Northern Italy in Autumn (Sunday)

October 30 – November 6

Saturday ** Sunday ** Monday ** Tuesday ** Wednesday ** Thursday ** Friday ** Saturday

Sunday – Milan
Distance walked – 11.4 km

Morning came and we rolled out onto the streets of Milan once again. The weather was cool but dry and the streets around our hotel were empty and quiet. Oh, and the “Distance walked” each day is approximate – but generally pretty darn close!

I love these post boxes

Walking near last night’s dinner spot

And then we found breakfast…

It was good

Street – this one with cars!

And then we stumbled upon this lovely arch: Arco della Pace in Porta Sempione

The Arch was built in 1807, although the gate goes back to Roman times, and marks the original city wall. I really wish that I could travel through time and see what this area looked like 2,000 years ago!

Glorious details

Beyond the arch was Parco Sempione (the park), and beyond that, Sforzesco Castle. The park was obviously a favorite for the locals and their dogs. It was surprising to see a number of larger dogs, and a wide variety of breeds.

Doggy!

Ancient gate at Sforzesco Castle

Built in the 15th century, renovated in the 16th & 17th centuries – and now guards precious artworks

Interesting gate structures – why?

Oh what a surprise we found when we entered the main courtyard of the castle: A military vehicle show! Cars, motorcycles, trucks, ambulances – all from a wide range of years. The show was just getting underway, with a couple of people still getting their personal vehicles in place. It made me miss my VW Beetle.

My old 1970 Bug

View of the vehicles on display:

A small display of more modern motorcycles lined up outside the gates

Everywhere we went there were beautiful, ornate buildings. There were almost always people around, but rarely were the sidewalks crowded. It was a good morning for walking: no harsh sun, cool temperatures and dry skies. Dan had been to Milan once before for work, so he had an idea of which direction to walk. Not that it was any surprise to be heading towards the Duomo di Milano – it is only the most famous landmark in the city!

A temporary wall to hide a construction zone

Reusing stones for “new” construction

Sometimes the only way to update a building is to work from the outside

Behold! The Duomo di Milano

It was All Saints Day and the military was having a parade

The parade was short: I think it went about two streets down before coming to a reviewing stand to perform. Dan and I didn’t bother to follow along, but merely enjoyed the groups that marched by us where we stood. And then we turned around and enjoyed the Duomo even more.

While most cathedrals I’ve visited have been “old”, they generally aren’t as old as they seem, since the buildings I could see were built on the foundations of pre-existing structures. Technically, the Duomo was also built upon old foundations (from 355), but the structure actually standing before me was started in 1356 – and took over six hundred years to complete. It is absolutely incredible to think of how many generations worked on it.

Here kitty kitty kitty!

Directly next to the cathedral was another amazing structure: the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – a shopping mall. Oh, but what a mall!

It is Maroni (chestnut) season!

So many lovely details

Modern art on the other side

And some quiet streets

An ancient Roman gate (Porta Nuova) – widened to allow for automobile traffic

We were eventually back at the Duomo. On our way through the inner city’s streets we checked out a lot of shop windows – and I swear that every other one sold nothing but handbags! So many handbags! I mean really, how much of a market is there for such an item?

Bicycle rentals near the Duomo

LEGO Duomo!

We had a goal for today: to visit the Patagonia store and maybe pick up a couple of things. Of course our timing was way off and we were thinking more about “lunch” than “clothes”, but we were too early for most restaurant’s opening time. We ended up walking past the shop, killing time by searching for food for our bellies. We finally found it at Pizzeria di Porta Garibaldi.

Porta Garibaldi

It was a good meal, with a surprisingly thick crusted pizza. We got there just as they opened (actually we had to wait a couple of minutes) and the place filled up quickly behind us.

Post lunch and Patagonia we headed in the general direction of our hotel. But not directly, of course: we had more streets to check out along the way!

A really cool toy store

Short video of some of the mechanical items: Click here

Fantastic Art Deco windows

We found ourselves back at Sforzesco Castle, this time wandering around the other side of the fortress after seeing that there were no new vehicles on display. But this time I noticed this:

Those odd brick indentations in the outer wall were no longer a mystery: they were part of the drawbridge function from the old gates. I mean, I rather assumed that this might be the case, but I had never seen a design like this one and had been curious how it would work. This gate was more intact than the others and I can better understand the mechanism – although I’m still not 100% sure how it works. Feel free to let me know if you know!

Walking through the park again

Back to Arco della Pace, this time in a light rain

Where old meets new

Monday

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