Monday, June 27, 2011

Wings to carry you through the new week: Pegasus

Need some wings to carry you through the new week?

Here are some gorgeous ones in Milan...More......

...atop the Stazione Centrale, about which I've already written:

Two figures of Pegasus each with a monumental male figure, which remind one of the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux), perch on the two upper outer corners of the station's façade. Getting a closer peek at it with my zoom makes me realize that, while the male figure obviously is Michelangelesque, the horse just might be inspired by another of Milan's wonderful sculptures: the equestrian monument of Bernabò Visconti (quite a character, quite a sculpture, both deserving of their own posts).

This is one of my favorite images in all of Milan. I snapped it with you in mind on the 23rd of May, 2011, at about 11:15 A.M.

If you'd like this image in a needlepoint/cross-stitch diagram, see my other blog: Ars acupicturae stellae - Star's Needlepoint Art:


Friday, June 24, 2011

Photoless Friday (18): What's happening in Milan?

It's not creepy.

And they even call themselves an "open air museum":

The "Cimitero monumentale" ("Monumental Cemetery") in Milan was built...More...

...(then) outside of town in 1863-66 by Carlo Maciachini in a Lombard Romanesque-y Eclectic kind of style. Some of the monuments are by big name artists and architects.

Right now, poor thing, it's quite sacrificed by the construction work for the new metro stop that will be right in front of it. Don't know when that work will be over. For now, it's still easily reachable by getting off at the tram 14 stop in via Bramante almost to the piazza.

The large U-shaped structure heading the cemetery houses the "Famedio" (a place where illustrious people are buried, or remembered with plaques and statues, if they are buried elsewhere).

In the guards' office in the left wing of this "U," ask them for a map of the cemetery: (1) so you don't get lost, (2) so you'll have at least a few of the more important monuments pointed out to you. (More in-depth guides in the form of a paperback book are available for purchase, at least in bookstores...maybe there, too.)

Just inside the cemetery, there is a three-dimensional Mondrian-like sculpture designed in 1946 by the famous architectural firm BBPR (Belgioioso, Banfi, Peressuti, Rogers) in honor of one of their firm, who died in a concentration camp during WWII.

This "city of the dead" (necropolis) is laid out logically, and has three main sections: the largest central section contains the Catholic burials, on the right (facing the entrance) is the section dedicated to Jewish burials, while on the left is the section dedicated to other non-Catholic burials.

"Why, oh why is she talking about a cemetery, for Pete's sake??!?," I can hear you mumbling while performing whatever gesture your culture uses to ward off the Evil Eye.

Because in just a few days, on the 30th of June, end the tours focussing on the "Scapigliatura*" art works in the cemetery.

Guided tours are at 10 A.M. and 2 P.M. (closed Mondays).

Entrance is free. (Though I don't know if the guided tours are....)

For info, see their web site, and/or call: 02.8844.1274

I finally understood a lot about Milanese architecture and design after studying the monuments, here.

Maybe one day, I'll post a photo of my favorite monument, or two. Very touching.

*What's "Scapigliatura"? A movement-centered mostly in Milan-spanning various arts, in which the writers, poets and artists wanted to breathe a breath of fresh European air (Baudelaire, Rodin, et al.) into the Italian peninsula. Here are a few words on the British encyclopedia site, which just begin to present the subject, but the source is a trustworthy place to start:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A lovely Sunday in Milan: here my are!

What gorgeous (rapidly) hot and clear weather we had, today. Not a cloud in the BLUE sky. My desk is full of work and my calendar is full of deadlines, but I couldn't resist. Work and bad weather have been keeping me trapped inside for donkey's years, so, camera in hand, off I went right after lunch, and got back at almost 8 P.M., with plenty of light still reigning. Too hard to pick just a couple of photos, so I thought I'd take you along with me on my walk...More......

After finishing something long and enriching, I remembered that there is an odd thought-provoking sculpture in front of the provincial government building, so I decided to try my luck with the lighting. Got off the public transportation near the Duomo (couldn't resist the shot, though I have gazillions of them), and headed off back behind it.

The "promo" sculpture for the Paladino show at the Palazzo Reale (unfortunately) is still in situ.

Passed by the 16th century police headquarters, today the seat for the "Vigili" (street police). I've got an idea about how to talk about this in the future, so I won't spill my beans, here. I actually had wanted to check out the lighting on the sculpture of Cesare Beccaria in the piazza just out of sight to the left, but it already was covered in shade, so I didn't bother. I STILL don't have a decent photo of that sculpture. sigh. This author wrote his famous and influential "Of Crimes and Punishment" in the mid-eighteenth century, already against capital punishment. Amazing foresight.

"What's so special about this?," you ask. Apart from being a good back-side shot of the "curtain" of rather blecky (in my opinion) post-WWII architecture...perhaps by Caccia Dominioni, perhaps by Magistretti...on Corso Europa (the front side's no better), look more carefully at the bottom left...there's a fragment of the ancient Roman baths that used to be in this very spot. Out of sight just to the right is a little ancient church. Bits and pieces of antiquity peeking up like grass through modern tarmac. I love it.

Now we're already in Piazza San Babila (where rivers used to go under the ancient Roman walls) looking at Ponti's post-WWII building.

Still in Piazza San Babila looking at...San Babila. An Early Christian church, redone over and over and over again throughout the centuries till there's not much left of the real McCoy (the façade is late 19th century and the bell tower is from the 1930s!).

On Corso Monforte at the corner of via Conservatorio, an explosion of revived Art Nouveau mixed with Lombard Baroque by Alfredo handy dandy "Touring" guide to Milan gives the date of 1911, but the building bears the date of 1923, and it would be a bit odd to put the date on the building twelve years after it was constructed...maybe it was DESIGNED in 1911, but FINISHED in 1923. Oh man, another conundrum to follow up on...

...Conundrum, or not, its putti were too adorable to resist. Are you tired, yet? Courage! We're almost to the originally planned destination!

Tah dah!...Today's goal: the 2008 sculpture called "L'Uomo della luce" ("The man of light") by Bernardi Roig in honor of all victims of terrorism (of which Milan saw quite a bit in the years following the university student and left-leaning uprisings in 1968). This life-sized sculpture is located in the little piazza in front of the Via Vivaio entrance added by Giovanni Muzio (1940 ca.) to the provincial government offices in the adjacent historic structure (worth its own later post) on Corso Monforte. The first time I saw this sculpture, we passed it at night, and it scared me because I thought it was a real and crazy person with lights doing some kind of insane tight rope act, or thievery.

Not particularly "pretty" (though contemporary art doesn't really try, anymore, does it...another sigh...), and certainly getting pretty dirty, but maybe that was part of the artist's plan to emphasize the tough burden of trying to bring light to a hopelessly dark situation, soon doomed to failure (why? note that the beam on which the figure is walking ends abruptly). At first I thought it was a temporary installation, but it's been there for a few years, so I guess it's there to stay. Activates the piazza in a thought-provoking way. Just a few steps further down, something else thought-provoking caught my eye.

Had kept on going down via Vivaio, passed two panels of low relief art on this part of the province's seat that had just been completed and inaugurated prior to the worst of the WWII bombing raids in 1943 by US and UK planes smashing bits of this very building (and at least 25% of the city of Milan) into smithereens (what rotten luck, but if you play with fire...). Snapped a few shots, and keen looking from the other side of the fence rewarded me with the name of the artist faintly chiseled into the lower right of this one: Ivo Soli. Was just about to move on when, "Wait a minute.... Is that...? Could it be...? Yes, it is!"

Not just "damnatio memoriae," but literally rewriting history. Now reading "Italian laws entrust to the provincial government the task of the care of motherhood and childhood," if you look closely enough, the word "Italian" is an inserted bit of stone. The rest of the plaque is still whole. I'll bet you a cappuccino that it originally said "Fascist" (both ending here with the plural feminine "e"). There are instances of this all over town. Sometimes it takes the right light to see it because all that's left are the faintest of scratches, or darkenings, where the Fascist symbols and dating system used to be. Maybe I'll go into that another day, as that's a whole other can o' worms.

Still in via Vivaio, I passed the Istituto dei Ciechi (Institute for the Blind), where there is the possibility to immerse oneself, even if only temporarily, in a simulation of what it must be like to be blind: cocktails, dinner, business meetings and special events in the pitch black. I've heard it's an amazing experience, though it sounds a bit scary for me, but you might want to try it. Groups (in Italian, I imagine) are available: 02.7639.4478,

At the end of via Vivaio, on the corner of via Cappuccino, there is the fascinating Berri-Merigalli building by Arata (1911-1914). It's...

...fascinatingly ghoulish and Neo-Romanesque.

On to viale Piave and what could be a remaining nibble of the Spanish Walls (begun in the mid-16th century, they encircled Milan until they were torn down as useless in the period of peace under the Austrian Hapsburgs at the end of the 18th century...the city was less defensible, but it was also less able to defend itself against the Hapsburgs without its walls...they were some smart cookies). A few steps ahead, and... we are at Porta Venezia (because the street led to Venice). The gate and the taxman offices in the old Spanish walls HAD been, but were no more because the walls had been torn down, remember? Piermarini had started to build (but never finished) symbolic gates for the tax men, so the crumbling half-built pair of structures was torn down and replaced in 1827-38 by Vantini (this is the one on the left, with your back to the center of town). From here, it was quite a hike under the hot sun past the public gardens commissioned by the Hapsburgs from Piermarini for the city in areas confiscated from monasteries.

Finally having arrived in Piazza Republica, at the end where the train station USED to be (until it was moved farther down a bit, and is now the Stazione Centrale), here's a snap of some of the post-WWII buildings that went up in the area. I shot this just before I collapsed on the bus for home.

Are you as tired as I am? It was a lovely day, though, so I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

LAST CHANCE to catch a Templar Knight (in Turin)

Yesterday (ahem) in Turin, there was a conference (in Italian) on the "Templars: the real secret." Today is the second and last day of the 18th national gathering of the Knights of the Temple of Gerusalem. Six new knights will be...knighted.

There is a lot more in this photo--snapped on the 29th of July, 2008, at around 10:45 A.M.--about Turin than meets the eye...More...

Turin is a very sophisticated city, and long has been one of the favored cities of the ancient Savoy dynasty (even before becoming kings recently--in an Italian sense of time--in 1861) in their territory that once spread over areas now covering both Italy and France. So they're a bit frenchified.

Let's practice a bit of LOOKING, not just SEEING.

What's in this picture of one of the city's principal piazzas?

A large open piazza with beautiful buildings and a commemorative sculpture. That's a good start. What you can't see in the picture are the churches at the end of the piazza. I always take a peek in churches (be careful not to disturb the sacred ceremonies...the hours are posted just inside, or outside, the entrance). There usually is something lovely, if not famous, to see, and the peace and quiet--whatever religion you do, or do not, practice--is restful. Be a nice kid. Find the charity box--also usually near the entrance--for the maintenance and restoration (mantenimento/restauro) of the church, and drop in a couple of Euros. They have light bills and sweepers to pay, too, and you've just taken advantage of both.

What else is in the photo...a portico...the city has lots of porticos to protect the strollers (people, not just baby carriers) from the inclement weather, whether due to strong sun, or gusty rain. That's a very nice urban touch, which, surprisingly, is not as common as one would think.

The porticos are nice and wide, too, so that gives the sophisticated coffee shops (oh, don't you just love real cloth table cloths and napkins? I do!) more space for open air tables in more kinds of weather. Yes, sophisticated coffee shops are another feature of lovely Turin. And there's a really famous one, which has hot chocolate (chocolate is another of Turin's long time claims to fame) so rich and thick that it's like drinking hot chocolate pudding. Really REALLY worth the effort to go. Trouble is, I can't think of the name, but it's right next door to the little glass-covered gallery off of one of those handy dandy porches you can stroll from the train station towards the royal palace and the Shroud of...Turin (duh).

The Shroud is in a church butting up against the ex-royal palace, but it opens onto a piazza on its other side.

The church opening on the same piazza as the ex-royal palace is by Guarini and DEFINITELY worth the trouble to go. VERRRRRRRY famous. Very intricate ribbing and a centralized space.

Also on the large space opening in front of the ex-royal palace is a fortified building with ancient Roman foundations now uncovered and visible. Also worth the visit.

Like traditional art from Renaissance onwards? There's the Sabauda (the adjectival Italian form of "Savoy") gallery. For all its unique pieces, there are galleries like that scattered all over Italy.

Like Egyptian art? Here, you've hit the jack pot. If I'm not mistaken, Turin has the world's second largest collection of Egyptian art and artefacts after the Cairo museum. Part of the museum is still set up in the old style still suitable to small objects: glass cases, labels, abundant light from the tall windows. Part of the museum was redone a number of years ago to express life and death themes with more impact. Also interesting. Stunning, however, is the more recent makeover of the hall with the large (and some huge) sculptures: dark like the sacred inner recesses of a tomb, or temple, with blinding spotlights, like piercing rays of sun, focused on the individual pieces. Each approach works well, and has different goals.

There's also an armor museum and an oriental museum, if you are interested, but the other museum you really shouldn't miss, even if you're not a movie fan, is the relatively new museum--installed in one of Turin's most distinctive and favorite buildings, the "Mole"--dedicated to cinema. The presentation is...cinematographic. Theatrical alterations of dark and light, color and black-and-white, movement and stillness, traditional passive observation and avant-garde possibilities to interact with the collection (I'm not going to spoil my two favorite surprises!). It's also possible to take the elevator up to the walkway around the top, to get a good view of the city.

Plan at least a long full day trip to Turin. It's a lovely city with lots to offer. If you're adventuresome, there's also a bus service going out to the Venaria Reale, about which I wrote here: It's the fancy schmancy Savoy hunting lodge with beautiful gardens, fascinating interiors being filled slowly, but surely, with recovered original pieces of furniture, and the refurbished stables dedicated to often very theatrically presented temporary exhibits. That's a whole other day, though.

Can you tell I like Turin? I hope you will, too.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Photoless Friday (17): Vasca tonight, men's fashion week for four days and 'pull out your wallet' (it's a good cause, though!)

Fan of the Italian singer Vasca? You're twice in luck. He's singing at San Siro, tonight, AND ATM has improved the public transportation for the event. Trams, the metro and parking lots will be in service a bit longer than usual. Back home from the concert, hole up in your house, or office, for four days: Men's Fashion Week begins, tomorrow (I shouldn't's always a bit less hectic than the one for women's clothes, and it's a good showcase for Italian products, and, hence, the economy. Speaking of money...More......

...if you're a visiting the Duomo as a tourist, and not as a worshipper (don't try to be sneaky!), you'll be asked to put your hand into your wallet to help pay the upkeep and maintenance soon as they can figure out how to separate the "sheep" from the "goats."

"But it's a church!," I can hear you complain.

I remember the first time I bumped into this situation, and I was outraged, too.

But then I got to thinking about it.

First of all, I *am* visiting it, as if it were a museum.

Second, I always drop a Euro, or two, into the box--when available!!!--for the upkeep of the church, but evidently not everyone does, and even churches have to pay electric bills and the wages for the guardians and sweepers.


So, don't begrudge the few Euros that you will be asked to pay.

You'll help to repair the gorgeous marble floors, for one thing, worn continuously by all those shuffling touristy feet.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Laurel for successful graduations and other worthy accomplishments

Who doesn't know about the laurel branch, especially when woven into a crown, the ultimate recognition of accomplishments, particularly in the areas of learning and the humanities (did you know that...More......

...Petrarch was the first to receive a laurel crown, after centuries of disuse?). So, here's a strip of lovely laurel from a building in via Mascheroni, just like the lion.

I snapped this photo with you in mind on the 22nd of May, 2011, around 10:45 A.M., for your personal, non-commercial enjoyment.

If you'd like to see the needlepoint/cross stitch design I created using this photograph, go to my "Ars acupicturae stellae - Star's Needlepoint Art":


Saturday, June 11, 2011

"More houses, Less cheese," or, the perils of bilingualism

More houses, less cheese?

Walking around town, one day, I saw a wall scribble using--as is typical in Italy--the "+" sign for "more" and the "-" sign for "less" (like in this detail saying "more green, less cement" of a poster put up during the recent political campaign).


A lot of graffiti I see is meaningless to me, in one way, or another (soap box time: it's not "art," folks, it's vandalism, if permission to do it on shared property--including public property--, or the property of others, hasn't been obtained, first. When obtained first, THEN we can start dicussing artistic merit...I don't care if it's the Mona Lisa of Leonardo da Vinci, it's still vandalism, and should be severely punished as such. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program). Sometimes the writing is purposefully obscure...hidden messages to those in the know...sometimes it's just so scribbly--rapidity probably being the key--that it's almost indecipherable.

I thought about the phrase for awhile, as I continued walking to my destination.

I can understand why someone would propose more affordable housing for more people.

I'm with you on that one, even if not on the medium of the message.

But less cheese?

O.K., I have to eat less cheese because it's too full of yummy fats. It's a daily sacrifice and battle, but, with all the scrumptious and almost innumerable kinds of cheese in Italy, why would anyone be so militarized for decreasing the amount of cheese that we all eat?

Worse...this clearly anarchic statement implicitly and tyranically and inconsistently demands that cheese be less available for everyone, not just the writer, that we shouldn't have the possibility to choose freely whether, or not, to eat cheese, types and times of the day and the year aside.

And what about all those poor farmers, whose living depends on making and selling cheese?

What are they going to do to keep a roof over their heads and the heads of their families, keep everyone fed and clothed, warm in the winter, cool in the summer, educated, and--if possible--even with a teentsy luxury thrown in now and then: a new CD, fresh cherries (which are so expensive, even when in season), or even a few days of vacation?

You've heard the phrase, "and then light dawned?"


Without realizing it--I'm not aware of whether I'm reading, or even sometimes speaking, in Italian, or English, and have personally lived that hilarious experience on "I Love Lucy" in which Ricky ends up "translating" into English for his wife, Lucy, and into Spanish for his Cuban mother; furthermore, the use of symbols, not words, for "more" and "less" had lessened the language cues--I had read part of the graffiti in it's intended language, Italian, but--because of the scribbly writing--part of it in English.

The first vowel of the second word had been written with such an open loop that the "i" had been transformed in my mind into an "e."

What had looked like

+ case / - cheese

was, instead,

+ case / - chiese (more houses / fewer churches).

Even if you don't agree with the graffiti writer's opinion, it's still a whole other ball o' wax, and the cheese producers are safe from the rapacious claws of anarchism...for now.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Photoless Friday (16): Got a Smart phone? There's an ATM "app" for you

In Milan, but away from the computer, so can't check "GiroMilano" on the ATM website, but need to figure out how to get from point B to point C with public transportation?...More......

If you have a Smart phone, ATM now provides a free, yes free, application for Androids, Blackberries, iPhones, Nokias and Windows Mobile.

Here's the link:{051947BB-07B3-44FD-88C6-5F476CE0EC1D}.

The page is available only in Italian.

If you need English, and have access to the internet, the "GiroMilano" ("I get around Milan") feature is available in English directly on the site:

You input the two addresses (departure, arrival), presso go, and wait til the little map shows you the way, complete with numbers of the trams and stops and how long the whole trip likely will take you (if it's not nearly next door, it'll probably take at least 30-45 minutes with surface transportation...calculate for sudden traffic jams).

It now is possible to specify that you want to avoid, or take, one kind of means, or the other, and is a marvelous service, though it has its flaws (often, I find that, when I see where the arrival point is, a more convenient way to go than is indicated by the map, often pops into my head, but it's always a good start).


Monday, June 6, 2011

Another marvelous lion...door knocker

Milan is full of lions, once you start looking (I know, I know, and not just Milan). This one, holding a serpent in its mouth, is a doorknocker set into a fan-shaped cockle shell. The lovely door is on via Mascheroni.

I snapped this photo on the 22nd of May, 2011, at a quarter to 11 A.M.

If you're interested in the image as a needlepoint, or cross-stitch, design, go to my needlepoint blog:


Sunday, June 5, 2011

I sacrificed myself for you, again (aka Gelato post n. 8, and counting)

It was a toss up...I really didn't want to do it, but my friend insisted. Sigh. More calories to battle, but a gelato-journalist has to do what she's got to do...More......

Man it was good, too.

Dangerously good.

I used to live a hop, skip and a jump from there.

I'm SOOOOOO glad they waited to open it, until AFTER I moved away:

"Ice e coffee" - Piazza Velasca

The address is via Pantano, 2 (on the corner where via Albricci turns, and becomes via Larga), but the gelato shop actually opens on the backside of that building, directly in front of the principal "Piazza Velasca" exit of the "Missori" stop of the yellow subway line.

Biiiig glass windows.

Clean white simple lines.

A handful of comfy chairs and tables (not so easy to find in an ice cream place).
They also have little cakes, croissants (here they're called "brioches"--pronounced "bree-OHSH") and coffee, so it would work for a quick European breakfast. (Haven't tried out the coffee, yet, so I guess I'll have to go back....)

The ice cream was heavenly.

I always get chocolate, milk chocolate, if possible (I'm such a baby...dark chocolate, only if I'm forced by the absence of the aforesaid), and pistacchio...which I never liked in the States...nasty tasteless stuff and in a weird green, too...but here, if it's done properly, it's seventh heaven...and a good test of how much quality (and quantity) they put into their products.

The third flavor I tried was "cannella" (cinnamon). Another good "test" flavor. Hard to find, and often too weak.

All three flavors were...VERRRRYYYYY FLAVORFULLLLL.




A little above the average (right now, a medium-sized cup with three flavors was 3 Euro, what's that?, about $4.30 at the current exchange rate). Hmmm, that does sound expensive for "just" a cup of ice cream AND without table service, doesn't it?

But it was worth it.

I took this snap with my cell phone on the 3rd of June, 2011, at almost 2:30 P.M. ... AFTER eating the gelato....

Friday, June 3, 2011

Photoless Friday (15): Aida and Notre Dame at San Siro's Meazza Stadium next to the Race Track with a hypothetical version of a Leonardo da Vinci

"Aida" by Giuseppe Verdi, coming to San Siro's Statium next Saturday (June 11). Should be a knock out. If these spectacular shows catch your attention, on the 29th at the same stadium will be "Notre Dame de Paris". As long as you're in the general area,...More...

...slip past the race track; in front of it is one modern version (by the sculptor Nina Akamu for Philip Dent's project) of what Leonardo da Vinci was thinking about while planning the over-life sized equestrian monument for Francesco Sforza, the condottiere who married the only direct heir to the Visconti dukedom, Bianca, the legitimized bastard daughter of Filippo Maria, and who, together with Bianca ruled Milan, and produced the sons to follow in his footsteps (one finally obtaining the official title of duke, but that's another story).

Leonardo even got so far as to produce a full-scale clay version of the sculpture, and it was placed on the castle grounds, where the bronze version--never executed, due to the onset of war--was to have been set. The clay version--its appearance unrecorded--was used by the invading French soldiers for target practice, and so was destroyed.

In any event, since even it wasn't the final bronze version, an image of the clay version, had one survived, would only be indicative, not definitive.

What I'm trying to say, and what the American side of the information never makes clear enough, in my opinion, is that this is *NOT* "Leonardo's horse." It's only one preliminary possibiity of what Leonardo was exploring for the monument that never was. This enthusiastic embracing of a false attempt at recreating something that never came into being is denigrated here, uninteresting to those, like the Italians, who've got lots of the real stuff piled up in courtyards, museums and and their storage areas.

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth...literally, this time...but it would be too confusing to undiscerning visitors to put this "fake" on the Sforza Castle grounds, as if it were Leonardo's actual horse. And besides, it fits so nice into the space in front of the race track, an apt association:, that it would be a pity to move it. Apparently offended that their unwanted gift has been embarrassedly accepted, and--like Auntie's doily stitched lovingly by hand out of used kitchen twine--placed discreetly where it can't be a ready eyesore, noises were made, and so promises to think about moving it to the castle seem to have been made (I've not verified, and I don't want to).

To quote one of my favorite TV show characters of a number of years ago, "It ain't gonna happen, my friend."

It's still impressive though. Executed in bronze at 24 feet high, and dedicated--to the great embarrassment of locals, both politicians and the general public--in 1999, it's still at the conveniently thematic, but decentralized location, in front of the horse race track at San Siro, next to the Meazza stadium.

It's worth the trip out. After all, it's not all that far from downtown, and is just a tram ride away from the center to this surrounding "bedroom community."

(Took me so long to write this, that it's now a few minutes after mindnight, so technically, it's already Saturday morning, but you'll forgive me, right?)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Republic of Italy!

On this day, June 2, in 1946, Italians voted--with what I would call a relatively small majority (a little over 12,000,000 votes to a little over 10,000,000)--to stop being a monarchy, and to start being a republic. (Why? The answer is lot more political and polemical than I care to be in this can hunt the answers up for yourself on the net, in books, asking your teachers, or wise and informed history buff friends.)


Happy Birthday, Republic of Italy!

The view is roughly towards the west tipped perhaps a bit towards the north. For almost its entire upper circumference, Italy is capped with the Alps (the Apenines run like a spine down the center of the peninsula). I think that mountain in the background must be Monte Bianco...does anyone know for sure?

I snapped this panorama of Milan at about 8:45 A.M. on the 16th of August, 2005.

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