CHAPTER 21. Milan

The journey to Milan was uneventful. We had four hours in the train and reached there in time for dinner at night.

Milan is the largest and most wealthy town in Italy. It is the commercial city of that country. It is more modern than any other city we have yet seen.

Many of the old buildings have been pulled down and modern shops, offices and flats have been erected. It has several skyscrapers and contains two other wonderful buildings – the cathedral and the La Scala theatre.

World Tour 1938
At the entrance to the Milan cathedral

The cathedral is the masterpiece of the city. It is 354 feet high and its area covers 14,000 square yards. In fretwork, carving, and in statues it surpasses all the churches in the world. It is said to contain over 2,000 statues and from the number I saw, both large and small, I would say the estimate is correct.

World Tour 1938
The La Scala theatre at Milan

The La Scala Opera House is on the site of another church which was burned down. Apart from its historical value it is recognised as being the hall mark for the singers of the world. Unfortunately, the season had recently ended and we could not attend an opera, but we went inside and saw the art galleries and the museum it contains and took our seats in one of the boxes of the theatre.

World Tour 1938
entrance to Grand Arcade, Milan

Perhaps the attraction for most visitors to Milan is the painting of the “Last Supper” done by Leonardo da Vinci in 1495 A.D. This is painted on the wall of the monastery of Maria Delle Grazie. My opinion of the work was disappointing, because it has faded and a great deal of it has now fallen off. It cannot be restored satisfactorily and therefore the authorities are in a dilemma as to what should be done. Another couple of hundred years and there will be no painting there at all. Of course it is still the most impressive picture in the world and while the guide was explaining it and pointing out the various disciples everyone was intensely interested.

World Tour 1938
Monument to Leonardo da Vinci at Milan

We were only in Milan for the morning and as the arrangements for this part of our tour seemed to cause a little trouble we were glad to get away. We could not hear our guide speak, there was a bungle about the time we were to start, and the day was very hot and oppressive, so there was some good reason for our not being very satisfied with Milan. We caught the afternoon train to Lugano.

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