Milan and Como
Milan is the second most populated Italian city and the closest to neighboring countries to the north such as Switzerland, France and Liechtenstein. As a metropolitan area it is the fifth largest in the European Union.
At one time, Milan was the capital of the western half of the Roman Empire. At times, the area was dominated by France, Spain and Austria. During WWII it was the most active area of the Italian Resistance to the Nazi regime. After the war the city, which was extensively bombed by the allies, was rebuilt rather quickly with modern skyscrapers. Over decades, this area which was always a major industrial center began to bustle as a center of industry, commerce, financing and fashion. Milan will be hosting a major international event in Expo 2015.
Milan’s cathedral is the 5th largest in the world and one of the most imposing examples of Gothic architecture. Sforza’s Castle, home of the 15th century ruler is an imposing structure symbolizing the power possessed by the 15th century ruler. Adjacent to the Cathedral, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world’s oldest yet most beautiful shopping malls – a great place for last-minute gifts from Italy.
Como, sitting at the southern tip of the updown ‘Y-shaped’ Lake Como and close to the Italian Alps, is a popular tourist destination. Lake Como is one of the largest and deepest lakes in all of Europe. For centuries, this idyllic spot has been a retreat, summer and winter, area for the aristocrats and richest from Europe. Currently its lakeside villas and chateaus dot the hillsides and mountains surrounding the lake are frequented if not owned by the world’s wealthiest as well as royalty, Hollywood actors and other media performers of note.