Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Galleria Campari ... Go! Go! Go!

Super, super, super!

Go! Go! Go!...More......



That's my short and sweet message to you about the Galleria Campari, the company museum that celebrates its own history, present and future through an engaging look at their approach to marketing, advertising and PR (so it's great, even if you're not interested in sipping this tasty bitter-sweet aperitif, but only in beautiful graphics, this one by Nicolai Diulgheroff that not only promotes the product, but also, like any self-respecting piece of Futurist art, also celebrates the motion and machinery involved).

The guided visit first touches on the creation and successful sales of Campari liquors, the company's roles in the urban development of Sesto San Giovanni, today's HQ and the site of the museum, and Milan, including its historic presence -- still felt, even if the cafè is no longer directly owned by them -- in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Already interesting, now the real fun begins, as the visit uses integrated multi-media and imaginative interactive displays together with more traditional presentations of then avant-garde sketches and posters to create a path whose meaning is hinted at even in the change of floor coverings. In fact, one of the more enchanting things about the visit is this carefully planned total experience that even encourages you to explore what red -- the color of Campari bitter -- smells like. (I sure hope that this part of the display isn't temporary, just for Expo!)

There is also a shop, where you can buy some great Campari-related stuff.

One more reason to go: to give moral support to a company so historically dedicated to the arts. Not only were their advertising choices part of the push toward modern art, but they also support young contemporary artists. One wall of glass gives a day and night view of a featured work by an up and coming young artist, while the exterior of the wall around the perimeter of the HQ park (partially open to the public!) is dedicated to young graffitti artists invited to reinterpret historic Campari adverising graphics.

Thinking about becoming an expert bartender? They also have an onsite serious academy for bartenders. Next to it, there is also a restaurant about which I found nothing on the web site. I do hope it also has a bar, where one can go to taste the aperitif as it was meant to be. Curious? The website has a page for finding what they call "red bars" located the world over.

Drawbacks for the visit? Only one, and that one only apparently. Personally, I hate being forced to do much of anything, and guided tours are no exception, though if it's possible to choose them, I'm happy to do so. Yes, to see the collection -- housed in the company's HQ -- you have to go on a guided tour, which also means that you can't explore all the bells and whistles so intriguingly provided. On the other hand, there is no didactic info available, except for the image labels, and so you'd miss out on the magic world that is Campari without the guide. If you don't like being forced to do guided tours, either, it's worth your effort to get over the resentment, and do it.

To access the website (only in Italian, another drawback, but the info about opening hours should be clear enough, armed with a dictionary for the names of the days of the week), you have to be of drinking age in your own country. This might be the case for the visits, too; contact them, and ask, if you had thought to go with the kidlets in tow.



Galleria Campari

Via Antonio Gramsci, 161 - Sesto San Giovanni

T +39.02.62251 -- e-mail: galleria@campari.com

Cost: free

Tours in English: available upon request (you have to call/write an e-mail to reserve the tour, anyway, so it's no extra bother)

Hours: vary according to company plans (for example, they were expanded during Expo, though closed in August), so check out the web site, but when I went there were only three afternoon tours during the week, though there were five on Saturdays from mid-morning to early evening

How to get there from Milan

Take the MM1/red (!) line to the end-of-the-line, the Sesto San Giovanni stop. When you exit the metro, position yourself so that you have your back to the train station. Turn left, and go about one city block down via Antonio Gramsci to their HQ on the other side of the street. A portion of the late 19th-early 20th century façade has been preserved and nested into the modern building of red brick, a lovely architectural touch to soften the clean stark modern style with this traditional building material and integrate it better into the surrounding area.

BEWARE: (1) you need to pay for a ticket with a supplement for Zone 1, because Sesto San Giovanni is outside Milan's city limits. Besides it being the honest thing to do (riding the public transport system without paying, or without paying the supplements, is stealing from the city, and that means from me, too), you risk a hefty fine, (2) until it is updated, do NOT trust the "how to get there" info on the ATM web site, which doesn't offer via Gramsci in Sesto San Giovanni as an option in "GiroMilano," but will send you -- ahem, sent me -- to the opposite site of the city...to a deserted area near the freeway...on a blistering hot day....

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Villa Clerici - Gallery of Sacred Contemporary Art

Like contemporary Christian sacred art, let's say from the 1950s to now? Like early 18th century architecture and frescoes, or just nosey, and want to see how the rich and aristocratic lived in that day? You're in luck, but it will take a minimum of effort since it's a bit out of the way. Easy to get to, though, but more about the practicalities, later.

If you see this, you're not lost. The street doesn't look very promising, but it's the right one, and soon...

...More......

(Impatient type? skip to the bottom for the practicalities!)

... you'll be seeing this, Villa Clerici, built in the 1720s and 1730s for Giorgio Clerici having probably been designed by Francesco Croce, the architect responsible for the principal pinnacle (with the figure of the Madonnina) of Milan's Duomo. It was enlarged and decorated for Antonio Giorgio Clerici (1715-1768). From the 1920s, it served as a halfway house for ex-convicts to adjust to free life, and other adjacent buildings raised in the 1950s still help troubled kids. Creating a museum of sacred art by inserting modern and contemporary pieces into this historic context was the 1950s brainchild of Dandolo Bellini.

The grand salon, redone complete with mirrors in the 19th century, is still beautifully decorated in 17th century style, and has a large 1968 bronze sculpture of "a pope" by Floriano Bodini.

It looks like Paul VI, a personal friend of the founder, and is a bit disquieting and ominous with those boring eyes and, bursting out of the gap in his cope, those enormous rubbery hands and a dove. Catholics the world over please forgive me, but it looks like a threateningly enormous deranged cuckoo clock.

Some of the pieces are interesting in and of themselves for their references to famous sacred figures, to Biblical figures and narratives, for having been done by well-known artists, for the possibility to study them up close and personal, for their intriguing nature, or for the possibility of comparing them in your mind to more famous pieces (like this "Pietà" by Attilio Selva that screams out references to Michelangelo's "Rondanini Pietà," in Milan since the 1950s,...

...or the little "David" by Francesco Messina contrasted with the Renaissance ones by Donatello and Verrocchio).

There's even an installation, which I liked -- a lot -- the moment I set eyes on it: "Christus Patiens" (Suffering Christ) by Claudio Bonomi. The rich colors are not only pleasing, but they also evoke the purple vestments and hangings that are used for mourning in Catholic churches, while the reclining figure of Christ, coming, it seems to me, from a Deposition, seems to float on the mystical lap of Mary, and it's possible to observe the iconographical suffering caused by the wound in Christ's side together with the physical suffering of the sculpture, itself, damaged, exposing the inner structure of the broken hand.

Other objects are interesting because, as sketches, they give you a backstage glance at what the artist was trying to achieve. (Often, the painted or sculpted sketch, freer in execution, is much more lively and engaging than the final product.) There are quite a few large original colored drawings done by the artist Aldo Carpi, responsible also for some of the modern stained glass windows in the Duomo. It's interesting to see how the artist skillfully kept the technicalities of producing stained glass in mind as he designed where to put the struts and the canes (these latter being the "H"-shaped bars into which the glass pieces are fit).

Over the grand entryway is a lovely room with fictive sculptures of female figures, perhaps the muses or at least learning and the arts (I saw an artist and a writer, for example). Don't try going through the door on your left...it's fake. Symmetry is everything. Do note, though, that the shadows cast by the 'sculptures' were planned keeping the natural light entering from the windows on our right in mind. Very clever, but not new in the history of art.

Some of the ceilings are still quite pretty.

The front and back gardens were put in by Mr. Bellini to replace the lost original ones, but they, too, were most probably in the Italian style, that is, geometrically laid out, as opposed to the English style favoring a seemingly natural, though really carefully planned, environment. Behind the villa is a large theatrical setting that would make open air theater a joy...if one could stand the heat and mosquitoes.


Admittedly, the museum is a bit old and dusty in its layout, but real museum and art fans won't let that bother them. It also was as hot as Hades the day I went, and the lack of summertime AC means that there are a lot of enormous jumps in temps and humidity levels that are dangerous for the building's decor and many of the more delicate art pieces. It was my first time there, so I can't say if it is heated in the winter, but I can say that -- as is typical of, I'd wager, most Italian public places, including museums -- it isn't handicapped accessible. No bar, not even a vending machine (though they might be considering such, given the items on the questionnaire), but the bathrooms are clean, and it's pretty easy to get to, though it does take a gouge out of your day.

So, is it worth it to go? Yes, if you are interested in 18th century villas and/or modern and contemporary art, sacred or not.

If you live in, or near, the area, they apparently have a lively music and conference program throughout the year, too.



VILLA CLERICI - GASC / GALLERIA DI ARTE SACRA CONTEMPORANEA

Via Terrugia 8/14

02.647.0066 / 02.6611.8036

Hours: Monday - Saturday from 2:30 to 18:30 PM, no reservations required

Entry fee: E 2.50



HOW TO GET THERE

Get yourself to the via Terruggia stop in "downtown Niguarda" (Niguarda being a peripheral area absorbed by the expansion of Milan, it still has quite a provincial small town feel to it, despite the large and famous "Novecento" style hospital.) From downtown, it might take about 45 minutes.

To do this, you can take the MM3 / yellow line to Macciachini, then the n.4 tram to NIGUARDA CENTRO (NOT Niguarda Ospedale), get off, and walk in the same direction you just came for about three streets, then turn left onto Terruggia.

You can also take the MM5 / lilac line to Ca'Granda (another name for the hospital, which substituted the Renaissance hospital of that same name, whose buildings now serve as the main seat for the State University of Milan), where you need to take the bus n. 42, and get off at the via Terruggia stop.

Alternatively, you can take the MM5 / lilac line to Bicocca, then take the 52 bus to the stop via Terruggia / via Val di Ledro.



Enjoy!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fondazione Prada...stimulating AND open in August

Used to be that Milan pretty much closed down during August, but now that more and more people are staying in town, for one reason or another (read: the economy still hasn't picked back up sufficiently for people to afford long vacations like they used to take), they need something to do. ...More......

The exhibit space Fondazione Prada, open all through the month of August except a couple of days here and there, is an interesting solution.

Set up in a turn-of-the-last-century ex-distillerie ("Cavallino bianco," an Italian whiskey, one of the guards told me), it features the permament modern and contemporary art collections of Prada, as well as temporary exhibits and sometimes even film cycles.

I'm not a big fan of modern and contemporary art, but, like yucky-tasting medicine, it has to be taken in, and sometimes it even turns out to be tastier than one thought. In any case, something is gained.

Like my re-realization that familiarity goes a long way to helping us/me accept something. Now, while I don't particularly LIKE this (blue) Yves Klein (1957) or this (white furry) Pietro Manzoni (1962), I am used to the latter's shennanigans, and the former, for all its "what-the-heck-is-that?-ness," is still painted by the hand of the artist, is painting-sized, resembles a bas-relief sculpture, and is hanging on the wall, as one expects well-behaved art to do in a museum. I realized that this is why, when I walked into the room, I didn't roll my eyes (well, at the blue one, at least).

For similar reasons, my eyes didn't roll (much) when I walked into this room. Whether I liked, or understood, the paintings and sculptures hanging on the walls, they were doing what I expected paintings and sculptures to do, and I even recognized the work of some of the artists, since I had seen things of theirs before. Familiarity.

All of which I certainly can't say for what are called "installations" (for the less artsy, these are manipulations of the viewers total experience that can take place through various means: space, objects traditional and non, whether crafted or found, smells, colored lights, light and dark, music, video, tactile experiences,...). This one called "Creek bed" (2014-2015) by Robert Gober did make me roll my eyes, I confess, but trying to find SOME meaning, significance, or at least a raison d’être (even if it was purposefully nonsensical), in the piece even for my skeptical brain, I did find something. What looks like an ordinary street drain in the center of the room has on its shallow bottom small rocks, running water and a red illuminated fake human heart. All that for expressing trashed feelings that still pulse. And you know what? The more I think about it, the more I like it. In another room that he blanketed with eery wallpaper verging on the disgusting, the same artist actually did an untitled piece that I liked, perhaps for the clean colors and lines: an old white crib with a child-sized (probably not coincidental) slab of beeswax flanked by fake Granny Smith apples. (Why Granny Smith, and not Pink Lady? Maybe he was making a reference to his granny, named Smith. Maybe he just liked the gorgeous green against the white. Maybe it had another meaning for him, but has different meanings for each of us. This, in fact, is one of the things to absorb about art in all its forms that has emerged with the less evident subject matter often characterizing modern and contemporary art.)

Nearby is Louise Bourgeois' 1996 "Cell" that seems to invite viewers to enter, but the guard says "no," and must be obeyed. One could spend time contemplating, of course, and find something (there was, in fact, a touching quote about anxiety that can be seen through one of the windows on the other side), but I didn't see anything new, here, in this collection of "found objects" (a practice dating already from the beginning of the 20th century), nor in Gober's nearby gigantic cream-of-wheat Warlhol-esque box.

And here's the conundrum: placing so much emphasis on the new, the unique, or the startling, backfires. After the first one, it's already vacuous doldrums repetition (which, OK, was part of Warhol's point, but once he did it, it had been done, and was no longer startling). "Well," I hear the modern and contemporary art fans fuss, "what about all those 'Madonna and Child' paintings done throughout the centuries?!" Yeah, so what about them?! They weren't trying to be altogether new and different.

I fear that a lot of modern and contemporary art is between a rock and a hard place: no longer interested in repeating tradition (and who says they should?!), but making boringly repetitive attempts at being non-repetitive.

Cosmos at least bless those who put places to sit in museums.

There were some pieces that caused me to roll my eyes. I don't remember seeing a label for this one, though, so maybe it's not an artwork, after all, but a hidden support for video equipment. Seriously. On the long side toward the windows, it looked like there was a kind of flap that could be let down. Maybe the artist intended it to generate sounds when someone entered the room. Who knows?

In the area that the Fondazione calls "The Podium," there was an interesting (temporary) look at, guess what, copies and repetition in antique art. The absent originals, about which we know thanks only to then-contemporary citations, are nicely evoked in very blurry life-sized black and white prints laid flat on very low podiums near to the various copies gathered from important museums all over the world, such as the Vatican, in Naples and the Getty, just to name the three that come first to mind. For those who haven't studied this aspect of ancient art, nor the fact that it often was quite colorful, this temporary exhibit will be an eye-opener. For those of use who have, the beauty of the antique pieces restores the soul.

So, I dutifully waded through the modern and contemporary art bits (missed one of the temporary exhibits because I already had reclaimed my bag, and, with heat strong enough to, as the Italians say, break paving stones in two, I was not going to trudge back to the cloakroom to re-consign my voluminous bag), salved my soul with the ancient bits, and then rested and restored the body in the cute little cafè that, they tell me, is open until 10 P.M.

So, should you go? Yes, of course. Is it far away and hard to get to? Not particularly. Is it costly? No, it's within the norm. Challenge yourself, even if your eyes get lots of exercise rolling. It's my experience that sometimes the things that made you roll your eyes the most burrow the deepest into your soul, and toss up interesting thoughts, like a mole digging a burrow.

And the mere familiarity will help you, too.

Fondazione Prada
Largo Isarco 2 (just on the south side of the rail tracks at Piazza Lodi TIBB), Milano
tel. 02.5666.2612
info@fondazioneprada.org

Hours: every day from 10 AM to 9 PM (ticket counter closes at 8 PM); cafè closes at 10 PM; call ahead for special closing days (like the 15th of August, for example)

Cost: regular ticket E. 10 (some discounts available)

How to get there:

(1) MM3/yellow line, get off at Piazza Lodi and walk, or take the 79 (for the bus, go to the stop at the beginning of the overpass in the southerly direction, and take the 79 in the direction of Gratasoglio for about 7 stops to Largo Isarco; for the return, the stop is practically in front of the Fondazione's entrance in via Brembo, take the 79 in the direction of the MM3 Lodi/TIBB)

(2) Instead, you could take the 24 tram heading south, and get off at Via Lorenzini, which Brembo becomes in the other direction

Enjoy!

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)
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