It takes several days and multiple experiences to discern Venice's personality but all one needs to divine that of Milan is to take one long look at the city cathedral.
In my highly subjective opinion, Gothic cathedrals - alongside Mozart's music - are the most convincing proof of human collective genius (those who chose Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" for the Time Capsule sent into outer space in 1977 to represent humanity before alien civilizations, would undoubtedly have their own say in that matter). I saw many of them, and most are rather impressive while some - like the Cathedral of Cologne - are outright remarkable. Yet, when I saw the "Milano Duomo" for the first time, I felt speechless - quite literally, because I immediately ran out of superlatives. That black golden wonder reminded me of the Original Seven. In that particular moment, I was seriously considering a possibility of believing in God because who else would possibly manage to illustrate the concept of "harmony" in its entirety, and with such precision?!
The Cathedral is the ultimate "illusions seller" (it's easy to come close to it, even to touch its walls, but its heart and soul, the spires, are high in the sky, completely out of reach) - and so is the city of Milan. A strikingly beautiful and somewhat remote, charming and smart, and endlessly ambitious movie star (just like the Cathedral, she reaches for the sky and believes it to be her only limit), she pretends to be one of her elusive characters - and successfully convinces even those who know her personally!
To be fair, I have to mention that the interior of the Cathedral is every bit as solemn, beautiful and harmonious as one would expect such a place to be - it's just that it pales before the spired phenomenon like even an outstanding Talent pales before a pure Genius…