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Italy, Milan – Known and Less Known

Published: 20.6.2018
Milan is one of those cities where you can spend a few days and still discover something new. Since the time of the Celts, the city has developed into a modern economic center of Italy. In its tangled streets, overcrowded with cars you occasionally find some interesting sight which maybe is not one of the top attractions of Milan, but as we we are there already, why not and make a stop for a while.

The city was founded by the Celts (600 BC) and later became a part of the Roman Empire (222 BC) under the name Mediolanum. Also, you would probably hear other names for this city – Milanesi, Meneghini, or Ambrosiani. In the 4th century it was the capital of the West Roman Empire and the second largest city in Europe. The status of the capital was lost due to the movement of the barbarian Vizigoth tribes (402). The invasion of the Huns of King Atila (452) caused its further decline until the economic center of the Langobard Empire had developed (569) and the Lombard League (1167, an association of Italian city states) had a positive influence on Milan's development. In the 18th century, it was one of the centers of the Risorgimento movement (the process of Italy's unification). This was the precursor of the gradual exodus from under the Habsburg rule (1859) as the city would become a part of the Kingdom of Sardinia and later of the Kingdom of Italy. We can not omit to mention even the darker side of history in the form of the creation of the fascist movement or the execution of its leader - Mussolini.

Palazzo Reale

Three rivers flow through the city - the Olona, the Lambro, and the Seveso. Also, there the sophisticated Naviglio channel system, which was also worked on by the famous inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci. In the past, these canals were used to transport goods by water, for example, they could transport the material for the construction of the cathedral.

old and modern Milan

It is just a short walk to Piazza Luigi Cadorna from Sforza Castle. There is a modern sculpture created by Claes Oldenburg with his wife Coos van Brüggen under the name Ago, filo e nodo (A needle, thread, and knot 2000). This sculpture of needle with colored thread overlaps the center of the square and the railway junction. One part of the thread terminated by the knot is above the ground and enters the underground to return to the second part of the square. The colored sculpture is a symbol of the city of fashion, a train running out of the metro and a serpent from the emblem of Milan.

Not far from this place on the Corso Magenta, which leads from the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie to the dome, there stands an inconspicuous building. The Convento di San Maurizio Maggiore was originally connected to the most important female Benedictine monastery in the city. Do not hesitate and come in. The church is beautifully painted, each part is covered with color. Every Sunday from October to June, this church serves masses in the Byzantine rhythm (in Greek). It is a great venue for concerts, and there is also the Archaeological Museum, with the remains of Roman buildings (Maximian's walls, the large amphitheater, the Herculanean Baths ruins and a 16.6 meter high tower that served as a bell tower).

Convento di San Maurizio Maggiore

At Piazza del Duomo you may have noticed Palazzo Reale situated by your right-hand side. This royal neoclassical palace (18th century) used to be the residence of the Visconti and Sforza families, the Spanish and French governors. Since 1598 there has been a theater. In 1739 Maria Theresa stayed in the palace's representative suites during the visit to the Duchy of Milan. In 1776, the palace did not escape a devastating fire and was destroyed during World War II. At present, the city uses it as a space for prestigious exhibitions of world art titans.

Palazzo Reale

Za katedrálou se dostanete na Piazza Fontana a Via Verziere, kde objevíte kostel San Bernardino alle Ossa. Počátky chrámu souvisejí s historií nemocnice, která už neexistuje. Vstupujte jen jestli jste odvážní, protože chrám je známý svou kostnicí (13. století) s lidskými kostmi a lebkami. Tyto krásné obrazce na stěnách vytvořené z kostí inspirovaly krále Jana V. Portugalského (1738) k vytvoření podobné v portugalské Évore. V chrámu je i hrobka potomků Kryštofa Kolumba, rodáka z italského Janova ve službách španělského království Kastilie a Leonu, což dokazuje i rodinný erb na oltáři.
San Bernardino alle Ossa (Milan)In the city you can find various ruins right in the middle of the way. Some ruins are in the middle of the junction on Piazza Missori. It is the ruins of the former Basilica of San Giovanni in Conca. The 4th century church, rebuilt in the 11th century, was destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa (1162). But it did not mean the end of this building for it was rebuilt in the 13th century and became a private chapel of Viscontians. Francesco Sforza II (1531) gave it to the Carmelites who built the tower - Campanile - in the 19th century, used as an observatory. 20th century destroyed many and meant the end of this construction, which had to retreat from the road. Only remnants of Romanesque apse remained here surrounded by a road. Underneath the apse, there isSan Giovanni in Conca crpyt. At given hours you may get inside for free, but the remains of the mosaic of the sidewalk of the building are already hidden in the Archaeological Museum.

ruins of San Giovanni in Conca (Milan)

On the opposite side of the square there is an equestrian statue of Garibaldi's army Colonel Giussepe Missori and by his name goes this very square. This monument is behind the church of Sant'Alessandro in Zebedia (1601), dominated by two bell towers. The church with the Lombard baroque paintings belonged to the Order of Barnabas, founded (in the year 1530) directly in Milan by St Anton Maria Zaccaria.

Na opačné straně tohoto náměstí se nachází jezdecká socha plukovníka Garibaoldiho vojska Giussepe Missoriho, po kterém je pojmenováno toto náměstí. Za tímto památníkem je zadní část kostela Sant'Alessandro in Zebedia (1601), kterému na průčelí dominují dvě zvonice. Kostel s malbami lombarskeho baroka patřil řádu barnabitů, který založil (1530) přímo v Miláně sv. Anton Maria Zaccaria.

These were some tips for perhaps less well-known monuments and places in the magnificent city of Milan. However, we can not omit another thing that makes this city interesting. And that's sport. While ladies are visiting fashionable boutiques, gentlemen will certainly not miss a football match or F1 race in nearby Monza. Monza is just the thing which attracts many men to this area.

The race circuit, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, which has been running F1 races since 1950, is approximately 20 km from the city center. And you get tired of formula racing the guys fatigue the formula, waiting for their half to spend a football match at the famous Giuzeppe Meazza stadium aka San Siro. The stadium with a capacity of 85,700 spectators is home to two famous football clubs - AC Milan and FC Internazionale Milano. There is also a museum of both clubs where trophies, cups, jerseys and souvenirs of all kinds which belong to these football icons. Just have a full wallet and fun is taken care of.


GPS: 45°28'05.5"N 9°10'37.1"E (Piazzale Luigi Cadorna)


Text and photos: Mgr. Anna Nociarová

Edited by: Infoglobe

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