Milan and Lake Como
Welcome to Milan and Italy! While Milan is not too high on the list in many guidebooks, it has some gems. Our favourite, seen at left, is the rooftop of Milan’s Duomo (cathedral). As with many other cathedrals in Europe, you can climb to the top for a small fee, but Milan’s is unique so far in my travels in that you can walk around almost the entire roof once you’re up there. The view at left is the roof over the main transept of the church. One interesting thing about the cathedral in Milan is how long it took to build. According to our guide book (Rick Steves’ Italy, an excellent tour book), it inspired the Italian phrase for “takes a long time”, namely “like building a cathedral”: it was started in the 14th century and only finished in roughly 1858. The facade, seen at right, was “finished” last, although when it’s now under renovation, which is why my picture only shows you half of it.
Next to the cathedral is the fanciest shopping mall I’ve ever been in, the open air but covered Galleria, seen at left. It has the world’s first Prada store and, directly across from it, a McDonald’s. I’m lovin’ it. We walked around town that night and went to see Sforza Castle, which is quite large and in the middle of the city. I don’t know if anyone ever successfully invaded it, but I didn’t see an easy way in.
The next day we took a train up to the Lake Como region, and visited a few small towns, including Varenna seen in the picture at left. Keen Star Wars fans may recognize the lakeshore house in the picture at right as the house that Senator Amidala and Anakin Skywalker hide out on Naboo in Star Wars: Episode II. I knew that it was somewhere on Lake Como and was very excited when our ferry passed it and I managed to get a photo. Oh, and the rest of the area was nice too.