Today was an exciting day – we finally got to visit The Duomo (Milan Cathedral) and to see The Last Supper fresco. We started the day at a leisurely pace as the apartment is so relaxing- and of course Walter comes to prepare our breakfast. Today he was a mine of information regarding Sicily, which is on the itinerary for our next trip.
Once fed and watered we ventured out and caught a taxi to the Duomo. There is an art to hailing a taxi here in Milan and it was obvious to locals we were standing in the wrong place. A well-muscled, tattooed woman approached us and kindly offered to ring us a taxi which duly arrived – never judge a book by its cover…. Meanwhile the people standing at the nearby tram stop beckoned us to come to the other side of the road, which meant climbing over a rail to do so – mission accomplished, but the taxi turned up on the other side of the road, so we had to race back again. The taxi drivers have been excellent and the fares relatively cheap.
At first sight the Duomo it is utterly breath-taking, mind-boggling even, and once inside the impression continues. It is impossible to imagine how such a magnificent structure could have been built 600 years ago. Having explored the Cathedral itself, we took the lift to the terraces and we felt privileged to be there. It was a truly worthwhile experience.
Right beside the Duomo is the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, a very upmarket shopping arcade. An architectural delight, stuffed full of designer shops and of course the mosaic bull on the floor where tourists do the obligatory three turns with their heel on the poor bull’s testicles… except they are no longer there, having been worn away by constant trampling.
We took lunch in the alley behind the shopping centre because it was shady, despite the fact it had a tourist menu with photos of the dishes on offer. The funniest thing was that on the doorway of neighbouring restaurant was a sign saying that our restaurant had a chef called Microwave!! In fact our food was not microwaved, and was quite delicious.
Next stop was the Castello Sforzesco, home of the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Maria Sforza. We had a tour of the Last Supper booked but wanted to see the Castle along the way, however we took a wrong turn and ended up in completely the opposite direction, so we found a taxi rank, and leapt in a cab. Due to our unplanned detour, we had a very limited time there, but it was provident we had made the effort, because we discovered there was a strong link between Da Vinci and the Castello whilst we were on the Last Supper tour.
We nabbed yet another taxi to get us to Cenacolo Vinciano, and arrived just in time to start the tour. Our guide Hillary, was very knowledgable and the tour was well worthwhile. The time allowed to view the great work is strictly policed, 15 minutes only, but we also saw Santa Maria delle Grazie Church, which stands beside the refectory housing the the painting.
Another taxi ride (through the seemingly unregulated Milan traffic) had us back to the apartment for a well-deserved aperitif, then it was off to a local Pugliese restaurant, Il Trullo, where the meals are so big, one plate between two can suffice.
Tomorrow, will be another leisurely day, with a visit to the Navigli district and perhaps a bit of shopping, meanwhile I hope you enjoy what we saw today…..