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.


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