"Milan - The Dullest Place in Italy" Milan by JohnnySpangles
Milan Travel Guide: 2,806 reviews and 7,000 photos
It has to be said, so I’m going to say it, there are only three things worth seeing in Milan: That big cathedral thing in the central square, Leonardo's Last Supper in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie and The San Siro Stadium. The rest of it is astoundingly dull. If you want great architecture go to Rome, if you want great art go to Florence, if you want sex with animals go anywhere in Wales.
However if you crave industrial estates, factories and hundreds of shops that sell nothing but overpriced designer rags then Milan is the place to go. Here’s a simple test that confounded me; try buying a tube of haemorrhoid cream in Milan. It’s impossible. Every single shop sells clothes, shoes or fancy luggage and nothing else. The long suffering Milanese population are both sore-bottomed and starving to death because there’s nowhere to buy food and you can’t feed a family of four on a Gucci handbag, well not at those prices anyway.
If Louis Vuitton could stick his label on something useful, like pile ointment, he’d make a fortune. He would have done out of me anyway. As you’ve probably gathered, my trip to Milan was blighted by troubles in the trouser-seat. However this doesn’t alter the fact that Milan is not the bee’s bollocks, with or without a sore bum.
By all means go and see the cathedral, it’s easily spotted at the end of central square. It’s big, gothic and with lots of pointy things on top. As with most cathedrals it’s dark and gloomy inside and you end up lighting a candle in an attempt to cheer it up a bit.
You can also get four hours of fun by queuing up to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper at the Convent. The best thing to do is to take a flask of tea and get there an hour before it opens. If you do this then you might get away with just three hours of standing behind an endless line of Japanese tourists who haven’t got a clue what they’re queuing for anyway. The reason for the slow-moving queue is that the nuns, monks, or whatever they are, only let fifteen people in at a time. This is because they are worried about too many people breathing on the painting at once. I don’t know why they bother. The picture has been touched-up, vandalised and restored so many times it’s highly debatable as to whether there are any of Leonardo’s original brushstrokes left. Apparently the need for all this restoration work over the centuries was all Leonardo’s fault in the first place. Even though he was a clever-clogs with the crayons, he was a lousy technician and could never get his surface preparation right. Hence the whole thing has slid down the wall a few times.
The fascists probably left the greatest architectural legacies in Milan. Firstly there’s the Central Station, which is a wonderful monument to crazy slaphead Benito Mussolini and would also look at home in Berlin. Then there is the San Siro stadium, home to both AC Milan and Inter Milan football clubs. As I’d timed my trip to Milan to coincide with a game I’d pre-ordered tickets to see Inter versus Schalke in the UEFA Cup. This was at the princely sum of forty-five pounds each. When I actually turned up at the ground you could buy them from touts for ten quid a throw. However I got to see buck-toothed wunderkind Ronaldo score a goal.
A word of warning should you go to see a game in Milan. The Italians have a habit of chucking distress flares around at football matches. It’s just a bit of light-hearted hooligan fun but one of them landed next to me and totally incinerated three plastic seats in about two nano-seconds. They take the precaution of having a fireman on each level to eventually put them out, but I couldn’t help thinking that white hot magnesium would probably have a similar effect on human skin long before our particular fireman had stopped scratching his piles.
- Pros:Mmmmm, tricky.
- Cons:Shops, shops and more bleeding shops.
- In a nutshell:Just make sure there's some football to see.
Difficult to think of a favourite thing as it's an incredibly dull place, unless you like shops. There's better places... more travel advice
Avoid the restaurants in the station square, where all the big hotels are. Walk half a mile away from the square and... more travel advice
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