This is the question I ask myself as I arrive in Milan. The world knows Milan as a fashion capital – words like haute couture, runway, glamour and fashion gel seamlessly together – marketed to perfection by marketeers. Yet.
As I walk through the seemingly haughty European architecture, I can’t help but feel that Milan offers more beneath all that talk about high fashion. I would like to believe I am right. After all, it is here that I met and fall in love with Sforza Castle and Pinacoteca di Brera (two tales for other days). As the capital of Lombardy with an estimated population of 5.2 million, the city is jarringly sparse compared to Singapore. Of course I understand the issue of land space Singapore is in so no complains there.
But Milan, Milan, Milan is the place where I attended Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Codice Atlantico’ exhibition. According to TickItaly, In the 16th century, the sculptor Pompeo Leoni made it his mission to collect more than 1700 documents (writings and illustrations) by da Vinci and to present them in one enormous book. In 1637 this volume was gifted to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, together with other manuscripts pertaining to da Vinci. I did not view the entire collection as, “to do so would involve visiting Milan every three months until this year”. What I saw was a selection of his work which, I admit, do not comprehend at all. It was enlightening though to see how much of his works are still relevant today.
It is also in Milan that I discovered Museo del Novecento, a museum a stone throw’s away from the Milan Cathedral. I remember the spiral walkway leading up to the museum and the kind lady who still smiled and let me in when I no longer have the entrance ticket with me (another visitor returned the ticket to the lady and she took it upon herself to find me and return the ticket – what gracious people!). In here, I see floors of modern art and become lost in three hours of euphoria.
The other museum would be Pinacoteca di Brera which you can read here.
It might be hard to believe, but I scoured what I could with the city in 1.5 days before taking a train to Paris (which only takes approximately 7 hours and spans 851km! This kind of technology is astounding). Anyway, my last impressionable visit in Milan was Sforza Castle, a 14th century fortification. Today, it houses a number of museums. If you feel the need to get away from the city and feel like you are in someplace else, this is it. A non-city in the city itself.
One day, I will definitely be back for more. And that time round, it will be my +1.