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In the industrial north, Milan is a bit like the Glasgow of Italy (at least in my opinion), it may not be as pretty as Rome 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 shops!

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

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.

Il Duomo di Milano

Piazza del Duomo

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 Rome or Florence, 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 Scotland where the tracksuit-clad population walk around with their miserable faces tripping them.


Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

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.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Still inside the Galleria, these are presumably either apartments or offices which look out over the shopping concourse.

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.

Top heavy Torre Velasca

Posh shopping in Milan

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.

Castello Sforzesco

Santa Maria delle Grazie

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.

Street scene

Milano Centrale Stazione

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 Helsinki.

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.

Arco della Pace


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 British night out!

Corso Como

Style bar

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 New York's Pan Am building. In 2002 a small aircraft accidentally crashed into the top section.

Pirelli Tower

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