Friday, March 27, 2015

Beware the 29th of March...it's open season for city marathons in Milan, again...beginning with StraMilano

There are a handful of foot race and biking marathons that paralyze Milan a few times a year, and one is about to break on us, again:


StraMilano, Sunday, March 29.

The activities start at around 8:30 A.M., and are supposed to finish around 1 P.M.-ish. In the meantime, it will be practically impossible to drive or take surface transportation, or even sometimes walk, if where you need to go is on the other side of the race course. As the organizers kindly reminded me last year, 'Please encourage people to come out in support of the run.'

O.K., I've done it.

Or sleep in.

It's the morning after the time change in Italy, after all.

Want more info in English about just where it will be run and, heavens you're full of energy, how to participate? Click here.

Enjoy!

P.S., I snapped this photo during the StraMilano a couple of years ago, for your non-profit personal pleasure.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Beware the 30th of March...public transport strike in Milan from 6 PM to 10 PM

Protests against the sacrifices requested of its workers by ATM, Milan's public transport system, for EXPO 2015 have generated a strike on Monday the 30th of March. Services will halt from 6 PM to 10 PM.

At least one of the requests seem perfectly reasonable to me: no vacations.

For Pete's sake, people, it's only for 6 months, and the chance to get the world to see what a super city for tourism Milan is comes once only 100 or so years. (Yes, yes, yes, there are problems particularly because life in Italy is still pretty much organized around almost everything shutting down in August, and schools aren't organized on a year-round program, I see all this, but I repeat...it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring our city to the attention of world travellers with a good chance of positive trickle down for you, whatever your job.)

Other complaints, longer working hours without breaks, for example, do sound legitimate, because the situations created could be a bit dangerous for all involved. Fix these...now.

What to do?

If you can't leave work to get home before 6 PM, go out to dinner, a movie, a loooooong cup of tea with friends or a book, near where you work, if you can.

(Info source, in Italian)

I can hardly say my usual "Enjoy!," can I?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Good taste, but shallow pockets? It's time, again, for the "Affordable Art Fair" in Milan, 19-22 March 2015

Everything for sale, they promise, is for Euro 6,000.00 or less.





March 19-22, Milan, Italy, at the Superstudio Più, via Tortona, 27.

By subway
Green line MM2 P.ta Genova or S.Agostino

By bus
Lines 47- 59 – 68 – 74 – 90/91

By tram
Lines 14 – 29/30

For times and ticket information...yes...you have to pay to get in (which I find rather silly for a place that wants to SELL you something), go to their website in English.

Then let us know what you bought!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Coming to Expo? Here's how to get to the site

Practicalities, dear Expo-ing friends: how to get there from here.

Thankfully, the page is in English, but it's abysmally hard to find on the official Expo web site...at least right now...so keep this link handy.

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Go to a Civic Museum in Italy, today, and get in free...it doesn't get better than this!

On the first Sunday of the month (at least until April 2015), entering some CIVIC museums in Italy is free. The entry fee for civic museums often is quite reasonable to begin with, but it's an especially lovely gesture for struggling families....More......

So, no excuse, the weather's nice in Milan, and the civic museums are varied and sure to have something of interest for everyone. In Milan:

Museo Archeologico, a marvelous Goldilocks museum...not too big, not too small, it's juuuuussssst right...that gives you a good overview of Milan's ancient past and gives you a chance to see what remains of Milan's ancient Roman imperial city walls, this is always high on my "don't miss" list. See here for the my post written during a previous round of freebie entry. Go here for the museum's web site, alas, only in Italian.

Cenacolo Vinciano, aka da Vinci's "Last Supper"...one usually needs reservations for this...see my previous post.

Museo della Storia Naturale (minerals, dioramas, stuffed animals, informative didactics,...see my previous post; or the web site only in Italian)

Musei del Castello Sforzesco (the variegated museums in the city's lovely castle, including the collection of historial things Milanese and the ancient Celtic and Egyptian collections; web site in English)

Palazzo Morando (fascinating glimpses of the Milan of yesteryear seen in period paintings; the rooms are punctuated with displays of period dress; web site only in Italian)

Acquario civico (refurbished a few short years ago, the acquarium, similar to Goldilock's bowl of porridge, is "just right"...neither too big to bore non-enthusiasts, nor too small to bore fans...and there's a fun tub-tunnel...for a general look...scroll down...see this post)

GAM-Galleria d'arte moderna (go here for your 19th century art background before you head off to see the modern stuff...not so interested in 19th century art? GO ANYWAY...the early 19th century palazzo is gorgeous...stay out of the park in the back, though...it's reserved for families with young children; web site only in Italian)

Museo del Risorgimento (dedicated to the peninsula's finally successful attempt to become a single independent nation, it also has other delightful surprises: the coronation robe Napoleon wore in Milan's Duomo, the bell cracked by hammering during the 1848 insurrection, paintings whose content can surprise and move...; web site only in Italian)

A word to the wise: check out the individual museum's web site and/or call in advance to make sure that last minute problems or required advance reservations don't leave you disappointed.

Are you elsewhere in Italy? Then go here for the entire list...sigh, only in Italian...and be sure to note any caveats at the beginning of the page before you scroll down to find the region and city of interest.

Oh, before I close, do you come often to Milan, or maybe even live here? Don't forget that you can buy a museum card pretty cheaply that has a lot of benefits. See my previous post.

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Milan tourist card options and a couple of principal info sites

Before you leave for Italy, you might want to surf the tourist card sites offering discounts to see which one is best for you (often museum, restaurant and public trasportation discounts are offered, and there just might also be free tickets for the special bus between Malpensa and Milan...the latter is not quite half the cost of the train, but even that--at about E.13.00 one way is reasonable, and the tickets can be bought at the airport). Various options for various time periods are available at various prices, so compare to find the best fit for you.

A word to the wise:...More......

...if you want to see Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, be sure to look for that as part of the package. Tickets have to be bought weeks, even months, in advance, and go like hot cakes.

Another word to the wise: avoid coming to Milan when there are trade fairs in town. That fills up hotels, and pushes up prices. How to know? Go to the official web site, in English, and look at the calendar for your desired dates. The principal trade fairs to avoid are women's and men's clothing, and the furniture and design fairs.



MILAN PASS (together with Zani Viaggi, who also do bus trips to outlet malls)
I like this one because it includes the Hop On-Hop Off City Sightseeing bus (covered and open) so you can get a better idea quickly of what there is in the city, how far things are from each other, and then decide. Zani Viaggi is also an authorized retailer of official Expo tickets. The web site is available in 80+ languages; if it doesn't open in English, use the pulldown menu in the upper right hand corner.



MILANO CARD
The offerings seem to be pretty broadly packaged, including options for the Lombard lakes region (don't miss beautiful Como, if you can help it), Rome, Florence and Venice. Go here.



AMA MI
Perhaps the first city card to come out, it seems to have disappeared. I can't find any updated info on it.


CITY DISCOVERY
Not quite a "pass," it does offer, among other things, a three-hour walking tour that includes Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. Go here.



LEONARDO DA VINCI'S LAST SUPPER
Want to do everything on your own? Buy your official Last Supper tickets, here, through VivaTicket.



EXPO
More do-it-yourself help? Here's the official Expo web site in English.



ENIT
Italy's official tourism info source...though it doesn't get the support that it should (and a coordinated effort has faded with the abolition of the Ministry of Tourism...in Italy, for Pete's sake...in the early '90s). The site and offices still might be helpful. The site has a map on which you can find their office nearest you (if it's still open...).



VISITA MILANO
The official tourism site of the province of Milan (of which the city of Milan is the capital), this web site is full of great info, especially if you're interested in getting off the beaten track, and getting outside of the metropolis.



MILAN IS TOURISM
The city of Milan's official page, it, too, is FULL of info (including for specialized interests and sectors). You'll have to arm yourself with patience and a magnifying glass. Despite complaints, they have kept the black background... I guess they think it's cool, but it's quite hard to consult, the reading is difficult. The web site address to take you directly to the English version is absurdly long. Go here, and click on the English flag button. You'll get there all the same. You can buy your Expo tickets, here, download free apps with tourist info, and a whole bunch of other stuff.



OFFICIAL MILANO TOURISM OFFICES ("POINTS")
The name has changed a few times, but the idea is the same: to give up-to-date and accurate tourism information. Group tours, whether general or specialized sometimes are offered (for example, a tour of the art nouveau ["Stile Liberty"] architecture in town, or of ancient Roman Milan). Go here to find their info points.



TOUR GUIDES
Want a tour of the city? If you want a private tour of the city, there are lots of tour guide associations and private guides whose information is available on the internet. BE FOREWARNED: to be a tour guide in Italy and Europe, it is obligatory to have passed an exam, and to have received a license to operate. This is supposed to help guarantee an acceptable level of service and English, which is obligatory (other languages are available). There are too many to list, here, so here's a link to the oldest association.



And, last, but not least:


MY MILAN (ITALY) and ART IN MILAN (Where Milan)
Don't forget to surf my blog, "My Milan (Italy)" open since 2010, and my "Art in Milan" (active on Where Milan since 2014) for more great stuff! Come back, and check for new posts!


Enjoy!

Friday, February 6, 2015

First time in Italy and worried about eating decently on a budget? Here are some good tips

You're excited. It's the first time you've been to Italy, maybe even outside of your native country, and you're worried about eating on a budget. No problem, here are some basic tips that will get you from the toe to the top of the boot....More...



BARS

The bars in Italy (yes, they call them bar...imported foreign words tend to stay singular, even in the plural) are quite different from the bars in the U.S., and maybe in your country, too. Think English pub. Without the cute.

They are places where the whole family can go, where people drop in for a quick espresso (if you must, caffè lungo, caffè americano -- American-style coffee, but, if you want to fit in, don't embarrass yourself by asking for a cappuccino after breakfast time), a quick bite or lunch, and, later, an aperitivo (aperitif, pronounced ah-pair-ah-TEE-vo), and even a Happy Hour, but typically no heavy drinking goes on, here.

What's there to eat?

For breakfast, pasta frolla (a wonderful usually S-shaped sugar cookie) or brioche/cornetti of all kinds (pronounced bree-OSH / kor-NEH-tee): semplice (pronounced SEHM-plee-chaye with the "ch" of "church") with nothing inside, or with cioccolato (chocolate, pronounced cho-ko-LAHH-toe, with the "ch" of "church") or marmellata (different flavors of marmelade, jam; pronounced mar-meh-LAH-tah).

For lunch, there are typically cold sandwiches called panini (pronounced pah-NEE-nee; singular: panino ... instead of "nee" at the end, add "no") with all sorts of stuff inside, toast (UNTOASTED sandwiches on soft white bread), or piadine (plural, pronounced pee-ah-DEE-nay, for the singular add "no" on the end, instead of "nee"): a thick flour tortilla-like thing that is filled with stuff, and then just folded over. They'll ask you if you want it heated on a grill (Da riscaldare?). for yes, and no for, well, no.

If you want it to take-away, say Da portare via (pronounced dah poor-TAR-ay VEE-ah), and they'll put it in a little sack for you. Don't forget your manners: per piacere (please; pronounced pair-pee-ah-CHAIR-ee) and grazie (thanks; pronounced grah-ZEE-aye).

Want something sweet, afterwards? Torta (a kind of heavy flat cake, pronounced TOR-tah) or frutta (fruit, pronounced FRUU-tah) are typical. Or a gelato (pronounced jeh-LAH-toe).

Oh, before we finish the bars...sitting down, even if you take your cup yourself and bus the table yourself...usually adds a Euro or two to the price, so you'll have to get the feel of individual bars before you do it. Servizio a tavola (table service) always costs a few Euros more, and, no, you may not sit down at those very inviting tables under those shady umbrellas without ordering something.

TAVOLA FREDDA

Some bars, or even cafeteria-style restaurants, have pre-prepared cold food that they can reheat in a microwave. In Milan, these typically are pre-prepared or choose-your-own plates of the following: verdura (vegetables, pronounced vair-DUR-ah), patate (potatoes, pronounced pah-TAH-tay), arrosto (roasted beef or veal, pronounced ah-ROH-stoh), cotoletta (veal cutlet, breaded or unbreaded, pronounced koh-toe-LEH-tah), and pasta (PAH-stah). There may also be uova (eggs, pronounced wu-OH-vah, singular irregular: add "voh" instead of "vah").

TAVOLA CALDA

This is like a half-way stage between a cafeteria and a tavola fredda. It's usually in a bar with more generous seating, and they have a sneeze-guarded area with heated food ready for your choosing; it's not self-service, you'll have to ask for what you want. If you're picky about your food, since it has been kept hot (and usually goes pretty fast, so relatively freshly made...particularly important for avoiding soggy pasta), it usually is a better taste choice than the preceding options.

BREK.COM

This is a chain of cafeterias owned by Autogrill (see below). It's one step above the tavole calde because the high turnover keeps some of the typical stuff fairly fresh (although I still recommend avoiding the pizza and pasta, as it's not at its best), while other things are prepared for you right in front of your eyes (for example, very tasty grilled chicken breasts). Salad fixings are fresh, but you'll have to be content with oil and vinegar for dressing (I recommend getting out of the habit of other kinds of dressing that cover up the taste of the salads and add useless calories). Keep an eye on what you put on your tray. It can add up.

SPIZZICO

An Italian pizza chain belonging to Autogrill (see below). What can I say...bleh. Avoid it. Pizza restaurants are plentiful, the costs are reasonable, and the pizza is MUCH better.

AUTOGRILL

If you are driving in Italy, these "pitstop" places mix bar-tavola fredda-tavola calda-shop (and bathroom amenities) for a break. As you might imagine, it's not the best you'll ever have eaten, but it's the only thing available pretty much, and is certainly better than nothing. Besides Italy, they are in a few European countries and even North America. Want to find out more about them? Here's the website in English.

WORD TO THE WISE

Before you go, at least look up the stuff you hate, or can't eat, but keep in mind that Italy is just now awakening broadly to vegetariansim or to special dietetic needs. You'll need to be flexible, and explore. That is, after all, what travelling is all about. Even at the table.

PARTING SHOT

Remember, I get no kickbacks of any kind for mentioning restaurants and shops!

Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Want a suggestion for Valentine's Day weekend? AgruMi, 14-15 February, Parco Sempione

Here comes the weekend, again. With or without kids, you still could plan something to do. Even better if it is not only fun and interesting, but also beautiful and (shudder) healthy!

AgruMi,...More...

...the exhibit and sale of citrus plants has reached its 4th edition, already.

A little bit of history (from where did citrus plants arrive in Europe, and when?), a little bit of natural beauty (the lovely plants themselves and artistic reproductions), a little bit of shopping (got a terrace or balcony? Buy one for home), and--for the kidlets--didactic play time (careful! Reservations are necessary for the kiddie activities, hours slightly different from opening times).

All in Italian, of course, but looking, smelling and tasting are universal, and the wit behind the name is fun, too. In case you don't read Italian, "agrumi" is the Italian word for citrus, while "Mi" is taken, of course, from "Milan."

Take your sweetheart...it's Valentine's Day weekend.

AgruMi
Palazzo Appiani, on the via Elvezia side of Parco Sempione, near the Arena
Saturday, February 14th, from noon to 6 P.M.
Sunday, February 15th, from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Adults: E. 6.50
Reduced (including FAI members and kids from 4 to 14 years of age): E. 4.00
tel. +39-02.7634.0121
fainecchi@fondoambiente.it

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Feel like being nosey in a homey environment? I've just the thing for you: the Circuit of Historic House Museums

You’ve come to/live in Milan, and already have visited everything in my previous post, well, OK, lots of things in my previous posts.

So, now what?

I’ve just the thing!

The Circuit of Historic Houses in Milan will give you a chance to enjoy three out of the four still hidden gems of Milan, as well as one of its best known museums, so let’s go.

Let’s start at the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, where you can buy the Circuit of Historic House Museums card. The card is valid for a year for all four museums, and it costs less than buying the individual entry tickets. For general information in English about the card and...More...

...the circuit, go here.


BAGATTI VALSECCHI MUSEUM

The best place to start is with the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, and not just because I work there, so I’m partial--I admit it!--but also, objectively speaking, because it’s a time capsule back into a late 19th century aristocratic Milanese home filled with the original collections of Italian Renaissance art and decorative arts, all placed just where the collectors originally wanted the things to be seen. This way, you’ll get a good idea of what traditional Milan was like at the end of the 19th century before you rush to see anything modern … believe me (and this is the art historian in me speaking), you’ll understand "modern" better (and maybe even like it more), if you understand "traditional," first.

Cross the threshold and let the thoughts of Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi accompany you, as you enjoy 15th and 16th century paintings, sculptures and furniture, and imagine the brothers sitting like lordly Renaissance princes in front of crackling fireplaces decorated with early 16th century frescoes. Laugh with the brothers at their sense of humor and, why not?, be a little envious of their good luck to find a Giovanni Bellini, a Giampietrino (one of Leonardo da Vinci’s favorite pupils), a few Zenales, works by other respected artists and a much revered portrait from the workshop of Gentile Bellini, as well as gorgeous majolica, glass, arms, armor, a couple of Rodari sculptures and a beautiful Madonna in Donatello’s "schiacciato" style.

Wander at your own pace. The use of the very good (if I do say so, myself...I helped to write them) audioguides is free of charge with entrance ticket purchase; they are available in English, French and Japanese, as well as Italian. Information cards in English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and soon Chinese and Russian are in each room. Guided visits in many be reserved in various languages. The sumptuous rooms of the museum also are available after closing hours for special events.

The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, together with the other historic house museums, is a great museum to visit, even for people who don’t usually like to go to museums.

Why?

Because, since it’s a house, it’s homey, and you can go through it looking for your favorite kind of object, be it majolica, arms & armor, glass, glass, scientific instruments, musical instruments, clocks and whatnots, besides the paintings and sculptures...or...you can just be nosy, and peek around to see how the people lived.

If you, or someone you know, lives in Milan, don’t forget to sign up to the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum newsletter, available in English, on the web site. It will keep you informed of the museum’s temporary exhibits, concerts, conferences and kids activities.

Remember to buy the Circuit of Historic House Museums of Milan card, here, because it’s cheaper in the end, and lasts a year!

One more thing: the restaurant on the ground floor of the Bagatti Valsecchi mansion (NOT the same management as the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum) is a completely separate entity, so I don’t have any official information for you about it, but I often see people, there, so you might give it a try.

BAGATTI VALSECCHI MUSEUM
Via Gesù 5 (a few minutes walk from the Duomo, La Scala and San Babila)
MM1-San Babila, MM3-Montenapoleone, Tram 1-Montenapoleone
Handicap access available upon request
Tel. +39-02.7600.6132 (HINT: when making calls within the same city in Italy, it still is necessary to add the city code, in this case, 02)
http://www.museobagattivalsecchi.org
https://www.facebook.com/museo.valsecchi


Next house on the circuit to visit is:

VILLA NECCHI-CAMPIGLIO

A 10-15 minute walk from the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is the Necchi-Campiglio villa, yes, a countryside style villa in the heart of Milan. Why next on the visit? Because (1) it’s your next step closer to the present in time, and (2) it’s a step toward social change in Italy: from the Bagatti Valsecchi aristocratic mansion to the villa of wealthy, but upper middle-class industrialists. The villa was built in the 1930s and 1940s by one of Italy’s most famous modern architects, Portaluppi (though some of the interior was "updated"--much to my personal chagrin--in the 1950s). Portaluppi’s sun room is my absolute favorite room in the whole house, well, that and the small (by today’s rich standards), but stupendous master bathroom. Set in its own walled garden, the house built for the heirs of the Necchi sewing machine heirs, Gigina and Nedda, and Gigina’s husband, is restful, and has a separately operated caffè.

The house, a FAI-Fondo Ambiente Italiano property, was chosen to house an art collection of the same years, but assembled by a different person. Although not original to the house, it fits in very well.

I have to admit, though, the museum has one serious drawback. You can’t wander at will. You’re obliged to reserve and follow a guided tour of the museum, so you can’t linger and enjoy as you might like. On the other hand, it’s one way to keep you off the furniture!

I’m pretty sure that they have tours in English, but it’s better to check out their web site, and write them an e-mail.

VILLA NECCHI CAMPIGLIO
Via Mozart, 14
T +39-02-7634-0121
http://eng.fondoambiente.it/beni/villa-necchi-campiglio-fai-properties.asp


The next step closer to us in time is the Boschi-Di Stefano Museum.

BOSCHI-DI STEFANO MUSEUM

OK, so, even without the Circuit of Historic Houses of Milan ticket, you could have gotten in for free in this city-owned museum, but the others, no, so go ahead and buy it, it’s still cheaper than buying the three other tickets, separately.

What’s so special about this museum on an upper floor of a nice, but normal condo building? First of all, it takes us one step closer to our own day, stretching from the 1930s up to the 1970s, but it also moves us from upper middle class to the solidly middle class circles. Antonio Boschi was a talented engineer working for the Pirelli company, his wife, Marieda Di Stefano, inherited her family’s interest in art. An artist, herself, she and her husband were passionate about then contemporary art, and so the collection has pieces from their entire married life, all displayed, crammed really, onto the walls of their fairly small condo. Pieces by Milanese artists, or artists working in Milan, were particularly collected, and so that includes the pieces by artists of the world-famous Futurist movement.

It is possible to enjoy the collection on your own, and the website is in English, but if you’re in a group of more than a few people, you’ll need to make reservations ahead of time (that’s normal, though, with pretty much all museums, world-wide).

BOSCHI-DI STEFANO MUSEUM
Via Jan, 15
T +39-02-2024-0568
http://www.fondazioneboschidistefano.it/ws/en/


Finally, we come to the Grand Old Dame, the last museum on the circuit (at least as of the writing of this post): the Poldi Pezzoli Museum.


POLDI PEZZOLI MUSEUM

Once fully a historic house museum, if the truth be told, this (really lovely and rightfully famous) museum really is no longer a historic house museum, in my opinion. Directly bombed during World War II, almost all of the original interiors were destroyed. What remains: the spiral staircase, the small room with the Meissen porcelain and the Algardi sculpture, the Black Room (well, mostly), and (well, mostly) Poldi Pezzoli’s Byzantine-inspired study.

Giuseppe Poldi Pezzoli was the son of two noble families, his mother was a Trivulzio. As a young adult he actively participated in Milan’s first (unsuccessful) bid for political freedom from the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1848...for which he was exiled for a few years to encourage him to cool off. He took advantage of the forced time away from Milan, and travelled throughout Europe, becoming a passionate collector of art, which he installed in his house, as decoration for himself and—though he confided it only to his lawyer—as a museum for after his death (he died unmarried and without children, so just imagine the surprise of his cousins when the will was opened).

Much of the collections was taken out of Milan during WWII, so it was saved, but, except for the above-mentioned rooms, was installed in the refurbished spaces in the typical set-up of a museum, the principal reason why I don’t think it still can be called a historic house museum, as wonderful as the collections are. Furthermore, Poldi Pezzoli had specified in his will that the museum’s collections should continue to grow and change, and so the museum has been able to acquire lovely pieces, or receive them as donations, that never were part of the original collection.

Whether you do the whole circuit of historic houses, or not, and I hope you do, this museum--with some famous masterpieces and many other works by famous and not-so-famous artists--is well worth the visit.

POLDI PEZZOLI MUSEUM
Via Manzoni, 15
T +39-02-794-889 (yes, the number has only 6 digits…it’s an indication of the age of the phone number; some numbers in Italy even have only 4 digits!)
http://www.museopoldipezzoli.it/#!/en/discover/ (I have to say that I REALLY dislike their website; it’s much too modern, doesn’t evoke the nature of their collections, and is so fragmented, I can’t find stuff easily, but they didn’t ask me, when they planned it, did they?!)


There, a lovely day of charming homey visits to some hidden gems and the Grand Old Dame of Milan, all chronologically arranged so that they make more sense. Did you notice that they're all art and architecture patrons and collectors' houses?

I hope you enjoyed yourself, and that you tell family and friends!

(And don’t forget to visit the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum...but you knew I’d say that, didn’t you?!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday peace and good cheer

Happy Holidays and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year from Milan.

Enjoy!

(Photo: I snapped this at dusk on the 7th of January, 2013, for your personal non-commercial enjoyment.)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

(More) Stupid Strikes: TreniNord 12, 13, 14 Dec

TreniNord departs (mostly) out of Cadorna, the station flanking the Sforza Castle, and runs "nord"--north--to places such as (lovely) Como.

Just in time for Christmas visits and shopping (mean! mean! mean!), the workers are planning strikes.

Friday, the 12th of December the strike will be from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. (in truth, this should spare many commuters), but ATM is also involved, though other sources say ATM will stop from 7 P.M. onwards. Your guess is as good as mine.

Saturday and Sunday the 12th and 14th of December, the trains stop at 9 P.M., and even if your train leaves before 9 P.M., if it doesn't get to your destination by 10 P.M., you're fried.

Get out your walking shoes, and hope that the clouds don't produce rain.

I can hardly say my usual "Enjoy!," can I?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Freebies entrance to civic museums every first Sunday of the month (at least until April 2015)

Good news for museum lovers...especially those with big families, or big groups of friends.

You can get into Milan's civic museums for free the first Sunday of every month -- including TOMORROW, the 7th of December, the day of Milan's patron saint Sant'Ambrogio -- at least until April 2015.

Make it a habit...then don't break it when the entrance fees kick back in.

It's really not that much, anyway, more or less like going to a movie, and--just think--museum entrance fees generally cover no more than 30-40% of a museum's BASIC budget.

Be a good joe. Go.

Enjoy!

Light to bring hope in darkness: a traditional Swedish (free) concert in honor of Santa Lucia, 11 December, 5:30 P.M., San Fedele

In honor of the Early Christian martyr St. Lucy--can you hear the song...More...

"Saaaaaantaaaaa Luuuciiiiiiaaaaaaa" in your head?--whose eyes were gouged out, lights are lit to bring hope in the December darkness.

Her saint day in the Catholic calendar really is the 13th of December, but the Swedish choir is busy between appointments in Rome and Milan, so they'll be giving us a free concert--thanks to the Swedish-Italian Chamber of Commerce--on the 11th of December at 5:30 P.M. in the church of San Fedele on the other side of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele from the Duomo.

While you're there, oogle the little jewel of a (16th century) church, one of the earliest churches to take into consideration the needs of the then new order of the Jesuits. (Want a hint? No more deep side chapels, no more side naves...back to the hall-like formation of Early Christian churches to help the worshippers focus their attention on the altar, on the pulpit and on the sermon.)

Enjoy!

P.S., obviously, I've broken my usual practice of putting only my own photos on the blog...here's the Chamber of Commerce's illustration with info.

P.P.S., thanks to my friend, Jill, who reminded me of this by now annual happening...mark your calendars already for 2015!

Monday, December 1, 2014

48 hours to visit Milan?

48 hours to visit Milan?

Here are my suggestions for two food- and fun-packed days, especially for a first-time trip to the city.

See my "48 hours for your first time in Milan" post for my "Art in Milan" column on the excellent "Where - Milan" web site.

It was so time-consuming to compile and illustrate, you'll probably have time to come and go before I manage to do a second or third one. :-)

(Photo: my snap of Palazzo Belgioioso in Piazza Belgioioso, Milan)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

No rest for...the users of public transportation: an evening-time strike, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014

Get yourself home quickly on the evening of Friday the 12th of December.

Public transportation strikes and protests that will block town are planned to begin by 7 P.M. (Keep checking the news to see if it will be cancelled, but it's unlikely...we're under the Christmas-time pressure-cooker...too much visibility at stake.)

Sigh.

Forewarned is forearmed.
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