Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's in a dot? The transit of Venus

At sunrise, Wednesday June 6th, Venus transiting between the earth and the sun will be visible as a dot moving across the face of the fiery ball. Not to be a harbinger of bad luck (tieh! tieh!), but it probably will be the only occasion in Italy in our lifetimes, according to

Watch out for your eyes! Check out the FAQ on that page for how to protect yourself.


via Manzoni, 9

Well, hello there! Did you think I had forgotten about all the wonderful things to see in Milan, after that long list of fun things to do in town? No way! Milan has lots of great stuff to enjoy, and here's our next one on via Manzoni....More...

At n. 9, on the western side of the street, is a lovely delicate little entrance over a deep portico leading to what today is a branch of the UniCredit bank (no promo intended!).

Alas and alack, my handy dandy "Milano" guide from the Touring Club says nothing about it, and an admittedly quick look through my other books gave up as little.

So, we're going to have to be content with a rough indication offered by the Eclectic style: it's probably of the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries, which is in line with a phase of renewal in the street also represented by the neighboring building at n. 7 about which we spoke earlier, the former Hotel Continentale by Luigi Clerichetti, 1865, now housing the Banca Popolare di Bergamo.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

In Milan, today? You might experience public transportation woes due to the "Giro d'Italia" bike race

The "Giro d'Italia" bike race is finishing in Milan, today (not much has been said about it...the media pay little attention to the bike races, unless one of the racers gets caught during a drug tests), and so the public transportation routes have been changed in some places.

ATM - our local public transportation company - is calling it "DomenicAspasso": (in Italian...sigh...nothing about it on the English version of the site).


Sunday, May 20, 2012

June 10, six-legged running race sponsored by Advantix: pant through 5 km with man's best friend

Got a dog? Like to run? (you, not the dog, it probably does), then Sempione Park on the 10th of June is for you...More......

Starting at 11 A.M. in Sempione Park, you and your furry pal can register for the race. Events begin at 2 P.M., the race itself at 4 P.M., prizes at 6 P.M., and, exhausted but happy, 'weeeee, weeeeee, weeeeee all the way home' by 6:30 P.M., in time to rest up for Monday's return to work.

The proceeds from this charity race will go to buy a 'water bike' for the Italian School for Rescue Dogs.

Want more info? Here it is (sigh, only in Italian):


Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Palio of Legnano: a historic and historical rievocation of a decisive medieval Lombard battle

You've heard, I'm sure, of the Palio of Siena, well there's one in Lombardy, too!

Celebrated in Legnano each year on the day of the battle, May 29, it commemorates the victory at that city on the 29th of May, 1176, of Lombard troops over the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick the Redbeard of the Hapsburg dynasty (a FASCINATING fellow). He thought he could push the Lombards around...ain't that just like an emperor for ya'?...More......

The palio, or commemorative horse race, was first celebrated in Milan in 1393, it seems, but the race as we know it today (significantly) began in 1932 (those are the years the Italians call "of the Consensus"...the years of fairly prevalent acceptance--sometimes wholehearted, sometimes out of necessity--of the iron fist of Mussolini in exchange for order and peace after decades of chaos, so evocations during that stretch of time often recalled years of Italian glory, frequently of the ancient Roman empire, but also of periods of local splendor).

Why "historic and historical"? Aaaaah, here's where one of my "soapboxes" comes in.

These two words often are confused, but--though they look alike--mean something quite different.

"Historic" describes something that IS old: "The mausoleum of the ancient Roman emperor Hadrian on the bank of the Tiber in Rome is a historic monument." (N.B., to head off criticism from U.K. English readers: in American-style punctuation, periods, commas and question and exclamation marks go INSIDE quotation marks; only colons and semi-colons go OUTSIDE...we now return you to your regular program.)

"Historical" describes something not necessarily old in and of itself (though the years pass for everything), but which commemorates and/or evokes something old: "Ivanhoe is a historical novel."

Interested in attending the palio?

The events in Legnano begin at 10:30 in front of the church S. Magno. A map of the city is available (in Italian) by clicking on "cartografia" more or less in the center of the city's home page:

After that, just let yourself be carried along with the crowds to the other events.

Alas and alack, more and typical shortsightedness...I know, I know, we're in Italy, so people should learn to speak and read Italian, but if these Italians want to attract international tourists, they'd better wise up, and always have a complete copy of their website in English. Not the case, here, I'm afraid: Palio di Legnano,

Do I hear snickers in the background about the potentially folksy amateurish ignorant mixture of forms of historical costumes, arms, armor and whatnots from different periods, just to seem old and snare tourists? Think again. The website promises that all aspects have had to be approved by an official committee dedicated to scholarly rigor. That's called "Living History," and it's a great way to learn and have fun--bring the whole family!--at the same time.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dreading one of the worst times of the year? Yup, it's time to buy a new swimsuit!

Oh, man! Here it is, again...already....

This clever gym ad reminds us that its swimsuit buying time ("prova costume")...need I add "sigh?"....

Friday, May 11, 2012

Food Fan? Yet another -- overlapping -- big food event in Milan: Taste of Milano, May 17-20

Food events galore...Milan must be trying to get ready for the 2015 Expo, which will concentrate on food and energy resources. Here's another one: Taste of Milano...More...

Four days of food-packed fun at the Ippodromo (horse-racing stadium), and bring the kids! There'll be a safe kid-zone where you can drop them off while tasting food and wine in this third edition of the festival that also takes place in other lovely cities around the world. (How to get to the Ippodromo, and what other delights await you there? See my

If you want to look the food fest up, don't forget the "o" at the end of "Milano," otherwise, you'll end up with a completely different web site.

Hey, kudos! They have a version in English, where you can learn more:


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Food fan? Milan Food Week May 19-27 is for you!

Do you devour food magazines?

Do you sip food web sites?

Then Milan Food Week is for you! Held throughout town from...More......

...the 19th of May (International Food Day) 'til the 27th of the same month, it will keep Milan cooking!

(Oh my god, will you stop with these food allusions, already?! ... Sorry, it was just too tasty to resist!)

When and where you ask?

Here's the official web site, and it looks pretty clear to navigate (for instance, the map with the sites appears on the home page), even if you don't speak short-sighted of them not to have a mirror site in English. Sigh.

I know we're in Italy, and people coming here should make an effort to communicate in Italian. I agree 100%, but the web is international, and it would be nice to try to attract international visitors to the city, too.

This isn't rocket science, folks! Get with the program!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Walk of Life, Telethon marathon in Milan: May 6

Like to run in races? The Telethon marathon, "Walk of Life," lets you have fun AND contribute to their good cause (the latter sounds good to me, the former sounds nuts, but to each his own...)...More...

The "Walk of Life" marathon is throughout eight major Italian cities, but this 10 km race in Milan will take place on the 6th of May, starting at 10 A.M. at the Piazza del Cannone/Viale G. Gadio.

There is a modest sign-up fee. Inscription--you'll need a doctor's certificate, of course--can be done from the 5th to the 6th of May, or online...sigh...only in Italian:

Have absolutely no intention of running? Donate anyway.

Just want to avoid those areas of town that will be blocked for the runners? See the website, there's a map.

Let's hope they have better luck with the weather than the last recent marathon!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Pope is coming to Milan during the 7th annual "Family" week (May 29-June 3)

The pope is coming to Milan, along with literally about a million people...yikes! Want the scoop, in case you want to attend, or to avoid those areas of town that will be absolutely swamped!?...More...

Here's the scoop!

Tuesday, May 29, morning: Fiera MilanoCity, the old convention center in town (on the "Amendola" stop of the red/#1 metro line, or the "Domodossola" stop of the blue line/"Passante"--there are lots of blue line trains available at various points throughout the city, check to make sure that you're on one that stops at "Domodossola," or you might end up in another town!), welcome and opening remarks; the Fiera web site is in English, yeah!:

Wednesday, May 30: Fiera MilanoCity, from 9:30 A.M. through the rest of the day, welcome and speeches in the morning, sessions in the afternoon; masses at unspecified (regular and/or special?!) times in parish churches; dinner with parish families followed by parish celebratory events

Thursday, May 31: Fiera MilanoCity, from 9:30 A.M. through the rest of the day, welcome and speeches in the morning, afternoon sessions (at MilanoCity and throughout Lombardy) followed by dinner and celebrations at the event locations

Friday, June 1: Fiera MilanoCity, from 9:00 A.M., speeches, then afternoon events throughout town followed by dinner with host families or at the various parishes. 8 P.M. concert at La Scala (only for the "delegations," sorry folks!), followed by 9:30 P.M. Adoration of the Eucharist at the Duomo and at various churches throughout town

Saturday, June 2: morning celebrations in parishes and with various groups (unspecified times and places); the afternoon is dedicated to reaching the venue where the pope will be, presumably the "Parco Nord" ("Park on the north of town"), Bresso airport, because that's where the "Feast of Testimonies" with the pope is to be.

YIKES! How to get there? I couldn't find the info on the "Family" web site, but I hunted around in Milan's public transportation web site ( to give you a helping hand, so here it is:

FOR VIA CLERICI, BRESSO (on the southern end of Bresso's airport): take Milan's yellow metro/#3 to the Zara stop--CHECK with the subway guys, your ticket will need a supplement. Go up to the street level, and take the 31 bus/tram heading towards Cinisello Balsamo for 15 stops, get off at the via Clerici stop.

FOR VIALE MATTEOTTI/VIALE GRANDI, BRESSO (on the long western side of Bresso's airport): take Milan's yellow metro/#3 to the Comasina stop--CHECK with the subway guys, your ticket will need a supplement. Go up to the street level, and take the 83 bus/tram heading to the Ca' Granda for 8 stops. Get off at the via Villa stop, and walk straight down via Villa a bit to the airport (viale Matteotti/viale Grandi). N.B., this will probably be the faster route because the part in the metro is much longer.

Sunday, June 3: 10 A.M., High Mass presided by Benedict XVI at "Parco Nord," Milan, Bresso airport

Want to register (it might be obligatory, at least for certain events)? Want more info? See their website (in English, yeah!):
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