MILAN is sometimes quoted either as a rival city to Manchester
or perhaps a role model. I understand Simply Red leader Mick
Hucknall has a pied-à-terre here.
Like Manchester, it's second only to a capital city, and
is a centre of commerce, education and industry.
Comparing the two cities from a tourist point of view, I
have to say that it's an unequal match.
Manchester has a venerable old Cathedral, but it's no York,
Salisbury or Wells. The Milan Duomo, however, is a huge and
breathtaking Gothic edifice with a majestic shape that's unique
Milan has the Galleria Vittorio Emmannuale, an elegant and
very large19th century arcade with designer shops, cafes and
restaurants (including McDonalds). Manchester has the Arndale
Centre - The closest thing to Milan's Galleria was Manchester's
similarly named Victoria Buildings, badly damaged in WW2,
and torn down.
Manchester has trams (constructed, by the way, in Italy),
but they run mostly on railway lines - Milan's older trams
date from the 1930's, running on the streets and preserving
a look of the past that Manchester has mostly lost.
Milan's run down Stazione Centrale is a gargantuan creation
of the Mussolini era, faded and magnificent. It makes Manchester's
Piccadilly look pocket-sized by comparison, though maybe the
new development work will do something to give Manchester's
sole remaining major rail terminus the profile it deserves.
Milan's Castle recalls the Kremlin in scale and was once
the residence of the Dukes of Milan. The closest thing to
a castle in Manchester is the partially reconstructed Roman
Perhaps it's best not to push comparisons between Manchester
and continental cities too far, but in one sense perhaps Manchester
can rival Milan: - choice of Italian restaurants!