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 walls...to 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 barbarians...it 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.

Enjoy!

2 comments:

Margaret said...

I think I could handle some of that.

Adele Aparacci said...

Nice pictures and by reading your blog makes me feel like I travel in Italy already. Maybe I'll have a "wonderful relaxing day" like this too haha :)

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