Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dining al fresca in Milan

On our last night in Milan we followed a Blue Guide recommendation and found ourselves enjoying a memorable meal in the intimate, lush and quiet garden "dining room" of La Brisa, which further proves the rule that an Italian storefront is rarely, if ever, the full story.

(Above and Left) La Brisa. Notice the layers of brick and plaster juxtaposed by the vigorous ivy, which surrounded the garden on 3 sides, creating a cool, verdant space.

My meal--homemade orecchiette with asparagus, squid, parsley, tossed in olive oil and bread crumbs.

Dave's meal--homemade cannelloni stuffed with herbed ricotta and topped with an eggplant puree and drizzled with pesto.

Would go back in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Enduring memories of Milan...

This was my third time in Milan and, at two nights, my longest stay.  Previous stops included quick views of Leonardo's Last Supper and...not much else.  This time, we actually got a chance to walk around and take in some of the city.  The enduring image?  Gardens on rooftops and spilling over balconies.  If a city forces you to live on top of each other, you might as well do so with some style.

Hollie, this one's for you...

(In the window of a shop at the Lima Metro stop, Milan)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Have the Cubs won yet?

La Gioia d' Italia

On our first full day in Milan, Italy we encountered (and enjoyed) many of the wonderful, quintessential qualities of this always-beautiful country. With Milan’s museums closed on Monday and excellent 75 degree weather on our side we eagerly toured three of this city’s churches and ate lunch at a sidewalk wine bar with excellent people watching, but the simple walk to these churches and around the city, equally reminded us of the sensory experience that is Italy—from carefully arranged clothing store windows, to fruit stands to the constant mix of the ancient, very old and modern—all of this is what makes Italy lovable!

(Above) The Piazza with the remains of an ancient temple
(At right) Inside the nave

The 4th C. church of San Lorenzo, was breathtaking—and for me—the highlight of our mini architectural tour. The scale, space and light are impossible to capture with film, which explains why I’ve been teaching with such mediocre images of this structure. A gorgeous and amazingly well preserved mosaic of Christ as Teacher is also here, tucked away in an octagonal structure, probably an early 4th C. mausoleum (Sant’ Aquilino).

En route...we walked past a fruit stand where the smell of ripe berries caught our attention, as did the display--the ordinary made extraordinary.

Lunch! Bufala mozzarella, prosciutto with melon and arugula with olive oil and vino della casa! (And homemade bread, of course.)

(At right) One of the two Romanesque towers. See Dave's post below for the unique facade of this striking building.

Sant’ Ambrogio, originally built in the 4th C., rebuilt at the start of the Romanesque period and added to in subsequent centuries. The minute we walked through the doors the smell of candle wax immediately reminded me of Italy trips past…it is an unmistakable, and at least to me, Italian, smell.



 About to take off from JFK...reasonably fresh...

 Over Nova Scotia...

 About to go through customs in Milan...not so fresh...slightly pissed...

 In the Metro headed for the hotel...

St. Ambrogio...built in the 4th century...about as old as First Baptist of Greensboro...