Milan; Saturday, 26 September, 2009

With my first ever large Italian breakfast inside me (the hotel went for the Full continental route, rather than the coffee and a croissant normally associated with Italian hotels), I headed out into town and the first stop of the morning, the castle.

Two years ago in Florence I benefited from European Heritage Weekend, when every museum and gallery was free. Last year in Venice, by a pure fluke of picking the same weekend (last one in September), I found a large number of attractions free. I had looked on the internet and couldn’t find any mention of European Heritage Weekend for this year, so I didn’t know what to expect when I got to the five museums in the castle.

As to whether it was European Heritage Weekend, or just the staff couldn’t be bothered to take money, all the museums were free, which suited me just fine.

Having taken in all of the attractions of the castle, I had a wander around the surrounding parkland, including stopping for a rather late lunch. I then wandered back towards the Cathedral to pick up the Metro (as my feet were feeling tired, I couldn’t be bothered to walk the half mile to my next stop!) out to a couple of the more spectacular churches in the area.

First up was San Lorenzo alle Colonne, one of the oldest churches in Western Europe dating back to the 4th Century, from there it was a bit of a hike over to Sant’Ambrogio. After looking around the churches I caught the metro back into the city centre and out to the spectacular central station.

The main reason was to check the times of trains to Bergamo for tomorrow, and to get a ticket in advance, but the station itself was worth the visit. It’s a vast and highly elaborate building (if you ignore the fascist undertones of who had it made so spectacular). I caught the tram round from the station, in the North Eastern part of the city, to the Naviglio Grande in the South West of the city. The canal was once a major part of the city’s port. The network of canals were so efficient that Milan, despite being a very long way from the sea, was at one point the 13th most important port in the country (and remember this is a country with a massive coastline along both sides of the country).

By the time I had finished looking around it was starting to get dark, so I headed back to the hotel to drop my stuff off and freshening up, before heading back out to take some pictures of the castle and night, and to grab a bite to eat.


Haze Sunny Intervals
Hot (20-30C, 68-86F)