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10 curious facts about Milan

by Michael Erna

Everyone knows that Milan is the Italian capital of fashion and design, that it is the location of the famous Milan Cathedral, or Duomo, as well as the Teatro alla Scala.

Here are a few more fun facts about Milan, which you should know, in order to gain a better understanding of the city.

1. Milan has the most skyscrapers in Italy.

2. When Napoleon came to these lands, he created the Kingdom of Italy, and he himself was crowned king in the Milan Cathedral in 1805, when the city was declared capital of the kingdom.

3. During the Austrian rule of Milan, the city became the focal point of opera. Mozart gave three premier performances, from the stage of Teatro Regio Ducal.

4. Teatro alla Scala is the largest opera house in Europe – each performance can be enjoyed simultaneously by over 2000 spectators. The opera house also has a museum.

5. The Milan Cathedral is the 5th largest cathedral in the world. Construction began in 1386 and continued for over 600 years. Duomo wasn’t completed until 1965.

6. The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is made famous by the fact that it houses the original painting “The Last Supper”, by Leonardo da Vinci. Most visitors, however, don’t tour the inside of the church (“The Last Supper” was actually painted on the wall of the what once was the monastery’s dining room) and observe a strange occurrence – the church’s façade has elements from both Renaissance and Gothic design aesthetics, which happened because the nobleman in Milan had different perspectives, when it came to art. 

7. Every night, from 7 PM to 9 PM it is time for aperitivo in Milan  - the bars and cafes offer huge spreads of food, which everyone can take advantage of, after purchasing a beverage. This is the time for snacking and discussions with friends.

8. Anyone can “adopt” a gargoyle from the façade decorations of the Milan Cathedral. The campaign is a part of an effort to preserve the symbol of Milan. The price of a gargoyle is 100 000 euros.

9. It is believed that a third of the Filipino population of the world lives in Milan.

10. Milan also has canals – in the Navigli district. They were built to aid the transportation of goods from the local lakes. For instance, they were used to bring the marble used for the Milan Cathedral. Today, the canals are no longer used for the transportation of goods, but instead tourist boats can be spotted. In the Navigli district is hidden one of the 8 secret locations to fall in love with Italy.


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