"This cathedral [Milan] is a most astonishing work of art. It is built of white marble, and cut into pinnacles of immense height and the utmost delicacy of workmanship and loaded with sculpture. The effect of it, piercing the solid blue with those groups of dazzling spires, relieved by the serene depth of this Italian heaven, or by moonlight when the stars seem gathered among those clustered shapes, is beyond anything I had imagined architecture capable of producing...There is one solitary spot among those aisles behind the altar, where the light of day is dim and yellow under the storied window, which I have chosen to visit, and read Dante there." − Percy Bysshe Shelley, excerpt from 'With Shelley in Italy' (1905)
Originally settled by Celtic people, today Milan is Italy's largest metropolitan area and is one of the world's leading centers of fashion and commerce. Throughout history, Milan's geographical location has proven to be both its blessing and its curse. During the Middle Ages, it quickly established itself as a hub for trading and business due to its proximity to the Italian Alps. Over the course of centuries, numerous ruling powers including the Spanish, French and Austrians have taken power of the city. In 1944, the Germans invaded and the city was bombed extensively by Allied Forces. However, Milan is a city of perseverance and continuous growth and the Milanese have nicknamed it "the moral capital." Its history lives through its art, fashion, opera, architecture and vibrant urban life. Join us on a walking tour of this bustling, cosmopolitan city as we discover its colorful history and most treasured masterpieces.
Along our walking tour of this fashionable city, we will see first-hand why Milan is home to the next World Fair in 2015. We will visit the world's 4th largest cathedral, Duomo di Milano, a gothic style church which took five centuries to complete and is home to the famous "Madonnina." In 1796, after taking control of the city, Napoleon was crowned in the Duomo di Milano. Our guide will escort you to the Sforzesco Castle, adorned by Bramante and Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century, and now home to some of Milan's finest museums. We will have the opportunity to see da Vinci's The Last Supper upon our visit to Santa Maria delle Grazie. The Last Supper survived intense Allied bombing in 1943 which destroyed much of the convent. A true highlight of our walking tour will be our visit to La Scala, Milan's world renowned opera house. La Scala has hosted an impressive roster of premieres through the ages including Turandot by Giacomo Puccini in 1926, Europa Riconosciuta by Antonio Salieri in 1778 and Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi in 1893. Milan's vivacious energy will infuse our tour as we explore the formative history behind this modern city.