Italy, my heart pounds every time I hear that word – the boot-shaped country lying peacefully on the Mediterranean, with its year-round gorgeous scenery, delicious food, world-famous fashion brands, with cities and regions depicted arduously in all forms of art. Italy, with its passionate people, the artistry filled in the air.
When I boarded that night plane from Amsterdam to Milan, I didn’t feel anything. But the next morning, when I woke up and pulled open the curtain, a stream of sunlight filled the room, and outside, a peaceful, quiet, somehow very familiar view greeted me together with the tolling of the nearby church bell. A very Italian atmosphere struck my heart with happiness and my mind with the sweet realization: “Italy”.
Milan is not a tourist city as Rome, Venice, or Florence. The most touristy area in this new, industrial city is Pizza del Duomo, or Cathedral Plaza, named after the Milan Cathedral – the 5th largest one in the world and the largest in Italy.
Started in 1386, this Gothic building, made entirely of marble, was completed in 1965, a span of nearly 6 centuries. Facing West, the Cathedral is most beautiful in late afternoons, when the setting sun shines its glorious beams onto the front facade and the whole Cathedral lights up in colorful reflections.
Gothic architecture – there was a time that my heart would stop at a photo of a Gothic building. The hundred intricate steeples, the stained glass windows. When I stood there, taking in the whole cathedral, an old feeling of admiration and love crept in. It seemed like I had seen this view so many times, in books, on TV. It felt like a long time ago, and memories had hidden in a corner of my brain, waiting for just now, when the beauty of this cathedral struck my mind and heart. All the old memories and feelings, thought long forgotten, came back, this time in the sunlight and breeze of Lombardy.
To the right of the Cathedral is the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel – an arcade that housed shopping malls with restaurants, brand-name fashion stores
No, you probably won’t be able to afford the items within this mall, but just please look around and appreciate all the centuries-old paintings and architecture. It’s just a shopping mall…
It shouldn’t take more than 1 hour to go around the plaza built in 6 centuries, but it sure will take a long long time for magnificence of the treasures you’re seeing to fully sink in.