Sunday, June 30, 2013

Teaser satisfied...finally

Remember the adorble teaser I posted last month?...More......

I wanted to share the wonderful day I had with my sweet friend, D., (thanks!) at the C.I.R.-Cento Ippico San Romanello, a lovely and well-kept riding stables on the outskirts of Milan, the owner of which gave me repeated verbal permission to take all the photos I wanted to take, and to put them on my blog...thanks, guys!

At the same time, I wanted to be able to tell you how to have permission to ride there, too. It didn't make sense to get you all charged up about the place, then to have you find out that riding, there, wouldn't be possible.

I'll tell you right up front...they're not set up either for English-speakers, or for non-Italians.

Why are those two things different, here?

There is the language problem, of course, but there's also a problem of bureaucracy...surprise, surprise.

I had to jump through lots of hoops to get this info (pun intended!). Finally, I spoke on the phone with a young woman of FISE-Federazione Italiana Sports Equine, who told me that the references to "Italians" in the rules for horseback riding in Italy apply to non-Italians, as well, and sent me back to the web site in Italian, by which time I was frantically busy with work, so making a summary of it in English for you had to wait...'til today! (All efforts have been made to make the summary in English as accurate as possible; consult the original or the entities in question for further information; using the information provided, you recognize that the translations are not official, that it is your responsibility to get official information, and that you do not hold me responsible in any way for the information, herein.)

For your safety and the safety of the horse and the other riders and horses, you can't just yell "tally ho!," and jump on the first horse to pass your way, like the Lone Ranger, or Zoro. You need some learning and practice, but don't be discouraged. There are promotional and temporary passes for agritourism and for riding at a school/stables that can be released directly by the Italian entity in question.

Let's look at what you'll need for "for fun" riding that needs a one-time promotional, a temporary, or an annual "A" type permit. Riding in competitions needs other certificates that have stricter rules, and if you're riding in competitions, you're already introduced into the world of horseback riding, so you don't need these hints. All that I have to say, here, is for those of you wanting to ride for fun, or maybe just to try it, once, to see what it's like.

To go horseback riding in Italy, you'll need two official medical certificates: (1) a certificate that you are of healthy and robust constitution, and (2) that you've had an anti-tetanus vaccination. If the person wanting to ride is handicapped, semi-blind, blind, or has Downs' syndrome, special medical exams and certificates are required. When minors are involved, written permission from the parent, or guardian, also is required. Unspoken, but obvious, you'll need a form of personal identification with a photo. Italians need to bring their "codice fiscale," which is the Italian equivalent of the American SSN-Social Security Number; whatever number your country uses to identify you beautiful you, bring that, too.

You'll need to have it all translated into Italian...don't use your neighbor's husband's cousin's secretary's nephew's brother-in-law's grandson's hamster! Look up official and reliable translation services, for the few pieces of paper you'll need, it won't be expensive.

Promotional permit: released by the local official entity for ONE promotional non-competition lesson; valid for 2 months, but can be issued only once per solar year; the acquisition of the full type "A" license in the same solar year as the promotional permission entitles the card-bearer to a 50% discount on the cost of the type "A" permit.

Temporary permit (the "horse tourism" permit has just about exactly the same requirements): released for equine tourism, or for non-competitive learning, by the local official entity, the agri-tourism, or the tourism entities, or by those belonging to FISE-Federazione Italiana Sport Equestri; the rules for the age of the rider are not clearly written, but presumably they mean "minimum" when specifying the age of 4, and there is no maximum age listed; for riders from 4 - 8 years of age calculated on the birthdays the permission is for mounting only ponies; valid for 60 days, it can be renewed during the solar year of emission.

Type "A": annual permit released for non-competitive riding by the local official association; for handicapped, minimum age 8 (no maximum listed); other specifications apply for other activities.

All the above apply to children, too. They can start riding for fun from the age of 4 and up, but may ride only ponies until they are 8.

These rules apply to all stables and agritourism entities belonging to FISE. There are at least a handful of stables in Milan. C.I.R. (closed Mondays) has classes for adults, youngsters and handicapped riders, all in Italian, of course. They have two outdoor riding areas, one with jumps,...

...and a large indoor riding area.

The clubhouse has a bar and a rustic loungeroom, and there are two shaded outdoor areas to rest and wait.

To go to C.I.R. (closed Mondays; they also have classes for handicapped riders, but everything is in Italian), get yourself to the MM1 De Angeli stop, and take the bus 72 or 72/ in the direction of the Cimitero Maggiore / Molino Dorino. Get off 17 stops later at the via Togni-Via Romanello stop, then walk 50 meters to the entrance.

Summertime classes and protective helmets, vests and boots are available. For those boarding their own horses, each stall entitles the holder to a saddle box.

Personally, I was impressed with how well they treated the animals and... clean and nice the place was, and, chatting with some of the horse riders (or parents thereof), I learned that they were very happy about the professionalism and cleanliness of the place, too. For information about prices, contact C.I.R., directly.

So, there it is, the scoop on horseback riding in Milan and Italy for fun and/or for agritourism. As usual, but I'd rather mention it for clarity's sake: I get no kickbacks of any kind for presenting this info to you.


Monday, June 24, 2013


Like Jazz?

Events in Milan, and a couple of nearby cities.

Get ready, set, go!...More......

July 4, 5, 6: UnoGas (info in Italian), Sforza Castle, 9 P.M., entrance fee E. 15 (charity events to benefit the non-profit Toko Vato association in Madagascar that buys farm tools for poor families)

July 4, 10, 15, 18, 22, 25: Ritmo delle città (Rhythm of the cities; info in Italian), various sites in Milan. If you're in Arese or Legnano, there are more events listed. Even if you don't speak Italian, the page is clear, and it's easy to see where the things are and who will be singing and playing, at least.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Chat with a Centurian this Sunday (Happy Father's Day!) at the Archeological Museum of Milan

I keep thinking, "How can they top this?!," they have so many great activities,...and then they do!

Super activity set for this Sunday (Happy Father's Day in the U.S.!) at the Archeological Museum of Milan: living history.

There will be regular changings of the guard and simulations of life in an ancient Roman military camp. Oh man, super fun! All...More...... Italian, but still fun for all the family!

It's the right place for it, too. The museum is nestled into part of the 8th century monastery that itself was nestled into the city's ancient Roman circus (really!). Parts of the ancient circus and walls are still in use! Wowee!

The official web site page (only in Italian...sigh) dedicated to this event even says that the display area has been enlarged, and that the walkway now goes through part of the ancient Roman walls. Super super cool. Can't wait to see it.

Where? Archeological Museum of Milan, Corso Magenta 15

When? from 9 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.

How much? the entrance ticket is...drum roll, please...a whopping Euro 2 (two!)

Sniff! Sniff! I can't go...working all day...but you go, then tell me all about it!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Sunday, June cars allowed...think of it as an opportunity

Sunday is another "DomenicAspasso" ("SundayOnfoot") day in Milan. "Oh, brother!," I can hear those of you with cars say. Don't think of it as a bothersome restraint and imposition. Think of it as an opportunity. There will be lots to do.

First things first, though. The hours....More......

If you don't have any special conditions, or situations, you'll be on foot in Milan from 10 A.M. 'til 6 P.M. All roads in town are affected, so, if you're thinking of exploring the area around Milan, you'll have to get up and get out early. Or come back late.

Think you're special? The city thinks you are, too, and exempts you from the traffic block, if you:

--are in a car with a disabled card displayed,
--are in an electric car,
--are in a car-sharing car,
--are in a car dedicated to obviously fundamental public functions (police, carabinieri, fire fighters, ambulances, taxis, etc.).

Some routes to parking areas with designated bus and tram stops will be open.

Worried about spending a passle to get around? Fear not. ATM, Milan's public transportation management, offers a deal: whether you only move around in town with a regular price ticket, or come in with ATM transportation from an area needing a ticket supplement, once you've bought and validated that one ticket, you can use it to go anywhere on Milan's town and suburban ATM lines. All day.

It's not going to be just any ol' traffic blocking day, either.

Dedicated to re-use and recycling, the day offers lots of activities and Italian:

--Festival del Riuso e del Baratto (Festival of Reuse and Barter), Piazza Beccaria, 10:30 A.M. - 5:30 P.M. Organized by ONU-National Operators of Used Objects and Federambiente with the collaboration of AMSA (Milan's trash service) and officially recognized by the city of Milan, the opportunity to bring old objects still in good condition, but unneeded, to trade for something fun, or useful, is a good one.

--La potenza di Helios (The Power of Helios), Cascina Cuccagna, via Cuccagna, Porta Romana quarter. Activities Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, from 11 A.M. to 9:30 P.M., an exhibit will be open, while from 4 - 6 P.M. there will be a workshop.

--Slalom Race, Parco Ravizza, via Brahams, via Console Marcello, 7 A.M. - 8 P.M., entrance free, inscription E. 50 (I'm guessing that means if you want to participate). An exhibition and competitive event inserted in the championship schedule of Slalom Skateboarding, ISSA.

--Mediolanum Cup Lacrosse, Centro Sportivo Saini, via Corelli 136, 9 A.M. - 6 P.M., entrance free; E. 550.00 (yes! FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY EUROS) for each team that wants to participate in this first international competition in Mediolanum, the ancient name for Milan, of Lacrosse, a game whose rules resemble those of hockey, but which is played on dry ground with a small triangular racket and a ball.

--Gioca&Impara con la Protezione Civile (Play&Learn with the representatives of Civil Protection), via Spallanzani 5, 9 A.M. - 6 P.M., free entrance and participation, while places last. Exhibit and distribution of free souvenirs (that Italians call "gadgets", so probably stuff such as key chains), and--at 11:45 A.M. and 4 P.M.--a special treasure hunt for kids from ages 6 to 12 to help them understand the profound value of volunteering to help others in need.

--BimbiAspasso (KidsOnfoot), a very varied program spread out all over town of colors, music and words for kids.

--4 zampe in fiera (4 paws in a trade fair), Parco Esposizione Novegro, via Novegro (Segrate, a suburb of Milan), 9 A.M. - 7 P.M. Saturday and Sunday, Entrance E. 10, reduced E. 7, kids 0-10 free. Pet trade fair in a suburb of Milan very near Linate. How to get there? First, you'll need to get the regular ATM ticket (URBANO) with a particular supplement (1/2 ZONA), which costs about E. 2.00. Next, go to Corso Europa (a main road in/out of Piazza San Babila), and take the bus "73/" (yes, there's a "/") going to Linate / S. Felicino. Get off at the 5th stop ("Novegro") AFTER leaving Linate (maybe another 10-15 minutes, I'm guesstimating). If you like all sorts of these trade fairs open to the public from animals and antiques to hobbies and who-knows-what, keep your eyes on this place.

--49° Torneo Avvenire, Tennis Club, via Feltre 33, 9 A.M. - 8 P.M. Part of the 2013 Tennis European Junior Tournament, category I, this chance for young tennis players to compete officially comes once a year to Milan thanks, in part, to the newspaper Avvenire. Free entrance for spectators, E. 40 for participating tennis players. Info:

--Palazzi, chiese e grattacieli a Porta Nuova (Mansions, churches and skyscrapers in the Porta Nuova area), point-of-departure exit of the Galleria Vittoria Emmanuele onto Piazza della Scala at 9:30 A.M. Tours organized by the after-hours activity association for the city employees, the activity also is open to non-members. Put on your walking shoes, because you'll be on the road 'til about 1 P.M. E. 11 for members, E. 14 for non-members.

--Natura, arte e storia nei giardini di "Cilindro" (Nature, Art and History in the 'Top Hat' Gardens), Giardini Montanelli, point-of-departure, statue of Cavour in Piazza Cavour, at 10 A.M.; a botanical-themed walk through the park that will last until about noon. Participation free, the activity is sponsored by a couple of volunteer associations, including those who take care of the monuments in the Monumental Cemetery, like an open-air sculpture garden, itself worth a visit. Optional picnic at noon (fee-based).

--PicNic musicali in giardino (Musical picnic in the garden), Giardino di Montello, Viale Montello (in front of street address n. 6), 10 A.M. - 1:30 P.M. A description of the rarer plants and a musical exhibition is followed by a impromptu free-for-all...musicians can bring their own instruments, and play during the afternoon. The entrance fee info isn't very clear. One part says "free with donation" (already an oxymoron), and another says "free with inscription". If you don't want to wing it, contact the organizers, Giardini in Transito, for more info.

--C'è vita intorno ai binari (There's life around the tracks), Train car deposit, Stazione Centrale, InfoPoint: via Ferrante Aporti, Magazzino 81 bis, 10 A.M. - 4 P.M. Varied activities for train buffs.

--La città cristiana (The Christian City), point-of-departure Piazza Sant'Eustorgio, the activities stretch from 10 A.M. to 5:30 P.M., with departures from the piazza from 10 to 10:30 A.M. ('Cult continuity from the 1st to the 5th centuries, in Italian) and from 3 to 3:30 P.M. (New faith images, in Italian). Organized by TCI-Touring Club of Italy. Free entrance, reservations 840.88.88.02.

--Scuola Steineriana (Steiner School), two activities: (1) artistic activities for kids in Italian, Piazza San Fedele, 10 A.M. - 6 P.M., (2) learning re-use, Piazza Oberdan, 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.

--Feste delle Ape e del MieleMilano (Festival of the Bees and MilanoHoney), Cascina Caldera, Parco delle Cave, via Caldera 65, 10 A.M. - 6 P.M. Dance and "0 kilometer" agriculture.

--Martesana (Martesana canal), Piazza Piccoli Martiri, 10 A.M. - 8 P.M. Like history? This might be one of the best choices for you: an exploration of the history of one of the most picturesque old bridges of Milan and the Martesana canal (Naviglio). Free.

--Biciclettata alla scoperta dei Navigli di Milano (A bike ride to get to know Milan's canals), point-of-departure Piazza Cadorna, a 7 km ride (about 2 hours) to get to know the history and art of Milan's canals. First departure, meet at 10:15 A.M.; second departure, meet at 4:15 P.M. Signing up is obligatory, costs E. 1 (one), and must be finished by noon, so keep an eye on your watches. For more info,, 389.6797311.

--Area P. Milano incontra la poesia (Area P. Milan encounters poetry), Palazzo Marino, Piazza della Scala, beginning at 10:30 A.M. Free entrance, but you'll need the "invitation" that you can get from the Urban Center in the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele just inside the entrance from the Piazza della Scala.

--Knitta la lana, scalda la vita (Knit yarn, warm life), Piazza San Fedele, 10:30 A.M. - 1 P.M., a get-together for knitting lovers to bring their own stuff, and knit together in this beautiful historic piazza. Event organized by Gomitolo Rosa

--Arco dell'Alleanza (Ark of the Alliance), Parco Sempione, 10:30 A.M. - 5 P.M., wellness and meditation in the beautiful surroundings of the park. Participation is "free"...but a donation of E. 15 is "requested" to cover the costs of the materials provided, including a mat

--Tutti in tram (Everyone in the tram), departures from Piazza Castello beginning at 10:30 A.M. and ending at 5 P.M., departures from Piazza Fontana beginning at 11 A.M. and ending at 5:30 P.M. Clowns, games and fun for kids. Participation free while seating lasts,

--Palazzo Bambino (Kiddie Mansion), courtyard of Palazzo Marino, Piazza della Scala, 10:30 A.M. - 6:30 P.M., entrance free. Fun, games, stories, jugglers and etc., all in medieval costumes.

--Festa del biberon (Festival of the baby bottle), via Tonnezza, 11:30 A.M. - 7:30 P.M., a festival organized by the Centro Ambrosiano di aiuto alla vita to awaken our sensibilities regarding pregnant women and minors in trouble.

--InfoPoint Sorgenia for bicyclists is being inaugurated at noon; via Viviana 12. Free maps of the bike lanes are being distributed, and it will be possible to try electric bikes with assisted pedaling.

--AggregArte (AggregateArt), Giardini Bellisario, Piazza Udine, 2-6 P.M., a VERY rich interactive program to share urban art and art experiences, beginning with placing flowers in a permanent group sculpture through theater and musical workshops for youngsters...all in Italian, of course. Participation free.

--Storie antiche e contemporanee (Ancient and contemporary histories), an afternoon bike ride in the Valle dei Monaci, point-of-departure, the bike rack at the San Donato stop of the MM3 (yellow line), about 12 km long (to which another 4 must be added for those needing to return to San Donato). About 95% of the trip is on asphalted city roads. On the weekends, transporting bikes in the metro is free and can be done at any time (according to the info provided by the organizers, La stazione delle biciclette). Insurance cost Euro 1 (one), entrance to the mulino (wind mill), Euro 2.50. If you want to go, you'll need to sign up by 6 P.M. on June 6th, contact:

--Il trucco del sorriso (Smile Makeup/The Trick of Smiles), Giardini pubblici di Porta Venezia, on the side of Corso di Porta Venezia, 2 - 7 P.M., sponsored by Azul Onlus helping children in difficulty. For kids ages 3 and older. Participation free.

--Sunday Bike Messenger Tour by The Bagel Factory, city bike tour with brunch (E. 15) to learn the ins-and-outs and secrets of an urban bike messenger and a clever advertising and public service event by this chain that offers (finally) really good and authentic tasting bagels in Milan. Corso di Porta Vittoria, 46, 2:30 - 6 P.M. For more info:

--PopolandoMi Culture (Populating me/Milan with Culture), a musical walk from via Padova 69 to the amphiteater of the Martesana followed by a concert of ethnic music in a setting providing bio food and ethically responsible object stands. Departure: 2:30 P.M. The grounds will be open until 10 P.M. Entrance free.

--Musica in famiglia (Music in the family), Piazza Mercanti, from 3 P.M. Organized for kids 12 and under who want to perform in public, this event is part of the MITO (Milano-Torino / Mythical) annual musical series that will be offering musical events until the 21st of June. Entrance free (nothing about whom to contact for more info)

--In campo per la vita (On the playing field for life), Arena Civica Gianni Brera, viale Byron 2, 3 - 6:30 P.M. An event pitting actors, musicians and cabaret artists against soccer players in this soccer game dedicated to raising awareness of organ donation and to support AIDO, the Italian organization for organ donation. Free entrance (but I'm sure they'd be happy for donations)

That's all, folks! I'm tired just transcribing it all!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Planes, trains, and...strikes foreseen for June and July

Had a really lovely day on Tuesday, so want to write up that very do-able and enjoyable day trip for you ASAP. In the meantime, better safe than sorry, here is the news to-date from the Ministry of Public Transportation about the upcoming strikes in June and July....More......

Friday, June 14: Alitalia, Linate and Malpensa
Strikes, some for four hours, others for 24 hours, of the airport, onboard and related personnel.

Friday, June 14: Local transportation
24 hour strike with local hour variations (hint: in Milan, it's usually from 8:30 / 8:45 A.M. 'til 3 P.M., then from 6 P.M. 'til the end of service)

Thursday, July 18: EasyJet and Blue Panorama
24-hour strikes of the stewards and stewardesses

I hope that that's all that pops up for June and July.

Like we really needed strikes with the already difficult economic situation in Italy and Europe.

I can hardly say my usual, "Enjoy!," can I?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Local public transportation strike, today...yikes!

Going to work, today?...get out the door, quickly...there's a local public transportation strike, today. Milan's hours are from 8:30 A.M. until 3 P.M., then from 6 P.M. 'til the end of service. Hours in other cities vary.

More on the other strikes, later.

Gotta run!
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