishing operations in the early 20th century.
For art aficionados, Museo Del Novecento is a welcoming change as it highlights artistic expressions of the 20th Century till date. You will find masterpieces by Italian masters, renowned world artists and established local artists in its themed rooms. Set inside the Palazzo dell’Arengario with its grand staircase being the focal point to all the levels, you will find each area celebrating Italian art which includes varying forms such as surrealism, abstract and spatialism as well as sculptures. Besides its permanent collection of 400 works, it also hosts temporary exhibits, concerts and educational events.
At the centre of Piazza dei Mercanti, once a quadrangle enclosed on all four sides, one finds Palazzo della Ragione, what was known as the 'Broletto', commissioned by the ruler of the city Oldrado da Tresseno (1228-1233) who is depicted in an equestrian monument in a niche on the façade facing the piazza. The rectangular-plan building consists of a loggia on the ground floor, which today is higher than the surroundings due to the successive lowering of the street level. In 1771 another floor was added, the so-called "Teresian extension", for the Notarial Archive: it can be recognized from the large elliptic windows. The monument was restored during the 1970s.