played tourist yesterday. decided to brave the 90+ heat and wander a bit and take some photos. i headed in the general direction of the castello sforzesco, which is this huge castle near the duomo.

Torre del Filarete, Castello Sforzesco

apparently it was once the residence of the ruling family in milan. now it houses a museum with aseemingly random collection of musical instruments, china, and firearms. michelangelo’s last sculpture is supposedly there as well, but i couldn’t find it.

quick panorama from within the main courtyard. color gets a little weird at the end. not sure what happened there.

as always for me when i visit places like this, i end up being more interested the areas i can’t get to rather than the ones i can, and with a place this size, there were tons of those. so many passages and doorways and stairs blocked off. drove me crazy. would’ve loved to be able to get up into one of the towers.

Left Tower, Castello Sforzesco

from here it was a fairly brief walk through the park to the arco della pace. means arch of peace. built in honor of napolean.

Arco della Pace

as amazing as all this was, the best part of my walk came early on, when i stumbled upon the basilica of sant’ambrogio.

Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio

its one of the oldest churches in milan. it was built from 379-386, but little of the original structure remains. there is an immediate presence felt the moment you step into the space, as if the structure itself is aware of you.

Portico, Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio

this is a shot of the portico leading to the entrance the basilica. there were decaying frescos and relief sculptures on the surrounding walls. no photos of the interior, as i don’t think it was allowed.

One of two Bell Towers

as i entered the church and walked around behind the alter, there were steps that let down into what appeared to be a small chapel. as it turned out, it was the outer room that housed the entrance to the crypt underneath the church. the openings were barred of course, but in the center between the two entrances was an alter upon which laid a glass case containing the mortal remains of saint ambrose himself (hes the one in white)


this was both truly remarkable and immensely creepy at the same time. by the way, i should mention that thats not my photo. i took one but it came out shitty.

there were also several other recognized saints interred in the church, too, among them ambrose’s brother and sister, satyrus and marcellina. emporer louis II is buried here as well.

now this is going to sound ridiculous, but this was very real for me. not being raised catholic, the identity of most saints was more or less relegated to the names of hospitals and cities. i mean, i know they were real people at one time, don’t misunderstand. however, seeing one in person, so to speak, really drove home the notion of their humanity. again, ridiculous i know, but thats what went through my mind.

anyway, incredible place.

One Response to “Sightseeing…”

  1. 1 Jenn

    This is amazing … I’m so glad you’re taking the time to get to know this place.

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