Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 184 - Duomo, Museums, and Window Shopping

Today Giulio took me on a brief tour of Milano, stopping by some of the most famous sights and shopping areas.  There are easy-to-use metros around the city, but we decided to walk the entire way since most of the main sites were situated in the center and easily walkable.

We briefly stopped by the Castello Sfortesco, a castle that was once the Renaissance residence of the Sfortza family in the 15th century. I read in wikitravel about some of the tactics some of the souvenir sellers use to sell their merchandise. There are usually people with small bracelets that come up to you and either hand one to you, tie one around your wrist, or lay it on your shoulder. You assume it is free, but then they insist that you pay after they have tied one around your wrist. I stealthily avoided their tactics as they hovered around the entrance to the castle.

Afterwards, we headed to the Duomo Cathedral so I could see what it looks like in daylight and also catch a glimpse inside the gigantic church. Along the way, I saw banners advertising the next World Expo in 2015, which will be held in Milano. I remember going to the one in Japan in 2007. It will bring many changes in the development of Milan. Giulio says Italy in general is reluctant to make too many changes to the country since there is so much history and ancient architecture that they wish to leave unchanged.

The church was so large inside and bare, since there weren't any services at the time we arrived. We looked at some of the stained glass artwork and some of the statues of  some of the saints. One of the statues was particularly interesting, because it was of a saint who had all of his skin peeled off his body, and he wore the skin over his shoulders, his bare muscles and bones shown freely. It was very creepy.

We headed towards the shopping area surround the Duomo where you could find some of the same shops you'd find in the USA. We stopped by a couple shops that had a bunch of creative design merchandise. I wanted to buy EVERYTHING there... I know by the end of my trip in Italy, I want to get something made of Italian leather or a pair of eyeglasses...I've been eyeing some simple wallets and wooden eyeglass frames, but nothing has been perfect, or the right price..

There was the luxury block of stores just a short walk away from the Duomo, where we managed to walk by 5 Dolce and Gabbana stores within a 1/4 km radius. It was pretty ridiculous, but I guess big name brands all have their stores in Milano to showcase the merchandise. Giorgio Armani is particular big here, where people refer to him as "King George."

The last stop of the day was the Museo del Novocento, which is a modern art museum showcasing some of Italy's most prominent artists. There was an exhibit that showcased Umberto Boccioni's Futurist and Cubist artwork, along with some of Picasso's abstract art. There were also some more interactive exhibits, including labyrinths for visitors to go through. One of them similated the feelings of disorientation a person would feel if he was in something relating to an insane asylum, where intense lights flashed intermittently. I definitely had a hard time walking through as my brain tried to reorient me to the surrounds each time the light shown once more.

Definitely an action packed day here in Milano!

Galleria Vittorio Emanuale II

Bike Share in Milan

Inside Duomo Cathedral - Notice the Skin Wrapped Around his Body

Umberto Boccioni - States of Mind

Museo del Novocento

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