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I can’t say I really know Milan – I spent a day touring in 2005, and have been back a few times since on work trips which involved a lot of time indoors. It’s a hectic city, food and shopping is reported to be great. Avoid the airport at all costs – it’s really far from the city, and arrival by train is far easier.

Sites:

  • ***Il Duomo: It’s huge and impressive, though I far preferred the roof tour, which gave a great view of the multiple layers of construction. My guidebooks mention that there are over 3000 statues on the building, which seems believable considering that each spire has about 8-12. 
  • I saw three or four other churches (**San Alessandro being the most appealing), but they all paled in comparison to Il Duomo. 
  • The **Brera and **Biblioteca Ambrosiana museums are excellent. My criteria: strong, interesting collection with a few recognizable pieces, ideally small enough to be completed in under two hours (before brain fatigue sets in). Both focused on religious art, and had small collections of 18th and 19th century works, including several by Francesco Hayez that I particularly liked. He’s known for “The Kiss”, but also did Whistler-esque society portraits. I liked the Ambrosiana the most, because they had a restoration area right in the center of one of the portrait galleries. It was interesting to watch the people work. 

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