Sunday, May 26, 2013
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 accessible...it 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"...so 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 Ball...it'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!).