In addition to the top 10 top sights in Milan, I would like to offer you another six places in Milan, which most likely the tourist guide will not show you. I hope you like them!
1. The Navigli (The Channels of Milan)
When we hear Milan, we usually do not think of it as a „water“ city, but in fact one of the most beautiful places in Milan (in my opinion) is precisely related to water. It turns out that not only Amsterdam and Venice can emphasize on their channels. We are not talking about such a top level of popularity, but I still recommend that you visit them. It’s about the ambitious project of linking the Navigli (channel system) with the Lake Como, the Ada River, the Lake Maggiore and the Po River, so that it can pass through Northern Europe and then to the sea.
The Fascinating Story of the Navigli
The Story of the Navigli dates back to the second half of the 12th century with the construction of the first floating channel named the Tichinello. With a length of 50km, it was opened in 1179, setting off the construction of the Naviglio Grande. In 1457, Francesco Sforza entrusted Bertola of Novate (an Italian engineer) with the construction of Navilio Martaghena, but it was not until Ludovic Moore when the project was finally opened.
And who else if not the genius Leonardo Da Vinci could have finished such a complicated hydraulic project? With a genius network of connecter locks, Leonardo da Vinci managed to connect Milano to the Lake Como. Missing only the link with the sea through Po, but Napoleon took care of it in 1805 when he completed the construction of the Naviglio Pavese.
Over the years, the channels have been going through contrasting periods, they have heights and lows, then they have been overlooked and polluted, with many of them closed and buried. Nevertheless, the people of Milan have always loved them because they are a wonderful place to walk or spend some time in sweet talks, or take a sit on one of the numerous cafés that pop up like mushrooms around them.
Today, the canals enjoy a period of revival, they are in the focus of several reconstruction projects: the first completed project is the new alley past the Navilio Grande, thanks to Expo 2015: bicycle lanes, boats, relaxation areas accompany the traditional taverns, boutiques and paintings of artists.
2.The Izola Quarter and a street art tour
Another interesting stop is the neighbourhood of the street art „Izola“. The word means “an island”, and that is the explanation of where the Milan neighborhood is located: a city island. Gripped on both sides by the Garibaldi Station and the rails, Isola is an island in the physical sense of the word. It is separated from the busy traffic around Garibaldi station, Corso Como and Porta Nuova’s shiny skyscrapers. You can get there by subway 5, the Isola stop.
With these creations, the Italian Alberto Garutti makes people listen to the voices of Milan: this is what the magic of street art is actually about.
This is not the only neighbourhood in Milan where you can encounter such an art. I guess you will not have time to take a look at everything, but if you love the street art and you are curious, you can also visit Porta Ticinese. Here are some very impressive works of art. The first photo depicts Giuseppe Verdi, I guess you’ve all heard about the famous Italian composer, and on the second one you can see the out of the ordinary interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci, a blooming artist who invented the spray.
Let’s go back to Isola, if you’re there, go south and see the Unicredit bank building. I do not advertise the bank, but if you are interested, you can take a look.
3. Bosco Verticale
This is a complex of 2 residential buildings that fascinate with the trees and bushes on their terraces. The complex is known as Bosco Verticale, which means “the vertical forest”. See why:
If you have gone to the Isola neighbourhood, you can go back by the route passing through there as it is pretty close. It’s definitely interesting.
For people who, like me, are crazy about libraries, I recommend the Braindese National Library.
A perfect stop for the dark days, but also for the sunny ones if you want to be lost in ancient volumes that will take you far. Even if you just have a peek into the library, it can be a pleasure if you get involved with the books. It is within walking distance from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts.
5. Get the Irony of the Piazza Affari
Go to Piazza Affari, where the Milan Stock Exchange headquarters are located, to admire or simply admire the irony of the irreverent sculpture of the scandalous Catalan (an Italian artist), located just in front of the entrance to the building, where hundreds of bankers enter every day.
6. The graveyard of Milan (Cimitero Monumentale)
Take a tour of the City Cemetery, also known as the „Open Air Museum“. Even if you are not a dark genre fan, you can see some real works of art during a walk through the graves of famous Italian personalities.
I hope these 6 different locations in Milan have attracted you!
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