Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CULTURE in Milan

After finishing the Cinque Terre hike we gave ourselves a quick pat on our tired backs, took speedy showers and were back in the car driving towards Milan. While I would have liked to have squeezed in a quick peek of Portofino, we had bigger pursuits ahead. Another time maybe.
When we went to Milan last December it was cold and we were shut out of our attempts to see Leonardo Da Vinci's famous "The Last Supper." So when we knew we would be in the area I called and booked tickets for us to see the renowned painting THIS TIME months in advance. Ever since "The Da Vinci Code" was published the demand to see the painting has been unprecedented. Since they only allow 15 people in for 15 minutes at a time, they are booked out months at a time.
Our arrival in Milan met 90+ degree temperatures against hot pavement. We were starving and since it was Sunday and after 2:30 PM we knew the only place sure to be open to feed our hungry bellies was in the famous shopping Gallery in the center of Milan. We beelined it to a pasta place not caring about bargain shopping for a cheap eat, rather just anxious for food. Connor ate quickly and we let her gallop around the Gallery. She went straight for this fancy-schmancy shop of leather gloves. There were all different color gloves and Connor was literally drooling over them. She watched them intently and pointed gleefully calling, "gloves, gloves, gloves!"
With full bellies we headed to the Scala Opera House in Milan. This place is world-renowned with all those famous Italian opera singers and we had fun pretending to be pretentious in the classy place. The opera hall was dripping with crystal chandeliers and red velvet! It was hard not to want to just sing out like an opera singer just for kicks.
Finally we drove over to a small church to see Leonardo Da Vinci's "The Last Supper." It is a powerful 28 foot mural that is in what was once the refectory of the church's adjacent convent. I was unsure whether the actual painting would live up to all the hype, but oh baby it was a powerful experience. The image just glowed from the wall and the faces are so provocative with Judas's betrayal and the other disciples puzzlement in Jesus' prediction. I really felt like a fly on the wall at the last supper. We looked at it up close and far back and every which-a-way.
Between the opera house and "The Last Supper" we felt so full of culture in Milan. Connor was of course most interested in the leather gloves in the Gallery and then in playing with Daddy's hat. She will certainly grow up to be a good accessorizer!The funniest part about the trip came at the end when Connor learned to say "Ciao Baby Jesus" and kept repeating it again and again. Ciao BJ!

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