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.
Dating back to 1778 as a fitting replacement for the Teatro Ducale, the stately Teatro Alla Scala has since come to be one of opera's most legendary venues. The historic theater has hosted most of Italy's operatic masters alongside renowned international artists. Designed by noted architect, Giuseppe Piermarini, the theater's neoclassical facade has a palatial theater with six tiers of private boxes, topped by an intricate ceiling. Home to the prestigious La Scala Theater Orchestra, La Scala Theater Ballet and La Scala Theater Chorus, it remains one of the city's liveliest cultural venues. Apart from operas, the theater also hosts plays, ballet shows and numerous other cultural events throughout the year.
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.
The Pinacoteca di Brera is located in a 1615 building constructed by Francesco Maria Richini. The gallery was founded in 1776, and it holds important works by Italian and foreign masters from 1400 to 1900. Of special note are the paintings by Vincenzo Foppa, Lorenzo Lotto, Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, Giovanni Bellini, Andrea Mantegna, Tiziano, Correggio, Bramante, Gentile da Fabriano, Piero della Francesca, Caravaggio, Rubens, Hayez. This is the permanent home of Sposalizio della Vergine by Raffaello, the Cristo morto by Andrea Mantegna, Madonna and Saints by Piero della Francesca and the Madonna in trono e Santi by Ercole Dè Roberti. There are a bookshop and a cafeteria, and guided tours are available. It is located within the city's notable palace Palazzo di Brera which was constructed by architect, Francesco Maria Ricchino, in a Milanese Baroque style.
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.
After the Piccolo Teatro was inaugurated in 1947, it gained immense popularity not only among the residents of Milan but also across the globe. The theater has since then acted as a custodian of art and culture and continues to support as well as encourage local artists and their national counterparts. The theater is extends its name to three different venues- Teatro Grassi, Teatro Studio and Teatro Strehler; these can be used for a variety of performing-arts events depending on the audience capacity expected for them.
The Museo Teatrale alla Scala was founded in 1913, but underwent a radical restoration and was opened again in 2004. The museum is a music-lover's Mecca: it gathers portraits and statues of the most well-known composers, opera singers and actors. It contains rare, ancient musical instruments such as a XVII spinet with the warning words "Inexpert hand, touch me not!" painted on it. Historical memories and set designs of the theater are on display on the second floor. In the first room, it is worth pointing out the still-life of musical instruments painted by Baschenis. The entrance of this museum is in the same building of the theater just on the side of the main doors.