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May 9th 2017
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Grand Hotel et de MilanGrand Hotel et de MilanGrand Hotel et de Milan

Our opulent, mid-19th© boutique hotel is close to the La Scala opera house and Milan's thriving fashion district. We were taken aback at their €8 coffees, when €1.5 is the street price for an excellent coffee.
Geo: 45.4699, 9.19249

Milan has a commuting population of over 8M and it is one of the "Four Motors of Europe" - the most important highly-industrialised areas. The others are centred on Barcelona, Stuttgart and Lyon. Milan houses the Stock Exchange of Italy and is famous for high fashion and the arts. In the 3rd century it was the capital of the Western Roman Empire.

We've had a day and a half to look around on our own and the first full day of our tour was also in Milan. Touring tip! Museums are closed on Mondays and it seems many tourist attractions close down for two or three hours in the middle of the day.

At the welcome dinner we met the 24 people on our Tauck small-group tour, plus our director Tina. All are Americans except us, so we are very pleased to not have to listen to a multi-lingual tour commentary. We've been given wireless tour headsets and split into two groups, each with a local guide.

Tours today of a cemetery, Sforza Castle, the Duomo (again) another church and the Brera Gallery - Milan's Uffizi equivalent. And a lot of walking!

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


Designer clothingDesigner clothing
Designer clothing

Funky clothes shop near our hotel. Can't quite visualise these on anyone we know! (Oops, I've since adjusted the camera time zone.)
La ScalaLa Scala
La Scala

The unprepossessing facade of the famous opera house. It was overcast with an occasional light drizzle. Temperature in the mid-teens.
Milan DuomoMilan Duomo
Milan Duomo

One of the major cathedrals in Italy, second to St Peter's in size. Although ABC we enjoyed a comprehensive visit that included the archaeological dig in its foundations, access to the high exterior, the museum and of course the interior. This pic was taken on the roof of the structure - a first for us. See the chopper? Obama is visiting for a couple of days and there was a flurry of security activity.
Duomo TerracesDuomo Terraces
Duomo Terraces

You could take the stairs or pay a bit more and use the lift to access the roof. 275 stairs daunted us, so we chose the lift.
Street eatsStreet eats
Street eats

Cannoli filled with soft ricotta cheese and garnished with pistachio, candied orange and chocolate. €3 and very good.
Campari Mausoleum Campari Mausoleum
Campari Mausoleum

In the mid-19th century Cimitero Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery). This is where the rich (and sometimes famous) of Milan are buried. The Campari family chose this representation of Da Vinci's Last Supper fresco to adorn their plot. Some plots are leased in perpetuity, but most are 100 year leases. If you don't maintain your mausoleum the land gets confiscated and re-let.
Sforza CastleSforza Castle
Sforza Castle

This huge, 15th century castle now houses galleries and museums. Many artists, including Da Vinci, were commissioned to decorate the castle. One of the museums is devoted to an incomplete Michelangelo statue of Mary cradling a dead Jesus - a so-called Pieta. It didn't enthuse me!
Michelangelo's Rondanini PietaMichelangelo's Rondanini Pieta
Michelangelo's Rondanini Pieta

See what I mean? This was still a work in progress when Michelangelo died aged 89.
Church of San MaurizioChurch of San Maurizio
Church of San Maurizio

This little gem is crammed with paintings and frescos. This "Last Supper" was done by one of Da Vinci's students.

11th May 2017

How we wish we were there, i work with an italian guywho goes to The Lake area frequently, says you need 2 weeks, it is fabulous, ENJOYPhotos gorgeous
11th May 2017

Sel, G'day from Lowie and Carol in Rockvegas. Sel: The closing of the tourist attractions a mid-day fits in well with your nap. You can get lucky! Tell your new found American acquaintances that one of your mates Down Under thinks that
The Donald is the best thing to happen to the US since Ronald Reagan. Have fun. Cheers, Lowie
11th May 2017

I think your room has a lack of seating
11th May 2017

All very splendid and educational... have a great time in the Lakes area.......
11th May 2017

Wish I was there to shop together, Rob! Have a wonderful trip, you two! Angela & Stef xo
11th May 2017

As always, I'm looking forward to reading your informative posts and seeing the photographs. Thank you for sharing these with us. Wishing you a very enjoyable trip. :-D
12th May 2017

Where are you guys now, we are in the Lake District
12th May 2017

We've just arrived in Verona. Here for two nights.
13th May 2017

Thanks, Rhona
18th May 2017

Bizarre, not sure what Im looking at, but interesting.
18th May 2017

How beautiful, and so impressive and the next pic, yup i would have done the lift too.
18th May 2017

Makes our lair look a bit sad by comparison!! Just love all the art, sculptures and architecture, blows my mind at the detail and effort and beauty.

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