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Guided Tours

Without a doubt the best way to see Milan is with a private English speaking guide of Milan - there are a few companies offering this service which we have listed here below: City Lights Tours are based in Rome but have a wide connection of experienced English speaking guides who also do tours of Milan - we recommend them for anything from a shopping tour of Milan to a more intellectual cultural tour of Milan.

The Milan Tourist Information office (APT), on Via Marconi, is open from 8.45am till 1pm on weekdays. As well as offering guidance it sells public transport cards and discount museum passes. Many operators offer independent guided tours, but for those of you who prefer to go it alone, here is an outline of some of the main attractions.

MilanThe Duomo di Milan is simply stunning. Built mainly over a period of 500 years from its start in 1386, it is the fourth largest cathedral in the world and is adorned with 135 spires and over 3,400 statues, most of which can be appreciated best by a tour of the roof. Amongst its many relics are a Crucifixion nail and the famous gilded statue of the Virgin Mary that stands atop the central spire and casts her gaze over the citizens of Milan. Well worth a look are the octagonal chamber of the Borromeo family, key benefactors in the cathedral’s development and the adjacent Museo del Duomo.

MilanGiven Milan’s infamous inclemency, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a godsend for shoppers. A vast domed arcade of glass and iron completed in 1877 and named after the first King of the newly united nation, it is a popular but stylish shopping centre, with bars and restaurants and the trendy retail outlets of the leading fashion houses. It is an architectural triumph, and the perfect way to link Il Duomo with the Teatro Alla Scala. The venue that introduced works by Verdi, Mozart, Puccini and Rossini to the cultural world  simply must be visited, either for a show or for its fascinating museum, full of Verdi memorabilia and musical and theatrical artefacts.

Milan"Il Cenacolo", or The Last Supper, is amongst the most outstanding works of Renaissance. Commissioned by Duke Ludovico Sforza in the mid 1490s to enhance the refectory of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Leonardo Da Vinci’s work is a magnificent depiction of Christ’s revelation. Subject to numerous restorations due to the fragile nature of the work, the fresco can now be enjoyed at its most striking. Given its popularity, visits should be pre-booked and are limited to 15 minutes at peak times, and any group visits should be organised in advance.

The Brera Gallery (Pinacoteca di Brera) on Via Brera was opened by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1809. Full of hidden gems, its pictures include Raphael’s Wedding of the Madonna and works by Bellini, Tintoretto and Mantegna.

MilanThe 15th century Castello Sforzesco, at the south end of the wonderful Parco Sempione, was home to Milan’s leading family for centuries, and now houses three interesting museums. Aside from the Museum of Applied Arts, with its crafts and ceramics, and the Archaeological Museum in the fortress, is the Museum of Historic Art. More paintings and sculptures can be marvelled at here, the most famous being Michelangelo’s unfinished Pietá Rondanina. Entry to the castle is free, although the museums charge for admission.

Art lovers may also wish to visit the Palazzo Reale, home of the Gallery of Modern Art and a former residence of the Visconti and Sforza families, as well as Napoleon, it is found on the edge of the Public Gardens and holds key works from the neo-Classical, Impressionist and Futurist movements.

 
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