Wednesday, May 29, 2013

June 2...Happy Birthday, Italy

It's almost the weekend, again! What to do?! Check these out:...More......

First and foremost...Happy Birthday to the Italian Republic voted into existence the year after the close of WWII and remembered every year on the 2nd of June, the first day of the vote. In honor of this important anniversary, the Province of Milan coordinates its rotating hours opening the mansion in which it has been housed since 1935. Free tours in Italian in the afternoon (the last one leaves at 6 P.M.). See the web page for more info. Curious about Italy's (moving and beautiful) official constitution (based on a concept that rings loudly today: the right to work)? Head to the official page of the Republic of Italy that has been partially translated into English. You'll find yourself with a long biography of our current president, Napolitano. Links to the official documents (in English!) are found on the right.

Opera fan?! Verdi's "Aida" is playing (8:30 P.M.) at the Teatro San Babila until the 2nd of June. Tickets reasonably priced at E. 25 - E. 35.

Got a sweet tooth? The ice cream festival in the Piazza del Duomo lasts until June 2.

Like classic commercials? Head out to Wow Spazio Fumetto for the last days celebrating "Carosello" (Carousel), the beloved series running for two decades.

Tastes run more to cartoons and manga? The exhibit, running at the Rotonda of the Besana until the 9th of June, is for you: Naruto. Not so fond of cartoons and manga? Keep your eyes open for the calendar of exhibits in this space. It's a deconsecrated church, and worth visiting just to experience the interior and the grounds, once dedicated to those deceased at the historic central hospital, the Ospedale Maggiore, until the functions were transferred to the then new Ospedale Maggiore called Niguarda.

Like creating things of your own, or collecting old bits and pieces? The hobbyist fair near the Bocconi university is for you.

More interested in design? The Triennale, dedicated to design from its very foundation in the 1930s, has a few interesting exhibits running for quite a few months more. To cite just one, how about the one dedicated to the influence of design.

That'll keep you busy! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Because it's been a May like that

It's almost June, and it seems like early spring, if not even autumn. Lots of rain and chilly temps with a few spectacularly beautiful, sunny and blue days sprinkled here and there. Yesterday was rainy and cold, though today will be sunny and spring-y. More pics to come. In the meantime, what was there to do?...More......

Go to the Sforza Castle, of course!

Apparently, lots of others had decided on the Sforza Castle, too. I counted TWELVE tourist busses in front of the castle. I'm very glad that tourists are coming to Milan, there's lots to appreciate and love, here, but the busses are a bad sign: "bite and run away" (mordi e fuggi) tourism. It weighs on the local system of foot and street traffic, and brings very little revenue into town: a few euros for an entrance fee (*IF* they go inside the museums, entering the castle is free-of-charge), a slice of pizza (if that), and back on the bus, no overnights in hotels, no real meals in restaurants, little or no local shopping, even less tourism in places that charge for entering (just how are these places to pay the bills without the help of an entrance fee, anyway?), thanks so much, goodbye.

My first step was to a small exhibit about to close in an almost hidden corner of the castle, then a happy distraction and detour to the Visconti rooms (under the courtyard with the pond) for...

...the small, but interesting collections of ancient local Celtic (and you thought studs were a recent fashion trend!) and...

...ancient imported Egyptian objects (this relatively new restyling is crisp, offers info in Italian and English, and is fairly convenient, though some things could have been placed on lower pedestals--I'm tall, and even I couldn't see inside--or have mirrors above).

WARNING: get your museum ticket here at the main ticket desk BEFORE going down all those stairs, or you'll just have to trudge back up, again, before entering. (HINT to the museum: why not post a little sign, "Get your ticket first!"...such a simple way to avoid angering and alienating your visitors.)

This picture shows the beginning of the main museum path focusing on art in Milan and Lombardy beginning with the ancient Roman period (a few sarcophaghi and a mosaic fragment...most of the ancient Roman art of Milan is in the equally lovely Archaeological Museum in corso Magenta), passing quickly to the early medieval period, proceeding at a nice clip through medieval up to late Renaissance beauty, thoughts and aspirations ending with the periods' fears: arms and armor. But I've done that part lots of times (and it's so lovely, I'll do it many more), so today's goal was another: majolica.

Not for the faint of heart, or handicapped. The entire complex of the castle isn't handicap is a medieval castle, after all...but this part is one of the most difficult: steep narrow stairs.

Only to hear that the majolica collection was closed for the day...too little funds, too few personnel, "It will be open, tomorrow, ma'am" beware, things you come to see just might be closed with no notice, go with the flow, it's Italy, forewarned is forearmed. So, after all those stairs, what to see, anyway?

The early 16th century tapestries known as "Trivulzio" after the name of the (turncoat) Italian general, who catapulted to fame and fortune by giving a hand to the invading French. Then...

...there are all of the antique musical instruments and some 15th century Lombard frescoes (the latter always photograph poorly without flash). An extra plus? A free concert of Baroque music of Venice (really quite heavenly) and the announcement of a concert of medieval Lombard music same time (4 P.M.), same place (Sforza Castla, Sala della Balla...Room of the's where the duke and courtiers played ball indoors, when the weather was bad!), on Saturday the 8th of June.

Hope you can make it, I'm going for sure!

Back down the stairs that allow a picturesque view of the castle's large and...

...ducal courtyards, then off to see a friend.

Want to go to the castle and its museums? See the website in English (yeah!) for general info (nothing about temporary exhibits, unfortunately, but better than nothing!).


Thursday, May 23, 2013

What's there to do in the days to come?

What to do? What to do? What to do?...More......

Don't forget the Palio of Legnano and the food activities, mentioned earlier. Not up your alley? Here are just a few more ideas to keep your soul (and the souls of your children) fed and satisfied with enriching and beautiful activities:

CODEX, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Piazza Pio XI, 2 (a stone's throw from the Duomo), until June 30, 2013
Precious illuminations of the Bible by Chagall.
Hours and times (the site gives you the possibility to ask for an English version...but it's not working....)

SILOGRAFIE..., an exhibit of the gorgeous prints from Italian magazines of the end of the 19th century, Castello Sforzesco, until May 26
The official web site doesn't have any info about the exhibit, but--wonder of wonders!--there is a working English version of the general info, at least.

GIRO IN GIRO..., a exploration of form and figure from early modern art to today at the Garage Milano, via A. Maiocchi, 5/7, until May 26
Yet, again, another website without an English version.

'80 years of archives at the Triennale,' Viale Alemagna, 6 (Parco Sempione), until May 26
The Triennale, constructed during the years of The Consensus to highlight Italian design, lets us glimpse into its historic archives. The website in English, as often happens, gives only permanent information, but it's better than nothing if you need to find out something about hours. (May I say how much I really HATE black background websites? It's not 'cool,' folks, it's just DEPRESSING and HARD TO READ. Thank you for your kind attention, we now return you to the regular programming.)

BAG, an exploration of contemporary Italian artists, Art Gallery of the Bocconi University, via Sarfatti 25, until May 31
The "art events" page turns up blank...sigh...but at least they do have an international version (mistakes in English, aside...another sigh....) with a helpful page about how to get there.

Expo Days, all over town, until June 2
Finally, the 2015 Expo is visibly starting to grind to a slow roll with activities planned until the beginning of June.
One good point? A web site in English; here's the activity page for Expo Days.

The Tre Crocefissi (Three Crosses) of Foppa, an important Lombard artist open to the most popular currents of the Renaissance, Museo Diocesano, Corso di Porta Ticinese, 95, until June 2
Easily reached using any of the public transportation lines that run down the corso, this wonderful museum that often has very good temporary exhibits delights us, again, this time with an object borrowed from the Carrera Museum in Bergamo, temporarily closed for restoration.
Info times on the very reduced (but at least present) page in English. Try the "Milan is Tourism" English language website, instead.

Desire for Freedom, art after 1945 in Europe, Palazzo Reale, Piazza del Duomo, until June 2
The web site in English for the exhibit will give you all the info you need. The "iconic" image chosen looks pretty creepy to me, but at least it's intriguing. (May I say, again, how much I really HATE black web site backgrounds? Thank you for listening, again, I'll get off my soapbox, now.)

Oro di Wagner (Wagner's gold), Spazio Oberdan, Piazza Oberdan, until 23 June
Like lyric opera? The always interesting Spazio Oberdan offers a series of films (in Italian and probably in German with subtitles, I'm guessing) and encounters (in Italian, I'm guessing) about Wagner. Italian.

There, that ought to keep you busy for a few days!


P.S., I snapped this photo on the 6th of October, 2012 at about 2 P.M.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday...what to do?! Living history at Morimondo, of course!

Just outside Milan is a lovely church and monastic compound in the town called Morimondo.

Today, you can go there for a bit of fun living history! Got kids? Perfect! Take 'em along. Spark in them the love for learning and history, as something vibrant for The Now.

It will be one of the best inheritances that you could ever give them...More......

Founded by the Cistercian monks of St. Bernard in 1136, with its greatest period of splendor in the 13th and 14th centuries,the monks were of fundamental importance for the...

...reclaiming of marshy land as useful agricultural terrain.

The abbey began slipping into decadence in the early 15th century. In the mid 16th century, St. Charles Borromeo took away most of the vast land and great wealth it had accumulated (giving it all to the Ospedale Maggiore / "Principal Hospital" of Milan), and finally it was deconsecrated in 1799 during the winds of reform accompanying the young general, Napoleon Bonaparte. Monks returned in 1952.

And don't skip a visit to the lovely church dedicated to Mary. Begun in 1182, it was completed only by the end of the 13th century due to fighting with the local clergy (who saw their power and economic resources draining away from their own pockets and towards the monks).

The little porch (called a pronao) was added in 1736.

Here are the activities planned for Sunday, May 19, 2013:

10:30 A.M., Mass in the (little) Abbey

11:30 A.M., procession from the church to the fields for the blessing of the banners and the shooting off of the guns

3 P.M., behind the Abbey, "Hunting for the Knight", a game between the damsels and knights

6 P.M., the re-enactment of the Battle of Casorate

Traditional nibbles and sips, some based on medieval recipes, are available (one presumes, for purchase).

Because of the high traffic expected, today, the organizers suggest parking in the industrial area of Caselle, where a "navetta" (shuttle bus) will start going every half hour between Caselle and the compound at 2 P.M., with the last one from Morimondo to Caselle at 6:45 P.M.

Piazza Abbazia
tel. 02.9496.1919


(P.S., I snapped these pictures on thye 28th of July, 2004.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What to do?

A few ideas to lift your spirits, rest and relax...More......

--May 17-25, Milano Food Week, talks about food, wines and techniques, demonstrations, restaurant appointments and street food (at least this last is in English!) on an Italian-only (sigh) web site with a day-by-day list of activities. Look up a few of your favorite words (wine = vino!), and taste away.

--May 19, Per i corti e cortili, a day of food fun for all the family with visits to working farms complete with furry donkeys and honking geese for the kiddies (and maybe you, too) and 0 kilometer food fun. The site's only in Italian, but click on the itinerary ("14 percorsi") list for place names and addresses.

--May 20-2 June, Taste of Milan, if your a foodie, you're on a roll! (Sorry! Couldn't resist!), and, this time, the web site's also in English.

--May 26, the Palio of Legnano, heard of the famous horse race in the piazza at Siena?, well, there's a similar (costumed!) race in Legnano, a small city near Milan! There is a series of activities starting as early as May 17 that lead up to the Palio, so head to the web site to check out the whole schedule...alas and alack, only in Italian! Tickets for the uncovered observation field ("campo sportivo Giovanni Mari") are E. 10 for adults, E. 5 for kids. If you want to sit in the best seats, the most expensive seats are E. 70 a piece.

There, that ought to keep you busy, at least for a few days!


(N.B., the photo is of food, but I snapped it at the Rho-Pero convention center a few months ago...just to be clear!)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tomorrow, Sunday, May 12, no car day...walk to your mom's, it's Mother's Day in the USA

Sunday, from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M., if you don't qualify for an exemption (electric car, car-sharing, driving public transportation, disabled, etc.), you'll be on foot. (The next "no cars" day in Milan is June 9.)

Why not go see your mom?...It's Mother's Day in the U.S.A.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy and sad: good prices on books in English, but The English Bookshop is closing down

Both sad and good news, everyone!

(RIASSUNTO IN ITALIANO: libri in inglese per adulti e per bambini a prezzi scontati; dal 13 maggio al 30 giugno al The English Bookshop, v. sotto)

The sad news is that Peter Panton’s English Bookshop, an “institution” in Milan, is going out of business…too many of us want e-books, now!

This leads us to the good news…great sales on books of all kinds for adults and kids!...More......

From the 13th of May to the 30th of June, there will be great prices to be had.

So, below you’ll find the info that you’ll need, if you’re going to go.

I already have my list of books. Let me know what you buy, O.K.? I’m curious!

Warmly, Star Meyer

(Just a reminder, I get no money for this information, nor any kickback of any kind…I’m just trying to send you info about English stuff that you might like and enjoy!)


Up to 50% discount!
The sale starts at 15:30 on Monday, May 13th and ends June 30th.
See you there!

Via L. Mascheroni, 12 - Corner of Via L. Ariosto (the address is on Mascheroni, but the entrance is on Ariosto!)
20145 Milano, Italy
Tel. 024694468

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day! May Day!

The May Day celebrations will cross through downtown Milan, and public transportation service will be affected. Furthermore, the service also will be limited in time, so if you want to follow the parades, or just be out and about, here is some handy info to help you manage your day:...More......

Metro line 1: last train leaves anywhere from shortly before 7 P.M. to about 7:30 P.M. (depending on the point of departure and the destination)

Metro line 2: last train leaves anywhere from shortly before 7 P.M. to about 7:20 P.M. (depending on the point of departure and the destination)

Metro line 3: last train leaves anywhere from shortly before 7 P.M. to about 7:20 P.M. (depending on the point of departure and the destination)

Metro line 5: last train leaves anywhere from about 7:30 P.M. to about 7:45 P.M. (depending on the point of departure and the destination)

Beginning at 9 A.M. two parades will cross downtown in the morning:

(1) Departing from the Bastioni (ex-city walls) of Porta Venezia, it will go in Corso Porta Venezia, Piazza San Babila, Corso Matteotti, Piazza Meda, via Catena, Largo Mattioli, via Case Rotte and end in Piazza Scala.

(2) Departing from the Bastioni (ex-city walls) of Porta Venezia, it will go in Corso Porta Venezia, Piazza San Babila, Largo Toscanini, Corso Europa, Largo Bersaglieri, via Larga, and end in Piazza Santo Stefano.

Affected bus and tram lines: 1-9-12-15-23-27 e i bus 54-60-61-73-94.

Beginning at 2 P.M., another parade will cross downtown: departing from Piazza XXIV Maggio, it will continue in Porta Ticinese, Via De Amicis, Piazza Resistenza Partigiana, Via Cesare Correnti, Via Torino, Via Orefici, Piazza Cordusio, Via Broletto, Via Ponte Vetero, Via Mercato, Via Tivoli, Largo Greppi, Via Lanza, Piazza Castello, Viale Gadio, Via Legnano, Piazza Lega Lombarda, Piazzale Biancamano, Bastioni Porta Volta, Viale Crispi, Piazza XXV Aprile, Bastioni Porta Nuova, Piazza Principessa Clotilde, Via Galilei, Piazza San Giochimo, and end in Piazza della Liberazione.

Affected bus and tram lines: 1-3-4-9-12-14-16-27-33 e i bus 43-57-82-94.


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