The fashion capital of the world, Milan is also home to two giants of Italian football. Internazionale, recognised as Inter, and A.C Milan, simply known as Milan, divide hearts and families in the historic city. While the city became an important centre of Gothic art and architecture, with the Milan Cathedral being the most renowned, the most popular attraction in Milan remains the San Siro. The 80,000 capacity stadium is a footballing temple shared by both the Milanese footballing giants, a concept unique to Italy.
It is a city which breathes football and whose passion culminates in the extraordinary rivalry between the working class Milan and the upper class white collar workers Inter. The Milan Derby is played at least twice a year and witnesses a congregation of the most energetic sets of fans. Fans adorning Internazionale's traditional blue and black and AC Milan's famous red and blue flood the footballing amphitheater roaring at the top of their lungs.
If you happen to be a fan of either of the Milanese clubs or football in general, watching a match at the San Siro is a must. Named after two-time Italian World Cup winner Giuseppe Meazza, this holy sporting location has hosted several unbelievable World Cup and European matches. The nearly century old stadium is one of the largest in Europe. Opening up to your eyes is the immense bowl of the San Siro offering a stunning panorama enabling you to appreciate this extravagant sporting phenomenon. A tour of the stadium will take you through a museum comprising of special mementos such as classic jerseys, boots and other memorabilia that have contributed to football history and which carry great significance for football fans.
Near the San Siro lies AC Milan's museum, the Mondo Milan. If you are an avid supporter of the Rossoneri this museum is your go-to destination in the city. Rare historical relics along with finely tuned technology take you through the success of the Red and Blacks. In particular, Mondo Milan is an exhibition experience presenting the trophies of the club while allowing you to relive the emotions of AC Milan's 115 years of history. From the beautiful Hall of Fame to the Ballon d'Or Winners Room, from the Trophies Room dedicated to the cups won by AC Milan till date to the holographic theatre: memories and testimonies combined with things that have made up the club’s history will captivate your imagination. The hologram enables visitors to arrange ‘meetups’ between legendary AC Milan players of the last thirty years like Baresi, Maldini, Kaka and Shevchenko.
On the other hand if Inter resides in your heart, then you can always make your way to the Arena Civica. A multi-purpose stadium and a prime example of neoclassical architecture, it was once the home of the Nerazzurri before they shifted to the San Siro. The entrance, called the Gate of Triumph, to the two-hundred-year old sporting gallery has two Doric columns on each side with a pediment depicting the classical games.
The last place on this footballing adventure that I would recommend you visit would have to be the Milan Cathedral or Duomo. The name of the derby, the Derby della Madonnina, is in honour of the statue of Virgin Mary sitting on top of the Milan Cathedral which is popular among the locals as Madonnina. The largest church in Italy, it took nearly six centuries to be made and is an epic symbol of Gothic architecture which form the core of the city. Thanks to its long construction period, one can spot the nuances such as different influences from parallel time periods at this sacred location.
Divided by the red and blue, Milan is a paradise for football fans and architecture enthusiasts. A city with roots deep in history, a visit here will be like a time warp through many centuries of history. While football is the heartbeat of this landmark city, fashion, architecture, art, commerce are other strong attractions and reason to have this destination on your bucket list.