Welcome in Milan!
Discover the wonders of Milan with GUIDATOUR’s audioguides
You come often to Milan, but don’t have much time to get to know the city. You’re curious about the city, but have no desire to leaf through pages of the guidebook. Well, don’t worry, we’ve got it covered: download and listen now to GuidaTour, the perfect audio tour guide for “audio-walks” through Milan, following interesting and unexpected itineraries. After all, if it is true that each city has its own character, then Milan is undoubtedly, first of all, a rebel at heart. A rebel against time, domination and historical change. There is something unyielding about Milan. Yet, docile at the same time. It has a bittersweet soul, indomitable and captivating. In fact, we can say that Milan has been shaped by its many activities, made vital and current by life that flows through it.
The Romans called it Mediolanum, because it was in the middle of the Po Valley. Milan is a central hub, where people, waterways and traditions have been intersecting forever. The city has kept its ancient layout: indeed, it still retains its Celtic, radiocentric plan; not even the Roman domination, with the orthogonal crossroads and chessboards-like urban plans, could change it. The layout of the city reflects its soul, and we can confidently define Milan as polycentric, multiform and creative. Capital of the Lombard region, it is rightly considered the nerve centre of northern Italy, a junction for many different multi-faceted realities which define its character. Milan is a city to unfold. It is decidedly feminine in character: elegant, sometimes haughty and sometimes capricious. The best way to see it opening up in front of your eyes is a “deconstructed” type of visit.
Milan must be broken down into its constituent parts: to do this, we have to enter the city from different angles via the multiple city gates. And the truth is that a door is a passageway, a crossing, an opportunity. A city like this is not short on opportunities. Our journey goes from gate to gate, discovering monuments, curiosities and the latest cultural hot spots that you won’t want to miss. After all, Milan simply asks to be discovered…
Better known by the citizens as ‘the Arch of Peace’, Porta Sempione is located on the northwest side of the city and it is certainly the closest “access door” to the heart of the city centre. Porta Sempione carries with it the history of French influence on Milan: it was in fact the symbol of Napoleon III’s triumphant entry into the city following the victory of Magenta, in 1859.
The ancient “Porta Comasina” is now known as “Porta Garibaldi”. The old name identifies, of course, the road to the nearby town of Como, located on the lake. The current name derives from the unstoppable march of Garibaldi in 1861, who reached the city centre through this gate.
Let’s carry on with our circular tour around the city’s nucleus; now, we reach Porta Volta, or Porta Nuova, so called because it connected the city with the new cemetery. You could think this to be not exactly a ‘funny’ reason to name a place, and you would be right; but if we dig deeper, we realise the economical meaning of this door. In fact, it not only functioned as a connection between the city and the cemetery, but also as a road towards the new way for Como. This is then the genesis of this pathway; also called, in more recent times, ‘Volta’, in honour of Alessandro Volta, man of science and symbol of practice.
Porta Orientale (Oriental Door) had a roman plan, but through the various renovations, most important of which was the Spanish one in the XVI century, it assumed its present shape. The Porta is between two bastions, and it is known for the presence of two, neoclassical tollbooths that hold the Accademia della Crusca (a permanent exhibition on the Italian language; the actual headquarters of the Academia is in Florence), and the Accademia Europea di Panificazione e Pasticceria (The bread and patisserie European Academy). The door is situated in the middle of Oberdan Square, and on the conjunction with Corso Venezia.
Porta Tosa, today called Porta Vittoria, is like a conceited and proud woman. But even more, it is really a woman, as ‘Tosa’ in Milanese and Venetian dialect, means ‘girl’. From the Corso di Porta Vittoria, we want to lead you to the city centre, towards Milan’s ancient architectural magnificence, which we can visit through three major classics: The Royal Palace, The Duomo, The Vittorio Emanuele Gallery.
In the south side of Milan there is Porta Romana, so called because it rises where there was once roman and medieval Porte. Porta Romana was renovated in the XVI century in honour of the arrival in Milan of Margherita of Austria. Needless to say, this Porta gives us an historic perspective on the city, a history that digs her roots deep in ancient times, more specifically the roman and the medieval one, and takes with it an incredibly worthy treasure.
You will smile thinking that this entire audio guide is actually dedicated to a door that no longer exists: in fact, there are no more traces of it on Piazzale di Porta Lodovica, but this emptiness still makes the passers-by feel its presence: Porta Lodovica is the symbol of a town that still exists even when you can not see it; it is the emblem of the citizens’ attachment to this complex and extraordinary metropolis. Porta Ludovica is a bit like faith, and it will in fact introduce us to a remarkable series of religious buildings, which will progress in the heart of the “Ticinese area”(Quartiere ticinese).
The neighbourhood of Porta Ticinese is primarily known today, by the hasty tourist, as a shopping paradise and for its nightlife (especially in the summer, where hundreds of cheerful and noisy young guys bivouac next to San Lorenzo’s Columns). However, if we move to the side streets, we discover the secret history of Milan.
What does this Porta says about the city? Well, to begin with, it tells us something regarding another city, Genoa. Chief town of Liguria, Genoa has a story strictly related to water and its utilisation. In fact, Porta Genova leads us to Milan’s Navigli.
To begin with a Bang, one needs to simply think that from Porta Vercellina, one can reach Santa Marie delle Grazie. Founded in 1463 by Count Vimercati’s request, its construction terminated in 1481. The church’s fortune is linked to Ludovico il Moro who decided it to be his family’s mausoleum. But Santa Maria delle Grazie is famous especially for holding an absolute masterpiece: Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’.