Entry into Milan


Not so early in the morning but Julia is still asleep and I’m going to let her be for awhile.

We have been in Milano for 36 hours, gotten somewhat settled, walked a lot, spent hours in the daVinci Science Museum, eaten gelato and seen the Last Supper. I was last in Milano 32 years ago and although the I remember nothing about city or its sights, I vividly remember the energy and how that energy wraps its arms around me.

It was the city that we found most like NYC in the energy sense. It still is. And it has good mass transit. People dress! Our first evening, walking around in travel clothes which lean towards practically without style, I felt underdressed! We were walking as people were leaving work to begin their evenings. Men in suits on bikes and scooters, women in heels and lovely dresses on rather large motor bikes. Even a casual looker, like myself, cannot help but see the fashion in shops, in restaurants and on the streets. I will feel much more comfortable in my linen pants–not fashionable but closer to blending in. Walking around our first evening, suddenly the Piccolo Theatro Milano was in front of us.  Not the theater building that David and I found ourselves in front of in Spring of 1984.  It was closing night of Giorgio Strehler’s Tempesta and we procured two of the last few tickets.  I had seen the production when it was traveling in Rome and it was wonderful being able to share it with David.  And it was incredible to see the amazing production with an audience who knew the play and production, and who anticipated every line and a action, including the “destruction” of the set at the end of the show.  (I needed to get the spelling of Strehler’s name and googled it to find YouTube clips of a 1977 production and oh, yes!  How glorious it was.)

Milano which David and I only visited for a few days decades ago is full of reminders of our time in Milano, in Italy, our time together.  He is still lodged so securely inside.

The Last Supper! It was one of those times in life when you see something utterly familiar. That you’ve never seen. It was so big, not quite as wide as I expected, really beautiful although so little remains, in a room a lot bigger than I expected and very much well loved.

And after the most technologically advanced restoration and climate control–reduce harmful agents in the air, best lighting, constant temperature and only 30 visitors at a time for 15 minutes a group, no flash pictures (this in a room that could hold hundreds) for short viewing days– the picture is 25% of its original self. It is easy to see what is missing. I asked our guide if there were photos of it from 100 years ago or more that showed more of the picture and she said, no. Old restorations were sometimes painting over or sticking the pigment to the wall using honey. (Rancid honey?). What we see now is better than its been in hundreds of years. And it is 25%. Damn da Vinci for painting in tempera that didn’t sick to the wall instead of fresco which was have looked beautiful today. He wanted to work at his own pace, take four years to paint this picture, change what he wanted when he wanted. Fresco didn’t let him do that. So, the picture began to decay even before he died.

Amazing that we love it so much,

The Last Supper and the Crucifiction on the other end of the hall stand almost alone with no decoration on he side wall and just a portion of intended decoration on the other. The reason is bombing during World War II. Survival of what is left is due to people who sandbagged to walls of the great paintings and immediately work afterwards to shore up the bombing’s destruction.

Because we had tickets for the early morning viewing of the Last Supper! The rest of the day was sent at the science museum. Wonderful tip abut the museum which is extensive and holds much more than da Vinci’s ideas is that the ticket allows for multiple entries. I wrote at some other time that we have been making use of the cafes and restaurants in museums; however, there is nothing in the science museum at the present time and after a few hours we needed a break. No problem about leaving and coming back although this needs to be checked out at each museum or church. Policies vary widely. Also, I’ve been using yelp.com to find restaurants close to our destinations which has been ore useful than the list of restaurants I made before I left, none of which seems close to what we want to see. I’ll pay better attention next planning time.

Today, Julia wanted to take a copy of a de Vinci sketch and complete it was a dragon.

2 thoughts on “Entry into Milan

  1. The pictures are beautiful. They remind me of the Maeve Binchy book Night and Stars. One day I will visit Italy.

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