I woke up early, tried to plan out a tentative route around the city on my convenient and lovely paper hotel map and left the hotel by 9:00.
the first thing on my list was the S. Maria della Grazie. this the cathedral where Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper is housed. I found out during my planning that you have to make an advance reservation to see the Last Supper in person because they only allow in 25 people per fifteen minutes. and the reservations fill up fast. the website for the tickets showed a map that was booked through September.*
I sat outside the cathedral and ate a marmelade filled croissant for breakfast. I went inside and looked around but of course did not see the Last Supper. that is ok though. the church it is housed in is beautifully detailed.
* well I found out that is bullshit. my roommates from the hotel told me that they decided to call and check with the church to make sure that there weren’t any openings and they got a reservation on Tuesday. if I had called Thursday night it would probably have been too late. but lesson learned: don’t trust travel websites. call and confirm.
my next stop was the 14th century Sforza Castle. it has a lot of museums and even has the last sculpture that Michelangelo created before he died. the museums all cost individual entry fees but it’s free to walk through the grounds.
I got a pretty string bracelet from this guy from Africa when I first walked in through the gates. he walked right up to me and started talking and before I could even say anything he was tying a bracelet onto my wrist. and, naïve me, my first thought was, “wow! he’s so friendly and giving me something for free!” I couldn’t get him to leave me alone after that. I told him about a dozen times that I had no money for him. I don’t think he believed me.
the castle covers a lot of ground and has a large courtyard area in the middle where tourists were flocking. I didn’t stay long.
I always have a lot of fun just walking around cities. I found out a lot of information about the day passes for Milan’s metro and bus system but eventually decided to never partake. walking everywhere allows you to see all of the city instead just what the tourists see. plus you get lost a lot more and stumble into things you hadn’t planned or take detours when you see things that interest you.
although, your feet hate you later.
in my other trips I have not usually had such a long list of things I wanted to see as I did for Milan. in hindsight, I actually think I took the weekend a little too quickly and tried to see too much. at times it felt less like a leisurely trip and more like a scavenger hunt. don’t get me wrong; I had a fantastic time! I think in the future though I will try to walk a little more slowly.
I headed into the city center and actually accidentally walked right into the main tourist area. I was trying to walk around it and come into it later in the day but took a different way than my morning plan originally was supposed to take me and found myself right in the thick of it all.
I stopped for a while in the Piazza la Scala and watched people for a while before I entered into the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. this open air covered walkway between the Piazza La Scala and the Piazza Duomo is one of the main sights in Milan. I read somewhere that it is the first mall ever. it is absolutely beautiful in cast iron and glass.