Saturday, December 29, 2012

Another wonderful relaxing day - I don't know how much more of this I can take ;-)

Another lovely LOVELY day. Headed off to lunch at the VERY "OLD MILAN" pizzeria called "Pizzeria del Ticinese" at Corso di Porta Ticinese, n. 65, just outside...More......

...the Porta Ticinese marking where the medieval walls used to go. Porta Ticinese is one of the two still standing medieval gates of Milan. The other is the old Porta Nuova, not to be confused with the new Porta Nuova...especially since "Porta Nuova" means "new gate", and the old medieval "new gate" replaced the older ancient Roman gate on the same trajectory, but in the area now called Piazza della Scala, and the new, Neo-Classical, Porta Nuova, built by Giuseppe Zanoia in the early 19th century is about a half a kilometer away...get it?!

Very cute inside and very good pizza (thin crust that's not too cracker-like) at, by now, normal prices (two pizzas, two small beers, the automatic table service charge called the "coperto" and a Euro left at the table to boot for politeness, and we got out the door for Euro 27.00...which is still a heck of a lot of money for just two pizzas and two small beers--in fact, it's almost 54,000.00 of the old Italian Liras, when that amount would have bought much more...two pizzas and two small beers cover charge and all should have been no more than Lire 30,000.00...when we switched over to the Euro we got shafted AND people took advantage of the change to almost double prices).

Was the first in the door when it opened at noon-thirty, so got to get the table at the window, goodie!

Very pleased I went. I've seen it for ages, and have been wanting to go, but just didn't for one reason or another. Now I'm sure to go back.

After coffee, my friend and I headed off for a long walk in today's delightful weather...nippy at about 10°C / 50°F, but very pleasant air and very blue skies.

One of Christendom's most interesting and historic churches, San Lorenzo, is just INSIDE the ancient medieval walls, but OUTSIDE the erstwhile circle of ancient Roman walls ("Why?," you ask...because Christian churches often were founded over the burial place of "saints," and people were buried outside Etruscan and Roman city keep the ghosts out after nightfall). The central whitish parts (except for the dome, replaced in the late 16th century, after the original collapsed in an earthquake) and the large circular brick part to the left in the photo date to the Early Christian period. It's thought that the church might have been the palatine chapel, that is, the church within the emperor's compound (just a quick reminder: Milan was the de facto capital of the western Roman empire from the late 3rd C. B.C. to 402 A.D. when the emperor Honorius moved the capital to Ravenna, out of the way, he hoped, of invading worked for almost 50 years). Other structures began being added as early as the Lombard, Carolingian and Romanesque periods with bits and pieces also dating to the Renaissance, while...

...the Gothic compound that had been built up around the area in front of the church also using...

...ancient Roman columns probably from a nearby ancient basilica or the arena (destroyed through outlawing its natural use, which transformed it into a source for ready-made fancy bits for houses and churches) was cleaned up and...

...the hodge-podge of houses that had grown up next to the church throughout the ages was torn down during the 1930's (!) to liberate the ancient space recalling the Roman glory that was Milan, and this copy of an ancient Roman sculpture of Constantine the Great was installed in the piazza. Next year, 2013, will mark 1700 years since the Edict of Constantine and Licinius in Milan, declaring Christianity NOT the official religion, but one of the many accepted and recognized religions of the empire. (If only it had stayed just that, much pain and suffering might have been avoided, but other horrors might have arisen, instead, who knows.)

That the medieval people didn't care one whit about their ancient Roman past is demonstrated by the use of this slab assuredly cut like a fat slice of white cheddar out of a funerary or celebratory altar (see the inscription on the short lip facing towards you) and...

...this ancient Roman funerary stele being used as a stabilizing factor in the walls of the Porta Ticinese which...

...sports on its exterior over the arch a sculpture by the workshop of Giovanni di Balduccio commissioned by Azzone Visconti, ipso facto lord of Milan (prior to the official granting of the title of duke, but plenty after the strong arm of the family had stabilized their hold on civic power) and eager to put his "look into whose city you are entering" mark on these walls that had been raised to keep out the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick the Redbeard in the mid-12th century. The gate was refurbished by Camillo Boito in the mid-19th century, and was given not just three (instead of one) openings, but also the crenellation expected of any self-respecting medieval city gate.

A lot of walking later (I did have a four-cheese pizza, after all), a very tired, but happy, me waited for the bus to go home. The Milanese streets are still oddly deserted. Must mean lots of people are still out of town.

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig, and I even got to do one of my "light paintings"...snapping slow digital camera pictures with the impressionistic effect of movement planned...AND especially of THE place I had been wanting to catch: the re-opened Old America restaurant on via Monti. Haven't been there, yet, but the inside looks adorable, the menu tasty (traditional Italian plus an obligatory burger, or two...even vegetarian!) and at normal prices, so I just might go. I'll give you the scoop, if I do.

At home, I finally got up the courage to try to hook up the repaired video recorder to the T.V. to see if I could get it to work: partial success is better than none at all, but I think I've figured out what went wrong. Better go try out the solution before it fades away.

Hope you've enjoyed coming along with me during my day, I sure enjoyed having you with me all day. I snapped these pictures with your personal non-commercial fun in mind.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A day of my own...

With apologies to Virginia Wolfe--though she might have approved, since it's about temporal, rather than physical, space--I am luxuriating in the prospect of a day all to myself. No work that can't be put off comfortably (at least until tomorrow),...More...... Christmas phone calls or dinners (though both pleasant),... all done, gifts unwrapped and enjoyed...

...the rain and an incipient cold may help keep me at home, the idea for a present for a friend itching me to get out the sewing machine, oodles of fun books to read that have backed up over the months, "Downton Abbey" scheduled for this evening, and--I am so grateful--a quiet warm clean house with a full fridge in which to do it all, including writing to you. Missin' ya!

The rush of preceding days over, the city seemed almost ghostly.

Santa has come and gone.

There'll still be time to enjoy the lights in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele,...

...the piazza of the Duomo...

...and the city's Christmas tree (in this year of austerity, offered freely to the city by a brand of watches).

Have you ever tried Campari, a traditional Milanese aperitif? It's a bit sweet and bitter, and better yet with a slice of fresh orange.

Maybe we could ring in the New Year over a glass in the historic cafè where the drink was invented.


(All snaps are mine and are recent, shot for sharing Milan's holiday spirit with you for your personal non-commercial pleasure...Merry Christmas!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, 2012

Be grateful, be aware, be loving.

Merry Christmas from "My Milan (Italy)"!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012...Happy Holidays!

Have lots of photos and snippets of Milan to share with you, but still have some work to get done before tonight,'s wishing you all Happy Holidays...and I'll be back at ya', ASAP!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Aww, they're just Drips(inates)

A few shards of pottery, some glass and bits of mosaics turned up under his plow, and a farmer near Arzenigo in the province of Vicenza in northern Italy was intrigued. Thankfully driven by curiosity to contact experts, the farmer shared his findings with an art historian who...More...

...dug in historical archives that revealed records of ancient Roman remains in the area.

Radar helped the archaeologist pinpoint square foundations and roads, evidence of Roman inhabitation that, with the help of the unearthed fragments, can be dated roughly to a span of time from the 1st century B.C. to the 3rd or 4th century A.D. A funerary altar, always placed outside the town walls, was rediscovered.

Boooop...boooooop...booooop went the radar, and the scientists and archaeologists could hardly believe their eyes.

Significantly under the square formations of Roman construction were found the foundations of much larger round formations, unequivocal evidence of an earlier and prehistoric settlement perhaps dating to the Neolithic or Late Bronze Age.

Kazaam!, the ancient city of Dripsinum, a city of the sub-alpine Dripsinites, may have been rediscovered.

Thanks, Mr. Northern Italian Farmer, for not pocketing the fragments and whistling knowingly as you continued to plow. Thanks, Mr. Northern Italian Archaeologist, for having the curiosity to dig--literally and figuratively--a bit deeper. Thanks, Mr. Northern Italian scientists, for your significant role. Thanks, Mr. Northern Italian Mayor, for permission to dig.

Let the investigative fun and scholarship begin!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 & gratitude

12 things for which I'm profoundly grateful:...More...

1) 15 marvelous unforgetable spiritually enriching years with my dear sweet Mario, whose death in 2010 unleashed a broad, deep, swift-flowing, icy, subterranean river slowly being bridged with the help of...

2) ...dear family

3) ...dear and inspiring friends among whom I count my co-workers and students

4) ...and work & studies...

5) ...that I love;

6) utilities

7) a home with a clean bed and a full fridge

8) efficient public transportation

9) health

10) reading

11) computers

12) internet

How 'bout you?


(Image: my handsome Meyer grandparents in about the 1930s...thank you for the picture, Uncle Pete and Aunt Darlene!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A gassy problem in Italy...

...for which no tummy pills will be useful: a gas station strike from about 7 P.M. today 'til about 7 P.M. on Thursday.

Yup...two full days without gas both in town and on the highway, where the hours of the strike may differ slightly.

Right before Xmas...gee, thanks, guys.

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Year's in Milan? Fun in English...for free!

Native English speaker? Just like to practice? Be in Milan for New Years? You're in luck!

John Peter Sloan will entertain you with 80s music at the historic Bar Magenta, via Carducci 13, until the third hour of the New Year!

Want more good news?

The entrance is free!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

More Christmas concerts in Milan's beautiful Duomo: December 16

I do love classical music, don't you? (I'm even more partial to opera, but that's beside the point.)

If you do, too, here's another Christmas-time opportunity in Milan's beautiful Duomo...More......

At 7 P.M., right after the church service, there will be a concert.

The info, available on the Duomo's page in English (yeah!) even contains the music program!

Entrance is free, but--here's one of my soapboxes, again!--if you're visiting the church like a concert hall or a museum, and not to pray, please find and donate generously to the box labelled "restauri"'s for the church's restoration and maintenance, and the poor Duomo does need a great deal of help in that area.

As long as I'm mentioning it, on the same official website there is information about how to buy contemporary art to favor the Duomo's restoration and how to donate for the restoration of a specific pinnacle.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 12, Rotary International concert in Milan's Duomo

Like concert-style music? Like Milan's beautiful Duomo? Like Christmas? Why, my dear, you're in luck!More...

The evening of December 12 at 8:30 P.M. there will be a Christmas concert in Milan's beautiful Duomo.

Nothing more is said, even on the (Italian only) official Rotary website, but I imagine that there will be an offering plate passed around to help some charity, maybe even the Duomo, itself, yeah!

That reminds me...when you go into a Catholic church in Italy...if you go to look at it as an architectural and artistic wonder, you're entering just like a tourist in a museum, so--aside from being respectful of the place (that's the mother in me talking)--look for and donate generously to the box labeled "restauri"'s for the restoration and maintenance of the church and its holdings.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Professional crafts in time for Christmas until 9 December

Today, December 7, is Milan's patron saint day, dedicated to St. Ambrose, a very interesting character, indeed. Sent to Milan, then the de facto capital of the western Roman empire, to be governor, a crisis in the Christian church brought him, by popular acclaim, to be bishop (we say "archbishop," but--in fact--that position wasn't created for Milan until centuries later). Learned and gifted with an exceptionally forceful personality, he single-handedly affected the history of Christianity, profoundly.

But the post isn't about him.

The post is about...More...

...getting that special something and favoring professional crafts at the same time.

You still can do it in Milan until the 9th of December at the Rho-Pera seat of the trade fair (remember...there is a special metro ticket to pay because it's outside the city limit).

Want more info?

Cosmos bless them...their site is in English.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Babbo Running - the Christmas time race through the heart of Milan, Sunday, Dec. 16

I'm not as dedicated to sports, as it may sound.

Then why do I report on all the running races in Milan?...More......

"Because they disrupt the public transportation and foot traffic, that's why," says the Grinch that stole Christmas.

Not a very bright idea to block traffic with a foot race through the city's center in the busiest (and coldest and potentially rainiest) part of the year, in my opinion, but who asked me?!

So, on Sunday, the 16th of December beginning at 10:30 A.M. at the castle, there will be a 5K run through the town.

Want more info? Here's the (Italian only) web site:

Oh, did I tell you?

You have to dress up like Santa Claus to run.


Friday, November 30, 2012

"Fly me to the moon"...snort

I love living in Italy for lots and lots and lots of reasons.

The frequent strikes are not one of them....More......

Today, the 30th of November, 2012: Alitalia.

The 12th of December: Meridiana.

The 14th of December Air Vallee (never heard of 'em) AND the postponed local transportation strike...gee, guys, right before Xmas, how very thoughtful of you, especially in an already sputtering economy.

The 8th of January, Meridiana, again.

All according to the official strike list of the Ministry of Transportation...that, despite my very nice e-mail, still hasn't created an English-language version of their web site...but even so, the dates and company names ought to be intelligible enough...use a little creativity, and you'll be able to translate things like "trasporto pubblico locale", too (local public transport).

Full of language angst, but want to try? Go here.

Sorry to have to be a wet blanket, but you might need this info.

I can hardly say my usual "Enjoy!," can I?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Here my are!," it's Thanksgiving Day, my favorite holiday...

...because it means a paid day off, relaxing with loved ones and eating scrumptious calorie-laden food guilt-free....More......

Well, it *did* mean a paid day's not observed in Italy, so that's a no go.

No family close by, either, but they are just a Skype call away, so no complaining (well, not much).

And the T-Day calories (if not turkey) have been put off 'til Sunday's brunch with sweet friends.

Nothing but work planned for today...but I'm not complaining in the least. Let's start the "I'm grateful for..." list with that.

I'm grateful I have a job, and even more grateful because it's a job I enjoy and my co-workers and students (mostly) nourish my soul.

I'm grateful that I'm in relatively good health, and--despite the usual aches and pains just about everyone has--I can walk, I can breathe, I can move around and do things for myself without hindrances.

I'm grateful that I have a clean warm bed; a clean, warm and quiet home; internet and a computer (how would I work without these, anymore?!) and that I still can open my heart to the little joys and beauties around me.

And though the Cosmos has not been very kind to me in these last two years, I have a new reason to be grateful. As a friend just said to me the other day, "I'm grateful even for the disasters that haven't come my way."

"Here my are!" wishing you a Happy (and grateful) Thanksgiving.


(Photo: I snapped it not too long ago in via San Michele del Carso for your personal non-commercial pleasure.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

sigh...more strikes on the way ('it's the economy, stupid')

Heading to Italy, today, or already here? Expect some problems getting a train, or taking a ferry. Coming in the near future? Here's the scoop for you, too....More......

The Ministry of Infrastructure has a page--only in Italian...sigh...--dedicated to upcoming strikes that will be significant on a national scale. Here's a summary because "forewarned is forearmed":

Today, 14 November: trains (from 2 to 6 P.M.), ferrys (departures may be delayed by four hours), port activities (each port organizes itself individually), cargo (trucks included; the last four hours of the shift)

19 November: airports of Linate and Malpensa (both serve Milan; from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M.)

29-30 November to 1 December: local transport (all day on the 29th...usually the hours effected are organized city by city); trains (from 9 P.M. on the 29th 'til 9 P.M. on the 30th); planes, support personnel for trains and connections to the smaller islands (all day the 30th); ferries to the big islands (from 8 A.M. on the 30th to 8 A.M. on the 1st)

14 December: local transportation (hours organized city by city)

8 January: Meridian Airlines (from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.)

I can hardly say my usual "Enjoy!," can I?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lombard eats along the Navigli 'til December 7

Typical Lombard cuisine at fixed prices in restaurants all along the Navigli until December 7...yeah!...More......

Reservations are obligatory, and no info in English is available, but go here to see the web page, and click on the link at the bottom of the page for the list (with info) of dates and restaurants.

After all these years in Milan, one of my absolute favorite dishes is still "risotto milanese e ossobuco"...saffron risotto with a veal shank. Makes my mouth water, and it's not even 10 A.M., yet!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Want something fun to do in Milan this weekend? Beware...

...and plan ahead: another car-free day for Milan is planned for Sunday, the 17th of November (and nice weather has been predicted at least for Saturday, yeah!)....More......

For museum fun, there are a few big ones in town: "Constantine 313 A.D." 'til the 17th of March 2013 at the Palazzo Reale next to the Duomo (I really am looking forward to seeing this one in honor of the Edict of Constantine of 313 A.D. that legitimized Christianity, though it didn't impose it--as many erroneously believe--as the official state religion), Pablo Picasso (ho-hum...again?!) 'til the 6th of January at the Palazzo Reale next to the Duomo, and a show about Giovanni Bellini at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum until the 25th of February (I am looking forward to this one, too, but I hear it only has a few pieces gathered to highlight their Bellini...that's O.K. with me!).

Want something to do with the kids? How about a book illustration exhibit called "From Pinocchio to Harry Potter"? It's in the Visconti rooms at the Sforza Castle. No info, in English, I'm afraid, but here's the castle exhibits page in Italian. (For grown-ups, there's also info about the black-and-white photo exhibit at the castle, too.)

You've done that, and the kidlets still are sparking with energy? How about "G come giocare" (the equivalent of "P as in Play")? Three full days, from the 16th to the 18th of November, from 10 A.M. to 8 P.M. in which the kids can go hog of charge (well, at least the entrance!). Where? Fieramilanocity (the newer part of the old convention center in town), entrance Porta Teodorico near MM1-Lotto. For more information their (Italian only, sigh) web site also has a "How to get here" page called "Come arrivare" (at least the maps will be intelligible), or a free number to call, hoping someone will be able to spit out a little bit of English: 800-126-970 (yes, there are only 9 numbers). The site itself is kinda fun: the kids can click and drag stuff around the center's building gussied up as if it were a medieval castle and, if they/you register, they will be able to vote for their favorite game.

You'll have to decide if your kids literally can stomach "The Body Worlds" exhibit at the Fabbrica del Vapore across the street (not coincidentally?) from the Monumental Cemetery. I *think* it's an exhibit of the preserved bodies, stripped of their skin, of real people who donated themselves for this...but I'm too squeamish to look into it any further. Might be educational, though. I don't see any info about it on the Fabbrica del Vapore web site, so here's The Body Worlds web Italian. might leave never wanting to eat meat, have been warned.

"MilanoMese," the free publication with a rich rich list of things to do in Milan is...may I have a drum roll, available as a free app! Go here for an overview in English, or go to the English-language tourism home page of the Province of Milan, and download it (there apparently are a few choices of formats...I'm still a bit behind the times, so I can't test it out for you, yet).

While you're at it...another big drum roll, please!...there also are free augmented reality Jeco tours available for your smartphones (and soon for androids) for Milan and for the Idroscalo. You'll first need to download the free Jeco Guides app from the iPhone store. Once you've downloaded it, if you want the one for the Idroscalo, just search on that term. If you want the one for downtown Milan, search on "Nel cuore di Milano"...and have fun!

Hungry with all that activity? Milano Restaurant eats for a flat E. 25 (including a whole whopping 1 Euro to charity, gee, guys, how generous of you...)... lasts until the 18th of November. I found info in--sigh--Italian.

Exhausted, yet?

I am!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

I want our bits and pieces back, too

Greece wants bits and pieces back from the British Museum.

Turkey now wants bits and pieces back from the Louvre.

Italy should demand its bits and pieces back from the Louvre, too....More......

Unfortunately, those bits and pieces won't include the "Mona Lisa." Leonardo, himself, took it to France when he moved there to accept the gracious hospitality of the French king.


But there are lots of other things that Napoleon had stripped from homes and churches (and conveniently deconsecrated churches) and carted back to Paris for himself.

Those things are snugly housed in the Louvre.

O.K., after his fall an agreement was found, and some of the bits were returned, but they all should have been returned.

Including this Titian, once in the chapel of the Confraternity of the Holy Crown of Thorns in Santa Maria delle Grazie (the church in whose refectory reigns Leonardo's "Last Supper").

War booty is war booty is war booty.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Today is a bittersweet day, the day we focus on remembering our dearly departed (as if they were ever out of our thoughts for even a moment, as if they weren't present with us, inside our hearts, our brains, our beings every moment, waking and sleeping, of every day...)....More......

My dear Mario was an amazing man.

Smart, caring, funny, warm, thoughtful, firm in his convictions, but open to honest dialogue and change, able to relate sincerely to popes, princes and paper boys.

He also made an enormous contribution to medicine in Milan, in Italy and in the whole world: he founded and chaired the world's first university chair for the physiopathology and therapy of pain, for which he was inducted into honorary membership (a "hall of fame") in the most important international association of pain specialists, IASP. This, for him, was his most prized award, rather, he used to say, like the Nobel prize in applied medicine (Nobel established a prize for researchers, not for doctors working with patients).

Then, among the gazillion other awards he received, his other most prized award he received in 2007: the Galen award for excellence throughout his medical and university career. He was the first to receive it.

Fascinated by the question 'What is pain?' and the need, as a caring physician, to relieve it, early in his career he defined pain in a Descartian way as an alarm bell that aids diagnosis, but, once it has served its purpose, which should be relieved. Sounds like the discovery of sliced bread? Not in Italy in the mid-20th century, and despite his efforts--including early and repeated seminars for general medicine doctors--traces of this acceptance of pain as atonement still linger.

He distinguished the phases of 'pain': stimulus, transit of the signal, arrival of the signal in the hypothalamus...up to which point, rapid though the progression is, it's still just a signal, it's not 'pain'...and then the arrival of the signal in the cortex, where it is processed, interpreted as 'pain.'

Fascinated by how the brain works and whether who we are is generated by something that survives the death of the physical body, or by the extreme complexity of the brain, itself, he closely followed the work of researchers such as Wall and Melzack, and developed the metaphor of Alice before a warped mirror to help non-specialists understand how the state of being of a person (which includes culture and ambiance) can modify pain perception, which takes place in the cortex: focusing on pain increases the perception of pain, distraction decreases the perception of pain.

Sweetheart, I just saw an article on a University of Southern California web site that would have thrilled you: how liking, or disliking, someone can modify how we perceive them, as seen in brain scans.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, just like Marcus Aurelius used to say, 'It's not the thing in itself, it's how we perceive it.'

Sweet dreams, sweet heart.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat!

"That which you will be, we are now. He who forgets us, forgets himself."...More......

So reads the inscription over a little late Baroque chapel now facing onto Piazza Aquileia, but once part of a small cemetery in use from the late 1600s until the late 1800s.

Originally just outside the city walls in the Porta Vercellina area, the cemetery's position lost this distinction when the city's defensive Spanish Walls (begun in the mid-16th century and continually augmented) were torn down because considered useless during the peace established by the Empress Maria Teresa of Hapsburg in the second half of the 18th century.

This picture was snapped with your personal non-commercial enjoyment in mind on Saturday the 28th of October, 2012, around 4 P.M.

Trick or treat!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It's time to fall back in Italy...and snippets from today's walk

Italy falls back tonight to standard time (called "solar time," here), tonight. So, until your local area changes back to standard time, the time difference is one hour less or more depending on where you are in relation to Italy. For example, when both the U.S. and Italy are on the same time system, New York time is 6 hours earlier than Italy time, but until the U.S. changes, NY will be only 5 hours earlier.

Italy changes back to Daylight Savings Time (called "legal time," here) on the 30th of March, 2013.

Together with the time change, the cold and rain is moving in, today, but a nice long walk still was in order......More......

It's sad and scary, so let's get it out of the way. Small- and medium-sized stores continue to close, even on busy streets with good foot traffic and public transportation. Lots of people are looking at things in store windows. Despite the fact that some economists have said that the worst is over and the long slow recovery has begun, it still seems like there are many fewer people actually in the stores buying things. The prices of goods in Italy--except maybe for good local table wine and extra virgin olive oil--always have seemed exorbitant, even ridiculous, to me (partly due to the extremely high energy costs that trickle down quickly to the consumer), but they must be seeming ridiculous to more and more people with less and less in their pockets.

A glimpse inside the courtyard of a typical Milanese "ringhiera" (wrought-iron balustrade) condo of the end of the 19th century. This one's in the Navigli area. Once considered housing of the poor, many of these buildings have disappeared around town, and where they survive often have been gentrified. This one is still home to working class, as well as white collar, families, and got a fresh coat of paint just last year.

After lunch with a friend, we got a yummy cup of espresso here under the tall portico in Piazza XXIV Maggio.

Never ceases to amaze me that people want to eat ice cream when it's cold. Just as well for the ice cream stores.

It's been awhile since I've included a "Here my are!," so here it is!

Must be perennially shady, here.

And, finally, a lovely private garden before making a quick stop for some groceries, and then home with the goods.

It was a nice long walk, I hope you enjoyed it, too, despite the gray chilly weather. Bundle up! Tomorrow we're getting blasted with winds literally from Siberia.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Another lovely Sunday walk in Milan...are you coming?

It was close.

There's so much work to do, I almost didn't go.

But the last days of nice weather, the need to stretch my legs and the desire to snap some photos for you finally convinced me.

"But where should I go?," I asked myself. "Down via Monti, let's see how the light is," and off I went, first past the park with the first hints of autumn scattered on the thin grass under the trees....More......

Next, past--according to my Sicilian student--THE BEST sweet shop in all of Milan...that sounds dangerous...I haven't been inside, yet.

Next, past a costume jewellry shop with nice stuff...but I want that mirror!

It's almost Halloween, a holiday Italians have started to adopt these last few years.

Past the monument in Piazza Cordusio to Abbot Parini, who wrote a long satire about the noble classes to whose children he gave private in-home lessons (for those of you who like art history, his opus is like a literary version of Hogarth's series of paintings...I wanted to read it, but I'm told it's in dialect, sigh). The statue has a plaque saying that it was done by Luca Beltrami, but the handy-dandy Milano book of the Touring Club says it was by Luigi Secchi, the same sculptor who did the Savoy equestrian portrait on the castle's front tower, while the very brief Wikipedia page dedicated to Beltrami clarifies--though without citing sources, so take it with a grain of salt--that Beltrami designed the pedestal, and reaffirms Secchi as the sculptor...which makes more sense because Beltrami was an architect. The sculpture makes me think of a traditional take on Rodin's Balzac of about the same date. Who was transforming whom? Was Rodin in Milan when the sculpture was mounted? Was Secchi in Paris? Did images circulate? Were they both inspired by yet another sculpture? Or is the similarity a complete coincidence? (The latter sounds less probable, and we're tempted to assume that Secchi was inspired to one-up Rodin, but it ain't necessarily so!)

Opposite Parini are a handful of turn-of-the-century buildings in this historically important piazza (for starters, "Cordusio" comes from "Court of the [Lombard] dukes," invading masters of Milan from the mid-6th century to their defeat at the hands of the Lombard king's frankish erstwhile son-in-law, Charlemagne, on the 5th of June, 774). The building in the background is the "Credito italiano" by Broggi, 1901, an expression--together with the other buildings in the piazza, including the original stock exchange, now the post office--of financial confidence after a late 19th century crack...sound familiar?

A fun lion on via Dante (around n. 8).

The Sforza castle's Rivellino (defensive structure), or what's left of it, in the sun on the verge of fading.

And home again, in one of the 1928ff trams refurbished for use after the devastating bombings of August 1943. For awhile, placards in the trams, celebrating the history of Milan's public transport company, ATM-Azienda Trasporto Milanese, told the story: then-modern trams melted in the ferocious heat of the fire bombs, but the skeletal structure of these 1928 models survived intact, and were quickly refurbished to get the masses moving, again. I love those trams, not just because they're smaller, more intimate, and have wooden interiors--so beautiful, so comforting--but also because I can imagine my dear sweet husband popping around town in them, when he was a young man.

It's like chatting with the ever-present he-who-was.

And that's comforting, too.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...