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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Your Italian Holiday in Milan

Milán: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele IIImage by jrgcastro via Flickr

Milan, one the largest cities in Italy, is situated in Northern Italy and is the capital city of the region of Lombardy. It has a population of more than one million and is a great place to start your Italian holiday with some culture and shopping.

The oldest shopping mall in the world is said to be the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which was designed and built in the 19th century. It features a glass and steel arch covering a street and in the centre a glass dome. You can shop for anything here, including haute couture and the world famous fashion houses. There are also plenty of restaurants where you can get a bite to eat and a drink and sit and watch the world go by for a while. The mall leads to two of Milan's most famous edifices, the Duomo and the Teatro alla Scala.

If you want to include some culture in your Italian holiday, then the Duomo is where to start. The residence of the Archbishop of Milan has incredible Gothic architecture and plays a major part in maintaining and spreading the Catholic faith. If you take a guided tour of Milan, this is sure to be included.

The Teatro alla Scala was built late in the 18th century after a fire destroyed its predecessor. The rich used to gather here but there was a gallery above the boxes where the poor were permitted to attend the opera. It has recently been renovated very sympathetically ensuring the preservation of the historical details.

The Castello Sforzesco or Sforza Castle is another landmark of Milan, home of the Sforza family who ruled here in the 14th and 15th centuries and surrounded by a walled hunting park. There are several museums, one of which is home to an art collection which includes Michelangelo's last sculpture, the Rondanini Pietà, Andrea Mantegna's Trivulzio Madonna and Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Trivulzianus manuscript.

No Italian holiday in Milan would be complete without seeing Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper which is a mural measuring 450 × 870 centimeters (15 feet × 29 ft) and covering the back wall of the dining hall at Santa Maria delle Grazie.

So, whether your preference is art and architecture or shopping for high fashion, you couldn't choose a better place for an Italian holiday than Milan.

For more hints and tips on how to make the best of an Italian holiday, click here.

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