Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Upcoming train and plane strikes in Italy

Can't find anything on the web about the local public transportation strike rumored for tomorrow, Thursday, June 19. In Milan, bus, tram and metro strikes are usually from 8:30 A.M. to 3 P.M., with a brief break, and then again from 6 P.M. to the end of service. Let the traveller beware.

While trying to verify that, however, I did find information about proposed upcoming strikes for planes and trains in Italy:...More......

--22 June, Meridiana airlines (from midnight to midnight) and ENAV (the union for flight stewards and stewardesses, from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M.),

--5 July, Livingston (whatever THAT is, from 12 or 12:30 noonish to 4 or 4:30 P.M.) and both Meridiana (again) and AVIA (ground that also might mean bags...for Linate and Malpensa, from midnight to midnight)

--12 July, trains from 9 P.M. on the 12th until 9 P.M. on the 13th

--20 July, Meridiana airlines (...), for 24 hours...probably from midnight to midnight.

To cheer you up, here's a snap in a train station in, I'm pretty sure, Chennai, India, that I snapped in the days right after Christmas, last year.

Want to check for yourself (in Italian)? Go to the strike page of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation (Ministero delle Infrastrutture e dei Trasporti).

Enjoy the snap...endure the strikes, what else can be done?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Like dogs and cats? 7-8 June "Paws" festival!

This scruffily cute Fido isn't too sure he wants to be on the tram, but you can take him, anyway, to the "Quattro zampe in fiera" (Four Paws in a Trade Fair) in the neighboring city of Novegro, pretty easily reached with public transportation....More......

As the organizers say, 'it's not a competition, it's a chance for dog lovers to get together, share their experiences and buy stuff.' This last point crucial to the continuing success of the event, of course.

All in Italian, but there's fun stuff to be experienced: free dog school lessons, a dog dance, dog agility, retrieving, lots of cat breeds to discover, seminars, a red carpet area for special viewings and...a restaurant where you and Fido and Fluffy can eat, together.

The entrance fee is E. 10, online pre-sale E. 6; kids, dogs and cats enter free-of-charge.
Saturday hours: 10 AM to 8 PM
Sunday hours: 9 AM to 7 PM

To go with public transportation (BEWARE, you'll need the regular ticket AND the supplement), take the 73 to the Linate Airport, then take either the 923 (direction: H.S. Raffaele, i.e., S. Raffaele Hospital) or the 930 (direction: Peschiera Borromeo) for just a few stops, and get off at the Via Novegro/Parco Esposizioni stop, then walk the short distance down via Novegro to the entrance. (These two last busses go only once a half an hour [!], so check the ATM web site for departure times, or you might even want to hoof it, I'm guessing that it would take about 15 minutes on foot.)

Quattro zampe in fiera

Parco Esposizioni Novegro
Via Novegro (no street number), Segrate
tel. 02 70200022

Thinking of going by car? The parking fee at the nearby official parking lot is E. 2.50 for all day. BEWARE of the illegal and unofficial parking farther from the center and more costly. For a map, go here.

I snapped Fido on the 2nd of March of this year.


Monday, May 26, 2014

45 floors and counting... City Life

The first of the three tall towers planned for City Life in the area once occupied by the in-town convention and trade fair center (bits of which are still left, don't worry!) has reached 45 floors and counting.

I snapped this shot today at about 9 AM just for your personal non-commercial enjoyment. Aren't I nice?

(Now, if they would just put an official ground plan on their web site, we'd all be happy...)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Looking for something to do this weekend, Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th of May? Look no further! "Chiostro in fiera" is here!

Like to feel all warm and fuzzy when you support local quality crafts? Does your mouth water when you think of specialty cheeses and the like? Flowers and aromatic plants more up your alley? Want a treasure hunt, games and workshops for the little ones (all in Italian, of course!)? Like even more feeling warm and fuzzy because your money is (at least partially) helping a good cause, the cultural and didactic programs of a museum?...More......

You're in luck this weekend! "Chiostro in fiera" (Trade Fair in a, my, how much less poetic it is in English) runs from Friday the 23rd of May to Sunday the 25th in the beautiful and historic courtyard of the Diocesan Museum attached to Sant'Eustorgio whose façade you see, here. The entrance to the museum is around the corner to the viewer's left.

Diocesan Museum
Corso di Porta Ticinese, 95
10:30 AM - 7:30 PM
Tram 3 stops right in front of the church in both directions

I snapped this shot on the 15th of December, 2013.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Open Courtyards (Cortili Aperti) in Milan, Sunday, May 25

Milan is like a discreet lady, often luxuriously gorgeous behind a simple veil.

Want a chance to go nosing around some of these courtyards? You're in luck!...More......

Sunday, May 25, is the annual "Open Courtyards" (Cortili Aperti) day organized by ADSI, the association of historic Italian homes NOT to be confused with historic house museums. The homes belonging to this association still can be private dwellings, or can have been transformed into B&Bs or hotels.

In Milan, here are the places you can visit (no reservation necessary):

- Casa Sioli – Legnani – via Borgonuovo 5
- Palazzo Orsini di Roma – via Borgonuovo 11
- Casa Recalcati – Taglisacchi – via Borgonuovo 15
- Casa Bigli Samoyloff Besozzi – via Borgonuovo 20
- Palazzo Moriggia – via Borgonuovo 23
- Casa Valerio – via Borgonuovo 24
- Palazzo Landriani – via Borgonuovo 25
- Palazzo di Brera – via Brera 28
- Orto Botanico di Brera – via Fiori Oscuri 4
- Casa Ajroldi - via Fiori Oscuri 13

In some courtyards, you will be treated to music thanks to a collaboration with the Civica Scuola di Musica.

In others, you'll be able to look at historic cars thanks to a collaboration with CMAE, the Milanese club for historic vehicles.

The InfoPoint is in Palazzo Moriggia, seat of the Museo del Risorgimento (via Borgonuovo 23). There are guided tours throughout the day, but they'll be in Italian, and you have to sign up by 7 P.M. on Saturday the 24th. Adults 18 and over pay Euro 10 once there (the price includes the use of the headset...but from previous experience, if you're a little picky about putting things on your ears that have not been sterilized, I'd bring some disinfectant, if I were you), anyone under 18 attends for free. Just in case you want to brave it:

Tel: 347 3661174

I snapped this shot in Via Amedei on the 23rd of December, 2011, at almost 3 P.M.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Google, Maria Gaetana Agnesi and via Manzoni 6

Maria Gaetana Agnesi, a Milanese woman born into a well-to-do family in 1718, dedicated her life first to scientific and humanistic learning of the highest levels, and then to caring for the poor for which she spent even the last pennies of her hefty inheritance, and gave up the family mansion to live in a humble suite of the Pio Albergo Trivulzio, of which she had been nominated director. She died in 1799, and was remembered two decades later in the bust on the far right on the façade of the Brentano-Greppi mansion at via Manzoni, 6. For more info about her and the palazzo, see my earlier post.

Today, she is honored by Google with a lovely animated logo, catch it while you can.

I snapped this photo on the 2nd of August, 2011, around 3:30-4 PM.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Days stale? Add a bit of tang with white vinegar...if you can find it.

Hunting for fun, interesting and helpful reading for my ESL students is a (time-gulping) joy. One of the latest just in time for spring is a list of clean freak fixes easier said than done in Italy because some of the common U.S. products aren't readily available, here. For example? Your be all and end all white vinegar....More...

According to Rozin in DIPLY, white vinegar kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of viruses. (For a slide show of all the things you can do with vinegar, Rozin sends you here.)

Especially suspicious when it comes to English foodstuffs, I can hear Italians asking, "Just what is white vinegar?" Even if white vinegar is a given in your household, you might not even know. I didn't until I came to Italy, and had to try to track it down in the "exotic" food stores in town (white vinegar as an exotic food, still makes me chuckle).

Think grappa gone sour: distilled grain and water resulting in a perfectly transparent vinegar. In the international food stores in Milan, you might find it in various concentrations; 5% is the standard, but to me it tastes a bit stronger than typical Italian red vinegar, so be parsimonious, at least the first times you use it.

It can be used just like you use Italian vinegars, but since it only is tangy, but really doesn't add any flavor of its own, it doesn't alter the taste of food, as all the Italian vinegars do, it just adds a pleasant bite.

Furthermore, since vinegar is acidic and anti-limestone, it’s a very effective and inexpensive cleaner, for example, for the interior of your fridge.

I miss the Heinz brand, if only I could find it in Milan….

Just a closing reminder that I get no kickbacks of any kind for mentioning products.

Hey, if you're an international food store person in Milan, and are curious about all the products that I miss, and that might be interesting to the Anglo-Saxon crowd in town, just drop me a comment. I'd be happy to send you my annotated list. Really, I have an annotated list.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Incredible India!

Believe it.

The tagline for India's national tourism pretty much sums it up for me.

A fascinating mix of...More...

...ploughing with oxen and a wooden plow while wearing a loincloth and talking on a cell phone,

...palm leaf huts with satellite dishes,

...little dusty dirty feet on spindly young legs topped by a tidy school uniform worn inside an unpaved roadside village's spotless cheerily painted classroom without a stick of furniture, but strung with children's proud drawings and with a blackboard covered with local and English writing,

...filth and refuse carpeting river banks and filling streets next to spotless sidewalks swept continuously with a handful of twigs forcing the sweeper to bend in half at the waist,

...brilliant colors and drab and dusty grays and browns,

...magnificent ancient temples and palaces and crumbling, moldy, paint-peeling stretches of post-WWII buildings,

but most of all what echoes and re-echoes and re-echoes in my heart...

...the ubiquitous open-souled eyes connecting warmly soul-to-soul even in a glance and the occasional hostile glares.

I've almost finished getting my pictures in order.

I can't wait to go back.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Telethon "Walk of Life," April 27, 9AM-noonish

We've just survived two marathons, and now here comes the Telethon "Walk of Life."

Super cause, but a big pain in the...More...

...neck, public transportation-wise.

Forget moving around anywhere in the areas of downtown Milan and past the castle into Corso Sempione from 9 A.M. until about noon.

Get to the castle park early with the kids, cheer on the walkers and enjoy Parco Sempione's greenery and kiddie park.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Like freebies? Head for civic museums in Milan from April 8th to the 13th

Getting foreign journalists and visitors to love Milan (as they both senses of this phrase) has been made easier, again: another round of freebies entry to civic museums for the week of the city's famous furniture trade fair from the 8th to the 13th of April at the Rho-Pero Fiera convention center site just outside of town. (Taking the metro? Don't forget to get the round-trip ticket with the supplement!)

Participating museums are:...More......

Museo del Novecento (dedicated to modern art of the 20th century; web site in English)

Museo della Storia Naturale (minerals, dioramas, stuffed animals, informative didactics,...; 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) (hmmmm...I was sure that I had done a blog post on this museum, already, but I can't find it, so I should put it on the top of the "To Do" list)

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...hmmm, I see that I need to do an individual post on this museum, too, but for a general look 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,'s reserved for families with young children; web site only in Italian; yet another museum to add to the "To Do" list, apparently)

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 ... and yet another museum to add to my "To Do" list)

For another source of official times, places and directions, here's the link to a list in through to find the ones listed above...the city's site is horribly depressingly black and hard to read the type is so small, but at least it's in English.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Not another public transportation strike...yes, I'm afraid so

Well, you can tell that things are heating up for Expo2015 by the frequency of the strikes, or the threatened strikes.

I'm really sorry to have this news to give you, but it's better to know it, than not.

Tomorrow, at least in Milan, there will be a public transportation strike from 6 P.M. to 10 P.M.

At least it will last only 4 hours.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Countdown 'til the covers are pulled back from the new metro trains and eco buying

Looking for something to do this weekend, maybe with the kids? Curious about new technology, or just nosy? Want to know more about the little and big things you can do to live a more ecologically sustainable life? Here you go!

From the 29th of March to the 13th of April, 10 A.M. to 7 P.M., the new trains of Milan's metro will be on display free-of-charge in the Duomo's piazza.

Not your style?

How about eco consumerism? You can see (and, I'll bet, even buy) new and favorite products on display at the 11th national commercial show of conscientious buying, ecological concepts and life styles, "Fa la cosa giusta!" (Do the right thing!). Where? Fiera City in downtown Milan (MM1 Lotto-Fiera). You wanna know something more, like how much it costs to get in? Their web site is in English, too!.

For your personal, non-commercial viewing pleasure, I snapped this shot on the 20th of May 2013, and then retouched it this morning with PhotoShop thanks to all I'm learning from my teacher, Beppe. Thanks, too, to my sweet friends Etta and Giorgio who encouraged me to take the class. I'm having lots of fun and learning lots of useful stuff!



Saturday, March 22, 2014

FAI on you! And some sirens, too.

Can't resist a good pun, and this weekend in Italy it's "FAI" weekend...Fondo Ambiente Italiano, which means the fund for the Italian environment...but they take care of not just gardens and wetlands, but lots of important historic buildings and collections, too....More......

Every spring, FAI sponsors a weekend of Open Days (link only in Italian, I fear) for some of their own properties and properties that aren't theirs. Find something open in a city near you and just show up. If you're a member, you get to stand in the fast lane to get in. If you're not a member...become one! It costs really very little (something like E. 45 a year) to make a small, but important contribution to preserving Italy's patrimony.

And in these days of crumbling walls at Pompeii, the topic couldn't be timelier.

I took this snap of the 1782 fountain of the sirens that Piermarini's favorite sculptor, Giuseppe Franchi, installed in front of the architect's new façade for the archbishop's mansion. The piazza, right behind the Duomo, is now called "Piazza della Fontana" (Fountain Piazza). The lovely sculpture was just cleaned.

If you're in Milan for the StraMilano marathon tomorrow morning, Sunday, March 24, why not swing by to see it?

I took this snap just a few days ago for your personal non-commercial pleasure.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

ahhh, another public transportation strike, today

Sigh...another public transportation strike, today.

In Milan, that means you'd better hustle out the door quick like a bunny because it starts at 8:30 A.M., and will take a break only from 3 P.M. to 6 P.M., after which get out your tennies, 'cuz you're walkin' home.

Can hardly close with my usual "Enjoy!," can I?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

There is sun in Milan in the winter...'s just slipped in between wintery days, that's all!

I snapped this on the 25th of January, 2014, at about 12:15 P.M. at the corner of the Piazza del Duomo and via Mazzini.

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