Friday, October 26, 2012

The Last Supper and The Duomo (Milan); A Visit to Pisa; and Nozzana



Viewing this magnificent painting by Leonardo Da Vinci was definitely a highlight of our trip to Milan.  This Renaissance masterpiece is housed in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.  The church was bombed in WWII, but the wall holding The Last Supper somehow remained standing.  In this painting, Da Vinci captures the moment as Jesus says, "One of you will betray me".   The apostles react with surprise and confusion - Judas is the fourth from the left of Jesus.

We had a 9:45 am appointment to view the painting.  Only 25 tourists are allowed in the room at a time and for only 15 minutes.  It was truly an amazing and breath-taking experience!  It definitely exceeded my expectations!  It's much larger than I expected  - takes up an entire wall in the church.  We just could not stop looking at the wall and the 15 minutes flew by!  

There is no photography allowed in the church, but I have added a link to a "virtual tour" of the Last Supper.  Take a look and enjoy (almost) as much as we did !  Click on the link below:

Church of Santa Maria della Gracie

Close up of the church that houses The Last Supper


Milan's fantastic Cathedral is the 4th largest church in Europe (after Vatican's, London and Sevilla).  The construction began in 1386 and was not completed until several hundred years later.  The exterior is built of marble and decorated with 135 spires, numerous statues, gargoyles and pointed arches, representing an assortment of styles from Gothic through Renaissance. The interior houses the famous statue of St. Bartolomeo, one of Christ's Apostles' and martyr who was skinned alive by the Romans.

The three "Donna's" (fyi: Donna means woman Ha!)

Inside the Duomo

16th century inlaid marble floor

 St. Bartolomeo wearing his flayed skin like a robe! 

Leslie and I standing in front of one of the enormous columns

We were lucky enough to stumble upon an advertisement being filmed for the United Colors of Benneton!  (Jeannie caught me in the background)

Check out this shopping mall!  It's across from Piazza del Duomo and it's called Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.   Construction started in 1865 and is built in the shape of a Latin cross.  The floors are decorated with mosaics of the signs of the zodiac.
Mall entrance

How bout this for a mall???

Just your average mall floor!!! Ha!

A couple of shots of the Milan train station, a beautiful building:  


The Duomo

I know, I know......but I just had to do it!

Inside the Duomo:

Gorgeous ceiling!

A rather large candlestick would you say......??


On the way back to Lucca from Pisa we stopped in Nozanno, one of Tuscany's picturesque tiny, medieval villages.  Very "tranquillo", (quiet, peaceful).  A delight!

Nozanna Castello

Look who I found sunning on top of a car!

Next up .....arrival of our "Amica", Shirley and a trip to Cinque Terre!  

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Visit to Florence and...another Cooking Lesson!

This post has two parts: a visit to Florence and another cooking lesson.

Our Day in Florence

Last week Jeannie, my sister Leslie and I had a wonderful day in "Firenze".  We decided to ride the bus since it was an express bus with no stops, provided pleasant scenery and arrived after only an hour and a half.  

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance is often called the Athens of the Middle Ages.  What a remarkable city!  We saw incredible sculptures and paintings by some of the great masters. We visited two museums - L'Accademia Gallery and the Uffizi Gallery.  The L'Accademia Gallery houses Michelangelo's, "David, the 17 feet tall masterpiece!  The Uffizi Museum has a comprehensive collection of paintings from the Late Gothic through the Renaissance periods, some of which you may be familiar with. 

There is a photography ban inside the museums so I was not able to take photographs of the fantastic art; but, I included some photos available on a virtual web site so that you can "be there with me!"

Another incredible site is the "Duomo, Florence's spectacular Cathedral, named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore.  The exterior is amazingly detailed and intricate with traces of pale green and pink.  A beautiful site!

"Sista" Leslie and I arriving in Florence

Beautiful exterior of the Duomo

Michelangelo's David- Uffizi*
The Birth of Venus by Botticelli- Uffizi*

 Holy Family (Michelangelo)- Uffizi

Self Portrait as a young man (Rembrandt)- Uffizi*

Madonna and Child (Rafael) - Uffizi*

Madonna of the Goldfinch (Raphael)- Uffizi*

Annunciation (DaVinci)- Uffizi*

Ahhhh....a break for lunch!

Cooking with Chef Eva

Leslie, Jeannie and I decided we just HAD to learn to make Zuppa di Farro, a wonderfully hearty, Luccasan bean-based spelt soup! With the help of Chef Eva who came to our apartment we cooked, we drank wine, we cooked, drank more get the picture!  

It was an absolutely delightful afternoon!  Eva was wonderful and the Zuppa di Farro was "perfetto". Yummy, hot delicious......take a look!

The Final Product!

Stay up is Milan and the Last Supper!

Ciao and mi manchi!