MILANO – Luciana’a top 5 places and things to do

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When you are travel to Italy, you most likely will visit Rome, Florence or Venice….or even Milano. Of course there are those who have visited the lesser know and equally beautiful regions, like Abruzzo, Puglia and Basilicata.
I recently visited  the great metropolis of Milan and apart from the Duomo and the Teatro alla Scala Opera House there are many hidden gems as well to look for. Here are my top 5 places and things I really enjoyed this summer in Milano.

1. Visit the small church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro – located in a busy tourist shopping street, take time off on a hot summer’s day to step into the cool 15 th century and see the wonderful architecture of Donato Bramante, master architect and painter of the early Renaissance period. The apse he created is a trick on the eyes, with great perspective he makes less than 1 metre look like it has a depth 10 times as much. A real jewel to discover:
Address: Via Torino, 17-19, 20123 Milano  
http://www.milanoguida.com/visite-guidate/chiese-e-basiliche-milano/san-satiro/

2.  Marvel at the amazing treasures in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana:
Address: Piazza Pio XI, 2, 20123 Milano
This fabulous collection amassed in the 16th century by the cardinal of Milan, Federico Borromeo also has a massive library of books he collected at a time when books where hidden in closed libraries. The Caravaggio masterpiece CANESTRO is there and seen  at the very end of your visit. 


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Caravaggio’s “CANESTRO”
There is also the Leonardo da Vinci painting of the MUSICO – 
strange in the fact that the face has so much detail yet the hat and tunic is so simple, it seems that it may be painted by another painter?   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_a_Musician
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Da Vinci’s “IL MUSICO” and the full still life of Caravaggio

3.  Stop for a morning coffee and pastry at Pasticceria Marchesi: http://www.pasticceriamarchesi.it
Address: Via Santa Maria alla Porta 11, Milano
A delightful stop – firstly the building itself is from the 1700’s and the pastry shop has been here since 1824. I could not resist taking home a sample of local pastries: a Veneziana – a yeasted brioche pastry which is mainly eaten at breakfast and a S-shaped biscuit, shortbread style.
For those who love coffee, there is not a new age bearded barista in sight here…but the old school white shirt, black suit and bow tie man will serve you!

4. For more culture you need to head to the mind blowing Pinacoteca di Brera – http://www.brera.beniculturali.it/Page/t01/view_html?idp=703
Address: Via Brera, 28 – 20121 Milano
You need to wear you most comfortable shoes on this day to go through the endless rooms filled with art treasures!
 I have read about it for so long and I finally was able to visit this summer. 

This massive collection came to be from Napoleonic times when in the early 1800’s he closed many convents and churches and requisitioned these valuable artworks (to our benefit now). 

The main pieces I really wanted to see were:
1) Mantegna’s Dead Christ (Cristo Morto) which was I had known about for years… Painted in the late 1400’s (1480-1500) it was a radical shift from the Medieval and early Renaissance artists intrepretation of the crucifix and death of Christ images. The foreshortening and perspective used is truly unique here. The painting is hung low, so you need to get down to really appreciate the perspective.
Here is a good video explaining some details of the painting:
https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/renaissance-reformation/renaissance-venice/venice-early-ren/v/mantegna-dead-christ-c-1490
2)   Bramante’s Christo alla Colonna – also painted in the late 1400’s, it is such an emotional and physical artwork.. The elements which touched me the most were the bruises from the rope on Christ’s neck, the pressure of the rope on his left arm and the impression on his skin and the tears ending in his beard. I also loved the sculptural appearance of the body..
Absolutely incredible. The background in the painting represents  a view to the harbour  in Otranto with foreign Turkish boats arriving to invade. This is the battle of Otranto in 1480.
 
5. Visit EATALY at lunchtime: http://www.eataly.net/it_it/negozi/milano-smeraldo
_Address: Piazza XXV Aprile, 10 – 20121 Milano

Here you can find almost anything you desire in Italian cuisine.. The best ingredients and producers all over Italy are selected to give you the best Italian feast and taste sensation! I headed to the cheeses and bought a local cheese from Lombardia region to accompany the sourdough breads. Then the gelato section was impossible to pass up.

You can see that Milano offers so much. Of course I had time for shopping as well in this fashionable city.
From Abruzzo, you can get to Milano by a Frecciabianca train direct from Pescara to Milano Central station! Very easy to do. See you in Italy!