Saturday, September 19, 2015

Vibrant Milan

Kay and I spent 3.5 days in Milan, the second largest city in Italy, where we roamed it's bustling streets and visited the major sights like the Duomo (the fifth largest worldwide), de Galleria Victorio de Emanuele, Sempione Park, Castle Sforzesco, and Chinatown. Milan has the largest population of Chinese in Italy at only plus twenty thousand. We also joined a small tour group in order to get a viewing of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, otherwise entry tickets had been sold out months back.

Owing to its industrial history, I wouldn't describe Milan as aesthetically beautiful, but it is a vibrant city, with the charm of antiquity, attracting over 8 million visitors a year, with a local population in the millions and millions more regionally, many of whom fill the streets and outdoor establishments all around the city during the evening hours and well beyond. Although the city, a commercial and financial centre, is very active throughout the workday with people and traffic, especially with two wheel motorbikes zipping around cars, buses, electric trams and pedestrians; it truly comes alive after business hours when it's best to be afoot. For us, evening activities are one of the highlights of Milan.

Kay and I rented a third floor apartment in the Navigli neighborhood of Milan, an urban redevelopment area that now rivals all other neighborhoods in activity. From our third floor apartment, during evenings, the nondescript voices of people on the streets below is a constant drone punctuated by background music and periodic outbursts at 10 to 20 decibels higher well pass our bedtime. Weekends are especially active. Good thing I have earplugs. This residential neighborhood, with it's unique waterways (formal moats and canals of the old city), is dominated by outdoor restaurants, bars, cafes, bakeries and 'desserteries' long after the daytime retailers have closed up. We loved the energy and excitement generated by all the people, mostly locals out and about in the neighborhood.

Milan Duomo, 6 centuries to complete.

de Galleria Victorio de Emanuele above and below.

Castle Sforzesco

Arco della Pace

Visiting the Duomo

On the roof of the Duomo

Around the Navigli neighborhood where our apartment is located.

Evenings around Navigli.

Piano music on the canal.

Streets of Milan below.

Graffiti is a common sight on buildings.

The Italian Gospel Choir performs in front of the Duomo Milano.

Replicas of the original "Last Supper" by da Vinci. Pictures not allowed.

Top is how the original may have appeared. Bottom is replica of current condition.

1 comment:

Steve Vilter said...

Our daughter Petra lived in Milano for a year. I thought it a great city. Thanks for the remembering.
Steve V