Posted by: debrakolkka | June 28, 2011

Magnificent Milan

Don’t let people tell you Milan is an ugly industrial city. The outskirts may be less than lovely, but the centre of Milan is wonderful, and the shopping is second to nowhere. Apart from having the most stylish shops in the world, the city offers all sorts of delights if you take the time to wander.


Milan's most recognisable sight - the Duomo

it really is magnificent

on the doors of the church

holding up the cathedral

one of my favourite entrances

keeping watch

mosiacs on the church in Piazza San Babila

Leonardo looking over the Piazza Scala

The shopping streets, Via Manzoni, Via Montenapoleone, Via S Andrea and Via della Spiga are, in my opinion, the best in the world. Even if you don’t want to buy anything you should take a walk around this area just to look at the beautiful displays. Click here to see some spring 2011 shop windows. 

beautiful shop windows

footpath art on Via Montenapoleone

I think they are fun

inside the magnificent Galleria

Look for the poor bull on the floor. It is good luck, apparently, to step on the bull’s bits.

step on the bull for good luck

The Brera district is a lovely place to wander. There are cobblestoned streets and pretty antique shops to look at. The Brera art gallery is wonderful. Look for “The Kiss”.

Many of Milan’s treasures are not all that obvious from the street. Look through doorways to see beautiful courtyards.

a beautiful Milan courtyard

I came upon this lovely fountain a few years ago. I would love to know more about it.


I have never found it again

Is that Garibaldi endorsing Ray Ban?

there can never be too many lions

 The Galleria and Duomo really shine at night.

Galleria at night


the Duomo at night



magnificent Milan

Milan is a wonderful city to visit. I have only ever been there in winter. I’m sure it is even lovlier in spring.

I have a whole category on magnificent Milan if you  are interested in seeing more. For a local’s insights into the city click on . There is also a link to the site on the right.


  1. Lovely, I must confess that I didn’t love Milan years ago. If I went with you, I am sure I would love it. x

    • I love Milan. The fist time I went to Via della Spiga I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

  2. Oh WOW, I love those sculptures! They are sooo life-like, and clearly conceived and carved with much attention to detail. Bellisima!

    • They are amazing aren’t they?

      • We don’t have many such sculptures in South Africa – so I love these photos, particularly the close-ups.

      • It is quite different from the architecture in Australia as well.

  3. I spent 3 months in Milan a few years back – simply beautiful. Climbed the steps of the Duomo to the rooftop and the view of the snow capped Alps was magnificent. I agree with everything you have written Deb. I was told it as industrial but the experience was anything but.

    • I hear the industrial thing all the time and I just don’t get it. I think the city is beautiful.

  4. Milan was one of the first places that I ever visited in Italy and was not impressed until I met the sweetest Italian lady on a bus. I didn’t understand any of her Italian and she didn’t understand any of my English, but her kind heart has always been one of my fondest memories and best of all made me want to keep returning to Italy! I love Milan!

    • I’m pleased you met that lovely lady. People often make the difference.

  5. simply amazing! 🙂

    • It’s a great looking city.

  6. I agree. I’ve been living in Milan for some years now, and I must say that it has begun to grow on me. I had some American friends over visiting recently, and as I showed them all around Milan I thought to myself “Wow” it’s really not all that bad and ugly!” 😉

    • I loved Milan the first time I went and I enjoy it more each time.

  7. Nice photos of the duomo in the night!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I agree with you, Milan is worth a visit… or many visits. I particularly like the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Regarding the bull, it is an old tradition that
    placing your right heel on the bull’s testicles and then spinning around brings good luck. The mosaic of the bull, which is actually Turin’s coat of arms, can be found inside the octagon floor pattern of the Galleria.

    • Thanks for letting me know it is the right heel. I’m not sure I have always done that.

  9. I remember being in Italy around this time in 2005 … didn’t make it to Milan though. The art and architecture looks glorious! And the nighttime shots are lovely. I’m jealous of all the people rugged up in coats – autumn and winter does not exist here in the tropics.

    • I come from a warm place as well and enjoy the winter in Italy.

  10. Grazie! Grazie! It is a beautiful city! I love it!!!

    • No problem. I love Milan too.

  11. My cousins live in Sesto San Giovanni so I think of Milano as my adopted home town in Italy. Whether I’m up on the rooftop at the Duomo or la Rinascente, window shopping the Quadralatero or Galleria, visiting Caravaggio at the Ambrosiana, walking along Navigli or taking the tube back to Sesto – I can’t get enough of this town.

    Did I mention Sforza, Milan’s gardens and parks (Sempione), Milanese cuisine, il Cenacolo, La Scala, San Siro – well you get it. I love this place. Would also recommend the paleo-Christian archeological site located under the Duomo. Few tourists know it is there and it really is a site to see.

    • Thanks for the tips. Now I have more to look for when I go back.

  12. Thanks Deb, for a wonderful walk arround Milan – can hardly wait to return there again with you in April. The Cathedral just looks divine without all the scaffolding.


    • The cathedral is one of the most beautiful buildings in Italy.

  13. I enjoyed this pic-tour around Milan, I agree, it is an industrial city an so… but the center is so beautiful, and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is just the most beautiful shopping center ever could be.
    Love the way you catch the details, but I have said so before, haven’t I? 😉

    • I love all the details on the buildings. I have hundreds of photos of them.

  14. Debra I kept on thinking about the fountian you show here and you have never found again. I thought it was probably St. Francis and navigated a bit, I think I found it, but you have to check if the details are correct. It is supposed to be near Saint Angelo church… there is a map in the site.

    • Thank you for the information. I will track it down next time I am in Milan.

  15. I wonder how long people have been spinning of the bulls bits…

    • A very long time. There is a hole where they used to be.

  16. This brings back memories of when I lived in Milan, many, many moons ago. It never ceased to amaze me when I passed La Scala, Il Dumo or Galleria VE. I should go back for a visit, this is what I keep telling myself, but I should!

    • There are so many amazing things to see and do in Milan. I go as often as I can.

  17. I was glad to read this post, as I’ll be going to Milan in a couple of weeks. I have promised to take my eight year-old daughter shopping, and I can’t wait!

    • There are a couple more posts on Milan, just look in the Milan category. I just love this city.

  18. Well, after reading this post and its comments, I feel again so sweetly proud to be a Milanese, though ever since 1970, after 25 years from my birth, I live just south of it…
    And also feel like really resuming to manage one of my recently created blogs, ‘’, entirely devoted to REAL, best Milan, its dialect, culture, history, citizens and lovers…
    I feel like treating all of you to a TRUE Milanese meal…, or, at least, a ‘cocktail and stuzzichini’…

    • I love Milan. I didn’t go on this trip,but I will definitely be back there later in the year.

      • Debra, so there is already a cocktail with ‘stuzzichini’ waiting for you ;o).
        What about your Italian? By the way, NEVER mix it with Spanish, a sister language, otherwise you’ll get a bit angry both Italians and Spanish, if not already well know and a friend…
        Thanks for replying so nicely.
        And greetings to AUSSIELand ;o).

      • I am learning Italian slowly. I get by. I don’t like Spanish so I won’t be mixing my languages. See you in Milan one day.

      • Bene, brava. Ti aspetto ;o)

  19. Milan is indeed a wonderful city. I spent a couple of days there some time back in the company of a friend who is an expert on art nouveau – for him Milan was the best place in Italy for early twentieth century architecture – he showed me some amazing buildings – quite apart from the ones more usually known, like the cathedral and the castle. The other thing not usually known about Milan is that it used to have many canals – Venice style and was a river port. Bits of these canals still remain – they are called “navigli” and make for many pleasant walks alongside them (especially around Porta Ticinese) – others, alas, have been covered over. For me the trams and the central station of this under-rated city are particularly iconic.

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