Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More lions, this time winged

A delightful snarling winged lion for you from the back of the Stazione Centrale (central train station)...More......

Even the mere fact of centralizing the train traffic at one station was contested, towards the beginning of the 19th century, when this new station first was planned. If you are familiar with Milan, you'll know that this station is at the end of a very long and broad boulevard, like a long piazza with grand streets running up and down and across it. What you may not know is that the smaller prior train station, in the traditional beaux arts style, was approximately at the other end of this "piazza."

Ulisse Stacchini's project of 1912 won the competition for the new station, but the project was shelved due first to feet-dragging and then to the outbreak of WWI and the post-war troubles, including the rise of Fascism, which imposed an apparent peace, so the project was begun in 1927. The original Eclectic mix of Babylonian, Egyptian, Classical and Art Deco Influences was touched up with Fascist symbols, and completed in 1931.

The original entrance, very smart, was under an enormous portico, so people getting off and on vehicles to-ing and fro-ing wouldn't be subjected to the elements. One of the much more recent ways into and out of the most recent of the three subways (the yellow line) also was brought up under this portico.

Too bad that, in the most recent overhaul (heavily criticized and criticizable...that for another day), greed has prevailed, and that area has been dedicated, yes, to moving sidewalks from below, but one is forced to pass through shopping areas to get to them, and the cars and taxis, which used to come up under the protective portico so handily, now have to drop their hapless passengers off to one side, or the other, where there is a portico...but which doesn't go all the way to the station's entrances...duh...put your thinking cap on, architects! (Just WHAT were they thinking???!)

I love the sculptures on this building, so I snapped this shot with you in mind on May 23, 2011, at almost noon. Lovely day and a steady hand, so the shot came out nicely with the zoom, even without a tripod.

In case you'd like to make a needlepoint, or cross-stitch, of this lion, or even knit it, here's a link to my needlepoint blog: http://arsacupicturaestellae.blogspot.com/2011/05/milan-monday-31ahemon-tuesday-more.html.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pounding horseflesh in Legnano, whizzing tires in Milan or...

I think I'm stuck with the "or"...despite the fact that today is Sunday (and, man, am I pooped!), too much work to do, but you can choose to see...More...

...the palio (historical horse race) in nearby Legnano (remember, I talked about this before: http://mymilanitaly.blogspot.com/2011/05/photoless-friday-13-and-friday-13th.html#0), or the end of Italy's famous bicycle race, the "Giro d'Italia."

Handy map (page in English, I'm impressed!, scroll down for the map) of today's course running from the area of Rho-Pero (site of the relatively new seat of the "Fiera," the convention center) just north west of the center of town down Corso Sempione (planned under Napoleone to be an arrow straight path, at least the beginning of it, between Milan and Paris) and via Dante (a lovely pedestrian zone for the last dozen years, or so) straight to the piazza in front of the Duomo: http: http://www.gazzetta.it/Speciali/Giroditalia/2011/en/index.shtml?lang=en.

Had to hunt and hunt for what interested me: WHEN was this going to be a gigantic pain in the butt start and finish? Stumbled on a site in English (Cosmos bless us practical Anglo-Saxons) for this info, not present, or so buried, in Italian sites: http://www.steephill.tv/giro-d-italia/. As completely uninterested as I am in sports, ya' gotta feel for these folks: right during the hottest part of the day (1:30-5:30 P.M.). At least the very stormy day two days ago did cool things down and dry out the air a bit.

Animals and bikes not your style? An art exhibit in honor of Milan is closing today (though I haven't seen it...you go, and tell me what you thought): paintings of Piera Goldstein Bolocan, Spazio Oberdan, viale Vittorio Veneto 2, 10 A.M. to 11 P.M., entrance free (good deal!) (info: 02.77406302).

Just about to close is "Lo stupore nello sguardo. la fortuna di Rousseau in Italia da Soffici e Carrà a Breveglieri" ("Stupor in the eyes. The popularity of Rousseau in Italy from Soffici and Carrà to Breveglieri") at the Fondazione Stelline, Corso Magenta, 61, from 10 A.M. to 8 P.M., entrance fee: E. 8 (info: 02.45462411).

There, that should keep you busy, while *I'm* working.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

What a clever way to protect and enliven underground parking

Even though it's Saturday, I should be working at my computer. Failing that (and I obviously am), at least I should go out for a refreshing walk, now that yesterday's downpours sucked the unbearable humidity and heat out of the air...for now. I just might do that after lunch. Before I shut the fun stuff down on the computer, though, here's a clever and fun way to protect and enliven the air opening of an underground parking garage. The upper ribs look normal enough...More......

...but the artsy-protective part looks pretty scary, yet fascinating at the same time.

I snapped this with you in mind on via Mascheroni, May 22 at almost 11 A.M.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

"It's just a little hunting hideaway": the Venaria Reale outside of Turin and the current "Bella Italia" exhibit

"Oh, it's just a little hideaway for hunting." It might have started out like that for the dukes of Savoy, but, chosen to be kings in 1861, their ideas for the Venaria Reale ("Royal Hunting Lodge") became much more Versailles-like...More......


For those who love gardens, these last 10+ years have been time enough for the French-inspired layout (our guide explained: Italian-style geometry plus French-style panoramas stretching into the distance giving the impression--here's my interpretation--of literally being rulers of all as far as the eye can see) to fill in and for the plants--researched for authenticity--to regain sufficient vigor to make a visit very pleasurable. There is a little restaurant for a meal, or just refreshments. (HINT: there are umbrellas at the entryway, take one, rain or shine: we may be in northern Italy, but it got VERY hot, and I sorely wished I had taken the guide's advice.)

The roses already are lovely--all white for purity--and almost completely cover the arbor by now.

Interspersed in the garden are contemporary art installations (more are planned). This one by Giuseppe Penone was a surprisingly enchanting combination of tradition--it looks like just any ol' reflecting pool, itself reminiscent of pools stocked with fish for the household's tables--and innovation: every few minutes what first looked like breeze ruffles on the water's surface (what? on an airless day? how's that happening?) gel, become the thumbprint of the artist, and melt away as fast as it appeared.

The buildings, stripped of their furnishings legitimately and not by sundry, are being reopened little by little. Furniture that had gone "awandering" is being recovered. For now, the structures host temporary exhibits.

Currently, there is "Bella Italia" ("Beautiful Italy") running until the 11th of September, which presents a panorama of Italian history, from the ancient Roman empire up to the Unification under the Savoy. Some of the works are masterpieces (you'll be sorry to miss them, while visiting their usual locations), others are less important artistically, but do their bit to take the visitor, step-by-step, through the millennia of history. The overall plan of the exhibit was a stab at being interesting, though difficult to manoeuvre (unnecessary dead-ends in relatively small spaces made working against the rush of oncoming visitors like being a salmon going upstream) and to interpret. I thought the "stone walls" were crumbling, but the guide said they were intended to seem "in construction," better suited to the "Italy in the making" theme. Splashing the section titles on them in large 19th-century style writing as if revolution-inspired graffiti was a fresh (though discutable) choice, but a very VERY bad choice for the typically small and low-placed labels for the individual art works.

First note to museum staff: please wake up. A large percentage of your visitors are of reading glasses-wearing age (on-off-on-off-on-off...it's very annoying) let alone vision-impaired, and some of them are even taller than a meter/yard (that was sarcasm, in case you hadn't noticed), so please do labels in very large print and put them high enough so a visitor of average height doesn't have to do calisthenics, risking an attack of lumbago from which it would be difficult to straighten up, in order to read them.

Second note to museum staff: please wake up (again). We all produce trash. Have been doing so since mammals emerged and humanoids began loping across plains. What would archaeology be without it? Trash even can be recycled to save resources and used to generate much needed energy. But do we have to have those ugly bins pushed into our faces right at the entryway to the museum's courtyard? I think I see an enormous billboard behind which they could have been hidden (that's more sarcasm, could you tell?).

Thinking caps, folks, thinking caps. Sometimes it's just a question of a few yards, or minutes, that make all the difference in the world.

The Venaria Reale is located just outside of Turin, and is easily reachable by bus. Even without seeing the temporary exhibits, it's well worth the trip, but plan at least an ample half-day for it.

I shot these photos on the 11th of May just before and after a tasty lunch in their little restaurant.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photoless Friday (14): how about Milan as a movie set?

Planning to make a movie? Want a location with a good mix of sophisticated modernity and satisfying tradition, with lovely parks and a real castle thrown into the mix?

Why not Milan?

Here's the info of the official city web site dedicated to you: http://www.comune.milano.it/portale/wps/portal/CDMLanguages?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/wps/wcm/connect/ContentLibrary/inglese/homepage/english_+milano+your+film+set.

One final blurb, overtly self-promotional: don't forget to weave the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum into the plot. It's one of Europe's most important and best preserved historic house museums, which is a fancy way of saying that it's a "time capsule" of a traditional aristocratic house from the end of the 19th century that is filled with its original collections of Italian Renaissance art and furnishings, all just where the collectors intended it to be, so even if you're not hunting for a movie set, it's a great place to see some masterpieces and just be nosey...why not?!

And, since I work there, of course it's a great place!

Here's the web site (sign up to our free e-mail Newsletter, too!): http://www.museobagattivalsecchi.org.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coming soon to Milan: "Barking Dogs (that) Don't Bite"

Coming soon to Milan is "Can che abbaia non demorde" ("barking dogs don't bite"), the 'first run for dogs and owners,' sponsored by advantix, anti-flea, -mosquito and -tick product* only for dogs.

Five kilometers running around in Milan's lovely "Parco Sempione" with Man's Best Friend loping along your side.

Or you wheezing alongside his.

Don't even have to get up too early: the "Hospitality Village" opens at 11 A.M., big dogs and their owners get the starting gun at 4 P.M., medium-sized dogs and their owners at 4:10 P.M., little dogs and their owners at 4:20 P.M. Awards at 6 P.M.

For more information about the event and signing up, here's the link, but it's only in Italian: http://www.advantixrunning.it.

*Ho hum, Star, we've heard it before. Well, here it is, again: I don't get any kick-backs of any kind for any mention of any product, or event.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Today in Milan: a conference, a happening, an opening

Today in Milan: a fascinating conference on alchemy, a 'happening' and the opening of a very brief art show...More......

"Arte e alchimia" (Art and Alchemy), a conference in the "Memorie di Milano" (Memories of Milan) series tonight at 6 P.M., entrance free while seating lasts, Fondazione Biblioteca di Via Senato, via Senato 14, 02.7621.5323. A "trip" through the magic art of alchemy from the Renaissance to the Mannerist periods. Keep your eyes focused firmly on this small, but very interesting exhibit space and library. Their activities often are fascinating: http://www.bibliotecadiviasenato.it/home.htm (Italian only).

"Festival di LAIV-Laboratori di arti interpretative dal vivo" (Workshops Festival of Live Interpretative Arts), or, as the event also is known, "LAIV Action" (a play on the Italian pronunciation, making the acronym sound like the English word "live"), beginning tonight and running until the 21st of May, young kids from 14 to 19 years of age and all coming from the province of Lombarday, will be performing. Teatro Sala Fontana, via Boltraffio 21, tel. 02.69015733, various hours, entrance free while seating lasts. For further information (in Italian): http://www.lafucina.org/home.asp?p=8-16/05/2011 and http://www.progettolaiv.it/tycoon/light/doAction/ThemeDisplay?site=200.

Opening today the show "Mondo Rondo Pop Art Condominiale" in via Maura Macchi 42, during office hours, for a couple of days until the 18th. Graffiti-like works in portable (traditional?!) media, displayed within a condo, or office, environment. Style recognizably inspired by Keith Haring. Found nothing in English, but this article in Italian gave all the basic info and a bit besides: http://cultura.blogosfere.it/2011/05/mondo-rondo-la-mostra-pop-art-di-aleandro-roncara-tra-gli-uffici-del-condominio.html.


More lovely grillwork, this time geometric

More lovely grillwork in Milan, this time geometric.

I snapped this with you in mind on the first of May, 2011, around 2 P.M. in Viale Majno, for your personal, non-commercial use and enjoyment.

If you'd like to see the diagram I created out of it for a needlepoint, or cross-stitch, project, see my other blog: Ars acupicturae stellae - Star's Needlepoint art: http://arsacupicturaestellae.blogspot.com/2011/05/milan-monday-30-geometric-grill-in.html

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Goofy and/or pretentious (01): white eye glasses

For all their flair and style, Italians sometimes wear things that, even after so many years in Italy, I think are just plain goofy and/or pretentious.

Let's start the list with white eye glasses.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photoless Friday 13 *and* Friday the 13th, everything O.K. so far...‘What’s on in Milan?’

Handcrafted objects sold in stalls and stands by street venders, food prepared with medieval recipes, the hustle and bustle of a street of the Middle Ages full of colorful medieval-style costumes up your alley? This weekend, the 14th and 15th of May at the castle in nearby Legnano, there will be an evocation of a medieval village around its walls.

Pounding horse flesh, colorful medieval-style costumes and swirling banners more up your alley?...More......

On the 29th of May, still at the castle of Legnano and by the same organizers, there will be the “Palio” of Legnano, an event somewhere ‘between folklore and history,’ in the organizer’s own words.

The event modern in its inception celebrates the decisive victory on the 29th of May, 1176, near Legnano against the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I Hohenstaufen, known as “Redbeard.” A decisive step towards self-government on the Italian peninsula and Milan’s slow return to power after being a bit snubbed in the early Middle Ages by the invading Lombard lords (though invaders, it’s their name that stuck for the region they ruled for over two hundred years), who preferred nearby Pavia for their home base.

First, a stately parade will give the 1200+ participants a chance to show off their costumes, then there will be a Mass held from the famous “Carroccio,” a wagon with a war altar, evoking the original created by the Archbishop of Milan Ariberto d’Intimiano for a much earlier war (waste not, want not), which encouraged the medieval soldiers to beat back Redbeard. After the Mass, captains will be appointed for each of the 8 “contrade” into which Legnano is divided, the horses will be blessed, and in the afternoon the costumed participants will parade from Piazza Carroccio past the statue of Alberto da Giussano (who may, or may not, ever have lived, but who is credited with leading the troops against Redbeard, and whose image has been used by an Italian political party favoring more local autonomy), then will gather in the “campo” first for the charge not of the Light Brigade, but of the Company of Death (“Compagnia della Morte), then the “palio” (horse race) between the “contrade.” The winning “contrada” gets to take care of the “Croce di Ariberto” (a reproduction of the original, first donated by Archbishop Ariberto to the Milanese church of San Dionigi, then transferred centuries later to the Duomo of Milan when San Dionigi was razed by Piermarini so the area could be part of his public gardens, still delightful to enjoy; a reproduction also is to the left upon entering Milan's Duomo through the main portals; the original is in the Duomo museum) until the next year’s “palio.”

And you thought Milan and its “hinterland” (outlying areas) were stodgy.

What else is up?

“Milano Food Week” is finishing up on the 15th, so, if you want to sample haute cuisine by some of the city’s most important (and expensive) chefs for an affordable (or so they say) fee and enjoy some of the city’s most beautiful courtyards and spaces in the process, you’d better hurry.

The 14th and 15th also will offer “Duomo incontra l’arte”: an open air exhibit of art for sale, some of it looking professional, some of it decidedly hobby-ish, some of it modern, some of it traditional, and the whole range in between.

Won’t go into detail about the other exhibits, seen and unseen, at museums or galleries, closing farther in the future, except to say that the current exhibit at the Palazzo Reale on Arcimboldo (sometimes spelled Arcimboldi)—the guy, who did those “weird” portraits composed of fruits, vegetables, plants, animals and fish (expressing dominion of the sitter over the micro-macrocosm)—is one of the best exhibits I’ve ever seen, really, in my whole entire life (except for those pesky too small exhibit labels), both from a content and a presentational point-of-view. It’s a must-see, and closes soon, too, on the 22nd of the month, so hurry up!

For this and other information, see the free bi-lingual “what’s happening” purse-sized guide produced by the Province of Milan, called “Milano Mese” (for the web site version, called “Visit Milano”). It is a great source for info, whatever your cultural preferences from Gregorian chant to hard rock, from ancient Egyptian to contemporary Milanese art, from Living History events to Happenings, as well as local fairs and fun stuff for kids.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Another nostalgic surprise...I miss honeysuckle.

Never been one to fawn over a plant.

They're too much trouble.

Would like a garden choc-a-bloc with roses, but would need first the garden, and then a gardener.

Too much water, too little water, too much sun, not enough sun.

Whatever it is, plants always die on me.

But honeysuckle for me is childhood innocence...More......

There was an enormous honeysuckle bush, or series of bushes, all along the long fence that separated our back yard from that of the neighbors.

The honeysuckle bush was so high and broad and thick that we used to climb up onto it, and it seemed like being atop of the mast of a ship, or the broad sure back of an enormous horse.

Fresh air, sun, adventures, safety.

And that heavenly smell (and bees).

In Italy, I've been keeping my eyes open for honeysuckle for years and years with no results.

The similarly heavenly smell of pittosporum fooled me more than once, leaving me increasingly crushed with disappointment.

I knew why.

A bit homesick (though when I'm there, I'm homesick for Italy).

Forcing myself to take a walk this last weekend, grumbling to myself at first, but already knowing that within minutes of being outside, walking briskly, getting a bit of fresh air and sunshine, "have camera, will travel," I'd be in good spirits, and probably would stumble across something wonderful.

I did.

It caught my eye.

Nawwwww, it can't be...(steps ahead...pauses...steps back...)...what if it is? It's just a few steps backwards, go check.

The first honeysuckle flowers that I've seen and smelled for decades.

I almost cried.


I just stood there, staring at this small slice of honeysuckle, wedged between who knows what the other two plants were.


Nawwww, I won't be able to get a good picture of it, but I'm so glad that I saw and smelled it...(takes a few steps forward...pauses...takes a couple of steps back)...but the light's good, and that's what's so great about digital pictures...if the photo doesn't come out, no harm done.

So I snapped a few for me and for your personal non-commercial use: a couple from farther away, a couple of close ups (Saturday, May 7, 2011, at about 2:45 P.M.).
I turned this photo into Milan Monday's needlepoint diagram on my blog dedicated to needlepoint, Ars acupicturae stellae (http://arsacupicturaestellae.blogspot.com/2011/05/honeysuckle.html).

(And here's to Chris' marvelous blog, "serendipitous," in which she makes heartfelt comments and posts wonderful nature photos...contemplating what I see as an homage to the writers of my favorite blogs sharpens my eyes, so this one's for you, Chris, thank you for your blog.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day (and some good advice from moms)

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms. Mine imparted to me a few feminine fashion jewels, which I follow religiously, and wish that others would, too, so I'd like to share them with you, especially since this is a blog headquartered in Milan, Italy's fashion capital.

1. The higher the heel...the longer the skirt (or the image you project may be suitable only for practitioners of the 'world's oldest profession').

2. The higher the heel...the shorter the step (or you will galumph like a cowboy).

3. Your hose should always be a lighter color than your shoes, or at least more or less the same (dark hose and light shoes just looks plain bad).

So, enough already with the serious advice. If you want a giggle, here's a list of sayings we've all heard from our mothers, and the fundamental lessons we have been able to draw from them. You may have seen the list, already, but it's always funny (because oh so true!):...More......

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION .
"You'd better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
"Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
"If you fall out of that swing, and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS. "Shut your mouth, and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
"Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world, who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You are going to get it, when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
"You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you."

I snapped this photo in 2005, and this lovely lady just happened to be in the background. Have no idea who she is, but her dress is fantastic. A Little Black (Stern) Dress relieved with a surprising deep V-cut with a bit of lace on the back, and a perfect hemline for someone with those shoes and her legs.

(Happy birthday, Mom! Years ago, I designed and embroidered the first initial of my mother's name. If you'd like to see it, go to: http://arsacupicturaestellae.blogspot.com/2011/05/happy-mothers-day-and-happy-birthday.html.)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Knitted brows and urban art

On the third of May, 2009, enjoying the green garden and trees along the street after a visit to an exhibit at Milan's Triennale (which is interesting, in and of itself...hmmm...fodder for a future post...), I spotted this.

I had heard about the exhibit, thought the idea was rather silly (frankly, that's my opinion about a lot of what passes for contemporary "art," but that's a whole other can o' worms), fretted and knit my brow for a few split seconds of art guilt, then let it pass from my mind. Already too much stuff to remember.

When actually surprised by it, though,...More......

...it was silly, but its very silliness brought a smile to my face, and a bit of color and futility to Milan's rather sober and serious urban environment (I'm not complaining, mind you, I like sober and serious). Too bad, at about 3:15 P.M., the shadows were on it, and it had been installed a couple of weeks before, so the colors already had begun to fade. I snapped the picture, anyway. An oddity that had brought a smile to my face. Nothing more, I thought.

I found, though, that this little oddity kept creeping back into my conscious thought: http://mymilanitaly.blogspot.com/2010/10/photoless-friday-01-do-you-know-this.html

Spent hours hunting the net for sure information about the identity of the artist. Still don't have a clue, but the post about a crocheted coral reef on one of my favorite blogs, the Suburban Matron, brought it back to mind, so I thought I'd share it with you, even without the info about the artist that I would have liked to have provided along with my snap.

The weather promises to be very nice this weekend in Milan, so I'm hoping to take at least a couple of good long walks, and that means more photos to share with you.


P.S., I'd still like to know who the artist of this urban art piece was, so if you know, please jot me a note in the comment box, thanks!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Photoless Friday (12): Perfume of Tuscany in Lombardy


The Milanese branch of the antique Florentine pharmacy/perfume store used to be on via Santa Maria della Porta. Passing one day, it was closed...hmmmmm...tried, again, later...still closed, must be choosing bad times to pass by...next time, still closed...oh, I get it, it's CLOSED. "Oh, truly sorry for the store owners," and that was that because I kept forgetting to check internet for them.

...and found!...More......

Passed in Corso Magenta the other day, and the light must have been right because, there at n. 22, is its skinny, easily missed store front!

Fascinating history: opened in 1221 by the Dominican monks next to the Florentine church of Santa Maria Novella. Opened to the public only in 1612, it also produced perfume for Catherine de' Medici (THE de' Medici), who, in 1533, went to France as Henry II's queen taking Italian fashion, food and profume along with her. Her perfume with citrus and bergamotto notes, is still available: "Acqua della Regina" ("Queen's water").

This is sooooooo cool! Living history! And it smells so good, too! What a great gift for yourself, or for someone special!

Here's the link to the info about this perfume on the official web site (info only in Italian; the page apparently hasn't been added to the English version, yet): http://www.smnovella.it/italiano/art.asp?ida=7502&idc=390&idp=390.

The web site in English for the original Florentine branch is: http://www.smnovella.it/en/home.asp?idc=286.

An unofficial web site with all the practical info about the Milanese branch (though in Italian, the hours, address and telephone numbers are self-explanatory): http://www.italiastraordinaria.it/?page_id=prodotti&idcontenuto=263&idparent=384&iddetail=198.

Ho-hum, Star, you can stop reminding us of this...Just remember, I don't get any kick-backs of any kind for my personal positive opinions about any products, or brand names, mentioned.

Sniff and enjoy!

(P.S., Ha Ha on me, I've been in Italy too long...In the first version of this post, I mispelled "perfume" in the title and in a few other places, so had to repost it so that the correct version would be available through the search button...sorry!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Free WIFI hotspots in Milan (but be careful...always!)

Taking the tram home, I pass a spot offering free WIFI, and thought this info might be useful for you all coming to Milan.

Are you going to be a university student? Your university probably has a free hotspot area for you. I know that the Polytechnical Institute does (but you'll need to be one of their students to get a password).

Lots of caffès and hotels now offer free WIFI hotspots, too. Drumroll, please...even the city of Milan is getting into the act...More......

...with an area stretching from Piazza Cordusio to the Duomo, but to be extended continually as the city works its way toward the 2015 Expo, so keep getting updates.

I hunted about a bit on the net for you, and found some info...more of it if you can read a bit of Italian (in Google, for instance, look up "punti WIFI gratis Milano")...and there even is a map for being able to find free WIFI spots worldwide.

Be careful, of course...find out about the service's security before being too trustful.

With that caveat in mind, here are the sites that seemed most helpful to me. If you have other suggestions, put them in a comment, and I'll add them to the post.

First, the helpful links in English (with almost no comments at the moment, I'm rushing out the door):





And now for the sites in Italian:

http://www.wimi.it/ (the official Milan city site about its WIFI spots)


http://maps.fon.com/ (the world-wide map)

Hope this is helpful! Bye for now!

Monday, May 2, 2011

More Milanese "Liberty" (Art Nouveau)

Another gorgeous example of Milanese "Liberty" (aka Art Nouveau): a combination of French-influenced flowing vegetal forms and Viennese-influenced geometric forms...More......

This image is yet another grate over the basement areas called "seminterrato" ("semi-buried") because they have only about a yard of the upper ceiling area above ground dedicated to windows for light and air, but, being so accessible, need the safety of grating.

I snapped this photo for your personal non-commercial enjoyment on the 25th of April--Italy's national Liberation Day holiday--at about 3:45 P.M.

If you'd like to use this image for a needlepoint, or cross-stitch, project, go to my blog dedicated to needlepoint, Ars acupicturae stellae - Star's Needlepoint Art: http://arsacupicturaestellae.blogspot.com/2011/05/milan-monday-28-milanese-art-nouveau.html.

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