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Tuesday 21 August 2007

CK Goes to Italy – Milan (Milano)

Milan, the financial centre of Italy, is also the heart of the northern regions. With its fame drawn from the hottest and hippiest designer fashion, this vibrant city is also synonymous with clubbing and partying.

It became my convenient base for exploring northern Italy as it is also the hub of transportation here. On the 23rd of May, 2006, I left Florence for Milan. The Eurostar train left the Stazione di Santa Maria Novella of Florence at 9:14 a.m. and it was expected to arrive Milan at 12:14 p.m. The train schedules in Europe is so precise that the train arrived at the Milano Centrale Stazione just two minutes later than its estimated time of arrival.

I chose Hotel San Carlo over other hotels for its convenient location near the central train station, and of course, of its reasonable rate. I only need to walk across a square in front of the train station to get myself checked-in.

After I had unloaded my backpack at the hotel and refreshed with a hot shower, I was ready to hit on the streets of Milan! Since it was already 1:30 p.m., I decided to head straight on to Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie, expecting to see Leornado da Vinci's intriguing Last Supper.

When I went to the ticket counter of Cenacolo Vinciano, the refectory adjoining the church, I was so happy that there was no queue and no crowd at all! I thought I was lucky until the attendance told me that the ticket had been all pre-booked until end of June. If I want to see it, I need to stay in Milan for another one and a half month before I could enter the refectory with a ticket!

Well, I told the attendance at the ticket counter that there might be one or two persons who pre-booked the ticket that would not turn up, hoping that she could resale the ticket to me. However, she told me very firmly that the tickets sold out cannot be resold! Probably I had no luck, so I finally accepted the fact that I need to go to Milan some other time to see this controversial work by da Vinci. There is a poster print of the Last Supper with descriptions just before the grill-guarded entrance to the refectory, so I took a while to admire the print and read through the descriptions, imagining I was looking at the real thing before I left the vicinity of the church with disappointment.

However, the disappointment did not stop me from exploring the other aspects of Milan, so I took a Metro train to go to the Quadrilatero d'Oro (Golden Quad) lined with streets full of flagship stores of the internationally renowned brands.

Can you spell 'Salvatore Ferragamo' with your eyes closed? I'm sure the bimbos wouldn't fail their dictation if the teachers in schools tested them on brand names. Haha!

Have you ever seen a pram which costs more than a thousand Euro? This is one of them! I would like to pimp a ride if someone is getting this for their precious offspring. :-p

These are my dream watches, O-ME-GA! Ω

Can you tell what store this is? Look harder! Look harder! There are three spots there where you can tell.

I have not seen this brand in Malaysia, or is it just that I'm so uninformed about fashion. Hehe! Do let me know if you know where it is in Malaysia.

It's got fashion for men too.

There are even bicycles for the brand conscious. You can say out loud: "I can ride on my Trussardi, while you can only wear or carry yours!"

Do I need a pair of new shoes? Can I wear these shoes if I don't go to church?

OK! Another 'can you spot the brand?' thingy. There is no prize, though.

This is definitely not by Faye Wong!

I'm sure any lady won't mind to have breakfast here everyday. Is there anyone of you who would like to go with me?

How about calling Roberto for a tailor-made outfit for your ball tonight?

Do you know how to pronounce this? Is it 'bor-bones' or 'bor-bo-nay-say?'

Is this Canal, Channel or Chanel?

As a centre for the hottest and hippiest fashion, how could the over-sized billboards be missed? Passing through this gigantic billboard marked the end of my first day in Milan.

Early in the morning of 24th May, 2006, I took the train on Metro Line 3 from Milano Centrale station to the Duomo station. Riding up the escalator of the Duomo station brought me to the Piazza del Duomo.

At the eastern end of the square is the fourth largest cathedral in the world, the Cattedrale (Cathedral). The Cattedrale has 135 spires and 3200 statues on its roof and facades. I started counting, one, two, three, four... errr... one, two, three, four... arrrh, forget it, just take a picture.

During the time of my visit, the front facade of the Cattedrale was under restoration.

The spires and statues are crammed on the roof and studded on the facades.

After circling around the Cattedrale, I went up to the roof to have a closer look at the spires and statues.

Sometimes I peeped through the openings of the perimeter wall to look at the statues.

I was proud to have reached the top of the roof, although the steps were not that hard to climb, just about over 160 steps.

If I have blocked some of the features in the photo earlier, please take a look at this one. :-) I waited for almost an hour for the ever-flowing crowd of tour groups to dismiss before I can take this shot with less people blocking the scene.

This is a closer look at the 108-m tall central spire capped by the copper statue of the Madonnina (our little Madonna).

Before I left the roof, I took a shot from the back of the front facade. I don't have to worry about the crowd this time as they were all overshadowed by the silhouettes of the spires, huh!

After I have walked down the steps from the roof, I entered the Cattedrale trough the brass door at the front.

There are old paintings along the aisle.

There is a showcase of stained-glass windows inside the Cattedrale. It was quite hard to get a shot which is not blurry, though.

The northern end of Piazza del Duomo is occupied by the Galleria Vittorio Emanuale II with the layout of a cruciform.

The walkways are lit by natural lighting through the glass-covered dome and shells.

When I walked further north through Galleria Vittorio Emanuale II, I came to Piazza della Scala, where the statue of Leornado da Vinci stands proudly at one corner of the square.

Palazzo Reale occupies the southern end of Piazza del Duomo. There was a photo exhibition going on then.

That's all I have to show you on Milan, as I was venturing out to places around Milan for the other days of stay.

If you would like to read my other posts on Italy, these are the links:

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