Wednesday, 24 July 2013


We stayed in a very nice hotel in Milan. We each had our own apartments with a lounge and small but well equipped kitchen. One of the boys complained that the techies were really boring just going home to the hotel every night. Little did he know that we were taking full advantage of sofa's, balconies and kitchens by taking it in turns in hosting post show suppers, cheese and wine evenings and a movie night!

The view from my balcony, (between these two pictures was a building site where they were putting the finishing touches to an apartment building. The scaffolding started to come down at the end of our stay)

and from the 11th floor where we had breakfast each day you could see over the city towards the Duomo. On Sunday morning you could hear all of the church bells ringing from up here. On a clear day you could sit at breakfast and see snow topped mountains that form part of the Alps.

This was my first ever visit to Italy and I had been really looking forward to it. Before we left a lot of people had warned us that Milan wasn't the best city, that it was very industrial. However, this wasn't the city that we saw. There were new buildings near the hotel, and new ones going up, but the walk to the theatre and in and around the centre of the city was full of beautiful old buildings.

The bakery we called 'Camp Greggs', with it's flamboyant decorations!

A photoshoot taking place near to the Duomo.

There are a number of tram routes in the city and the power wires criss cross above intersections.

Some of our favourite Italian things. Despite the evidence of this photo I drank a lot more espresso than I ate ice cream!
We were a little unfortunate with the weather we had in Milan. We had a few hot days, but mostly it was overcast and rainy. On our first free daytime I went to Palazzo Reale with Janine, Joe and George to see the Modigliani exhibition. We walked through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and past the Duomo to get there. In our second week a group of us took a bus and walking tour which included a visit to La Scala where they were in tech, the interior of the Duomo and to see the Last Supper (which was our main reason for taking the tour as it was the only way to secure tickets for this).

La Scala

Galleria Vittorio

The paintings here are on four sides of the dome and represent different continents.

The Duomo

We visited the Duomo on a couple of occasions, including our tour day when we were able to go inside for a short while. 

You can see the changeable weather that we had from the skies in these pictures.

Castello Sforzesco

This castle was originally a Visconti fortress, then the stronghold of the Sforza family during the renaissance, it now houses 10 museums including an armoury and music instrument museum. As we visited the grounds of the castle during our afternoon tour there was no time for the museums.

This arch - Arco della Pace - in Parco Sempione marks the start of the road to Paris. It is a straight line to from the Arco della Pace to the Arc de Triomphe (well according to our tour guide. Although a bit of google time doesn't seem to corroborate this)

Il Cenacolo - The Last Supper

The convent of Santa Maria della Grazie where the refectory housing The Last Supper is.

Visits to the The Last Supper are in small groups and in 15 minute time slots. As our tickets fell in the second half of our tour groups allocation we were able to sit and soak up a little sunshine whilst we waited.

And here it is. Well not really as photography is banned inside the refectory to prevent further damage to the painting. One thing I did find very interesting was the fact that this wasn't the only painting in the room. As well as general decorations to the sides and roof of the room (some of which still remains) there is another fresco here by Giovanni Donato da Montorfano. It is on the wall at the opposite end of the room to The Last Supper and depicts the Crucifixion. This fresco was painted in the usual fashion and so the colours remain bright. Leonardo added some figures to the Crucifixion fresco depicting members of the Sforza family who had commissioned the work within the convent. As these figures were painted in the same way as The Last Supper they have also degraded badly.


On Sunday Janine and I went off to look for some props that had been broken the day before. We walked from the hotel

through the park - Giardini Pubblici -

past the Gallery of Modern Art

and caught the Metro to Porta Genova. This slightly circuitous route was taken because we had intended to try a shop near the gallery for the glass we needed, only remembering it was Sunday and the shop was closed when we walked through the park and commented on how busy it was! 

On Sunday's there is an antique/flea market along the sides of the canal at Navigli. There were some great objects on the stalls and we found the perfect vase (one of the broken props) about five times over. Sadly not at the right price.

We thankfully found an area with much more affordable items. And on a stall laid out on sheets on the ground we found both the vase and the glass we needed.

It was a really nice morning and thankfully a really sunny one. So thank you chaps for breaking stuff and we may not have come here otherwise!

The Last Morning

Laura and I had been trying for several days to make it back to the Duomo to go up onto the roof. We had been foiled by the weather and the bureaucracy of the local bank (we were trying to change our charity collection into notes and it took almost two hours. It was a very painful experience) but the sun was shining and our flight home wasn't until the afternoon so off we went. We stopped briefly in Galleria Vittorio to grind our heels into the testicles of a mosaic bull. This is supposed to bring you good luck, and from the deep hole that has been worn away a lot of people believe in this good luck charm!

We took the escalator up to the roof and had a good wander around. The stonework is so beautiful and intricately carved.

From the Duomo roof towards our hotel. The building with the spike on top is near the hotel. 

Look who we bumped into up there!

There was time for one last ice cream on the way back to the hotel and the bus to the airport.

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