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Milan and Verona

...Two cities, two histories, two priceless gems to be discovered...

Milan, the best known of the Lombard cities, guards much of its artistic and architectural heritage in its historic centre. The city's most symbolic building is the cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, better known as the Duomo, located in the square of the same name. This is the centre of economic and cultural life in the city. From here, the Vittorio Emanuele II gallery, a covered passage with exposed structures of iron and glass, leads to the Teatro alla Scala, one of the most famous opera houses in the world, in the square of the same name.

Another Milan landmark is the Sforzesco Castle, originally built as a purely military structure, then redesigned as an elegant court for the noblemen of the city. Also worthy of note are the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio; the complex that houses the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie; and the Leonardesque Cenacle, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. More modern construction can be found at the Central Station, built in a style that combines the dominance of the fascist structures with decorations in the Liberty style, and the Giuseppe Meazza stadium, known as La Scala of football. The city is also rich in museums and art galleries. The most famous is certainly the Pinacoteca di Brera which, together with the Poldi Pezzoli Museum and the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, constitute a network of the most famous art galleries in Milan. One must not forget the numerous important churches that populate the city, and the city's historical parks: the Giardini Pubblici (now dedicated to Indro Montanelli), the Parco Sempione and the Parco Ravizza.

Verona, known as the city of 'Romeo and Juliet', has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the most important cities for art in Italy, due to its artistic and archaeological riches. The city has numerous monuments from the times of the Romans, the Scaliger family, the Venetians (especially private and military buildings) and the Austrians (especially military structures) but the Middle Ages left few memories in Verona, due to the devastating earthquake of 3 January 1117 which had the city as its epicentre, and left it heavily damaged.

Due to the earthquake, even part of the outer ring of the Arena collapsed, leaving only a portion of it standing. It was further damaged in a subsequent earthquake in 1183, thus creating the current striking form of the Arena with its 'wing'. This is one of the most famous monuments of all, which became the symbol of the city itself: the third largest Roman amphitheatre in Italy after the Colosseum and the Capua amphitheatre, but the best preserved of these; so much so that it is used today to host the famous Arena di Verona Opera Festival, as well as numerous concerts. Not far away you can admire the Roman theatre, the Borsari and Leoni gates, the Ponte Pietra, the Piazza delle Erbe, and of course the Duomo and the famous and much-visited 'Casa di Giulietta' (allegedly the house of Juliet).

WEBSITE: www.tourism.verona.it, www.verona.net, www.turismo.milano.it, www.visitamilano.it, www.milanotour.eu
DISTANCE FROM HOTEL: Verona 50 minutes - Milan one hour
TIME ON FOOT: Full day

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