“Milan is the fashion capital”, Ms Teen chirped. The Knight of course had to counter, “ San Siro Stadium- AC Milan- the gods of football.”
Both good choices but I stuck to the Milan Cathedral. I should know because I was astounded when I saw it for the first time.
You see, no amount of research prepares you for how magnificent it would be.
I suppose it pretty much affects everyone. I remember seeing the square buzzing with folks clicking, posing, walking, sitting around the Duomo. This probably was the only place that screamed ‘tourist hotspot’ because everywhere else on the streets they were dressed in their formal wear, walked purposefully, cycled and even wizzed away in those Segway scooters.
Anyway, while I was there I bought an all inclusive ticket that included the visit to the roof of the Duomo, a church, a museum and an archeological site. I was assured they were all close together. Another advantage of that ticket was the elevator ride to the roof, climbing the steps was the other option.
Stepping out of the lift, I was greeted with this staggering sight.
“…a forest of graceful needles, shimmering in the amber sunlight.” – Mark Twain
“How sharply its pinnacled angles and its wilderness of spires were cut against the sky and how richly their shadows fell upon its snowy roof!” – Mark Twain
It was incredible to see the towering spires, each with a human figure at its end balanced like a gymnast using one hand to hold aloft his/ her partner.
And I could see a gargoyle…
…below me …
…filling the frame.
The piazza from the top looked like a carpet spread, grey with white geometric designs, the people were tiny toy figures scattered on it.
From the other side the view of the Milan skyline stretched far into the horizon.
Overlooking the entrance to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a high end shopping mall in a building dating to 1800s.
Believe me, perched on the roof was an experience unrivalled!
From there, it was a climb down a long narrow staircase to enter the cathedral. Immediately it felt dark as my eyes adjusted to the change in the light and I took stock of my surroundings.
I guess, wonderstruck would be just about right to describe my feelings.
Unfortunately my photographs do not do justice to the beauty of the high vaulted ceilings, the huge pillars, rows of pews, the massive stained glass windows, the delicately carved sculptures, the gigantic panels of paintings …
Whew! There was so much more to see.
The archeological site for instance turned out to be an underground crypt section within the Duomo. Lucky for us, we had the tickets for it.
It was interesting; old construction dug up underneath this mammoth structure that went way back in time.
Finally to the museum that I almost skipped but I’m glad I didn’t for it was worth the time. After tripping all over the magnifico Dumo Di Milano, it was a treat to see each element spotlighted. From the patterns on the spires to the sculptures, statues, the stained glass panels and so on.
It made me appreciate this ode to human imagination, determination and skill more than ever.
In the words of Mark Twain…
“It was a vision! A miracle! An anthem sung in stone, a poem wrought in marble!
…Surely it must be the princeliest creation that ever brain of man conceived.”
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