Milan is rich in art, history and culture, and is the business, design and fashion centre of Italy but the heart of the city is for sure the Cathedral. One of the largest churches in Europe and the symbol of Milan, its construction started in 1386 and ended in the late 19th century. It is made in white Candoglia marble, and characterised by 3400 statues and its fabulous stained-glass windows.
Such a huge monument requires endless attentions and restoring works; scaffolds are to be seen all the time around the Duomo. In Milanese dialect, "fabrica del domm" (Duomo's factory) is an expression used to indicate lenghty and somewhat complicated operations.
Together with Duomo the Sforza's Castle is one of the most famous monuments in Milano. Built in 1368 as a fortress by Galeazzo II Visconti, the Sforza Castle was enlarged during the 14th century by Gian Galeazzo. Later Filippo Maria transformed it into a splendid ducal palace. Francesco Sforza, who became Lord of Milan in 1450, together with his son Lodovico il Moro, turned it into one of the most magnificent Italian Renaissance courts. Napoleon later built the imposing boulevard leading from the Castle's Sempione park to the Arco della Pace, raised in resemblance of the Arc de Triomphe. Today the castle is home to the Civic Museums.Inside, the Museum of Ancient Art is custodian to the last masterpiece of Michelangelo,the Pietà Rondanini; it also hosts the Picture Gallery, the Furniture Collection. Finally, many important archivies and libraries are located in the castel: the Library of Art, the Historic Archive, the Trivulziana Library, the Archeological and Numismatics Library and the Vinciana Collection.
Santa Maria delle Grazie
In the splendid Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a Unesco World Heritage Site , is one of Leonardo's most famous works of art: the Last Supper, also know as "Il cenacolo". Da Vinci had experimented a type of painting, but already in 1556 Arts biographer Giorgio Vasari noticed it was starting to fade. The passing of time and the bombings of 1943 did not help protect it. The refectory containing this fresco can now be accessed only by appointment, and by a limited number of visitors;therefore if you need futher information about reservation please ask to the Concierge.