Friday, 18 December 2015

Milan for £20 next February half-term!

Milan is a city everyone should visit once in their lifetime and, with flights next February half-term for only £20 return, it's within realistic financial grasp.  Shiny Milano glimmers in the weak winter's sunshine and the marbled Duomo di Milano glows. seemingly smugly, from Piazza del Duomo. 

Whilst the interior of the cathedral offers a trove of treasures, the real highlight is the roof of the building.  Tourists can either take the effortless option of the elevator up to the towering terrace with its gargoyles and flying butresses or, like our family did, clamber up the 165 steps to the top.  The price is reduced if you embark on the challenge of walking up and, with children under six years old going free, this is a memorable adventure.  To see the children charging along the crest of a 14th century cathedral alongside the 135 spires and 3200 statues, and peering over the edge down towards the tiny specks of people below is a hair-raising experience.

Additionally, for the mums (and fashion-conscious dads), the window-shopping in Milan is incomparable.  The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is an epic centre of sartorial excellence, with its 19th century glass and iron architecture and its magnificent atruim.  Brands represented in this heaven for shoppers include Mario Prada's first ever shop (opened in 1913) and Gucci's flagship store.

Less than an hour from Milan (by train) is beautiful Bergamo with its medieval walls encapsulating thousands of years of history.  High up above città bassa (lower town), città alta (upper town) presides over the region and, if the walk proves too much for tired little legs, the modern funicular provides a fun alternative to an uphill hike.  Bergamo is one of those fabulous Italian towns where you can spend all day getting lost in the labyrinthine streets and waste  countless hours dipping into churches to view the stunning frescoes and beautiful altars.

So, for £20 each, what's to lose?  Winter's sun, Italian fashion and classical architecture are all waiting to be enjoyed.

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