Northern Italy’s main city and commercial capital has for the past century been an important laboratory for architectural design, with... more » works by some of the greatest names: Gio Ponte, Oscar Niemeyer, Giuseppe Terragni and Renzo Piano to name a few.
But before these giants of modern and contemporary cityscapes began work here, Milan was already filled with great works reflecting earlier centuries. War, time and urban change have taken their toll on the oldest of these, but within a relatively small central area remain some outstanding examples of previous eras, as far back as the Middle Ages.
Of course, these don’t arrange themselves in neat time-line order, so today’s traveler bounces abruptly from one style and period to another long before or after it. A fitting beginning is the Duomo, itself the product of several centuries and architectural styles. From there the tour reveals the genius of Donato Bramante, a leading Renaissance architect commissioned by the Sforza family, which took over rule of Milan in the mid-1400s. Be prepared for a surprise in the church he designed for them. less «