Monday, November 11, 2013

The Final Days in Milano

The day before we fly back to brisbane was a Duomo day with a visit to Teatro Alla Scala the famous opera house. The day was full of sunshine so the Duome and Piazza was magnificent and filled with people walking, sitting and talking.

The outside of the Teatro Alla Scala

OK the inside pic is from the web. You can't take picures inside of La Scala.

One of my wishes this time in Milan was to have Risotto Milianese, so we had a lovely meal in one of the restaurants in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

David recommended we visit the Gallerie D'Italia in the Piazza Scala. The exhibition Cantiere del' 900 - Works from the Intesa Sanpaolo Collection, was showing. How amazing! The only artists I knew of were Lucio Fontana, Emilio Vedova, and Bruno Munari .

These two hundred artworks documented the main artists and trends in Italian art in the second half of the last century. The exhibition explored the opposition between realism and abstraction within a process defined as the relation between the "memory of the image and its representation.

 A surprise was in the sculptor court, a work by Gio Pomodoro (Joe Tomato?).
We feel very blessedto have had such a wonderful trip to the country of Peter's heritage and are very grateful to have spent such great adventures with Beck and David. There were many people who were very kind and hospitable in shring their homes and local knowledge of thei beautiful country. Belissimo! Ciao for now!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Visit to Lake Como and a View of the Last Supper

It was rainy in Milan and the weather predication was continued rain with some relief later in the day. The trip to Como was on a fast train and only took thirty minutes. Such a beautiful place. After leaving the station we headed into the town by the lake. It seemed quite new with wide tree lined streets, however as we got further into the town it reminded us of Florence. Norrow cobble stone streets between very old buildings.

We had a short walk around this beautiful lake. The sun was just starting to break through the clouds and the slight breeze off this hugh lake was quite chilly

The next day Sunday, we had a rest in the morning and then headed off to see the 'Last Supper', or as my Cousin would say, the 'Last Dinner'. This famous painting is on the wall of the refrectory next to the church Santa Maria delle Grazie in the Piazza of the same name.

It was interesting to leard (again) that only forty percent of the original painting is left thanks to Leordano's experiments with dry plaster and egg yoke, and bombing the refrectory in World War II.

On our way home on the train we were entertained by a "Antoni Bonetti" type character.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Back to Milano on a Misty Morning

Our stay in Bologna was both restful and exhilarating. After settling back into the Echo Starhotel we stayed in when we first arrived in Italy, we had coffee and tried to find the florist shop owned by Enzo Roma, the father of Alexandro who works for Tim at Ciccio's. The florist shop was less than a kilometre from our hotel, however we couldn't find it.

our hotel was one hundred meters from the Central Station. The view from our room and pics of the grand station.

Later in the day I telephoned Alexandro's father Enzo and he came to the hotel and had a drink.
He is a florist and Karen received a beautiful white rose.

Enzo convinced us that we should go for dinner later that night at a traditional Pugliese restaurant. The Pugliese region is where his family comes from. The food was very traditional and the experience was such a surprise. He is learning English so was pleased to be able to practice in conversation with English speakers.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bologna (the fat one) the City of the Arts, Food and Intellect

We arrived in Bologna at about one thirty, booked into the hotel which was across the via from the train station. We were surprised that we were up graded to a junior suite. The remaining time for the day gave us the opportunity to visit the Mambo museum. The special exhibit was to to see the Giorgio Marandi collection.

We then walked down to the Piazza Maggiore, the centre of the city. The hotel had a very elegant Aperitiva so we had a few drinks, ate and had no need for dinner. 

We spent the next day exploring the historical city if Bologna, the home of the first university and known as the "learned one". It is also referred to as the "fat one" as it is a real food town. It has a history of revolutionaries and thinkers and this was evident today as we listened (but didn't understand) to some speakers at Piazza Miaggore. (a bit like speakers corner in Hyde Park)

We learnt a lot at the Palazzo Pepoli (Museum of the History of Bologna) which was a very contemporary narrative treatment using interactive displays (which is not common in Italian museums) but housed in a medieval building. A very enjoyable few hours.

We leave for Milan tomorrow, then a day trip to Lake Como, Last Supper, Dinner with the father of one of Tim's waiters, maybe some shopping in Milan and then home on Wed.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday, Daylight-Saving and a Wonderful trip to La Sacrd Di San Michele

Giorgio his wife Claudia, and Eraldo, my second cousins telephoned us and confirmed that they would pick David, Beck, Karen and myself up from our apartment for a trip to La Sacra di San Michele. This magnificant Medeival Abbey, born between 983 and 987 sits one kilometre up, on the top of Mount Pirghiriano. The Abbey was established to meet the demands and culture of pilgrimage.

The Rosminian Fathers look after the Abbey which is one of the largest religious Romanesque crchitectural complexes, the result of construction and enlargements made over a millennium and in 1994 was declared the "monument symbolising Piedmont".

Low clouds were moving in, however the view, cold breeze and the whole feeling of history was exriliating. The trip was a great experience.

We then drove back to Giorgio and Claudia's apartment for a traditional five course Piedmontese lunch. Conversation was often difficult however we all worked together to fill in the meanings. Later on Valentena and her children Marta and Alberto arrived. Mauro her husband is Giorgio and Claudia's son.

On Monday in most cities in Italy the museums, galleries and palaces are closed. This was atime to experience the local culture, have more coffee, do some washing and at 6:oopm have aperitivo at a local bar.

Dinner, Meeting Mauro, and the Journey to Venice

POn the last day in Torino Karen and I decided to experience the Museo Nazionale del Cinema one of the most important cinema museums in the world for the wealth of its collection. It is housed inside the Mole Antonelliana, symbol of the city of Torino.

Part of the building experience was to ride the Panoramic Lift, vertically crossing through the Museum.

The continuous and unexpected visual and acoustic stimuli create a spectacular presentation, revealing the secrets hidden behind the the movie and the steps preceding the screening of the film.

On our last night in Torino Dave and Beck wanted to take us to a Bar in the Piazza Victorio Veneto called La Drogheria. The Jamaican Italian making the mixed drinks entertained the huge crowd. Aperitivo was the approach for a meal. Buy a drink and eat what you like from a table of food from 6:00 to about 8:30pm. It's the sensible and cheap "happy hour".

On our way home, a walk of about two kilometres, we met Mauro, Giorgio's son and Valentine's husband. This was a great surprise, because we would not have seen him this trip. He did give us directions to one of the oldest and famous coffee shops in Torino, the Mulafsano. Used in films and for fashion photo shots. 

Rain in Venice so we are off to Verona

Sadly we had to bid farewell to Beck and David as they left early to catch their train to Florence. We thoroughly enjoyed their company and sharing many adventures with them. Karen and I met Mr Bennito (our bnb host) to hand over the apartment keys.  As the walk to the station to catch our train to romantic Verona involved rain coming down and canal water rising up, we gave ourselves extra time to arrive.

On arriving in Verona, Shakespeare's city of romance, we checked our luggage into our hotel and explored Verona to plan the next two days. We found Verona a very easy city to negotiate with wide well paved walkways, elegant historic buildings and sophicated residents. 

The first Sunday of the month places a E1 charge to any museum or exhibit. This gave us a few days to view the Arena in the Piazza Bra, as well as Cassa Giulietta and the famous balcony.

A two day Verona Card for E15 each gave us much cheaper entry into more than sixteen exhibitions and museums. It's the way to go. On our first full day we decided to take a different route into the main part of the city. The first stop was the Castel Vecchio.

The Castel complex includes the ancient church of San Martino, and a large part of the city wall. The museum was closed because it was Monday morning, however we will visit it tomorrow.

We walked the other side of the river Adige as the light rain started to fall. Back over a walk bridge to the Teatro Romano, an Amphitheatre that is now Verona's Summer Theatre.

We then headed back across the river to have a look at the largest church in Verona, the Sant' Anastasia.

Then on to the Duomo. 

We awoke to a sunny day after a very cold, wet but enjoyable previous day. Returning to Castel  Vecchio which was now open, we were treated to a visual feast of restoration work interspersed with modern pieces. This restoration work is an intelligent refined, masterpiece. There were Perspex relief pieces so visually impaired visitors could experience the exhibition. 

After coffee and our first free aqua, our protracted hunt for the Monet exhibition was finally rewarded. The security at this exhibition was over the top as patrons couldn't even carry their handbags. (None of the paintings would have fitted into Karen's)