Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Italy

We drove from Campione d’Italia to Milan to spend an afternoon at the Piazza del Duomo.  We parked our car at one of the may parking garages and took the metro to Duomo.  It was an exciting entrance into the piazza as we walked up the steps from the metro directly into the centre of the square.

Crowds greeted us as we started weaving our way through the many people, selfie stick and souvenir sellers accosting us, but quickly left us alone.  Only once we’re we aggressively approached by two men cunningly and quickly tying a bracelet around our wrists, saying they are for free then asking for a donation.  Not the first time we’ve run into that scam.  Giza had plenty of the same.

The Milan Cathedral and the archway entrance into the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall were the main attractions, and rightly so.  The Milan Cathedral took almost six centuries to build and the shopping mall is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world.  Actually, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall is part of the design of the new multi-billion dollar shopping mall soon to open here in Qatar, the AlHazm.

Standing outside of the massive cathedral and looking up, the many spires with statues are impressive, but to me the most impressive was the artwork of the main door.  It looked to tell the story of Jesus in individually, detailed stills of moments of his life.

We waited in line to buy tickets to enter the Cathedral.  At first we waited in the wrong line up, we waited in the line up to enter the church and pray. That was to enter, sit and pray then leave.  We were looking for the tour.  We found the correct lineup and after an hour or so found ourself inside the vast expanse of the classical cathedral.

Inside were the bodies of mummified cardinals, some from centuries ago, mammoth stained glass windows, and famous statues.  The smell of incense permeated the air as we walked around in awe of such ancient beauty.

There was a tour beneath the main entrance of the cathedral of an archeological dig.

The tour also allowed entrance to walk on the roof.  This was a highlight, not only because of the beautiful view of the city, but to be able to appreciate the spires and flying buttresses up close.

A Christmas market surrounded the Cathedral.  Foods, purses, jewelry, silks, hats….of all flavors that filled the senses!

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was too crowded for me.  Inside the centre square of the mall stood a towering Christmas tree decorated with Swarovski crystal.  I hardly noticed as I fought for breath among so many people gazing at the historic sights within.  This was where the bracelet sellers jumped on us.  Seemed their trained eyes spotted my panic in the crowds and were quick to lunge on me.  But my experience with intrusive sellers in Egypt and my zero tolerance for their aggression left me pulling my wrist away and disappearing in the crowd as they asked for money.

We finally made our way out of the crowds, both of us noticing and laughing at the piles of bracelets that had just been cunningly tied on our wrists now laying as garbage on the cobblestone streets.

Sunset started to settle over Milan as we made our way back to the metro.  Christmas lights lit up, transforming the piazza into a glittering glow of magic.

It was time to head back to Campione d”Italia…..

Love, Stephanie

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