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Milan really is the economic centre of Italy; it’s one of the largest cities in the country (second only to Rome).
This scenic spot is famed for its astonishing array of art, culture and architecture. It’s even regarded as one of the world’s four fashion capitals (alongside Paris, London and New York). Plus, the rich abundance of designer stores here makes it an adored destination for shopaholic.
Much of this is common knowledge to the average holidaymaker, but there’s a lot more to Milan than meets the eye. That’s why we’ve decided to dig up some of the weird and wonderful facts that you may not know about this magnificent city.
This area is home to its fair share of beautiful buildings, one of which is the marvellous Milan Cathedral. Cast your eyes towards the top, and you’ll see a golden statue of the Virgin Mary. This is known as the Madonnina and is considered to be the guardian of the city.
Tradition dictates that no building should overshadow it, which means newly introduced structures can’t be built higher than the statue. To get around this issue, every time a new structure becomes Milan’s tallest building, a replica of this statue has to be placed at the top. This ensures a version of the Madonnina remains the highest point in the city!
Statues are a timeless way of immortalising history's most significant figures, but despite their undeniable classiness, they do have a rather unfortunate enemy: birds.
Luckily, the statue of King Victor Emmanuel II in the main square has a secret weapon to combat this issue. A small electrical current runs through it to prevent any flying creatures from perching, keeping it as clean and gracious as it deserves to be.
Milan has suffered a surprisingly large number of invasions throughout its history.
It was overrun by the Visigoths in 402 AD, a Germanic tribe in 569, and the Ostrogoths during the Gothic War. Additionally, Attila the Hun attacked in 452 AD and the Franks struck in 774! Don’t worry; things have settled down since then, and it’s perfectly safe to visit today.
A particularly eye-catching feature of Milan Cathedral is the series of gargoyles that adorn its spires and nowadays, these striking stone carvings are actually up for adoption.
After austerity cuts were made to Italy’s culture budget, officials began selling these decorative carvings as a way of raising maintenance funds for the building. Donors will even get their names carved into the spires. However, adoption fees cost around £86,000, so you better start saving if you want one!
Although the gargoyles at the Milan Cathedral might be costly, our excellent city breaks are not. Browse our range of affordable holidays to Milan, now, to book your dream getaway and see all of these stunning sites for yourself.