Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday 13 - #28!

Last week my TT was about where we stayed in Milan. It was a treat all on its own. I was on my own for most of it, cutie had to work some seriously long hours - even jetted off to Paris for a day. Today I'm going to list 13 highlights from the trip:


The Duomo is the most noted of all the sights and it is impressive. There are a many many statues decorating the outside, even a few women, placed there over decades by different artists. I found the crypt - not my usual fortay - interesting. I should've realized then that the gems of Milan would be hidden.


One night the cutie and I were in town and this has to be one of the most vibrant sunsets I've seen. The Duomo is at our back and were looking toward the Castle. Wow!


The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is right off the Piazza del Duomo [think Traffalgar Square with all the bird - eek] and is full of shopping. No, I didn't take these pictures, mine were far too dark. I had to laugh when I noticed McDonalds was located across from Savini - way upmarket restaurant. Nice. No, I didn't spin on the bull for luck but did shop in one of my favoritebookshops - Rizzoli. Great selection :-) Opposite the Duomo entrance is the one from Teatro alla Scala. Didn't get a chance to go in but would've loved to have - it looks stunning!


The Castello Sforzesco was much more than I'd expected. It's a Castle with a handful of museums inside, but it was the wildlife that caught my attention first. There are over 50 wild cats that have been adopted by the staff and they live in the walls of the building. If you can't see the one white cat in this first pic...

here is a close up...yup, he came out of the hole for scaffolding to sit in a sunny spot on the ledge.


The various museums were a great mixture from Mummy's to musical intruments, but I had one favorite. I could take a picture - too dark - so borrowed these here and here so you guys can get a brief idea of what it looks like. Leonardo Da Vinci was painting the ceiling and walls in this room while working on The Last Supper. It's a pergola and so much more. It's been covered by paneling for decades before they discovered what was underneath. Eventually the limbs and trunks of the trees start digging in through the rock foundation. It is a powerful piece.


Please forgive me for not remembering which church this one is and cobbling the picture together from two, but the beauty is in the differences. This is the backside and interesting to see how many different additions there have been. In front, there was a bride and groom out on the front steps being congratulated and an inside out collande full of young goths. I never really understood what the single row of columns and partial architrave were from, but it was an interesting mixture going on out front and in back. Oh, and the parc where the goths feeling romantic were decorating the benches used to be where they hanged people. Yup, had to laugh.


Did you know there's a canal district in Milan? There is and it's a hot bed of fun! This is where the parties are at night and during the day the shopping is interesting. I forgot to take a picture but there was one guy who had a shop right on the canal and he painted the most incredible purses. Yes, purses that looked so real someone might of picked one off a counter. If he hadn't been closed I think I would've checked it out for one for myself. Fun, quirky, and fell perfectly into the Hot Couture series. Oh yeah, remember, I was in Milan doing research for "His High Stepper" - work, work, work :-)


On the otherside of the canal was a crepe shop! Dang, can't remember what it was called but it was spectacular. The Italians seem to love Nutella. It isn't something I care for so went for a limone e zucchero [lemon and sugar] and it was divine. It was a great little shop, all of those brown things in the cupboard and handmade cones for the gelato, which is found under those brass bells. I did partake a couple of cups of gelato and it was lovely!


I walked, lots. Each morning I'd take the bus to the Central Train Station and from there hop on the Metro and take it to the area I wanted to explore and walk. I enjoy finding the everyday life of these places I visit. Whenever I know I'm going someplace new I get 2 things: popout map and travel guide [like the DK Eyewitness Travel ones because they give you history of the place, details and more about what else there is besides what the place is known for]. Getting off the well known path is how I feel like I get to know some place.


Walking off one of the pedestrian only streets in the Fashion District was a busy street and this was across the way. Really look at it. The windows are different, there's arches for structure but off from those above them, and up top is a fresco. It made me pause - I enjoy finding interesting things like this.


When you see pictures of European cities, you often see these huge double wooden doors, sometimes with a small portal in them and sometimes not. I often wonder what's behind them. Some drive their cars through them for parking, some have private roads behind them, others have extensive gardens. This one had a courtyard with cannons. It was a museum so open to the public.


You guys know me, what's a trip without some cioccolata and once with panna [cream]! Trust me, the cream was a distraction, the chocolate was so thick you ended up with a face full of the stuff before tasting the dark glory :-) The bottom cup won the award for the thickest it cooled I needed a spoon!


I saved my favorite place for last - the Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte. This is a place you go to see for the structure as well as the art found inside. Although full of guards, it was all very relaxed with a gem around every corner. One room I walked throug had a young man with a lifesized portrait leaning against the wall and was cleaning it while a young woman was taking detailed photos of the hardwood floors - for repairing. The next room over is the one you see above. Those were the last people I saw for 3 hours when they closed for a 2 1/2 hour lunch :-) From this floor up to the attic was full to the brim of treasures.

My only disappointment, there was no guide for the Villa or any other place other than the Duomo. Such a shame really. The one book I came away from Milan with was The Sforza Castle with watercolors by Jack Tow and text by Amelie Gale.

Many people have mentioned to me that Milan is an industrial city and therefore boring - I beg to differ, I found some of my favorite places and things of all time here. So, if you're ever given an opportunity to visit this city, GO!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone :-)


Anonymous said...

Oh I think I've read about the place with the cats before. I loved looking at these! And now I want some chocolate!

Laura Paxton said...

Beautiful pictures....and the chocolate!! YUM!!! Happy T-13!

Darla said...

Wow. Okay, you've convinced me. Not this summer--we'll be going to Texas for vacation this summer--but next summer, we'll try to make it to Milan. Maybe take a guided tour which can be a pain, but at least we'll know what we're looking at. :)

Tempest Knight said...

Oooooooooooooooooh! Love those castle pics! *wg*

Harris Channing said...

Tilly, these are gorgeous. I would so love to go to Italy! My parents visited Rome and absolutely adored it there.

Maybe one day I'll get there and I'll add Milan to my list!

Thanks for posting these.

Anonymous said...

You have a great eye for photography! I love the pictures!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I SO want to travel with you; I like the way you approach exploring new cities.

And we'll leave gagging and retching ShapeShifter boys at home and just bring the good ones. :D

Anonymous said...

Your trip looks beautiful!

Melanie said...

Awesome! I was stuck on 12 for awhile..LOL! Happy Valentine's Day!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful photos and a fascinating account of your trip. I envy you.