Saturday, May 13, 2017

Milan :: An Ancient City

Sforzesco Castle
Piazza Castello
As I walked across the Piazza Castello, or the outer courtyard, toward the Sforzesco Castle my eyes drifted up to the outline of the fortified castle walls against the skyline. No modern skyscrapers in view, just a view as seen through the ages. Stunning. One of the main landmarks of Milan originally built in 1358 by the Visconti (one of the two important Italian noble dynasties of the Middle Ages).

By now, those who follow my blog know that I love the history behind my travels. And this recent stay in Milan proved to be one of those magical trips where I could dive headlong into the history of the place.

Duke's Courtyard
Ducal Courtyard 
One of the surprising things I learned in studying the history of Milan is that it was originally founded by Celts around 600 BC. Wait, what? I always associate Celts with Ireland, but Celts were originally the people of Medieval Europe (around 1200 BC) who spoke Celtic language and had cultural similarities. It wasn't until roughly 450 BC that the Celts migrated north to the British Isles. The Romans showed up around 222 BC, ambushed the Celts, took over and renamed the city Mediolanum (Milan). And thus founded the Northern Roman capital city.

Sempione Park
The castle was a highlight of our stay in Milan. We spent 2 full days exploring it, walking through the many courtyards, looking at the sculpture, stonework, tile work ... you name it, this place has it. The walkway ceilings surrounding the Ducal Courtyard looked like something you'd see in the Game of Thrones in the Kingdom of Dorne. And I loved the reflecting pool in the Duke's Courtyard, an oasis in the middle of Milan.

Another wonderful discovery was the massive city park just outside the castle. One of the back gates is a drawbridge that lets out onto the expanse of Sempione Park, a 95 acre park of rolling hills, lakes and walkways. 

Our weather for this trip was unbelievable. Everyone kept telling us it was 'unseasonably warm.' Just our luck! We wandered through the park on a gorgeous 80-degree day with a bit of a breeze. You could not ask for better weather. We spent the afternoon just watching the world go by. There was too much to see in this ancient city for one trip. We will return, of that I have no doubt.

14 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Beautiful! I've been to Florence and Rome but never to Milan. Perhaps someday! I was surprised to when I learned that Celts were once dominant in mainland Europe. My heritage is Swiss and the ancient Helvetii tribes were all Celts.

JoJo said...

Lovely!!! It must be so great to be able to travel like that! I have to travel vicariously through my friends cause I really don't like to fly so I won't get to Europe anytime soon. hahaha Your passport must be so full of cool stamps.

BeadedTail said...

Sounds so fabulous! I have no doubt you'll go there as well as many other incredible places! Looking forward to hearing all about them too!

Miss Val's Creations said...

Castles are amazing! It is fun to fantasize what it would have been like to live at court. The Duke's courtyard looks stunning. That is interesting about the Celts. I am mostly Irish but had no idea! How perfect that the weather was just right for enjoying the scenery.

Liz E said...

You do such a nice job showing your travels. Two days wandering around Sforzesco Castle, what a wonderful adventure!

Chelsey said...

Stunning indeed! I've never been to Milan before but I love your description of it. Makes me feel like I'm there :)

Natashalh said...

What a beautiful place! I've never been to Spain or Italy, but I love the Medieval cities of Southern France.

Duni said...

I love exploring castles! It always gets my imagination going :) The Sforzesco is stunning with an especially beautiful courtyard. I'm glad the weather played along :)

Melissa at bubbyandbean.com said...

It sounds absolutely incredible! I must make it there one day.

krishna said...

Very beautiful to know about the Celts history..

windrock studio said...

sounds like a marvelous trip, weather and all. I'm a history buff, too, so thanks for sharing.

Christine Altmiller said...

I can hear your excitement and relaxation in every word.

Magic Love Crow said...

Such a beautiful trip! I never new about the Celts!! That is so interesting!! I love history! Big Hugs!

SHON said...

Such a great blog post! Thanks.

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