Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cookies of the non-edible kind

A message about the use of cookies on this site (blogger, owned by Google), which I use for my blog, just popped up on me.

This is a message directly from Google, and has nothing to do with me.

Just so you know.

"Il Massimo del gelato": among the top two or three cosmically best gelati I've ever had

Love gelato? Coming to Milan?

On a cross street of Corso Sempione, so a bit off the beaten path, but still in Milan's center: "Il Massimo del gelato" at Castelvetro 18.

VERY thick. VERY creamy. VERY tasty.

If not THE best gelato I've ever had, it certainly belongs in the top two.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2015

My little medieval English princess ... a new Anna Maria sculpture for my collection

I couldn't wait to share with you the latest addition to my "Anna Maria sculptures" collection: this little medieval English princess.

Isn't she adorable?

To give you an idea of size, her head is made out of what I think is a hazelnut.

These little sculptures are delightfully whimsical and beautifully and creatively done. I'm always tickled pink when she gives me one. Love them!

Enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Museo of the Cultural Patrimony of the Cappuccini Monks

The Museo dei beni dei Cappuccini in via Antonio Kramer, 5, is just a skip away from downtown.... More......

Easy to reach - it's just around the corner from Piazza Tricolore where the 54 bus passes - the museum is worth a trip if you're interested in the history of the order or of Milan, or in learning more about the Cappuccini church in which Lucia took refuge in the famous 19th century book "I promessi sposi" (The Betrothed) by Manzoni.

When I visited, there were a couple of in-theme pieces by art students at Milan's famous Brera art school temporarily included among the exhibited works. Nice touch.

One artistic beauty in the museum stands out, and combines with the general interests of the museum in the cultural and historical patrimony of the order: the gorgeous 16th century ivory crucifixion found in the study of San Carlo Borromeo, a Milanese fundamentally important in the renewal of the Catholic church after the Protestant Reformation.

The museum is small, but well-laid out. A nice visit will take only about 45 minutes to an hour, and that is if you look at everything. Handicapped access is available, especially if you call in advance: 02.7712.2321.

The entry fee is as reasonable or as generous as your donation warrants. When I visited, it was possible to choose between donating directly to the museum, or donating to a fund to feed the homeless, an activity of the attached Franciscan church (Cappuccini are a reformed order of the Franciscans, as their didactic material explains).

The only drawback? The visiting hours are very limited, and vary somewhat from season to season. At the time of this writing, they were only on Tuesday from 2:30 to 6:30 P.M. and on Wed./Thurs. from 2:30 to 5:30 P.M.

Hmmm, two drawbacks. Now that I think of it, there wasn't material in English, I don't think.



MUSEO DEI BENI CAPPUCCINI

Via Antonio Kramer, 5

Web site in Italian

Friday, June 26, 2015

Visiting Milan for Expo and need a doctor or dentist? Milan's public health system to the rescue!

Loving Milan and Expo? I hope so, but what if (tieh! tieh!, the Italians would say, to ward off the evil eye) you need a doctor or a dentist?! What to do?...More......

Something serious, or after midnight?! Go to the nearest ER, called a "Pronto Soccorso" (pronunciation: pron-toe so-CORE-so)

Need an ambulance? Use a local phone to call 118.

If the problem crops up during the daytime, and you don't think you need either an ER or an ambulance, Milan's public health system comes to the rescue!

Centrally located in via Rugabella at n. 4 between Corso di Porta Romana and Corso Italia, not far from Piazza Missori (exit: Piazza Missori), the outpatient clinic accepts walk-ins from 8 AM to midnight until the close of service on the 31st of October. The hours for some specialized services differ somewhat. Tel.: 02.5799.3913.

Costs? If you're a public health system card-carrying Italian or citizen of the European Union, there is no charge for the initial walk-in evaluation medical visit. The costs for further treatment are regulated according to your local public health system charges.

For all others, the cost for the evaulation visit is Euro 50.00, payable also by credit card. The cost for any other treatment? ASK.

Want more info? Go to this page...in Italian, sigh...to download the English language pdf. (OMG, why don't they have native speakers do the translations...there are so many in Milan. It's embarrassing to read "rates exposed," instead of "displayed," as if they were a group of flashers.)

But...it's better to stay well! Bring a sweater to Expo, you'll need it for the freezing interiors contrasting with the scorching exterior temps and sun, for which you'll need a sun hat. Bring a plastic bottle of water (glass and cans not allowed). There are two stands, one pretty much at each end of the promenade, that offer free tasty drinking water.

Enjoy! I did!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Another public transportation strike scheduled (sigh) for the 24th of June, 2015--CANCELLED! (Yeah!)

(BOOOOOOOOOO to the strikers!)

This Wednesday, the 24th of June, a local public transportation strike could won't take place in Milan from 8:45 AM to 3 PM, and then again from 6 PM until the end of service.

If we're lucky, though, because of EXPO the governor will forbid this strike at the last minute, as he did the other one that had been scheduled.

Please, trade unions, bide your time until Expo is over. It's only a few months, and you're not getting good PR for yourself, really, you aren't.

UPDATE: according to ilpost.it (in Italian), CUB-the one trade union that hadn't signed the "no strikes during Expo" agreement with ATM, had been responsible for calling, and then -- whew! -- calling off the strike.

They are protesting exactly what is making Expo function better, and which should be kept year 'round: SLIGHTLY longer hours for the functioning of SOME of Milan's principal public transportation lines.

Come on, guys. A self-respecting metropolitan city keeps its public transportation lines running until at least 1 A.M. Otherwise, it's so hard to get back home after dinner and a movie without stressing that I, for one, just avoid it (and that means less money circulating).

Summertime outdoor (recent) films and fresh evening air...but bring anti-mosquito spray! (and...)

Looking for something fun to do to cool off, after a hot Milanese summer day?

The Anteo is offering evening films...More......

...in three outdoor locations in Milan: the Arena, a place near Porta Genova and in the little known cloister of the Incoronata (Porta Garibaldi area, a beautiful Renaissance church, by the way).

The prices are reasonable (about E. 7), sometimes concerts precede the films.

Evening outdoors in Milan? Lather yourself with anti-mosquito spray.

Some of the locations may have you sitting directly on the ground. Pillows for less naturally well-padded behinds may be in order. Bad backs? How about bringing one of those seatless backrests usually reserved for the beach? Get comfy!

Go here for the intro page (all in Italian, I fear), and where you can download the (Italian) pdfs of the location programs.

Enjoy!

(P.S., I snapped this picture for your personal non-commercial viewing pleasure. For all other uses, please contact me for my permission, first, thanks.)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A delightful evening of classical Indian dance in Milan: the Accademia Sangam end-of-the-year show

Milan is becoming more and more openly multi-cultural.

When I first came here from a large metropolitan multi-cultural city...More......

...more than twenty years ago (gulp), there were a few Chinese on the streets, though they mostly kept to Chinatown, and a few Tunisian ladies, who were maids or nannies.

Years ago, I remember catching myself staring at some very very black men at a train station, and I realized why I had been staring...I just hadn't seen any black people in donkey's years.

Now the inhabitants of the city--whether the Milanese like it, or not--are very multi-cultural, for one reason, or another. Time will aid integration...the more the kids mix in the school system and grow up, together, the better it is.

In the meantime, the Indian Consulate in Milan and the Association of Indians in Northern Italy are doing a lovely job of promoting Indian culture to the Italians, and it is through them that I discovered dott.ssa Lucrezia Maniscotti and her classical Indian dance school, Accademia Sangam. Lessons are held regularly in Milan and Monza, and I see that something is also planned for Mantua.

"So what?!," you say, "I'm not interested in learning to dance."

As an Italian would reply, "Male!" ("Bad/Wrong answer!").

But what if your physical condition doesn't allow you to take it up, even just for fun and exercise (even a non-expert like me can see that even the quieter movements require great control, strength and balance)? You're still in luck.

The school has a couple of public performances a year, and the general public is invited.

It's a super way to enjoy classical Bharatanatya Indian dance and support not just the school's efforts, but principally to give encouragement to the students ranging from very young to mature adults. Contact the school for more info and to be put on their mailing list.

Enjoy!

PHOTOGRAPHS: I snapped the pictures during last evening's end-of-the-academic-year show for your personal non-commercial enjoyment. In the first picture, dott.ssa Maniscotti is in the foreground. For any other use of the photographs, my permission, the permission of dott.ssa Maniscotti and of those appearing in the photograph are needed.

REMINDER: I get no kickbacks of any kind for talking about products and services.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It's not in Milan, but it sure was SCRUMPTIOUS: Gelateria del Corso, Prato

Met a dear friend in lovely Prato. If you haven't been, here's another reason to go: heavenly gelato.

...More......

In fact, it was so heavenly that I didn't even get a picture of the place or the gelato. We were too busy savouring.

The gent that served us was chipper and informative...a younger brother of the owners.

GELATERIA DEL CORSO, via Mazzoni, 12 (just down the street from the Duomo), Prato - tel. +39.380.6410709

The picture's captured from their web site (only in Italian...), and I can assure you that what we ate was a delicious as the ice creams in this picture look.

Usual CAVEAT: I get no kickbacks of any kind for any of my endorsements...they're all heartfelt, and for your enjoyment.

Friday, June 12, 2015

What to do with the kids this weekend, 13-14 June 2015?! Disney at Parco Solari...free!

Even if you're not all that pro-Disney, maybe your kids are, and, what the heck, it's free...

Saturday and Sunday, the 13th and 14th of June, from 10 A.M. to 7 P.M., at Parco Solari near the MM2 Sant'Agostino stop: Disney Junior 2015 tour.

(Info in Italian)

Enjoy!

Hungry at the Stazione Centrale in Milan?

Want a snack or something more substantial to cart around town with you while you visit? On your way home, late, and too exhausted to stop at your local supermarket? On your way out of Italy, and you realize in a moment of panic that you still haven't gotten a gift for your crotchety elderly aunt?

Rescue is in sight, a supermarket has returned to the Stazione Centrale in Milan (yeah!).

Same place as before (underground floor, on the extreme left when exiting from the metro), but this time, both practical and offering SAPORI & DINTORNI products, good for gifts, too.

Yeah!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Expo2015...should you go? My answer: "Yes!"

Expo2015...take a sun hat, a sweater for those chilly exhibits and a big plastic bottle of water.... More......

Like exotic food? Get the very yummy plate for only Euro 10 at the Bangladesh exhibit in the rice area (though you'll have to find somewhere else to sit), and...

...be sure not to miss Estonia's exhibit...my personal favorite. Swing, and find out how much energy you generated. Spin a grinding wheel to spin the info on the screens. Dash around on a stationary bike with the video road in front of you. Slip into a poplar (?) forest. Put your aching feet up for a few minutes while you lounge on a gigantic cushion surrounded by honey colored wood and plants. One of the best integrations of the country's culture, the use of space and technology and Expo's themes, in my opinion.

My second favorite? Poland. Why? Can't tell you. Don't want to ruin the surprise.

Unsuccessful exhibits? Of course there are, but I'm not going to share my list of them with you...don't want to influence you, unduly. My yardstick? See the closing comment about Estonia, above.

Hot and tired in mid-afternoon? Plunk yourself down on a cushion in the shade under Turkey's gazebo. You can even get some baclava (though it's pricey, at Euro 3).

Want something for the kids? There's a Chicco and a Kinder area, as well as video games and buttons to push and levers to pull scattered throughout the exhibits.

Mobility problems? You can get an electric cart.

What else can I tell you without ruining any surprises?

It was lovely to leave troubles behind (we all have them), and slip into the wonder of childhood, even if just for a long, exhausting, but satisfying day. Even enjoyed the "Tree of Life" light show, but be sure you get there early enough to get a good seat. The seats balance on a conical point...interesting experience, and perhaps purposeful to help us remember the precarious nature of our environment and the fragility of life. Or maybe they were just big red plastic pointy chairs.

The day passed much more quickly than I had expected. And I was there from morn to night.

Thinking about going after 7 PM to spend only Euro 5 to get in? Good deal. Lots to see from the main streets, and there are restaurants and bars open, but many of the exhibits are closed. Forewarned is forearmed.

Enjoy!

(My photo of the upstairs area of the Estonia pavilion, snapped on Friday, June 5, 2015)

Milan is not a trash can (revisited)

Milan is not a trash can. There, I've said it.

Some actions, such as throwing stuff away in trash cans, take such little effort, and yet yield such an enormous benefit, that why more people aren't civic-minded on such a basic level simply boggles my brain. Do you know how long it takes for your wad of gum, the cellophane wrapping of your cigarette pack, or your cigarette butt to degrade...if ever?...More......

Depending on the local conditions (exposed to the air and elements, or sealed away in a dry place?), your piece of gum may take around five years to degrade (all the while collecting filth, and turning a nasty ugly dirt black peppering sidewalks, walkways and pavements...and costing us all--that includes YOU--extra money just to clean it up that could have been spent better elsewhere), while the paper and tobacco of your cigarette butt may take up to about TEN YEARS to degrade--releasing their toxic chemicals into the environment all the while--while the filter and the cellophane wrapper, made up of a kind of plastic,...well, we all know how fast plastic degrades...maybe never, maybe in hundreds, or even thousands of years.

"It's only one piece of gum/cigarette butt," I hear you say. Maybe.

But how many times have you flicked a cigarette butt onto the street, or onto the railroad tracks, and how many smokers around you are doing the same thing?

This is not an anti-smoking campaign.

We're adults, and should be able to decide for ourselves in a way that doesn't impinge on others' health. (My non-smoking doesn't affect the smokers' air, but the smokers' smoke does affect my air. There's the rub, isn't it? If smokers had been politer, and had asked more often, I don't think the situation would have gotten as emotionally charged as it is, and, now that I live surrounded by more smokers than before, I've learned to "chill out" in the open air, but still would prefer to taste my food, not someone's smoke, in a restaurant. I think that's fair, though I'd like to add that I'm not happy that some of my health care-destined tax money is paying for consciously self-inflicted problems, such as smoking, exaggerated obesity, or high-risk sports, either...whew, now that's off my chest, too.)

It's not even a "Think Green" campaign. (Though there are some simple things we all can do to help, even if only a little.)

It's my anti-litter soap box. (No pun intended, but it's a good one.)

What to do if there's not a trash can around?

Keep the gum wrapper to wrap the gum in, and put in in a pocket, or purse, til you get to a trash can.

Put the cellophane wrap of your cigarette pack in your pocket, or purse. (It's SO HEAVY and SO AWKWARD a shape, I know, I know, but be a sport, and just do it.)

Put out the cigarette carefully, and put the butt in the cigarette tray of your car. In lieu of a nearby trash can, wrap it in a gum wrapper, or a "portable" ash tray (I swear, I just saw these on the internet, they're little foil-like pieces of paper). Put it in one of the chic little portable "old-fashioned" cigarette butt containers, no bigger than the palm of your hand.

Cityscapes that make us go "aaaaaahh," instead of "arrrrrgggh," are in our own hands.

Please be a good sport, and cooperate.

Want more info? Try these links for starters:

http://www.longwood.edu/cleanva/cigarettelitterhome.html

http://www.thatdanny.com/2008/06/06/how-long-does-it-take-a-plastic-bag-or-a-glass-bottle-to-decompose/

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_long_does_it_take_for_gum_to_decompose

(Originally posted 25 August 2010, now that Expo is in full sway and the summer holidays are around the corner, it's a good idea to propose it, again...I think it's the first time that I've repeated a post.)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Freebies entrance to (state-owned) Italian museums on the first Sunday of every month: extended, yeah!

Congratulations to MiBAC-Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo for extending this great offer:...More......

...freebies entrance to state-owned museums on the first Sunday of every month. Great especially for families large and small.

Check out the list of participating museums organized by region then museum on their website (alas, only in Italian, but it shouldn't be hard to understand the list).

The page opens and you think it's not the right one? Scroll down below the video boxes for the list.

Enjoy!

(The image was captured directly from their website.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

It's June 2...what to do in Milan?!

It's going to be a nice day, come on!, get up off the couch and out into the fresh air!

Milan's beautiful late...More......

...Renaissance city hall, Palazzo Marino, once a private mansion that broke the mighty coffer of its builder, offers rooms newly open to the public. From 10 A.M. to 8 P.M., it will be possible to go (you might have to stand in line, let the visitor beware). Where? Piazza della Scala.

The line for the mansion looks a bit too long? Then try the one for the mid to late 19th century multi-use complex (and you thought malls were inventions of our own day! Heck, there were already shopping streets with covered porticoes as far back at least as the ancient Roman empire...even in Milan!), the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Very recently, the upper catwalks have been opened to the general public. The entrance is at via Silvio Pellico 6 on the other side of the Galleria from the Piazza della Scala. Hours? From 10 A.M. 'til 6 P.M., groups of 25 will leave on the half hour.

These visits, though not with these hours, will continue to be available. Stay tuned!

What could be a better way to spend time with the family: beauty, history and (hopefully!) good company, all rolled up into one!

Enjoy! And Happy Birthday, Italy!
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