This is the last part of “Discovering Milan”; in this chapter we’ll explore two parts of the city: from the modern square Gae Aulenti to the old Navigli. Let’s go!
Milan: between modernity and history
Piazza Gae Aulenti and Porta Nuova
This is the newest part of the city; the Gae Aulenti square is composed by skyscrapers where are located the offices of important companies. All along the square there are new bars and stores. Gae Aulenti is a circular square, designed by César Pelli; the square was inaugurated on 8th december 2012. Porta Nuova is the name of the district and it is made up by a series of new buildings as the Unicredit tower, the trees library and the “Bosco verticale” (two palaces with a lot of plants and flowers).
Porta Venezia, Via Montenapoleone and Villa Necchi Campiglio
Porta Venezia is one of the six gates of Milan and it is built over the old spanish walls (built between 1548-62). Not far from Porta Venezia you can walk until Via Montenapoleone, the fashion district: for the fashion lovers, here you can find a lot of important “maisons” and stores. Not far from Via Montenapoleone and the fashion district, you can visit Villa Necchi Campiglio, a place surrounded by a peaceful garden, housing sensational works of art, where you can still immerse yourself in the glamorous world of Milan’s interwar years.
Giardini pubblici Indro Montanelli and San Marco
The public gardens were inaugurated in 1784 and they were the first place in Milan dedicated at the well-being; the gardens are a good place to relax and to stay away from the traffic and the caos of the city. Not far from the gardens there is the San Marco district: here there are embassies and consulates from all over the world.
CityLife and Tre Torri
CityLife and the Tree Towers district is the most modern part of Milan; CityLife is a big project of renovations of the city. Some buildings are now under construction but there are other finished as CityLife shopping district, the biggest in Italy. Most of the companies headquarters ubicated in Piazza Cordusio, are now moved here.
In the historic cemetery are buried famous characters of the Italian history and Italian literature as Alessandro Manzoni, Carlo Cattaneo, Luca Beltrami, Salvatore Quasimodo and more; the cemetery was opened in 1866 and in the middle it was the ossary. During the years, the cemetery was expanded until reach 250.000mq.
There are 5 canals in the Navigli lombardi system: Bereguardo, Grande, Martesana, Paderno and Pavese. These are the oldest artificial canals in Europe. Built from the 12th century onwards, they made it possible to link Milan with Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and the city of Pavia and River Po. The Naviglio Grande is a navigable canal which starts where it draws water from the Ticino and ends in the dock Darsena di Porta Ticinese in Milan. It is 49.9 km long and it is navigable since 1272; is the first of the canals that make up the Milan canal system, the oldest and the most important. Illustrious figures have helped to write its history, including the Sforzas and Viscontis, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Therese of Austria and Napoleon. Nowadays, the Navigli district in Milan, is rich in restaurants, pubs, bars and places to enjoy the life, especially during the weekends. If you are interest on the history of the Navigli system, check on the website.
Mudec: museo delle culture and via Tortona
For those who love all the cultures and the history, this place is strongly reccomended; the Museum of Cultures aims to be a center in constant dialogue with the international communities present in Milan. Not far from the Mudec, there is an important place, well known for international design: Via Tortona; every year, in via Tortona there is the design week which show a lot of artists and companies from all over the world. For the design lovers the Tortona design week is an unmissable appointment.
Milan trains Stations
Milan has three important trains stations: Cadorna FNM, Stazione Centrale (Central Station), Stazione Garibaldi (Garibaldi Station). The station of Cadorna connects the major cities of the Lombardy region: Como, Lecco, Varese, Laveno (all cities ubicated in the lakes area); if you are interest in the lake area, read the article “Lombardy and the lakes“. The Central Station and Garibaldi Station are bigger and they offer a different service: from Central Station every day depart the “frecciarossa train“, one of the fastest Italian train which connects Milan, Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice in few hours. It is fast but is expensive almost as a flight. If you want to explore Italy by train, is better for you to take the regional trains and take some stops. From this station there are also trains to France, Swiss and the major destination in Europe. (Milan-Paris in 6 hours for example). The Garibaldi Station also offers connections with the major Italian cities. Inside the Central Station there is also the Shoa Memorial Museum: during the years 1943–1945, twenty trains left from here, carrying Jews and other persecuted people to concentration or death camps. Of all the places in Europe that had been theatres of deportations, the Milan Memorial is the only one that has remained intact. It renders homage to the victims of the Holocaust.
The underground network in Milan is currently the largest system in Italy for length, number of stations and ridership: the trains connect the major and important places in the city. Nowadays we have four lines working and a fifth under construction. The single ride ticket costs 2,00 € and it is valid for 90 minutes since its validation; the ticket can be used also to take the tram, buses and suburban lines. There is also the day ticket, that costs 7,00 €.
I hope you like this part of “discovering Milan” and if you need more information about Lombardy, Lakes Area and Italy in general, feel free to contact me. Bye Bye, see you in the next article. 😉