Europe

Six Architectural Wonders of Milan

One of the world’s four capitals of fashion and shopping, an important financial and economic center, Milan is first and foremost a bastion of culture and history. Despite the constant progress of this Italian metropolis, the architectural wonders that make it unique have withstood the test of time, and are a real gateway to the time of the Italian renaissance. It may not be the cheapest city to travel to, but there are always some affordable hotels in Milan, and its countless attractions make it a worthwhile destination.

Castello Sforzesco

Photo by tazmany

Once the seat and residence of Milan’s ruling family, Castello Sforzesco is now the city’s one-stop-shop for museums and art galleries. Construction of the castle began in the 14th century, but over the succeeding generations of the Sforza family, it suffered major reconstruction and modifications. Of its many elaborate interior decorations, the most famous is the ceiling in the Salla Delle Asse, painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

Photo by fedewild

In the 19th century, after the unification of Italy, Milan’s Castello Sforzesco was rebuilt, under the supervision of Luca Beltrami, but suffered new major damage, in 1943, during an ally bombing. It was again rebuilt, and apart from some minor new additions, the Castello Sforzesco of Milan looks just the same as it did when it was first built.

Duomo di Milano

Photo by MarkusMark

A truly must-see attraction for any visitor to Italy’s city of fashion, the Duomo di Milano is the fourth largest cathedral in the world and a classic example of Gothic architecture. Started in the 14th century, the construction of Milan’s cathedral was completed five centuries later, during the reign of Napoleon. One of the symbols of Milan, the cathedral is a spectacular monument, standing at 182.5 meters, from the ground to its highest spire.

Photo by chensiyuan

Located in the very heart of the city, in the square that shares its name, the Duomo di Milano has been the scene of countless social, cultural and religious events, throughout the centuries. One of the most impressive churches in the world, the Duomo di Milan is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio

Photo by Idefix

Built in 387 AD, by Saint Ambrose, Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio is one of the oldest structures in the city of Milan. The original structure was known as Basilica Martyrum, so called for the many martyrs of Roman persecution, in the area. The present Romanesque appearance of the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio dates back to the 11th century, but retains the original plan of the edifice.

Photo by Giovanni DallÓrto

The Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio is one of the most fascinating places in Milan, with an atrium almost as large as the church itself, Romanesque carved capitals, carved sarcophagi, and overwhelming medieval art.

Torre Velasca

Photo by davidorban

Looking a lot like one of the defense towers of a medieval fortress, Torre Velasca is a modern building that keeps Lombard tradition and fits right in the center of Milan. Built in 1954, by a partnership of 4 architects, Torre Velasca is over 100 meters tall, and stands out thanks to its unusual, mushroom-like shape.

Photo by simone ricardi

Torre Velasca dominates the skyline of Milan, and though many see it as a modern interpretation of a typical Lombard medieval castle, I think it looks more like the headquarters of an evil mastermind that hopes to someday rule the world. Its unique shape satisfies the need for space in Milan, narrow on the ground and a lot more spacious at the top levels.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Photo by Bernt Rostad

One of the most beautiful covered galleries in the world, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the most popular shopping destinations in Milan. A local landmark in its own right, the gallery also connects two other of Milan’s most famous attractions, the Duomo di Milano and the Teatro della Scala.

Photo by Bernt Rostad

Completed in 1867, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was meant to represent the union between the church and the state, after the revolution of 1848. Two days before the inauguration, designer Giuseppe Mengoni fell to his death from the top of the steel and glass roof, but that didn’t affect the success of his masterpiece, and today Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of Milan’s busiest shopping destinations.

Santa Maria delle Grazie

Photo by Latinboy

One of the most beautiful architectural monuments in Milan, the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is famous as the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” painting. This famous mural is actually the main reason tourists book a ticket to visit the church, but as soon as they set their eyes on Santa Maria delle Grazie, they realize it’s a worthy tourist attraction in itself.

Photo by Mvp

Often overlooked, in favor of other of Milan’s landmarks, Santa Maria delle Grazie is a true architectural treasure of the 15th century. Its beautiful dome was built by Donato Bramante, one of the most talented architects of the Italian Renaissance.

11 Comments for "Six Architectural Wonders of Milan"

akash says on July 8th, 2010 at 6:19 pm:

really amazed wish could see them..
moments house

Gwendolyne Lever says on July 30th, 2010 at 1:04 pm:

They are all fantastic I would love to see them one day.

abhijith says on February 24th, 2013 at 6:22 pm:

i love milan

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