We all know that Milan is the Italian capital of fashion, design and that it houses an amazing cathedral, or Duomo as the locals call it, as well as the Theatre of Scala Opera House. Even such a famous tourist destination and a well-known place all over the world has its own secrets. There are yet things we don’t know or imagine about Milan. Today we are sharing the top 7 curiosities about the city. Keep reading!
- 1 1- Milan used to be almost another Venice: a city of water
- 2 2- Madonnina story: The guardian of Milan
- 3 3- The Milan Cathedral took 500 years for its construction
- 4 4- Housing the famous painting: “The last supper”
- 5 5- The aperitif is a Milanese tradition
- 6 6- Italian football league – Inter and Milan
- 7 7- Milan is deserted in August
- 8 Most instagrammable places in Milan
1- Milan used to be almost another Venice: a city of water
The city of Milan was founded by the tribe of Insburi, four centuries B.C. This ancient tribe had carefully chosen the location where they would build Medhelan, a new city that was planned to be constructed in the water. The city would be just like another Venice, with the fortresses and everything. With the time, the city they built, would become Milan.
The city had canals, major waterways that made it possible to sail through the city and directly connected it to the Adriatic Sea through the river port of Pavia.
There are only a few traces left of the ancient glory of Milan’s. The city has not been destroyed: in reality, the canals are now underground.
There is still the large canal that springs from the dock of Porta Ticinese that is obvious and seeing it, you can imagine how all Milan would look back then.
2- Madonnina story: The guardian of Milan
Located on top of the Milan Cathedral, the Madonnina overlooks the entire square below and gets an overall view of the city. Its history begins in the eighteenth century.
There was a competition held for the installation of a statue of Maria Assunta on that same spire. Almost all the artists of Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo were part of the competition but it was the Baroque sculptor Giuseppe Perego who was selected as the winner.
The Madonnina, was placed on the highest spire of the Cathedral and it represents the heart and soul of the city.
There was found evidence that shows the plan of laying the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of the Great Spire in a drawing by architect Cesare Cesariano dated 1521, where a central spire surmounted by a statue of the Madonna appears.
Francesco Croce, architect of the Veneranda Fabbrica, was commissioned to build the Great Spire on 21 June 1762. In 1765 Croce proposed decorating the gran guglia (great spire) with a statue of the Virgin who was being brought to heaven by angels.
3- The Milan Cathedral took 500 years for its construction
The Duomo of Milan is a unique cathedral that tells a story of faith and art spanning over five centuries. Construction work on the Duomo of Milan probably began in 1386. The first stone of the Milan Cathedral was laid in 1386, and it was completed only in 80-ies of the XIX century. The construction of this Cathedral lasted for nearly 500 years.
The long process involved a lot of architects and engineers at the head of this innovative and original construction site. Today, it is impossible to trace certain authorship of the project.
When the work of Milan cathedral began, the style of Gothic cathedrals was highly popular. The new church was decided to be built where the ancient basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Tecla stood. Today, the remains together with those of the Baptistery of San Giovanni alle Fonti, are still visible in the Archaeological Area.
4- Housing the famous painting: “The last supper”
Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan is the church made famous by the fact that it houses the original painting “The last supper” by Leonardo da Vinci. Before visiting it, most tourists don’t realize that the famous artwork was actually painted on the wall. It is painted on one of the walls of what once was the monastery’s dining room.
The painting reflects Jesus’s last diner before he was crucified, and that is why it got its name. More specifically, Leonardo da Vinci wanted to capture the reactions of shock and rage from the apostles, who were dining with him, after he told them that one of the apostles will betray him. In Leonardo da Vinci’s interpretation, the moment also takes place just before the birth of the Eucharist, with Jesus reaching for the bread and a glass of wine that would be the key symbols of this Christian sacrament.
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is one of the most admired, most studied, and most reproduced paintings the world has ever known. But no matter how many times you’ve seen it, we’ll bet you don’t know these details.
5- The aperitif is a Milanese tradition
People in Milan enjoy their famous drink, the aperitif in the bars and cafes every night, from 7 PM to 9 PM. This is the time for snacking and discussions with friends.
The tradition of the aperitif was laid by the Milanese and is one of the oldest traditions of Italians. This Italian drink is a similar version of the Anglo-Saxon happy. Almost all Milan’s cafes and bars offer an aperitif. The traditional time of the aperitif is 19:00–21:00.
6- Italian football league – Inter and Milan
Milan is home to two of the strongest teams in the Italian football League clubs Inter and Milan. Milan, the most successful club of the city, was also owned by ex Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is a big football fan. Both teams play at the same stadium, San Siro, which is considered to be one of the largest stadiums in Italy. The clubs are highly competitive and brought home the most European Cups in Italy.
7- Milan is deserted in August
August is the time of the year when Milan is without the crowds that we are used to see..Lots of people are on holiday, there’s little traffic and Milan gets a charm that you don’t get in other periods of the year.
Visiting the city in August gives you a different perspective of the city, seeing that you normally wouldn’t notice. The simple fact of having less cars and trucks parked in the streets allows you to notice details and corners that you wouldn’t be able to see in other periods of the year.
Most instagrammable places in Milan
If you are planning tovisit Milan, or you are already in the city, try to get the best memories with you. If you are staying more than one day, you will be able to visit and explore even the Lombard region. The sightseeing, the narrow streets, the museums, the churches, and other attractions in the city will make your trip unforgettable.
Make sure you shoot some photos while on your journey and if you are looking for places to take Instagram-worthy photos, consider the following places:
- Argo Della Pace (the arch of peace)
- The Cathedral of Milan
- Bosco Verticale
- Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio
- Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery
- Sforzesco Castle