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Best Historic Locations in Milan

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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.

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.

Characterized by still ponds, emerald green grass and exhilarating views of the main landmarks of the city, the Sforza Castle, the Arch of Peace and the Palazzo dell'Arte, Sempione Park offers some of the best visual experiences in Milan. Designed by architect Emilio Alemagna, the park is nothing short of a landscaping marvel. The Arena Civica, the Neptune-guarding public aquarium and the Torre Branca tower are also part of this expansive park. To add to its charm, visitors can also see permanent sculptures by Arman, Francesco Barzaghi and Giorgio de Chirico.

Commissioned by Ludovico di Moro and designed by Guiniforte Solari, this building was intended as a mausoleum for the Sforzesco dynasty, in which the remains of the duke and his wife, Beatrice d'Este, as well as others connected with the family, were to be laid to rest. The adjoining Dominican convent's cloister and sacristy were later renovated by Bramante. This is of particular interest as is the gallery's terracotta ornamentation, which became one of the main motifs in northern Italian Renaissance architecture. One of the most famous paintings, The Last Supper is housed here.

This old, early Christian basilica is one of the oldest buildings in the city, built to house the relics of St.Vittore and St. Satiro. There are remains of the Oratorio of St. Martino ad Corpus (destroyed in 700), as well as the octagonal mausoleum of St. Gregorio, even featured in some views from the 16th century, which testifies to it's antiquity. The octagonal martyrium is also a prototype of the flourishing and vast spread of the ambrosian baptistry style. The building of the new olivetano complex began in 1508, while the church began to be rebuilt in 1560. It is difficult to say who designed it, views on this range from Galeazzo Alessi and Vincenzo Seregni. The incomplete facade offers formal solutions of great interest. The ex-monastery of St. Vittore, rebuilt by the Olivetani in th 16th century is of interest, and it now houses the 'Leonardo da Vinci' Museum of Science and Technology in addition to being one of the most interesting monastic structures of the first half of the 16th century.

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