We spent much of the day, yesterday, traveling from Cinque Terre to Milan. The train trip was pleasant, with some good views, but was extended thanks to a medical emergency bringing everything to a grinding halt.

We all ended the day unusually tired and so opted for a nearby restaurant which turned out to be pretty upmarket. It was good but I think we were a serious disappointment to our waiter. I had the Milanese Cutlet which is the center of a major controversy with Vienna over who first thought to dip meat in egg and breadcrumbs and fry the result. I have to admit I prefer the Viennese version.

This is not a schnitzel

This morning we hit the ground running with a tour of Leonardo’s Last Supper. Obviously it’s a beautiful painting and the guide provided a lot of insight into the multi-layered symbolism embodied in, seemingly, every brush-stroke.

Next up was the Duomo. I admit to being a jaded cathedral visitor, but the Milan Duomo cut through that. The unusual white facade; the neede-sharp turrets; the depth of statuary; and the soaring interior are just amazing. We went up on the roof and so had a chance to get up close and personal with the statues that you would otherwise only see in the distance.

Inside the Duomo we also visited the crypt. If you’re religious the embalmed saint’s body is obviously the main attraction, but I loved the atmospheric room centered on a chest containing a nail from the true cross.

After wandering through the glass-roofed Victorio Emanuelle Galería with its raft of up-market shops and floods of window-shoppers, we stopped for lunch.

Our final stop was the Biblioteca Pinoteca Ambrosiana. This library and art gallery is a great combination of lovely art and weird objects. A lock of Lucrecia Borgia’s hair and the gloves Napoleon wore at Waterloo to name two. It also houses the Codex Atlanticus, the largest collection of Da Vinci’s papers. I’m always blown away by Leonardo’s range of talents, but especially after seeing the Last Supper this morning it was amazing to see his hand-written notes and sketches.

Apart from the major sites, Milan has proved to be a pretty city. Much of it was rebuilt after WW2 bombing left it flattened, and it’s an interesting combination of new and old. The cute trams give it color and there are interesting shops all around. I can’t say one day’s visit does it justice, but it’s been a good day.

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