14.06.2010 - 16.06.2010 18 °C
We arrived to a rainy Milan - bit of a shock after the heat of Greece. We had just two nights there before heading to Tuscany, so walking and some shopping (plus risotto and gelato) were on the agenda. We didn't get in to see Leonardo's Last Supper - it's quite jammed in the summer months and there doesn't seem to be any chance of last minute spots as they strictly limit entry (not sure why when the mural is apparently already very deteriorated).
The rain subsided for our first evening, and we wandered around the Piazza Duomo.
That night was the first Italy game of the World Cup group stage and a huge crowd was on hand to watch it on a massive screen beside the church. We had dinner behind the Duomo, and came back to the piazza just as Italy scored their only goal of the tie game. Very cool to be in the midst of the excitement - unfortunately it was the only opportunity since they lost their next two and never made it to the finals. But Italians we asked were not that surprised, even though the media made it out as a huge upset.
The next day we toured the inside of the Duomo then climbed to the roof to admire the view.
The designer shopping mecca, Piazza Duomo has a covered glass and iron roofed Galleria, very similar to (but more ornate than)the one we saw in Naples a few years ago called Galleria Umberto. This one has Prada, Gucci (with its own coffee bar), Louis Vuitton...and McDonalds.
From Milan, we took the train south to Siena - it was our base for the next three days for the first part of our week driving around Tuscany. Highlights were the main square (Il Campo) with its city hall and impressive tower (Torre de Mangia) and its own much older Duomo, by far my favourite of the many we saw.
The Duomo di Siena is striking both inside and out, with its striped green-black marble and works by Donatello, Bernini and Michelangelo. Plus, it has a fantastic bonus room: the Piccolomini Library, whose walls and ceiling are covered with vibrant frescoes, and several bookcases display well-preserved illuminated psalters of the cathedral.
We had the first of some fantastic Tuscan meals in Siena, especially dishes with porcini mushrooms that were highly addictive. The town is interesting to explore, and our hotel was well placed just inside the old city wall giving us lovely countryside views from our room and the rooftop, and somewhat easier for parking our rental car - an interesting challenge in itself.