Milan: former capital of the western Roman empire, famous for fashion and art, as well as being Italy’s centre of commerce. Although not as steeped in historical buildings or as aesthetically pleasing as some of the more classically Italian cities, Milan still attracts crowds of attention through its love of everything stylish.

Milan is known as the design capital of the world, but it is also the design capital of the afterworld. Here the dead are buried in a huge sculpture park, full of grand statues, dignified tombs, huge mausoleums, and embellished shrines. The Cimitero Monumentale de Milano (Monumental Cemetery of Milan) is a celebration of the passing of “Milanesi” residents which almost looks like a competition for the most creative memorial award. It is the last resting place for some of Milan’s most famous inhabitants; politicians, poets, philosophers, painters, architects, and actors as well as football managers and formula one drivers.

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A graveyard might not usually be at the top of one’s must see lists, but it is a lovely open-air art gallery and a quiet respite from the hubbub of Italy’s second most populous city. It is, however, surprisingly uplifting; where people’s achievements are elegantly honoured and their lives are exquisitely commemorated by those who loved and knew them best. A gentle stroll around the 25,000 square metre site allows you to appreciate the efforts people have made to ensure that their families are never forgotten. Most of the funerary tributes take their inspiration from religious or mythical tales, some are grand architectural triumphs, some are mournful whilst others are touchingly personal. Befittingly, there is a respectful beauty to the graves, that are kept in immaculate condition.

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There is a map available to help you locate the most notable burial spots and some of the more visually appealing crypts. The saying goes that it’s not that life is short, it’s that you are dead for a very long time, however, the Cimitero Monumentale de Milano sure makes someone’s death memorable for many generations to admire.

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If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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Whether you are flushed with cash or not, pop into one of the designer boutiques housed in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. You will find the creme de la creme of the most famous Italian fashion, from Versace to Prada and everything exquisitely expensive in between. If you can’t shop ‘til you drop then take a look up at the sumptuous ceiling. It was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni, who mysteriously died falling from the scaffolding around the roof just before the building was complete, leaving behind speculation whether it was an accident or suicide.. He apparently landed on the mosaic of the Turin Coat of Arms on the floor of the mall, featuring a bull. You need to spin three times with your foot on the beast’s testicles for luck, which is an odd spectacle for anyone who is not clued up.

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Italy loves happy hour and many casual canalside bars in the Navigli district offer tempting aperitivo deals to tourists. If you prefer to have a quiet, sophisticated drink then Backdoor 43 is the perfect bar for the job. It is certainly the not the place to be seen, as it is an exclusive private bar, which you can hire for an hour and a half by reservation.

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Hidden behind a door that only opens for the scheduled guests is a tiny tavern that can hold a maximum of four patrons. It’s a pleasant change from the norm, here the barman is dedicated to making you a very personal beverage based on your preferred tipple or favourite flavours. His expertise is pretty spot on, we were very pleased with the whiskey-based cocktail and acid sour concoctions we were presented with. It’s also a good opportunity to find out more about the Italian perspective on life, as the barman is pretty much at your disposal. I can’t divulge what nuggets of info we gleamed, after all, what happens behind Backdoor 43, stays in Backdoor 43.

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If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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