Sunday started early as I wanted to beat the queues for the Duomo. I found that going to ticket office 3 behind the Duomo rather than the one at the front probably saved me about half an hour waiting as I was straight up to the desk. I got the B pass for €11 which gave me entry to the Duomo, archaeological site, museum and the stairs to the rooftops- the lift costs about €4 more. Being Sunday there was a service on and it was a really lovely feeling walking round the huge cathedral as the choir sang. You do need to be careful of what you wear inside the church- no sholders or too much leg on show and the armed police will scan and check your bags, but safety is good and it isn’t in the least threatening.
The highlight was obviously the rooftops and after climbing up endless stairs I reached the top, to discover amazing gothic architecture and stunning views of the city. The photos don’t do it justice! Another good reason for going early is that even by 11am it was getting hot- especially after the climb! It was especially nice as someone proposed to his girlfriend up there, to a round of applause and congratulations.
I then headed over to La Scala, one of the most renowned opera houses in Europe. Unfortunately they have now broken up for summer and there are no events until 31st August but you can still enter the museum and have a nosy. With the Milano Card it was only €5 but again you needed €1 for the lockers. The theatre was beautiful and so luxurious I wish I could have gone for a show! The museum then led you through the history of the building and famous shows, with videos of concerts and operas playing, plus several of the costumes on display.
My next stop was back at the Piazza Duomo to see the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II- the famous designer shopping centre. I could never afford anything here but it was nice to window shop! I then headed up to the Galleria Highline (free with Milano Card) which is a walk along the rooftops with a restaurant at the end- I Dodici Gatti. With the Milano Card I got 20% off a delicious caponata pizza in a nice relaxed setting.Even if you don’t have the card, the info office inside the Galleria gave me a discount voucher for entry and the restaurant!
Having taken the lift up to the Galleria, I thought taking the lift down next to the exit would take me down to street level but I somehow ended up in the Leonardo3 (World of Leonardo) Museum without paying! It would have been €6 with the Milano Card and i do feel a bit bad about this but it was too difficult and embarrassing to explain afterwards. It is a whole musuem dedicated to da Vinci’s time in Milan and the Codex Atlantico. Although small, it was fascinating to see the original manuscript and the models the museum had made of several of his inventions, all explained through very clever interactive screens. Also having been too late to book tickets to see the Last Supper, the museum had a whole room dedicated to the restoration of this famous painting and a life size replica, so I didn’t feel like I had missed out too much.
The final sightseeing spot took me to Santa Maria presso San Satiro to have a quick look at the optical illusion created by Bramante under the patronage of the Sforza family in 1483. What at first looks like a traditional cross shaped church and space behind the alter turned out to be no more than 98cm long and all a trick of the eye! Just two minutes from Piazza Duomo it’s worth the quick detour to marvel at this art- although one of the curators told me off in Italian and told me to leave, i think because I was sat on my phone trying to load Google maps rather than looking at the church or praying. Oops.
I was pretty tired by this point so headed back to the hostel to freshen up and have a rest (as well as make those obligitory calls to parents and of course write these posts!) While browsing the leaflets in the hostel, I spotted a card for I Tre Archi restaurant down the road and decided this would be the place for dinner.
It’s quiet and everyone else there seemed to be a local, which was promising! I had the bruschetta for starters which was still slightly warm and tasted nice and fresh, especially washed down with a glass of cool white wine! Carbonara was the obvious choice for me (they do a lot of shellfish which I can’t eat, so it certainly made the choice easier!). The sauce was silky and creamy and oh so good, so much better than our English versions! The only downside was the €2 service charge but for a two course dinner with a large glass of wine, €15.50 wasn’t bad. I was planning on going back to the Castello to see if another concert was on, but the ominous thunder and lightning persuaded me to return to the hostel early!