Went to Chiaravalle, just outside of Milan, again. It's a Romanesque and Gothic period monastery with some 16th century frescoes and architectural bits, 17th century frescoes, and...since the last time I went there...a revamped shop and bar.More......
For the general skinny on the monastery, go to my previous message: http://mymilanitaly.blogspot.com/2010/10/chiaravalle-monastery-just-outside-of.html#0
The little bar is now snuggled into a little recessed slant-roofed building on the left after entering this street-side gate (in front of which stops the bus 77 available in Piazza Medaglia d'Oro, the "Porta Romana" stop of the yellow metro line) built by Giuliano della Rovere around 1500 (before becoming THAT Pope Julius II...Michelangelo's patron and nightmare), which I photographed around 4 P.M. on the 2nd of July 2005.
Another afternoon shot from July, this time of the Romanesque (brick) church façade with a Renaissance (white marble) porch tacked onto it.
My lovely new friend L. and her sweet kids G. and G. and I poked around in the church a bit (thanks for the lovely afternoon!)...
...then in the cloisters, which--because of the wintery blight--are less spectacular this time of the year, but ever so refreshingly quiet, and the light was right for...
...a snap through the glass of the monk's refectory (dining hall), while the...
...chapterhouse (council room) is seen better in this 2005 snap because the door was open (for once).
The art and frescoes are lovely (I am determined to get an unfuzzy snap of the Luini Madonna and Child...no easy task since it's at the top of a forbidden staircase, and I don't have a tripod), but today's trip was principally for the little shop.
A wonderful place for products (mostly) produced by monks all over Italy. Aside from the small religious objects, there are wines, beers, liquors (the "Amaro di Chiaravalle" is heavenly, no pun intended), perfumes, soaps, face creams, teas of all sorts both tasty and medicinal (n. 3 for sleeping is not just effective, it's also very good), chocolates, and even--for those in the neighborhood--some meats and cheeses. There also is a little bookstore with religious and art books, CDs of (marvelous) Gregorian chanting and some postcards.
For more information about visiting the church (pretty normal hours, but they may be upset by wedding services), see their official site (only in Italian...sigh): http://www.borgodichiaravalle.it/.
For more info (also in Italian) about the little shop--whose hours mirror those of the abbey--see: http://www.borgodichiaravalle.it/negozi/bar-del-monastero.html.
Go visit the church and cloister (even if you're not religious, you're visiting the church as if it were a museum: give generously to the church's restoration and upkeep...there are money boxes floating around in the church and cloisters...they have light and cleaning bills, too, the benefits of which you are experiencing as you visit), get some goodies for yourself, and take some home for friends.