Saturday, December 31, 2011

Racing to the end of 2011

Racing to the end of 2011, just about an hour left....More...

A few firecrackers popping here and there...despite Milan's city-wide ban for safety's sake.

Mercifully quiet in my apartment building and surroundings...the noisy youth disturbing the late night peace now and then are doing their thing somewhere else (I'm turning into such a curmudgeon!).

Here's a snap I took recently on a moving tram. I love my light paintings. Hope you enjoy them, too.

Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Birthday grapes

In honor of my dear sweet sister's birthday and the holiday season, here's a snap--with intriguing reflections--of a Christmas tree with one of her favorite motifs: grapes.

Happy Birthday, sweetie!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Post-Christmas Milan

Dec. 26, 2011. Slept in a tiny bit. Did some work reading (too much R&R can't be good for me). Ate a quick lunch, nothing special. Went for a nice long brisk walk on the day after Christmas. My neighborhood was very quiet.

What shops there are on the main drag were closed for the holiday (St. Stephen's Day in Italy).

(Italian duct tape...any engineers out there? For a funny flowchart on the conundrum of duct tape vs. WD-40, see:

Walked past the sculpture of (THE) Giuseppe Verdi in front of the Old Musician's Home he founded. He grew up poor, and so reputedly was a tightwad, but apparently knew how to spend his money where it was needed. The place still toddles along helping elderly impoverished professional musicians spend their last years in decent comfort and company.

Walked past some cute Christmas dwarves in Corso Vercelli (the continuation of Corso Magenta after Piazza Baracca) all the way to Piazza Cordusio--halfway between the Duomo and the Sforza Castle--almost without seeing a soul, only to bump into the fringe of a packed human flood on that pedestrian walk. Turned on my heels, jumped on the next tram for which I thankfully had to wait only a few minutes, and hightailed it back home. Quick cup of tea with a nearby friend, then home. Sewing machine still out, so did a few repairs that have been languishing lo these many months, and got started on another. That was the 26th.

Today, the 27th, was a bit livelier.

Still slept in a bit (I mean an extra hour...can't power sleep til after noon, as I once did when younger), still did some work reading (I really shouldn't sound so is interesting), but this time got myself up and out of the house before lunch. Walked briskly down to the store where my "" book with my photos was waiting (fun product: you upload your photos into one of their pre-fab photo book formats, click "send," and they'll print it out, and send it to a photo shop near you; you pay only when you pick it up).

On the way, I passed Verdi's Old Musician's Home (in a Neo-Gothic Venetian style), then walked some more, and snapped more pics,...

...including this little late 18th century mortuary chapel (whose sentiments are more appropriate for serious musings on the last day of the year, "You will be what I am now...") on the other side of Piazzale Aquileia from the 19th century panopticon prison of San Vittore (named after the nearby church) still in use.

Tiring out (I had been walking for about an hour and a half, after all), I took the bus home for a leisurely lunch, now some blogging, then back to the mending and a bit of movie watching on TV.

So as not to leave you on such a pensive note, here's what you need to look for if you need a gas station in town. They're not very obvious.

Tomorrow, visits with friends in sight! Yeah!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to all and a hint from Naples

Christmas joy on the Grand Canal of Milan on the 18th of December, 2010...I'm not often out this late at night, so with this year's austerity measures I couldn't say whether the lights are up this year, or not, but they probably have the strung lights up, at least. The underwater lights were unusually kitschy for Milan, though they make for a good pic.

But now, to the point of the post...Hurray for the Neapolitans.

A free sit-down lunch in the lovely Galleria Principe di Napoli for those less fortunate...More......(if you read Italian, or just would like to see a snap, go to:

The galleria is like Milan's, though the latter is bigger and better (I sound like I'm from Texas, don't I?!).

It's a great idea, kudos to you and a hint for us for next year.

(P.S., Dear Mr. Mayor, the organizer said they've been doing it for 16 years, and now can get it organized in 10 Naples, I'm why re-invent the wheel? Invite them to come to Milan to tell you how they do it.)

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

"False friends" and dry goods

A "drogheria" might have been a place where you could have gotten drugs in the olden days, but it isn't anymore. "Drogheria" in this case is a false, not a true, "friend" in that it looks and sounds a bit like a word in English, but doesn't mean the same thing. Today, a "drogheria" is a kind of old-fashioned mom-and-pop little dry goods store, rather hard to find in Milan these days.

There's a nifty one in Milan with an address on Corso Magenta, but with the entrance on Largo d'Ancona.

Why is it so nifty?...More......

Because, besides having a little bit of everything any self-respecting supermarket has (deoderant, house cleaning supplies, shampoo and the like), it also has candy-by-the-pound, teas and...drum roll, please...even some not-easy-to-find exotic food, such as various kinds of chutneys, English cookies (called "biscuits" in UK English, thank you very much), Chinese rice noodles and the like.

The place is called "Grossi" after a family name, but don't look for that on the store front.

All you'll see that is prominent are the yellow and red "J&B Scotch" signs, liquors and wines also being sold here.

Interested in more info about this and other exotic food stores I've found in Milan (no easy task)?

Go here, and download my (occasionally updated) list:

Forewarned is forearmed. The place is teentsy, and so half the store ends up behind the counter, or way up high, or behind glass doors, so you'll have to ask for help. In fact, within seconds of coming in, you'll be asked "Posso aiutarLa?" (May I help you?) or "Ha bisogno?" (Do you need something?), or something of the sort. So this means you'll get good service, and hopefully will find what you want, but there will be no price and product comparing.

If you're ready to jump into the purchase of your favorite kind of chutney (etc.), a simple "Sì, ma parla inglese?" (Yes, but do you speak English?) will get you started. If you just want to look around a bit, "Vorrei dare un'occhiata prima, grazie" (I'd like to look around a bit, first, thank you) will do.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas promises and Toll House cookies

I promised some friends I'd make authentic Toll House chocolate chip cookies for the Christmas lunch to which they so kindly have invited me.

Misson accomplished...and taste testing complete.

Had to make them with M&Ms because there are no chocolate chips, here.

Yummy just the same and jolly to boot!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What are the standard "To See and Do" things in Milan?

“What’s there to see and do in Milan?,” I was asked. That depends, of course, on a few important variables, such as personal interests, length of stay, and whether, or not, it’s your first time in Milan. If the latter is the case, I hope you’ve planned at least three full days to visit the city…and you’ll still only scratch the surface! Believe it, or not!

For special events...More......

...(including organ concerts on the city’s Renaissance organs) and temporary exhibits, the visitor should check at the government tourist office (once called APT, now IAT in Lombardy, at least) located in the Piazza Cairoli in front of the Sforza Castle.

The Last Supper (il Cenacolo) by Leonardo da Vinci in the refectory of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is de rigeur for a first-time visit to Milan, and reservations are necessary sometimes a couple of months in advance (, +39.02.8942.1146). Do me a favor. When you go into the refectory, resist the temptation to look first at the Last Supper on the right. Force yourself to look at the Crucifixion fresco on the left. It was finished only a very short time before Leonardo’s work, but it smacks fully of the Early Renaissance style: crammed with figures (the more figures there are, the more they got paid!), everything important smashed up into the front plane, heads all on the same levels, a great attention to surface detail, etc., etc., etc. THEN look on the right at what is left of Leonardo’s masterpiece, its seeming simplicity underscoring the gravity of the moment, the attention to the psychological impact of the precise moment that Christ says, “One of you will betray me.” The contrast showing you how revolutionary Leonardo was couldn’t be more plain. Don’t miss seeing the church, itself, either: the long nave dates to the Early Renaissance period, even if from the late 15th century, while the enormous polygonal chapel—substituting the original and more typical cross shape—now forming the apse was either built by, or inspired by a design by, the famous architect Bramante, who left Milan around the time the French invaded the city (1499), and hightailed it to Rome, where he built the little San Pietro in Montorio chapel, launching the High Renaissance style. Milan had him first!!!

A few other world-renowned "do not miss" items would be these (official web sites, even if only in Italian, have been preferred, when available…if you need English, use your favorite internet search engine):

--the world-famous paintings at the Pinacoteca di Brera (Mantegna's Dead Christ, Bramante's Uomini famosi, Raphael's Marriage of the Virgin, and Piero della Francesca's Virgin and Saints, just to name a few) (, in Italian)
--the world-famous works at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (Caravaggio's Fruit Basket and Raphael's full-size sketches for the School of Athens, Ambrogio De Predis' Portrait of a Woman, Leonardo's Portrait of a Musician, the Pietà and Madonna Enthroned and Saints by Bramantino, other works by post-Leonardo Lombard masters, and, on a kitsch-y note, a lock of Lucrezia Borgia's hair, for history buffs) (, for the moment in Italian, the “English” button doesn’t work)
--the world-famous works at the Sforza Castle (including the life-size equestrian marble sculpture of Bernabò Visconti by Bonino da Campione and--completely out of character for this museum that concentrates principally on Lombard art--Michelangelo's Rondanini Pietà; the painting gallery has just reopened after being renewed) (for the “Museo di arte antica”, see:, yeah, the version in English works!; there are other museums in the castle, as well: Egyptian art, Decorative Arts, and temporary exhibits)
--the world-famous Crucifix and Gospel book cover of Ariberto d'Intimiano, Milan's last vastly powerful "prince-archbishop" in the first half of the 11th century (in the museum of the Duomo and the treasury of the Duomo, respectively; both have other marvelous things, too), as well as the Duomo, itself, a fascinating example of a balancing act between the late International Gothic style and local Italian/Milanese architectural currents, later modified by late Renaissance post-Tridentine religious requirements by Saint Charles Borromeo's favorite architect, Pellegrini…start the exterior visit at the back, where the architecture comes from the late 14th century…the farther you move towards the front, the “younger” the architecture is, until you get to the façade finished in a historical style in the early 19th century (, yeah, in English!)
--the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a marvelous and fairly early "noble" use of previously denigrated "industrial" materials of iron and glass…and you thought malls were a recent invention! (
--the Early Christian imperial basilica of San Lorenzo, its ancient Roman colonnade, and the blocks taken from the abandoned ancient Roman arena to shore up the foundations…these are off the right hand nave under its chapel [the stairway goes down behind the altar] of Sant’Aquilino which is another “don’t miss”…even if you do have to pay to get in…it’s part of the oldest areas of the church, and dates to the 4th century A.D., and perhaps even was the intended burial place of Galla Placidia, the ancient Roman empress…her so-called “Mausoleum” in Ravenna originally wasn’t a mausoleum, and the presence of a sarcophagus reputedly containing her remains is not documented there until about the 8th, or 9th, century A.D., as I recall…notice the ancient Roman doorway between the two chapel areas, as well as the ancient Roman mosaic fragments still adorning the two chapels’ walls (don't forget that Milan was the de facto capital of the western world from the late 3rd century A.D. onward--the Edict of Constantine, fundamental for Christianity's survival and flourishing, was issued here in 313 A.D.--prior to the threat of invasions by Gauls that encouraged the court to move to Ravenna in 402 A.D.) (, in Italian)
--the basilica of Sant'Ambrogio in all its artistic, architectural and historical glory; don’t miss the Chapel of San Vittorio off the right hand nave…even if you do have to pay to get in…it dates from the 4th-5th century A.D.! Besides, are you from UCLA? Royce Hall’s façade was inspired by the façade of this church. What is it like to hear the Mass in Latin? You can find out, here…they have one around 11 A.M. on Sundays…check the web site! Oh, and by the way, the Catholic churches in all of the diocese of Milan—the Catholic church’s biggest diocese—follow the rite established by Saint Ambrose about 400 years before the merging of the Roman and Gallic rites in the Carolingian period resulting in today’s Catholic rite (Without Saint Ambrose's insistence on Christianity's orthodox, rather than Arian, traditions, the history of Christianity, and hence the Occident, probably would have been radically different; almost the entire panoramic history of Christianity can be followed through the architecture and art works of this church) (, site in Italian)
--the Portrait of a Woman by Pollaiuolo at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum is lovely, and there are other lovely, but less famous, things there by famous and less famous artists, as well; the museum was opened to the public in the 19th century as a house museum featuring all the art and artifacts collected by the noble Poldi Pezzoli, but it was heavily bombed during WWII, so it was reconstructed principally as a “normal” museum (, in English)
--the Museum of Science and Technology is far more interesting than the name implies; in addition to its fascinating range of developments, materials and machines of all kinds—there are even (small) remains of an ancient Roman ship, as well as a reassembled antique clock workshop and real submarine, planes and trains!—it also has large globes, frescoes and a freely adapted Renaissance copy of Leonardo's Last Supper (one of the ways we can imagine what the damaged parts of the fresco looked like), and, you also can see for yourself what a Renaissance monastery would have been like…the museum is housed in one, and the foundations of the ancient Roman imperial mausoleum over which it was built have been revealed in the courtyard (, in English)
--La Scala Theater: when there are no practice sessions going on, it is possible to view the inside of the opera house when visiting the theater's museum; if that’s your principal purpose for visiting this museum full of knick knacks once belonging to famous musicians and conductors, as well as music pieces, pianos, sketches for costumes, etc., and their portraits, ask at the ticket booth before paying (, in English)
--the relatively recent Diocesan Museum in the ex-cloisters of the church of Sant’Eustorgio (itself choc-a-bloc with wonderful lovely things, including the Renaissance Cappella Portinari); this museum offers religious art, including fragments from the 4th century A.D. sculpted wooden doors of Sant’Ambrogio, and often has lovely temporary exhibits (, site in English)
--the Archaeology Museum, set into the reworked Renaissance cloisters of the church of San Maurizio (see below), it offers not only a taste of Milan’s ancient Celtic and Roman past through art and artifacts, but—if you go out into the courtyard—you’ll also be able to see some of the structures once belonging to the ancient Roman circus, an imperial age addition to the earlier republican period city walls (fragments of the foundations of which are visible in the basement level of the museum); if you’re lucky enough, the polygonal tower (so polygonal that it looks round) is open: it was turned into a chapel in the Gothic period, and its frescoes, fairly recently restored, are only rarely available to the public (, in Italian...dear City of Milan Webmaster...shorten your link addresses!)
--the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is one of Europe's most important and best preserved historic house museums; it has some very interesting pieces, including works by Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, as well as by Giampietrino and Zenale, post-Leonardo masters, but its principal strong point lies in the fact that it is a "magic window" onto Milan's recent aristocratic past: each item has been replaced where the original owners intended it to be, so it is an authentic experience of the taste and noble life style of Milanese aristocracy at the end of the 19th century (, in English); the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum was one of the founding museums of the Circuit of Historic House Museums in Milan: (in English)

Other equally important, but lesser known things, are:

--the church of San Maurizio, founded during the late Lombard, or early Carolingian, period (i.e., around 7th-8th century A.D.), the current building was started in 1503, finished about 20 years later, and is carpeted with marvelous frescoes, principally by Bernardino Luini, one of Milan's post-Leonardo masters, and his sons (
--the Museo del Risorgimento, for Italian 19th century history buffs (, in Italian)
--the Museo di Milano, for the curious: what was Milan like? Here there are painted views of how beautiful Milan once was, before they began covering the canals with asphalt and tearing down old buildings to make way for new (this latter aspect, however, typical of Milan's historical striving to be modern, so in itself is indicative) (, in Italian)
--Filarete's mid-15th century ground-breaking and influential hospital, now used as the main seat for Milan's state university humanities campus, Università degli Studi Milano; Filarete had planned a larger structure, but stayed in Milan only long enough to see the right hand / 15th century part (with the external porticoes) built until his Florentine fancy pants were no longer welcome by the local Lombard architects, who finished his building with some decidedly non-Florentine taste; the central part (where the main portal and large courtyard is) was built in the early 17th century, though the façade is “in style” with the earlier part; the left hand section—today a plain dark red—was added to the hospital by a private benefactor during the early 19th century Napoleonic period. Heavily bombed in WWII, the structure was converted into a university in the 1950s (
--the Natural History Museum (, in Italian)
--the Planetarium built by the famous architect, Portaluppi (, in Italian)
--the Mondadori headquarters outside Milan, built by the same architect responsible for Brasilia: Oscar Niemeyer (, in Italian)
--some of the art in public spaces also might be interesting (Arnoldo Pomodoro, il Sole, Piazza Meda; Claes van Oldenburg, l’Ago, Piazza Cadorna; Igor Mitoraj, Piazza Santa Maria del Carmine) as well as the unintentionally kitschy "Leonardo" horse, which—despite what the American donors say—isn’t really HIS horse, since we still don’t know what definitive form his life-sized model took, and he never executed the sculpture (today’s bronze version by Nina Akamu is appropriately placed in the piazza just in front of Milan’s horse racing stadium in the area called “San Siro”…a great place for this “white elephant”)
--a host of Milan's other churches, too numerous and too varied in their appeal to mention individually (O.K., I can’t resist: be sure to see Sant’Eustorgio with ancient origins, but the current structure principally from the Gothic and Pre- and Early Renaissance periods…O.K., I also can’t resist mentioning San Nazaro and San Simpliciano, both founded originally in the 4th century A.D., but both subject to rebuilding throughout the ages…San Nazaro, on Corso di Porta Romana, is fascinating because its now destroyed atrium butted up against a long covered portico in the street leading out from the republican era city gate, in the area of Piazza Missori, out and down this street headed in the general direction of Rome, hence the street’s name…the gate farther down in Piazza Medaglia d’Oro was built in the late 16th century, and was part of the Spanish Walls which once circumference and protected the city until torn down during the Austrian Hapsburg period in the 18th century)
--other scraps of Milan's historical monuments scattered throughout town: ruined bits of the ancient Roman baths in Corso dei Servi, the imperial palace in via Brisa; the foundations of the ancient arena in via Molino delle Armi; the foundations of part of the ancient Roman circus in, well, via Circo; the foundations of the ancient Roman granary under a building in via dei Bossi, and available only with special permission from the Beni Culturali office; an interesting medieval and Renaissance palazzo façade near the beginning of Corso di Porta Venezia, etc. The “Navigli” (canal system) which used to surround the whole city, but now survives only in the one area near Sant’Eustorgio (there are boat tours available, and it’s also one of the more popular night time areas for the young and young-at-heart). The only two gates still standing from the medieval period: the "porta nuova" at the end of via Manzoni (not to be confused with the "Porta Nuova" at the end of Corso di Porta Nuova) and the gate kitty corner to San Lorenzo (look at a map: these two gates are opposite one another, and will give you an idea of the size of the medieval city of Milan). At Piazza Medaglia d'Oro is the late 16th century gate, once part of the mid-16th century onwards "Spanish Walls"...the next larger circle, giving you an idea of the size of the city until the late 18th century. From the 16th century onwards, the swathes of buildings surviving "modernization" become more consistent, including the 19th century semi-circle, called Foro Bonaparte, around the city side of the Sforza Castle

It’s hard to stop!

See! Milan isn’t just a gray dull city for business!

Calling all bagel makers!

What do I want for Christmas?

A good bagel!...More......

...It's the "little" things you don't expect that you miss when you're an ex-pat like myself. I've talked about the foods I miss in another post (

Let's concentrate on bagels because I'm so disappointed in the new (to me) place I had stumbled across yesterday, and which shall remain nameless for the shame of it all, oh the shame!

The magic word "bagels," and I was in the shop like a shot, but immediately suspicious. They didn't look right.

They didn't taste right, either.

The texture was too much like normal bread. It wasn't chewy at all.

And it was so greasy. Yuck.

And there was a weird after taste that the other one had, too. Too sour and bitter.

The only minimally decent bagel I've ever had in Italy was an industrially produced bagel that is no longer available. Got the scoop from the shop where I used to buy them. The producer lost the lease to the bakery, and couldn't find other suitable ovens. End of story.

So, if you make great bagels (anyone in New York reading this message?), please start producing bagels in Milan.

I'll even give you a hint.

The American-style coffee chain "Arnold" has moved into town, recently. Try selling through them, and you've already got known outlets without the bother.

Any takers gonna make me happy for Christmas?

(Thank you, Microsoft, for this free clipart, MH900424367, but a slap on your hands for this and other images: the download doesn't work properly, and was a bother!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

The fun of giving love gifts

Time is money, in Milan as elsewhere. My most precious gift, which I often deny myself...More......

This year, I finally put my thoughts and my hands together.

I've seen the hen theme at the house of dear friends, who kindly invited us to dinner while my husband was still alive, and even more kindly still invite me now that he's gone, though still present, somehow, for which I'm very grateful (for the invites and for my dear sweetie's continued presence).

The thought to make the lady of the house (who's a wonderful cook) a stuffed hen for her collection always came to mind while there, but fled into dark dusty forgotten corners with the whirlwind that was life.

This year, the thought and my hands came together in the couple of days' lull between the end of a very heavy project and the appointed lunch hour.

First, the drawing, then cutting out the various bits, and...

...sewing the bits into workable larger pieces, including a gusset for the plump tummy (I'm quite proud of that!).

Finally, the assembled hen--with a tiny yellow beak and two big wattles--on her way to her new home!

I'm not so sure Italians appreciate handmade gifts. They're not very crafty, themselves, which is quite surprising given their renowned and well-deserved ability and creativity as craftsmen (and craftswomen...craftspeople...craftspersons...oh crap). At least the Milanese I know. Anyway, the poor little dear was welcomed, if without resounding fanfare, and we'll see if she makes it into any place visibile (though it will be hard to tell...if they don't like her, they may stick her away some place, and just drag her out the time, or two, a year that I go). I hope she sees more light of day than that.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Today would have been...

...our 16th wedding anniversary....More......

I love life, this infinite ship, this reawakened dream, this book never printed, often disordered as a handful of folded sheets of paper, as single sheets of paper, as snippets of phrases now here, now there in this room in which you have just walked, you go back and walk through it, again, and find it another and different and you translate into time your steps and into memories the corners. Somewhere there is, but I don't know where, no one knows where, a hidden door and the walls that seemed four, because thus swore the geometry of the mind, are many, too many more.
(Roberto Vecchioni, Eng. trans. S.K. Meyer)*

My dear sweet husband, I miss you so much.... Where is the door that will take me to you?

*("Amo la vita, questa nave infinita, questo sogno svegliato, questo libro mai stampato, spesso disordinato a quinterni di pagine, a fogli singoli, a stralci di frasi ora quà ora là in questa stanza che appena l'hai camminata, torni a ripercorrerla e la trovi altra e dispari e traduci in tempo i passi e in memoria gli angoli. C'è da qualche parte, ma io non so dove, nessuno qui sa dove, una porta nascosta e le pareti che sembravano quattro perché così giurava la geometria della mente, sono molte troppe di più." Roberto Vecchioni, "Quell'inutile voglia di imparare," SETTE, 17 dicembre 2009)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Golds and oranges

One of the lovely blogs I follow (Serendipitous,, which often muses poetically about the colors and changes of the seasons, asked the readers to reciprocate with fall colors, so here I go with some golds and oranges snapped mid afternoon during the "O Bej! O Bej!" ( a few Sundays ago behind the Sforza castle in what is now a public park, but which used to be the duke's private hunting grounds right in his own back yard.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." (blech!)

Used to sing "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" happily...until I tasted them...BLECH.

Far be it from me, in this delicate economic moment, to discourage spending sprees at your local chestnut vendor's, but (there's always a "but") I'm just glad I don't have to eat those nasty little things.

Awful roasted...and even worse "glacé" popular here.

And the Italians tell you (ad nauseam) that they have such wonderful food.

Then why do they eat these?????

(Believe it, or not...Tony Bennett just came on my radio station singing...yup, you guessed it...I'm haunted by chestnuts! What a voice! I'll bet his agent put him up to singing this song....)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Here my are!

Another snap from the "O bej! O bej!" fair, yesterday.

"Here my are!" shadowed on the back of a woman's coat.

(For the "Here my are!" history, see:


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

O Bej O Bej 2011

December 7th is the annual day dedicated in Milan to its patron saint, Ambrose. Lots of things are closed, so I worked at home, and decided to take a walk in the clear brisk bright wintery air after lunch. Where to go, though? Passed through Cadorna, the train station remodelled a few years ago by Gae Aulenti (there's a Claes Oldenburg sculpture out front)...More......

"Oh! I know, I'll go to the first day of the city's two day pre-Christmas fair, called "O bej! O bej!" ("Che bello! Che bello!," that is, "How beautiful! How beautiful!")." It used to be in the area around the church dedicated to S. Ambrose. Now it's all around the Sforza Castello.

Since the fair is more commercial, now, the traditional Lombard artisan products have company: products from the south, perhaps moved up here after the influx of southern workers in the 1960s for the factories. The factories have given up the ghost, unfortunately, but the yummy southern products have remained.

The crowds are pretty intense, but there were breathers now and then...I wonder if the economic crisis contributed to that. It's usually PACKED.

By the time I had made the rounds of the entire castle, the moon had come up.

On the way home, snapped a shot while walking under the strings of Xmas lights.

Once this spate of work is over mid-month, I'll get some night shots of the Xmas lights. Nothing like in the States (sniff, sniff), but the Xmas tree up in Piazza del Duomo looked nice.

Until then...Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Milan's metro...again

I love taking purposefully blurry shots that capture the perpetual motion of living in a big city. Here's one from that misty day a few Sundays ago.


Sunday, December 4, 2011


Late misty Milanese Sunday afternoon...snapped a couple of weeks ago for your personal non-commercial pleasure.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hopper-ish in Milan's Metro

For privacy reasons, I (usually) avoid snapping people...unless they're unrecognizable for one reason or another.

Here, the folk are too far away...and too busy to look at the be identified.

A Hopper-ish moment in Milan's Metro.


Monday, November 28, 2011


Fall in Milan...lovely golden colors (though nothing like the gorgeous autumn landscapes in New England, U.S.A.) 'til they turn sodden with rain.

And get slippery.


Sunday, November 27, 2011


I love these ornamental cabbages. So gorgeous.

And apparently edible, too, though after lots of cooking.

Apparently, they're as tough as they are hardy.

Beautiful and hardy, useful and ornamental.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

To-ing and fro-ing on a chilly misty Milanese day

A friend kindly asked me to lunch with some friends. The walk to the metro stop did me good. I do miss taking my camera for a walk. So, here's the to-ing and the...More......


The first was shot today at around 11:30 A.M., the second around 5:30 P.M.

Yes, it was a long, but delightful lunch.

Now I need to get back to work, and maybe you do, too.


Sunday, November 13, 2011


I can hardly bear to add another message to my blog, taking the place of the one about my dear husband, but it has to happen sooner, or later, so here's something I need...the green of life.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

At the Famedio (Milan's "Pantheon") the "Greats of Milan" will be honored, today, including my dear sweet departed husband, Prof. Em. Mario Tiengo

I don't usually share personal things on this blog, lots of other people do that so you don't need yet another stream o' consciousness, but today my personal life and wonderful Milan coincide. Today, my dear sweet husband, Mario Tiengo, whose death a year ago blew out the light in my life, is being honored among the "Greats of Milan."...More......

How to sum up such a great man in so few words? How to even begin to record, let alone transmit, everything he did for Italians suffering from acute, chronic and psychogenic pain? For palliative care? For those giving childbirth, preferably painlessly? To raise the awareness of general practitioners and pharmacists about pain therapy? The international fame that he brought to Milan? His almost countless publications and organized conferences, his participation in the founding of so many principal Italian anesthesiology and pain therapy professional associations and journals?

For decades dedicated to profound scientific, philosophical, cultural and sociological studies in the field, Mario founded the world's first university chair in the physiology and therapy of pain at the State University of Milan in 1982, and covered the role until his retirement in the 1990s.

He founded and directed one of the first, if not the first, pain clinics in Italy, the Padiglione Bergamasca, made possible by a generous donation of the Bergamasca-Visconti family in honor of one of their beloved family members whom Mario had helped.

He founded and directed the Anesthesiology and Intensive Care department at Milan's Mangiagalli hospital dedicated to gynecology and obstetrics, bringing epidural analgesia to Italian women.

He participated in the birth of palliative care in Italy, though his focus remained acute, chronic and psychogenic pain.

The latter interested him particularly in the last decades of his life because he saw in it a heuristic tool for trying to understand the great philosophical question that has fascinated humans for millennia, the 'brain-mind' question, in other words, where does our consciousness come from, a soul that is a thing existing apart from the body, or the 'mere' result of the incredible complexity of our brains? Scientists succeed in finding ever smaller particles and ever more rapid electrical and chemical transmissions, but we still don't know what connects our outer reality to our inner reality. For this reason, of all the historic great minds his favorite was Descartes, who thought to identify this point of contact in what he called the "pineal gland." "Let us not disparage Descartes for his 'poor science', rather, let us remember that he described and analyzed using the knowledge and terminology of his day," Mario always said, "just because something can't be detected and measured doesn't mean that it doesn't might mean that we simply don't have the right tools, yet."

Open minded, with a sincere interest in all and others around him, a big heart, genuinely concerned for his patients, whom he saw as sufferers and not as numbers, a scintilating intellect and a captivating speaker and teacher able to gauge even the most complicated concepts to the audience he had in front of him, an adored and adoring husband, a life and soul companion, his death has left Milan and the world much poorer, and has left me teetering on the edge of a bottomless abyss, held up only by the wings of his love.

Born in the Veneto, but transferred to Milan to get his medical degree, Mario remained in this marvelous city, learned to speak the Milanese dialect, and--like me--became an adopted Milanese, unable even to conceive of living somewhere else.

Thank you, Milan, for this great honor bestowed on such a great and worthy man.

(For more about Prof. Em. Mario Tiengo, here's the website I dedicated to him; he wrote the texts in Italian, and I translated them into English: "Good Evening Doctor,"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cezanne's first time in Milan

Like Cezanne, and live in--or near--Milan?

You're in luck!

A big show of his works is in Milan for the first time...More......

(quoting the short text on the handy dandy cultural activity English!...of the Province of Milan)

Cézanne and the atéliers of Midi
60 paintings together with works on paper.
The exhibiton sheds the light on Cézanne's activity in Provance since the 1860s till the marvellous paintings of the beginning of the 20th Century.

Where? At the ex-Royal Palace next to the Duomo

When? From now 'til Feb. 26, 2012

Hours? 09:30 A.M. - 7:30 P.M. (days not specified, so I'm presuming all days, except the following specified ones, but you should check); Thursday, Saturday 9:30 A.M. - 10:30 P.M.; Monday, 2:30 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.

Cost? Euro 9

Telephone? +39.02.928.00.375

Web site (in Italian)?


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Like a fast and furious pace of life, but don't have the purse to match?

Calling all night owls!

It has just gotten easier to manoeuvre in Milan!...More......

Regular bus services for about a dozen lines available for the price of a regular ticket; for the general map and clickable links to downloadable times tables, see this page (in Italian) on Milan by night:

For a limited number of routes running from 2 A.M. to 5 A.M. Friday and Saturday nights for the price of a regular bus ticket (good for you young and young at heart after spending wee hours in a night club), try the service Bus by night: (page in English)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Black-and-White Milan

Black-and-white Milan...for the fun of it...if it works....Enjoy!

(I snapped this digital photograph of part of the "Old Fiera" in color this morning just around 10:15 A.M., but with black-and-white in mind, then, using PhotoShop Elements, transformed it into a black-and-white image.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Calling all shoppers! A new (and very nice) brand name outlet in Milan

Love to shop? Love to get a good bargain?

You're in luck! There's a new discount brand outlet in downtown Milan.

START UP FASHION DEMOCRACY, via Omenoni, 2, tel. +39.02.8909.3683

Don't be confused by their address on via Omenoni. Even their so-called handy dandy map on the back of their handout is wrong (come on, guys...where's the editorial control?). Maybe it's their legal address. That's possible.

The entrance, in any case, is under the portico on Piazza Meda, at the part where the piazza narrows to a point behind the church of San Fedele in the direction of Piazza della Scala.

On the ground floor (there's a step, though, so it's not very wheelchair accessible...lots of progress still to be made on this front in Italy) are things for women and men, I saw an upper area too packed with shoe boxes to be available for browsing, maybe they'll bring them down for you. More men's things are up another set of stairs, while things (lots!) for tots and for the house are downstairs (there is an elevator for that part of the store).

Lovely lovely LOVELY house things of the sort perfect for one's own home, or gifts.

Most of the discounts are up to 50%, according to their advertising, but I also saw a cheery knit throw for 70% off. Beautiful, and only about E. 35 (what's that...about $42 or $45?). (If you haven't indulged in this luxury, yet, run to do it! There's almost nothing so cozy as a knit blanket that keeps you warm, and snuggles up, and stretches comfortably to fit you while you're lounging on the couch, or bed.)

For other discount shopping tips, look up the category/label "Shopping" in the right hand column.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Gorgeous "tempietto" on an urban lakeside in Milan

The rich really knew (know) how to live....

This little temple ("tempietto") was never really a temple. It's a decoration in the style of a tholos, or ancient Greco-Roman round temple (usually dedicated to female divinities, if I remember correctly), for the garden behind the Villa Belgioioso....More......

Today, the villa is in downtown Milan, but it used to be on the outskirts of the urban area just inside the Spanish Walls.

The villa looked out over the new public park created by Piermarini at the end of the 18th century at the behest of the (then in charge of Milan) Austrian emperor.


In a whole lot o' land that had been confiscated from monasteries closed for corruption, or presumed corruption (the monasteries were rich, and their lands and money bags were tasty targets, corruption or no corruption).

It's something quite new! A countryside style villa *IN* town.

The countryside ambiance is preserved by the large English style park (meandering walks through seemingly spontaneously growing plants and flowing little rivers) behind the Neoclassical style villa built by Piermarini's pupil, Leopold Pollock in 1790 guessed it!...a Belgioioso: Count Ludovico Barbiano di Belgioioso.

When the count died, the Cisalpine Republic (set up by Napoleon in Italy...after liberating it--temporarily--from the Austrians, but before turning Italy into a kingdom, after having crowned himself emperor...yeah, I's a confusing period in Italy's history) acquired the villa in 1802 to give it to Napoleon, who lived there with his wife Josephine Beauharnais, then--when it was renamed the royal palace for reasons cited above--by Josephine's son, Eugene Beauharnais, viceroy of Italy. The villa passed to the Austrians--naturally--after their return to power, and so the general in charge of feisty Milan, Johann Joseph Franz Karl Radetzky (to whom is dedicated the famous Radetzky March) lived there from 1857-58, until the Italian bid for freedom finally made permanent headway.

It was a civic seat of government until just a few years ago, when it was beautifully and aptly transformed into a museum for 19th century art.

Watch out, though... the villa's garden still may be limited to parents with small children.

I took this snap on the 12th of April, 2006, at about 5:30 P.M.

If you're interested in the (horrifically complicated) needlepoint/cross-stitch diagram of this snap, see my other blog, Ars acupicturae stellae - Star's Needlepoint Art:


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Horses in Milan, yeah!

Who doesn't love horses?

What little girl, or boy, didn't want a horse? (Me included.)

In just a couple of weeks, there will be a horse fair in Milan, and I wanted to give you plenty of warning, so you can arrange your schedules (and that of your kids?!), and go!...More......

From the 13th to the 16th, it will be held at Milan's newish trade and convention center (called the "Nuovo polo fieristico") just outside Milan in the northwest suburb Rho-Pero (not to be confused with the old trade and convention center called the "Fiera" in Milan, itself; most of the area has been re-purposed, as is so fashionable to say, these days: a work-in-progress urban requalification).

Driving there? The address is: Strada Statale del Sempione, 28, 20017 Rho (MI) (look it up yourself in Google maps for how to get there from where you are).

Don't drive? Not to fear! Though out of Milan, the New Fiera is very easy to get to. Take the red/#1 'metro' (subway) line to "Rho Fiera Milano."

Want a map and metro indications? Hoping that such a long link works, here is the link to the ATM GIROMILANO indications from the Duomo to Rho Fiera Milano on the official ATM web site.

There's only one catch: since it's in the suburbs (as the Milanese say, with a touch of their Austrian past lingering, "hinterland"), you have to pay a supplement in addition to the standard metro ticket. Get the tickets from a vending machine, and you'll be stuck wondering which of the various options to choose. Go talk to a real person, whether a third party vendor (such as the newspaper stands, or tobacconists), or directly to the source, ATM ticket windows (under the Duomo and under the Central Train Station, for instance).

As long as I'm on a roll, here's the English web site (yeah!) for the 'New Fiera,' in case you'd like to check it out. ("Why?!," you ask? Because, while scheduling your trip to Milan, if you can avoid any of the periods with a convention of any sort going on, you'll have less trouble finding a hotel room and getting a taxi, that's why.)

But back to the horses. Since the web site of the horse trading fair doesn't have a version in English (booo! How do they expect to be international without at least a page of general information in English!), here are some details for those of you, who don't speak Italian, but might like to go.

On the 15th, at 8:30 P.M. there will be 'one of the biggest dressage events in Italy.' Don't know what dressage is? That's the show of collaboration between horse and rider in which the horse is put through its paces, going backwards, sideways, etc., etc., etc. Don't expect a thrilling rodeo show, it seems veddddddy Enggggglish, but it is lovely, and pretty amazing how these huge creatures can be so delicate and light on their feet. Amazing gorgeous animals (to which humankind owes a great let's be kind, and help them survive!).

On the 16th at 3 P.M., there will be 'the jumping competition with the biggest monetary prize in Italy.' Now that *is* exciting!

Entrance fee at the gate (gulp!) for any of the days is a whopping E. 18 (eeee gads! No wonder it's the biggest monetary prize in Italy!). Kids up to the age of 12 get in free.

Want more info than this? Try contacting the organizer, IL MIO CASTELLO CAVALLI, directly: Il Mio Castello Cavalli S.r.l. - Via Feltre, 28/6 - 20132 Milano - Tel. +39.02.27086315 +39.02.27086315 - Fax +39.02.87365855 -

Finally, God forbid I inadvertantly transgress any copyright laws, even in giving them this free publicity, so instead of one of their photos of their horses, here's a detail of a snap I shot on the 23rd of May, 2011, around 11:20 A.M. of one of the equestrian statues atop the Stazione Centrale.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Photoless Friday (30): The Milky Way... in Lombardy

To bring the park on the south of Milan to the attention not just of tourists, but also of the Milanese, the 1st and 2nd of October there are activities called "The Milky Way" (Via Lattea) planned in the center of town and in the park, itself...More......

The park must be lovely... ahem... I haven't been, yet... and I actually would love to see the cows (mooo!)... there is a working farm!

That sounds like two fun-filled days for the family.

Saturday, October 1 in Piazza Mercanti in downtown Milan, Sunday, October 2 in the park (from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.)... don't miss it!

Want more info?

Go to the website of F.A.I.-Fondo Ambiente Italiano:

(Bless them...there's an English language button in the upper right corner of their web site... but it doesn't work.)

Don't want to load down this message, so let me just say that there are lots of other great things closing this weekend. Check out the official web site of the Province of Milan,, the basis for the free and handy "MilanoMese" guide about which we've spoken before.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lovely courtyards in Milan

Milan is like a very reticent, beautiful, stately and mature woman.

The outside may be discreet, but the inside, oh so lovely...More......

Once a year, FAI-Fondo Ambiente Italiano asks private and public entities and people to open up their historic structures and gardens that usually are closed to the public. In addition, they also open their own structures, generally open to the public.

It's a way to highlight the wondrous cultural and artistic patrimony of Italy, and to call attention to the desperate need to maintain and preserve it: FAI's reason for existence.

So, look up the FAI web site, and, if you love Italian culture, sign up. The basic monthly membership doesn't cost much, and--especially if you're in Italy--has good benefits: free entrance to their properties, the fast entrance lane during those hectic show-and-tell days, and discounts on other non-FAI museum and cultural activities.

I snapped this sunny courtyard in the Brera area of Milan during FAI's May 2005 open days.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Another post in honor of Women's Fashion Week in Milan: a 1930s mosaic

This lovely lady decorates the exterior of a building in Porta Volta, by now on the edge of Chinatown in Milan.

I snapped this photo with you in mind on the 11th of September, 2010, at about 2:45 P.M.

If you're interested in my (freely shared) needlepoint/cross-stitch diagram of this image, go to my blog on hand done needlepoint, Ars acupicturae stellae - Star's Needlepoint Art,


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Walk a mile in my shoes...

...before you criticize and accuse....

In honor of Milan's fashion week, I thought I'd recount that I used to follow The Sartorialist for awhile.

It's a marvie blog for following the latest fashion trends. The author takes (great) snaps......More......

... of people on the streets of the most fashionable towns in the world, including Milan.

He hasn't snapped a picture of my shoes, yet, so I did it for you.

Not that they're so fashionable. But without them, and another similar pair or two, I wouldn't be able to walk more than a few steps.

Put me in a taxi, get me close to the door, and in fancy shoes I can hobble to the restaurant table, or I can choose to walk...and get stuck with the likes of these.

And that's why I stopped reading that fashion blog.

Cranky snitty comments (I made a couple, myself, not all of them got past the blog author's censorshhip) without any regard for reality.

And I'm not just talkin' the "Oh, look, the emperor's new clothes!" kind of being out of touch...though there's a heck of a lot of that, too. (Maybe I'm the one out of touch....)

I'm talking the complete lack of understanding that those hideous (insert name of article of clothing, here) may be the only thing that person is able to wear in order to function.

And so I stopped following the blog.

The fact that my Mrs. Dudley DoRight comments often didn't make the grade has a lot nothing to do with it.

You give the blog a whirl, though...Enjoy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Photoless Friday (29): Eavesdropping and carspotting

Overheard (in Italian) on a train, yesterday:

She: "Hi, sweetheart, the train is just getting into the station."

He: "......."

She: "O.K., so you're at the front of the station."

He: "......."

She: "Which car do you have?"

He: "......."

She: "Uh, yeah...what color is it?"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Have buckets, will travel: one version of the Sforza family crest

Talk about a bit of self-propaganda, but that's what family crest are for, right? This one is packed choc-a-bloc with meaning. Where to begin?...More......

Might as well start with the Who dunnit?: Bona of Savoy and her young son, Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza, at least according to the underlying inscription.

When? The date on the underlying inscription says the 6th Calends of January.... Huh? According to Cappelli's chronology, that means the 27th of January. And the year? MCCCCLXXVII. Huh, again? Roman numbers for 1477 A.D. (A fortified tower built in about a month? Hmmm, that sounds pretty suspect to me...maybe the inscription was made later and given that date for another reason; the Touring Club guide says that--due to the political turmoil--the decoration of the tower languished for a few years...I'd bet until around 1493...keep on reading....)

Where? On the aptly named "Tower of Bona" over the entryway to the secluded area, called "The Little Fortress" ("La Rochetta") of the Sforza Castle. She had the tower built to protect her...duchess...inside an inner part of the castle with her toddling son, the legitimate heir. A fortress within a fortress. Ludovico, her now all powerful brother-in-law, and his court lived in the adjoining palatial part of the castle, and Ludovico kept saying how much better it would be for little Gian Galeazzo Maria to be under HIS regency, instead of hers....

Why? Bona--widowed by the assassination of her husband, Galeazzo Maria, stabbed on the doorsteps of the church of St. Steven on St. Steven's Day (26 December 1476)...because he was too vain to wear the protective mail coat under his beautiful new green silk jacked embroidered with gold...thought it made him look, I'm not kidding...ya' gotta love the guy--was having to fend off power grabs by her dead husband's brothers, one of whom eventually won out: Ludovico il Moro (Ludovico the Moor, because he had dark dark hair).

And, finally, the What? The monstrous serpent swallowing up a poor soul (or the monstrous fish disgorging Jonah...the symbol, by now, was centuries old, and the origins lost; it reputedly dated back to the conquest of a Saracen shield by one of the Visconti ancestors during a Crusade) is from the Visconti crest. The eagle is a symbol of the dukedom, granted to Francesco Sforza--the powerful general-for-hire, who married Bianca Maria Visconti, the bastard-but-legitimized daughter of the last legitimate Visconti duke of Milan, Filippo Maria; the marriage gave Francesco no official claim to command, but was a pretty good pscyhological lever...added to his troops surrounding the city in 1450--by the other rulers in Italy as part of the great peace treaty of Lodi (1454), but which had to wait until the machinations of Francesco's and Bianca Maria's middle son, Ludovico il Moro, to become an imperial reality in 1493 (Ludovico forked over big bucks to the then reigning Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick III, but had to keep the official recognition of his claim to the title of duke secret because the son of his assassinated brother was still alive...for about a year...until he died mysteriously on the 20th of October, 1494...). The buckets are for the ability to put out the fires of emergencies, while the burning clubs threaten to create just such emergencies and to raise a good welt, or two, in the process. (Not quite the "Speak softly, and carry a big stick" of Teddy Roosevelt, but along similar lines.) Above, the ducal crown flanked by the dates and palm branch of victory on your upper right and, just in case you didn't get it, the laurel branch of victory on your upper left.

I turned the photo into a diagram for needlepoint, or cross-stitch, should you be so handy. See my blog on hand-done needlepoint, Ars acupicturae stellae - Star's Needlepoint Art:

I took this photo with you in mind on Ferragosto, the 15th of August, at about 1:15 P.M.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Photoless Friday (28): Wines in Lombardy and an upcoming wine festival!

Lombardy isn't known for its wines, but it has quite a few respectable ones, including spumante (since we can't call it "champagne," anymore) from the Franciacorta area, which straddles Lombardy and the Veneto...More......

Why can't we call it "champagne," anymore? Because "Champagne" is the name of a region in France, from which this kind of sparkling white wine took its name, but now European Union rules say that only sparkling white wines from that regione can be called that. (The same thing happened to the Italian "Tocai"--now called "Friuliano," after the northeastern region of Italy in which it is principally produced--a name considered by the European Union as too similar to the Hungarian "Tocaj.")

Let's get to the point: the 25th of September there will be the Festival of the Grape in the only DOC area in the Province of Milan (the governmental organization between the levels of city and region...think of it as "county"), San Colombano near the Lambro river, in the "oltrepo pavese" region (that is, the area near to Pavia on the other side of the Po River). The hills of Miradolo Terme and Graffignana are involved, and the event is held--for the 54th time--by the San Colombano DOC Wine Association. For more information:, tel. +39.0371.89.88.30.

Piqued your interest in Lombard wines? Here are a few websites in Italy (YOU can look up "wines in Lombardy" easily for yourself!), which seemed reliable:

VINOSTORE.IT (yes, it's trying to sell you the wines, but the list looks helpful):

Google maps for "vino in lombardia" (wine in Lombardy) turns up this handy map of some of the vintners in the area:

Lombard wines and the "VinItaly 2011" convention:

A pdf publication dated 2009, and which appears to have the official approval--to be taken with a grain of salt--of the Region of Lombardy, about Lombard wines:

The wine roads in Lombardy (principally Bergamo, Brescia, Lodi, Mantova, Pavia, Sondrio):

Though the sources are in Italian, if you're a wine buff you'll recognize terms. Even if you're not, hopefully it should be pretty obvious when they're talking about a wine, or a city: at least you'll get the names that you then can look up in English, yourself.

Running...unfortunately, not towards a glass of the moment!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Free Italia Wi-Fi": a newly launched project...and grieving together for what we lost ten years ago, today, in New York City

On Friday, the 9th of September, 2011, the "Free Italia Wi-Fi" project--aiming to offer free Wi-Fi throughout Italy, thanks to the collaboration of local levels of government--was launched.

For the moment, few communities are involved, but yours just might be one of them.

Since the project's goal is to get more ITALIANS to use the internet (according to the article on p. 27 of Saturday's paper, "Repubblica," only about 50% of us do), the site is just in least for now, but the address and password columns should be pretty obvious:

I'd be worried about protecting my computer from intrusions, but you can decide for yourself...on this momentous day, the 11th of September, 2011.

Story Corps aims to record a story, and make a respectful animated short out of it, for each of the lives lost on this day, ten years ago:

Let's remember and grieve together for all that we have lost.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Info for emergencies in Milan (and not only Milan), crossing our fingers that you won't need it

City police ("vigili"; number valid only for Milan): 02.77271
Carabinieri (national police; number valid nationally): 112
Ambulance (number valid nationally): 118
Pharmacies open (number valid nationally): 800.80.11.85
24-hour Pharmacy (Central train station, Milan only):

And before you leave home, be sure you get and take with you the information for your country's consulates and embassies located wherever you intend to go.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Photoless Friday (27): hurry, hurry, hurry, the nice weather is drawing to a close

Torrid heat and high humidity aside, the nice weather of summer is drawing to a close, so here's a list of things To Do before the winter chill (and high humidity) rusts our bones....More......

Biking along the "Naviglio Pavese"
The Naviglio Pavese, the canal that goes from Milan to Pavia, was a source of water for the grounds of the castle of Pavia, where some of the Milanese lords preferred to live. A bike path, complete with iron railings for safety, has been completed, and can be ridden for about 24 kilometers. (P.S., the castle in Pavia still exists, is easy to get to on foot from the train station for normally healthy people, and has interesting exhibits. The city is lovely, and has lots to offer for a day trip.)

Sporty types in for a museum visit might enjoy "Women and Sport, 1861-2011" at the Museo del Risorgimento, via Borgonuovo, 23, open til the 25th of September.

Visits to the crenellated soldiers walk along the upper rim of the Sforza castle continue until the 15th of October. For (obligatory) reservations (Ad Artem): +39.02.659.6937.

Like the castle? There also are evening visits to the underground tunnels, till the 15th of October. For (obligatory) reservations (Ad Artem): +39.02.659.6937.

For a panoramic view of Milan from the top of the "Torre Branca" in Parco Sempione, you'll have to go before the 15th of October, when the potential and unpredictable arrival of unpleasant weather makes it unfeasible. (Via Camoens)

Movie buff? Outdoor theater in three enchanting places around town: the courtyard of the world-famous music conservatory, the courtyard of the Humaniter Foundation, the public gardens now dedicated to the journalist Indro Montanelli. The series closes on the 12th of September, just around the corner, so call for info: +39.02.659.7732.

For art lovers, the exhibit "Hayez in the Milan of Manzoni and Verdi" at the Brera Pinacoteca is set to close on the 25th of this month. Yikes! I'd better go, soon, myself!

More for art lovers and lovers of Milanese history: "Memories of Milan" at the Fondazione Biblioteca di via Senato (surprise, surprise, at via Senato, n. 14) will be closing on the 23rd of October.

A good visit for the curious and for families: "Feeding the soul and spirit" lasts at the Archaeological Museum (Corso Magenta, 15) until the 31st of December. Don't miss going downstairs and into the back courtyard to see remains of the ancient Roman walls of the Republican and the Imperial periods, or going into the little attached church, San Maurizio, "carpeted" with Renaissance frescoes (the museum is in one of the ex-courtyards of the church).

Want something else to do with the kids? "Form and function in the world of mammals" at the Museo di Storia Naturale (Museum of Natural History), Corso Venezia 55, tel. +39.02.8846.3337 runs until the 2nd of October.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Just back to work...and already there's a public transportation strike (oh, yeah....)

Milan's city logo snapped on one of the 1927 yellow trams (all lovely wood inside). Those and all the other trams and busses and metro systems in Milan will shut least partially...tomorrow, Tuesday, 6 Sept., from 6 P.M. til what they call "the end of the day's service"...most public transport stops running shortly after midnight, with a few stop gaps running a bit longer into the weeeeeeee hours of the morning, when all service stops, strike, or no strike.

So, there you have it.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Despite the moment's humbug, I'm still going to turn this logo into a needlepoint diagram, and put it on my needlepoint blog (if I can get the new Blogger/Blogspot interface to work for that blog...have I mentioned, yet, that I hate the new interface????? You're bound to hear me say this, again, at least a time, or two):

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It was sooooooooo nice...

...that it's really really (really) hard to get back into the plow's yoke.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Photoless Friday (26): wanna peek behind the curtain--so to speak--at La Scala?

Opera buffs, you won't want to miss this!

Until the 31st of December, there are regular Tuesday and Thursday 3 P.M. guided visits to the workshop where they create the scenographic magic for La Scala in the ex-steelworks Ansaldo company building, via Bergognone, 34.

Reservations in advance are required, call CIVITA at +39-02.433.53.521.

Ready for the really amazing bit?

It's only E.5!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...