Guide Spotlight: Lara – Milan

This blog series features Walks’ guides from around the globe. It also highlights some of the incredible people who walk with us from Rome and New York. We hope that this blog series, along with our tours from home, will bring you some travel inspiration. This is a chance to hear from Walks guests from around the globe!

Lara Ioan, one of our Milan guides is joining us today to share insights about Milan’s history, her favorite piece, and her favorite area in the city. Lara will take care of it.


Tell us about yourself

Lara is my name and although it is a Russian surname, I am Italian. I was born in Novara in Piemont, on the eastern border of Lombardy. I then moved to Magenta. I am located in the romantic Lombard district, near the artificial water canal Naviglio Grande. This was built in the Middle Ages to connect Lake Maggiore with Milan’s harbor Darsena. I am inspired by the beautiful views of the countryside to create new itineraries in Milan and my locality, which is only half an hour away.

My college degree in foreign languages has allowed me to travel the world both for pleasure and business. 2011 was the year I decided to turn my lifelong passion for art and history into something new. I passed the exam to become a Milan tour guide. I also lead tours in English and French.

We would love to hear from you about your experiences in Milan, which you share with guests

Milan is a city that is famous for its fashion and design. But few people realize it was founded in 7 centuries B.C. Its past and its leading role in Italy are many things that can be said about it. Since Ancient Roman times, the attitude of its citizens has been to embrace innovations from overseas, to be updated and to be the No. 1. In trade and business.

This positive outlook for the future comes with a downside: all that belongs to the past must be forgotten. Milan is a modern city that has a few historic buildings and monuments. Only the most significant and important ones were saved. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t much else to see, other than Duomo or Da Vinci‚Äôs painting of The Last Supper. Even though they are hidden from the modern world, there are still traces, ruins and entire buildings that once belonged to ancient Rome. The ruins of ancient Roman Milan, including the Emperor’s palace, and the circus, were partially included in the church of Saint Maurice with its nunnery. This is a jewel from the Renaissance.

Which is your favorite piece of artwork?

My favorite artwork is in Duomo. It’s Milan’s cathedral. Giovanni Buffa, an artist from Italy, made a new one in 1939. I stop at every single one of the old stained glass windows. It shows the Archangel Michael as he attacks with his army fighting angels an evil force of devils led by Satan.

The battle scene, with its vivid colors and action, that spans the 17 mt window is simply amazing. Michael riding on his white horse is at the top, Satan is at the bottom giving orders. A tiny, white-bearded figure is standing in front of him. This is Saint John, who was the evangelist that described the vision in the Apocalypse. Even though I am tired and exhausted, I still have time to finish the Duomo tour. I enjoy sharing the story and view of this wonderful artwork with guests.


Do You have a favorite area in Milan?

The Navigli water canals and harbor area is my favorite part of Milan. It is located 20 minutes from the city centre and is primarily a spot for the “movida”, Milanese nightlife. You can find a variety of bars and restaurants that offer authentic Milanese aperitivos. It’s not my main reason for liking it. This is also the end point of the same water channel that runs next to mine in the country. I wonder if I could jump on a boat to return home that way. I also think about the barges that transported the marble blocks from Candoglia quarry on Lake Maggiore to Milan in order to build the great cathedral, Duomo.

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