You can quickly judge where a person’s priorities in life lie simply by mentioning the name of Milan. In most cases, they will respond by talking of the city’s contributions either to the world of fashion, or of football.
That’s fair enough, of course. If you’re interested in either of those worlds then the names Armani, Dolce, Versace, Maldini, Pirlo and Baggio will mean something to you. If you had to Google those names to work out which one dressed Liz Hurley and which one was a linchpin of the AC Milan defence of the early 90s? You may be thinking Milan hasn’t got much for you. You’d be wrong.
Milan has got a little bit of something for everyone. It would be unfair to think of it as just fashion and football, when there are cultural, culinary and architectural wonders aplenty. If you need any further convincing, just read on.
Anyone with a love of classical music will be attracted to Milan for one name above all others – La Scala. This famous opera house opened in 1778, and its first performance set the scene for centuries of world class music. It was an opera by Antonio Salieri, but La Scala may be most famous for a performance by an Australian.
It was towards the end of the 19th century that the legendary Dame Nellie Melba had the performance that wrote her into history. At La Scala, her recitation of Lucia di Lammermoor was greeted with a full ten-minute ovation. Having already built a reputation, winning over La Scala sent her into the pantheon of greats.
Pick any major Italian city and you will find somewhere that has a connection to the Renaissance. In Milan, that connection is as strong as any you may find elsewhere. The Leonardo da Vinci Museum is filled with the works of arguably the world’s greatest artist of all time. The convent of Santa Maria della Grazie is home t the mural of da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
Add to this an array of museums such as the Duomo, and Milan is an essential destination for art lovers.
There is no way of talking about Italy for long without referring to its imprint on the world of fine dining. Few countries have made as profound an impact on the culinary front. Within minutes of hailing a Milan taxi you can be sitting in a world-class eaterie.
If you’ve just taken in a performance at la Scala, why not sample the delights on offer at Trussardi alla Scala? Or if you fancy somewhere quieter in which to enjoy haute cuisine, Seta (found on the via Andegari) is widely viewed as the city’s culinary jewel.
No person with art in their heart could walk around Milan for long without being awe-struck by the diverse architectural wonder. The Chiesa di San Gregorio is just one of the many religious buildings that catch the eye. A little further outside the main city, the Castello Sforzesco is well worth the trip. As a monument to the family who did so much to put the city on the map, it’s one not to miss.