In the industrial north, Milan is a bit like the
of Italy (at least in my opinion), it may not
be as pretty as
to look at, but it's a lot of fun. It's the economic centre of Italy and the
workhorse of the country, but it's also the centre of the fashion industry and has accordingly exclusive
We had a long weekend break in Milan simply because we felt like going somewhere different for a weekend,
and it was cheap with Ryanair from Prestwick. We stayed at the Hotel Arno, a fine establishment
of one-star rating near to Centrale Stazione, central enough to be within walking distance of the
city centre. We had nights out in the Navigli district, Corso Como and Corso Sempione, and managed to
eat just about every variety of Italian nosh in the meantime.
Il Duomo di Milano, the main cathedral in the city centre, this is a close up of the cacophony of architectural
details, with more than 3000 statues on its exterior.
A view down from the roof of the Duomo to the shopping centre across the square.
The Piazza del Duomo as viewed from the roof of the cathedral, people walking around like pigeons.
The city of Milan may not be the prettiest place to look at architecturaly when compared with
but the people more than make up for that with their own appearance. Everyone, young and
old, takes pride in their looks, there are models everywhere and nary a ned nor chav to be seen! It
was such a disappointment to be back in
where the tracksuit-clad population walk around with their miserable faces tripping them.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, an exquisite shopping centre off the Piazza del Duomo, filled with posh
shops guarded by bears with earpieces employed to keep the likes of me out.
Detail of the inside of the Galleria, with the famous glass dome.
Still inside the Galleria, these are presumably either apartments or offices which look out over the
From the roof of the cathdral, I managed to get one of the statues in with this odd top-heavy brutalist
concrete edifice, the Torre Velasca.
Some of the posh shops on Via Alessandro Manzoni, I didn't dare step inside for fear of making the place
look less stylish.
Another posh shop's window display, taken at about 3am on the way back from a club, remarkably steady
all things considered don't you think?
This street busker has opted for something a bit more upmarket than a guitar...
A view up Via Dante towards the Castello Sforzesco, built in the 15th century and still looking good.
We came to the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie for the last supper, but they didn't have any tables
(boom! boom!) Unfortunately, in order to view Da Vinci's masterpiece, it seems you need to book
months in advance - we were there in September and the next available slot wasn't until November.
A view of streets in the centre of Milan, with those orange trams going around. We never did figure
out where and how you were meant to get your ticket, it certainly wasn't on board.
Milano Centrale Stazione, not too far from our hotel, very much a "larger than life" type of building
in a comparable effort to the main station in
Arco della Pace, a triumphal arch in the Roman style, but built in the 19th century near to Sempione.
At the time it was undergoing renovations.
Our first night out was down at the Navilgi canal district, it was very pleasant to sit on sun loungers
by the water and drink amaretto.
Corso Como to the north of the city centre is another nightlife centre, very civilised with no lager
louts, shouting, rubbish or general misbehaviour, it was such a breath of fresh air from the standard
In the Corso Sempione district we went to some fancy style bars, one of them so fancy that a chap drove
along the pavement in his Ferarri and just parked it there outside the bar to go in for a drink.
On a totally different theme, this is the Pirelli Tower near Stazione Centrale, a local landmark in
Milan which was the inspiration for
Pan Am building. In 2002 a small aircraft accidentally crashed into the top section.