Tourists visiting Italy often fly into and out of Milan. The big question is do you stay in Milan overnight or do you head straight for the train to Venice?
Milan gets a lot of bad press and not without reason – the traffic and pollution can be terrible, there is no historic center like you find in Florence and Rome and the city does not have the unique appeal of Venice. Milan is where money is made and most people do not want to think about that while they are on vacation.
Still…….there are a few reasons to spend at least a day in Milan at one end of your trip or the other.
1.Walk the Roof of the Duomo: Every city and many small towns in Italy have beautiful cathedrals and Milan is no exception. What is unique about the Duomo in Milan is that you can walk along the roof. The cathedral brings to mind a sandcastle so you walk among spires and around statues. You can also sit and look out over the city.
If you want to attend mass in the cathedral then do so, but the last time I was there the church was packed, incense was burning and TV’s had been put up around the church so you could see the service (just barely, over the heads of other visitors to the church). Not the sort of intimate spiritual experience I was seeking.
2. Designer Shops and Designer Models: Milan may be a city of commerce, but it is also a city of style. Not only is money made here, but money is spent here too and I mean a lot of money. Designer shops are everywhere and where you see this many designer shops you will see models posing for the camera.
3. The Last Supper: Milan is home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper (Cenacolo) in the Santa Maria delle Grazie. There is a lot of art to see in Italy, more than most of us want to see in a lifetime much less in one trip. Still, this is da Vinci and for many of us da Vinci’s art holds a certain mystique. I suspect that true lovers of art scoff at the tourists rushing past beautiful art to stand in long lines to see the Last Supper. Still, if you want to see the Last Supper you need to see it in Milan and see it soon as it is not standing the test of time very well.