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Inspiration in Milan

I visited Milan a couple of weeks ago and took the opportunity to do two things which I found to be most inspirational. As a designer, it is important to look far and wide for inspiration and to take an interest in how and why great works of art or architecture achieve such greatness.

Milan is home to one of Leonardo Da Vinci's great masterpieces 'The Last Super.' It was painted as a mural on the wall of a refectory in the fifteenth century. It is a special painting to visit because it is only one of two works of art that can be seen at this location.

Unlike other great works of art which invariably hang in a gallery, competing with many other artworks and jostling crowds; this one has your undivided attention.

I spent a wonderful fifteen minutes admiring the perfect composition, piecing together the story and understanding why this painting is so important in the development of our culture.

Moreover, I was sharing this experience with only 20 other people and a guide who spoke in Italian so the painting really was my only focus at that time. It is so rare in these days of global checklist tourism that one gets the chance to give such works such undivided attention.

My second inspirational experience was a climb up the winding stairs to the rooftop of the Duomo in Milan. The Duomo is a beautiful building which I have visited a couple of times before. However, until I watched the excellent Italy Unpacked on BBC2 a couple of weeks before my trip, I was unaware that you could go on the roof.

From there, you not only see wonderful vistas of Milan, but you can also appreciate the beauty of the statues at close quarters. They are indeed heavenly!

Duomo Rooftoop