Unforgettable Milan

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Milan – the fashion and financial center of Italy

Damien Martin, our Italy specialist, recently returned from a wining, dining, hotel inspecting tour in Italy. Enjoy his blog post about Milan and contact Damien for expert advice on traveling to Italy.

Milan – A blend of nationalities

Walk around Milan and you’re liable to encounter people from all over the world. About 20 percent of the residents of Italy’s most cosmopolitan city are foreign-born. What you won’t see — at least relative to Italy’s other destinations — is a lot of Americans.
Sure, many Americans fly into Milan on their way to Lake Como — and who could blame them? — but the fashion and financial capital is worth taking a couple of days to explore.
Hosting the 2015 Universal Exposition and this year’s Champions League final — the Super Bowl of European soccer — have helped raise the city’s international profile and revitalize certain areas. This being Italy, there’s plenty of history, too.

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La Scala, Duomo, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – Ahhh, Milan!

Clustered within a few hundred feet of each are the city’s main sights: the famed La Scala opera house, the many-spired Duomo and connecting the two, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls.
While the Galleria offers enough haute couture to overhaul your wardrobe, it just scratches the surface of Milan’s high-end shopping. The whole city is more or less an open-air mall, from the Via Montenapoleone area — where you’ll find Armani, Ferragamo and Versace storefronts — to the arts district of Brera.

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Leonardo da Vinci called Milan home

The most famous artist to have called Milan home is none other than Leonardo da Vinci and no trip would be complete without a viewing of “The Last Supper.” But make sure to get tickets well in advance — entry is restricted to 25 people per 15-minute viewing. The limited numbers and a series of air locks are to preserve the fragile masterpiece as well as possible.
Because Leonardo painted on the dry wall instead of into wet plaster, the paint began fading almost as soon as it dried. Unlike fresco, the technique allowed Leonardo to make alterations as he worked. This technique resulted in the brilliant capturing of one of the Bible’s most crucial scenes. Centuries of amateur retouching and a few years spent exposed to open air after a World War II bombing didn’t help matters much.
For a much more relaxing supper, head to the Navigli district for a spritz and some risotto alla Milanese (the key ingredient is saffron) next to the scenic canals that were once the lifeblood of Milan’s commerce and are now a nightlife hotspot. You have Leonardo’s design to thank for that, too.

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