Exploring Milan: in and around the Duomo

The Duomo is the first place that many visitors to Milan get to see, and it doesn’t disappoint, with the first tantalising glimpses appearing on exiting the metro. It took over 6 centuries to complete this Gothic masterpiece originally conceived by Gean Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan.  Construction began in the late 14th century (1386), and continued until 1887. It’s faced with marble from Candoglio, which catches the sunlight, and lights up the stunning Piazza del Duomo.

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While the outside gleams, inside it can only be called gloomy.  It’s a stunningly beautiful creation but a bit on the oppressive side for me – photos are only allowed with a bracelet, and I’m not sure that they’re shareable.

Back in the square and the Duomo shares its location with this equestrian statue of someone ubiquitous in Rome: Vittorio Emanuele II, first king of the united Italy. The Galleria dominating one side of the square (the first covered shopping cenre in the world) bears his name ..

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while the Palazzo Reale and Museo del Novecento (Museum of the 20th Century) take up the other side of the square.

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The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, pictured from the side of the Duomo below, is home to the original Prada and much more…

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It’s currently being cleaned, three window spaces at a time, and you can see from the above, that’s still a work in progress.  But it’s a magnificent space, that even has a nod to the nation’s capital in its floor decoration.

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On exiting the Galleria, the Sala del Re (King’s Room) hosts an exhibition dedicated to all things Leonardo da Vinci (more on that later), apt given that the statue of the innovator dominates the Piazza de Scala outside.

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He’s got a great view of La Scala Opera House, on a day with very little traffic (well it was late August after all, when many Italian’s were still observing their Ferragosto break).

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