Milan

Tailor-made proposals


MILAN CITY CENTRE
A must-tour for people who are visiting Milan for the first time includes the city's most famous monuments, i.e. the Duomo cathedral, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II arcade, Piazza della Scala square with the famous opera house and the Castello Sforzesco [Sforza Castle].
The Duomo of Milan is the most important Gothic building in Italy. This majestic church is made entirely of white marble and  from its highest point, the Madonnina [little Madonna] statue looks down over the city and has been the symbol of Milan from the beginning of the 19th century. On the right of the Duomo is the Vittorio Emanuele II arcade, which connects the cathedral's square with Piazza della Scala square.  Walking right through the Galleria visitors reach Piazza della Scala, the square with the world-famous opera house of that name which is enriched by private museum. The last part of the city tour is the Castello Sforzesco, a monumental building constructed in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, (who had recently become Duke of Milan) on the ruins of an older, 14th century fortress known as Castrum Portae Jovis (Castello di porta Giovia or Zobia) [castle of Giovia or Zobia gate].

TOUR OF THE CASTELLO SFORZESCO
This tour, which is greatly appreciated by visitors of all ages, includes the battlements, the Rivellino di Santo Spirito tower and Carmine del mastio (keep). The tour includes an explanation about how the castle was built, the main historical characters and important events regarding the various Sforza dukes. A visit to the armoury provides precious information on the military organisation and weapons used during the Renaissance period. The tour ends with a visit to the most important areas of the Corte del Duca [duke's court], the official residence of the Sforza family, and the Sala delle Asse hall, which was completely decorated by Leonardo da Vinci.

VISIT TO THE BATTLEMENTS OF THE CASTELLO SFORZESCO

The battlements are an excellent position from which to view the structure of this Renaissance castle that was a defence fortress and a residence. The tour includes a visit to the Merlate (battlements that connect the castle's various towers, formerly patrolled by soldiers and now a great place for an amazing view of the city), a visit to the Stanza delle Guardie (armoury) in the Torrione dei Carmini (Carmini Tower), which contains very good copies of the weapons used by castle's soldiers, and ends with the Rivellino di Santo Spirito, the castle's first line of defence.

LEONARDO DA VINCI'S ATLANTIC CODEX  
Leonardo da Vinci's precious Atlantic Codex is available for viewing by the general public thanks to an ambitious, six-year project that involves two prestigious exhibition venues, the Sala Federiciana in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana [Ambrosian Library] and Bramante's Sacristy in Santa Maria delle Grazie church.  The Codex – which resembles an atlas, hence its name –  has 1119 pages and many sketches. Normally kept in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, the Codex has been carefully taken to pieces and every individual page has been stored in a special display case, so it can be preserved in the best environmental conditions. According to the project's schedule, 22 pages will be exhibited in a rota in the two impressive venues, to pay homage to the "Florentine Master in Milan".

THE LAST SUPPER
The refectory of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, next to the church of that name, has one of the world's most famous paintings, The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.
The painting, on the north wall of the great hall, was commissioned by Ludovico il Moro and executed between 1494 and 1498. It was painted on a dry wall instead of wet plaster, traditionally used for wall frescoes.  This technique, combined with the environmental conditions and historical events over the centuries, caused severe damage to the painting, which started to deteriorate a few years after it was finished. It was restored many times and the latest restoration, which ended in 1999 and used the most modern scientific techniques, brought back the original colours and, where possible, removed newer coats of paint that had been painted over the originals.

IL MUSEO DEL NOVECENTO [the 20th century museum]
This museum, in the Palazzo dell'Arengario in Piazza Duomo, is a public area dedicated to the exhibition of Milan's 20th century collection. The collection is a journey through Italian art from the Avant-garde movement at the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. It includes movements such as Futurism, Novecento, Spatialism, Movimento Arte Concreta and Arte Povera. 

SAILING ON LOMBARDY'S NAVIGLI [canals]: LE CONCHE LINE
This historical trip along the 'navigli' (canals) of Milan offers visitors a unique view of the areas along the ancient routes taken by the barges that supplied the old city with many different kinds of goods. Just a few metres from the mooring point visitors will be able to see the 'vicolo dei Lavandai' [washerwomen's alley], where for centuries women scrubbed the laundry of the people of Milan. Next is Palazzo Galloni, with the 'centro dell'incisione' [engraving centre] that has facilities for engraving and where engraving classes are held. Next is one of the most significant monuments in the first part of the naviglio, i.e. the church, bridge and the 'lavatoi' [washing areas] of San Cristoforo. The church of San Cristoforo, which is actually made up of two churches, is a 14th century masterpiece. Duchesses, kings and emperors entered Milan from here when they travelled by boat. Then, going under the "Scodellino" bridge (which owes its name to the old inns), the boat enters the Darsena, once an exchange port for commerce with Lake Maggiore.  The tour continues along the Naviglio Pavese up to the famous "Conchetta" lock, which was recently restored by the Lombardy region.