Friday, April 29, 2016

Breaking News: Piazza Cordusio problematical from 4 to 8+ PM

The nice traffic lady of our morning news just let slip the news: Piazza Cordusio will be a sticky mess (not quite her words), today, from 4 to 8 P.M. (and after), thanks to a protest gathering.

Visiting the city, and need a hint for how to cross the piazza? Easy peasy: take the MM1 red metro line from the Duomo to Cairoli (the Piazza Castello stop).

The last couple of days have been gorgeous, cold, but gorgeous, notwithstanding the weatherman's prediction of clouds. Hope we get more of the same, today.

Bring your umbrella, rain is on the way for the weekend. (How do the weather gods do that? When it has to rain - and we're glad it does - it seems it always rains on the weekend.)


Monday, April 25, 2016

Gorgeous day at the Sforza Castle in Milan

Gorgeous day...Sunday...long weekend (so feeling relatively guilt-free about not starting the preparation of the following week's lessons)...first thought? Photos at the lovely Milanese castle. Here's...More...

...the front façade facing toward the city.

The original kernel was a gate on the ancient Roman walls around the city, protecting the city from invasion from without.

In the Middle Ages, under the Visconti family, it was enlarged, and became a military fortress, protecting the city from without, but also serving as a last resort to protect the Visconti (who still lived in the ducal palace next to the Duomo) from the Milanese. Decidedly a change.

Having married the Visconti heiress (as a woman, unable to take political control) and being one of the time's most powerful and successful generals-for-hire, Francesca Sforza added these round (a then new development, which better deflected the then still stone cannon balls) defensive towers. If you look under the Sforza heraldic crest, you'll see that the rustication still shows damage from cannon balls. (Some of the stone cannon balls are on display in the inner moats of the castle; when cannon balls became made of iron towards the end of the 15th century -- this innovation was introduced by the invading French -- this kind of fortress was no longer able to withstand the blows, and so military architecture and defensive strategy had to change. Nevertheless, this castle, to which further defensive structures continued to be added over the centuries, was considered fact, it was a traitor that let the invading French in. The story of its fate in the 19th century is for another day.)

In the 3rd quarter of the 15th century, under the Sforza family, part of it was transformed to house the princely quarters (a sign of the duke's nervousness, but also the cause of some lovely frescoes and a beautiful court in the palace area of the fortress).

Towards the end of the 15th century after the assassination of the duke, the duchess Bona of Savoy - mother of the rightful heir, still a minor - built this defensive tower over the entrance that leads from the large military grounds inside the castle to a smaller, more easily defendable part of the castle. Didn't work. Her brother-in-law, a younger brother of the murdered duke, took over, and reigned until he, too, was dethroned, this time by the invading French.

In the meantime...those are my translations on the info panels scattered throughout the open grounds of the castle! They are still there after yea so many years. What a satisfaction.

Monday morning hugs to all,


P.S., Pooh on those who say, in error, that Milan is a gray industrial city with bad weather and nothing to see!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Marathon messes up street level traffic from 8 AM to 5 PM - Sunday 3 April 2016

Marathon messes up street level traffic from 8 AM to 5 PM - Sunday 3 April 2016.

Title says it all.


Hope to have better news, soon.
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