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Milan and Lake Como
Milan, city of a thousand histories. Plus, a trip to Lake Como
From the Duomo, to futuristic skyscrapers. From lake shores to snow-capped mountains. Here are our tips for a weekend in Milan and on the shores of Lake Como.
Any visit to Milan is bound to start at its most iconic attraction, the Duomo. The terraces offer an 8000 m2 lookout from where you can admire the city from on high. The view embraces Torre Velasca, Palazzo dell’Arengario, the dome of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and even the Alps. Walk through the most famous gallery in Milan from Piazza Duomo to reach Teatro alla Scala and its museum, together recounting the history of one of the most prestigious theatres in the world. Not far away lies the Brera district, oozing Bohemian charm. The Brera picture gallery is home to superlative masterpieces, including Piero della Francesca’s Sacra conversazione. The Biblioteca Braidense or Braidense National Library is a gem you must be sure not to miss. If you wish to explore the city’s history still further, another obligatory stopping point is Castello Sforzesco, now home to numerous museums and works of art, including Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini, which stole Bob Dylan’s heart. The future? Just look up. In recent years, new skyscrapers have redrawn the city skyline in the Porta Nuova and City Life districts. Arata Isozaki and Zaha Hadid are two star architects who have put their stamp on the city.
Como, Bellagio and Ghisallo
A few minutes’ ride on the historic cable car takes you from Como to Brunate. From here, you can see as far as Villa Olmo, the Tempio Voltiano and the port, with its spectacular sculpture by Daniel Libeskind. In the city, stroll beneath the arches of the Broletto, and visit Como Cathedral or Duomo (whose blue domes should always be viewed from above) and the Basilica di San Fedele. One of the best spots for discovering the lake is Bellagio, a charming village at the meeting point between the Como and Lecco branches of the lake. Inland, 800 m above sea level, Colle del Ghisallo is a Mecca for cycling enthusiasts. Here a whole Museum is devoted to the history of the bicycle, from “pink jerseys” to historical records. Memorabilia of Coppi, Bartali and Moser are on view in a little church not far away. Everything is set against the spectacular backdrop of the Grigne mountains.
Milan and Como are two unmissable destinations for all risotto lovers. That great saffron-infused classic, Risotto alla Milanese, goes well with ossobuco (or even just bone marrow sauce). A local appetiser? Mondeghili, a Milanese meatball delicacy. This dish is unique to the Como area, alongside fried perch fillets, butter, cheese and crispy sage.