The historical center

 There is no need to say it but we say it anyway: this area is the symbol of Milan, an area in which, within a few meters, all the landmarks that must be photographed and that appear in postcards are gathered together. “I have been here for over twenty years. I’ve seen lots of people coming and going. Everybody, and I mean it, everybody who passes in front of the Duomo inevitably stops to admire its majestic beauty”. Omar turns his face towards the Cathedral. He is from Senegal but speaks a perfect Italian and wears one of those colorful tunics typical of his country. He has been here so long that he feels a bit Milanese himself: “Sure, I miss my village, but I have learned to discover the hidden beauties of this city”.

He winks and then walks with us for a while. We get to Piazza San Babila, a meeting point for those families and friends coming from a shopping tour de force in Corso Buenos Aires. To its right side, Corso Europa begins: it may look as nothing special but peek in the side streets and squares to find some true hidden gems,like the remains of the Herculean baths, so infinitely out of place in front of Bershka to pass completely and incredibly unnoticed. Go straight on and arrive to Via Larga and to the Verziere. Move to the right, instead, and get to Piazza Duomo and to its pigeons, its Madonnina and its stream of people. Our tour ends with Via Dante and Piazza Cordusio: on our tiptoes we can see the top of the Castello Sforzesco and the Parco Sempione behind it. In our walk, we have met many colleagues of Omar: this area, in fact, is full of hawkers who smile at the walkers despite the fact that are often treated badly. We believe that their smiles together with their colorful tunics and picturesque stories succeed in making this city a bit more vivid.

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Dos

  • Go to Piazza Mercanti with a friend and stand at two near-by corners. Whisper something to the wall and your friend will hear your words clearly! This is a wireless telephone used by medieval merchants to communicate without being heard.

     

  • A walk on top of the Duomo is a must!

     

  • Stop for a moment in Piazza Fontana, sit on its benches and remember the day of the terroristic attack at the Banca Nazionale dell’Agricoltura and the mysterious death of the anarch Pinelli.

     

Donts

  • Don’t take any pictures with your iPad! This is a general rule, but here is even more valid! You don’t want to mix with the tourists who use their iPads to capture the Castello Sforzesco and are fiercely observed by the natives Milanese passing by.

     

  • Do not feed the pigeons, Piazza Duomo is already overflowing with them, you don’t want to encourage their migration, do you?!

     

  •  Do not run in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the policemen will severely scold you at the sound of a whistle!

     

Why the Milanese like it

  • Because there is the Duomo, the symbol of Milan, that always amazes him with its breathtaking beauty.

     

  • Because he can spend his lunch break sitting on the Duomo steps or taking a walk in Sempione while commenting on the people passing by.

     

  • Because there is always a new street artist performing in Via Dante and Corso Vittorio Emanuele: the belly dancer, the horse-man, the magician … every day is an assured show!

     

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