Milan: Da Vinci & Duomo & Adventures

We arrived in Milan form Siena in the mid afternoon.  We have been in train stations all over Europe – London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Munich…  The Milan train station wins the award for “most grandiose.”  I mean, the main terminal area is all white marble and frescos, and super high ceilings:




Then you step out front for the front porch, and it is more of the same:20160512_160436


Really beautiful.  We found our way to our bus, and made it to our AirBnb.


There are 2 types of AirBnb.. those that are people who share their homes, and then others that are full time rental homes.  We have stayed at both (and our budget often has us at the latter).  However, when we get a chance to stay in someone’s home.. or a home that is really cared for, it makes all the difference in the world.  This giant home was probably the home the host grew up in.  There was a huge living room/den, separated from the kitchen and bedrooms.  I imagined it as a professor’s office (so many really neat looking books – all in Italian – also stuffed fish, and collected items from around the world) where he may have held meetings.  It was super nice, and felt homey.

I love staying in other people’s homes.  You really get a feel for what it is like to be in that area of the city.


But, I digress.  On our first day, we hopped on the tram (which are from the 1920s)


and went to Parc Sempione. While both Paris and Barcelona have “arcs of Trioumph”  Milan has the Arc of Peace.. It looks like a smaller incarnation of the Paris Arc – with similar flower motifs inside the arches.

WE found  a pond in the middle of the park – and the turtles were all sunning themselves on the shore… to the consternation of the momma ducks and their ducklings.  It was really cute to see these 2 groups doing their own things, but not interacting at all.



At the far end of the park form the ARc is the castello.  It was the local castle/fortress, and is now open the the public, with a bunch of museums inside.  The Ceiling painted by Leonardo Di Vinci is being restored – and was closed, but many other frescoes were present – and armor, and michelangelo’s last (unfinished) work


This is a ceiling extracted from at 14th century church, with the zodiac painted on it



There was a museum of furniture.  This is a detail form a huge cabinet. Inlaid wood my friends…. incredible detail..IMG_20160513_161747933IMG_20160513_153804765_HDRIMG_20160513_171356670_HDR


The ceiling of one of the outdoor cloisters.20160513_153218


Michelangelo’s La Pieta.20160513_155155



on our second day, we visited the Science museum – it has a huge Leonadro Di Vinci section.


This is not HIS Last Supper..  We tried to get there, but it was closed on Monday 😦


A model of one of Di Vinci’s bridge drawings. There were at least 20 models of his work.


There were also building full of trains, and boats.


This loom is from the 1800s.  It is automated.. with cards.  Essentially an early computer.


We eneded our day at the Duomo – one of the biggest and most famous.  We only had time for one visit – and given the choice of the roof terraces or the inside – we all chose the roof.


So much intricacy.  Details, statues – all hundreds of feet up – where they cannot be seen from the ground.  Really cool to walk under the buttresses, and to walk on the roof of this building.

We entered the duomo a few days later.  We have been in some big churches.. but…much like the train station…. this place was huge.  I Tried to convince the kids to see if we could reach around the pillars.. they were not up to it.  I have never been to the giant sequoias of California..but we were inside, and it felt like we were in a giant indoor forest.



There are so many museums and sights to see – we will have to return to Milan.. On our last full day, we found a fun outdoor activity for everyone – a ropes course!!


There are 3 near Milan.. We found one that was a 5 miute walk form the subway… and had just opened.  We had the entire place to ourselves for hours.  Everyone did at least one rope course


The hard courses were often 10 meters up (30 feet).. But our 6 year old A took on the adult course for for 140cm reach.. She was a beast up on the ropes.  Everyone did great… A few were scary, but we worked through our fears and conquered them.  Sun, trees, nature.  What a great way to spend an afternoon 🙂


After we left Milan, we took a short train to Como, Italy in the lakes district.



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