It continues from here.
The day was bright and warm, and people and pigeons were milling about everywhere but mostly in the streets leading to Piazza del Duomo. This square is so vast that its only landmark - the equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II, first king of Italy - is always a long long way from whichever corner you may find yourself in.
After lunch, we decided to make the most of the clear day traipsing up to Le Terrazze, the Duomo's roof terraces. Well, I am using the word 'traipsing' loosely here, as we didn't think even for a second of clambering up the 158 steps! We took the lift, instead.
The name of the concrete beauty you see in the centre-right-ish of the photo above is Torre Velasca, a fine example of 1950s Italian Brutalist architecture which has always fascinated me. And here is a gallery of photos I took while walking in that forest of spires, statues, turrets and gargoyles which is the Duomo's roof. Warning - fetch your sunglasses as the roll was accidentally cross-processed.
Once we were back down to the ground, we joined the queue to enter the cathedral. Someone may find the interior of this building, which is an hybrid of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, rather overwhelming. And in fact, if you have the time and the energy to take a tour along all its five aisles - divided by 52 colossal piers, one for every week of the year - among all the sarcophagi, funerary shrines and statues, you really won't know where to rest your eyes. I rested mine on a modern work of art, which was only temporally exhibited: Paradosso by the British sculptor Tony Cragg.
I trust this won't come as a shock to any of you, but we spent the rest of the afternoon walking along boulevards, doing shopping, eating and drinking.
Only the last day of my stay, I was able to look at the view from the window of my hotel room, for the previous morning it was still dark outside when we left to visit Leonardo's The Last Supper. It wasn't exactly stunning but I think it was interesting with its mix of old and new.
On our last day we went west again to visit Sant’Ambrogio, Milan's most charming church.
Sant’Ambrogio is a graceful red-brick church that was founded in the 4th century by St Ambrose, the city’s bishop and future patron saint. The church we see today is a fine Romanesque basilica that dates from the 9th-12th centuries, with a perfectly preserved atrium that was built as a shelter for pilgrims.
We then visited the National Museum of Science and Technology 'Leonardo da Vinci', which is set within the cloistered former monastery of St Vittore.
The array of exhibits is vast and covers all the sciences, but a star attraction is the Enrico Toti submarine, which was built in 1967 to track Soviet submarines in the Mediterranean. Viewing numbers are limited to six at a time, so I took care of booking well in advance.
So, this is how the year started, and I still have a lot to share here before it will end.