Friday, February 23, 2018

The Hay is in the Barn . . .


Friday, 23 February, 2018

With our last practice in the books last night before our season opener against the Varese Gorillas on Saturday evening, it brought to mind an old coaching saying that I first learned from legendary coach Rosie Nolan about 48 years ago now.

"The Hay is in the barn."

I always took it to mean that we have prepared our team to the best of our ability and now we just have to wait until kickoff and execute the game plan.

Being that we have a competent eight man coaching staff that I trust, the hay was truly in the barn.

I decided to head into Milan again to continue exploring this grand city that is the financial capital of Italy.

Wait, what are those white symbols
for the weather from now until 11:00 a.m.?

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!

You don't see this in sunny Camarillo, California!

I braved this intense blizzard and boarded the train into Milan with the idea of seeing more of the sights highlighted in my book "111 Places in Milan that You Must Not Miss." 

#20 Conca dell'Incoronata
When Brera was a little Venice

These great wooden gates once blocked the flow of the water in Milan's canals designed by Leonardo da Vinci.

No water in this part of the
old Naviglio system any longer

This was the site where duty was paid on goods and people entering the city and became known as the Ponte delle Gabelle. Gabelle after an unpopular salt tax of the same name.

A Gatekeeper's Hut?

Time for my second cup of cappuccino

Apparently, this is the Brera district's most famous restaurant, but it was too early for pranzo (lunch) and I was the only patron in the place.

The cappuccino was GREAT!

Interesting decor, I didn't see a menu but my guess is that dining here will be costly when Laurie arrives.

Entrance to someone's home in the city

 #98 The Twin Churches
Communication strategies of a betrayed duchess

But before I tell the story . . .

. . . a rare selfie

I just received a Care Package from my bride Laurie yesterday that included this ski cap in Italian flag colors.

I looked like a local.

 The original Nave was
poorly lit today

Now for the rest of the story . . .

There is an Italian saying, "due cuori uno chiesa" meaning "two hearts one church."

Originally this church had only one main entry, the one on the left in the of the front of the church in the pictures above.

The entry on the right came later. 

 As did this second Nave

As it turns out, the Duke of Milan, one Francesco Sforza, had married Bianca Maria Visconti, the illegitimate and greatly beloved daughter of the powerful Filippo Maria Visconti who was the Duke of Milan before Francesco Sforza.

Intrigue already.

The second Nave was well lit

Bianca was angry and tired of hearing rumors about her husband's dalliances with other women.

It was her idea to add the second entrance and Nave to the church as a public testament to the couple's love and fidelity.

When you walk in now, you see the two Naves that still form one church.

The twin façades were a reminder to the Milanese of the sacred union that bound Francesco and Bianca together for life.

Eventually the adulterous (yes, he was indeed unfaithful) Francesco died leaving behind Bianca, the eight children they had together and this interesting church design. 

The Holy Family

Cool Hat

Francesco and Bianca?

 Monumental Arches are a staple
of Milan streets

This one honors locals
who died in World War I

Hey, what is that you see behind the wreath?

 #26 Eataly
Shopping at the theater

Located in a former theater, I prefer to think of this wondrous place as . . . "Disneyland for Fat Guys!"

Products here are divided along thematic and regional lines on three floors.

Lets take a look . . .

So VERY true!

 Chocolate

Focaccia bread pizzas

 Aromatic loaves and sandwiches

A chocolate fountain with more
wrapped chocolate goodies

Stay the course . . .
  
Somehow . . .

. . . BE STRONG!

I was.

Colorful and a LOT less calories

Something smells fishy

 POLPO!

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket 

Do you have any really big steaks?

Great, Grazie!

Shopping at Eataly with your furs

 Cheeses

Sausages

The bottom floor
  
 Third floor ENOTECA!

 Laurie, here is a crafts idea for
you IF you can find some wine corks

 Furry ladies again,
I bought my lunch here

Focaccia bread pizza only 3.30 Euros

Don't let that smile fool you!

She was doling out tempting, free samples of incredibly delicious chocolate.

A crack dealer could not have been more dangerous to me!

I made it out of Eataly relatively unscathed!

Still raw outside

Another Arch

Lorenzi Egidio
was 18 years old when died here in 1944
"fighting for liberty and peace in Italy"

A Carabinieri Headquarters built,
I'm guessing, during the Fascist Era

Lets take a closer look at the façade.

Yes, the left side makes me think
of a militant organization

The right side too 

Just a cool old building as I walked

NO!

When in Italy, eat Italian desserts.

I like Art Nouveau . . .

 . . . signs

 #101 The Vertical Forest
"Growing up" in the city

In a city with few green areas, why not a vertical forest?

These two high rises have cantilevered, staggered balconies that allow for a large number of plants and trees.

Different.    

#71 Porta Garibaldi
The graffiti station

Nice story really, in 2011 the association Nuova Acropoli asked local street artists and arstudents alike to spruce up the dingy walls at this train station.

Here is part of what they came up with in the project.

Never seen them on the Metro

Spray Painting was OK for once

Pensive

My favorite


Boo to whoever wrote on her face.

I liked this one too

FINALLY, Metro performers
that I can support

Little Red Riding Hood


Boo to whoever added the needle.

Ah the '60s!


A worthwhile endeavor indeed!

#19 The Civic Aquarium
The sea world's Art Nouveau pavilion


It was cold and damp outside so I opted to duck into Milan's small, but worthwhile for kids, aquarium. 

Octopus

Crocodile/Aligator/Cayman

You make the call.

The building was made for Milan's 1906 World Exposition.

All of the Art Nouveau adornment on the outer walls were the highlights for me.

Still . . . 

Donald Trump's hairpiece
was on display

Colorful tropical fish

Ditto

The aquarium was a nice diversion.

My tally sheet of the 111 things I must not miss in Milan now stands at 19 down, 92 to go and a little over three more months to get it done

Time to start heading home which meant another walk past the . . .

Sforza Castle's moss covered walls

As well as a Sforza Castle Turret

When I got back to the Venegono Inferiore train station, I as usual stopped into Le Due Isole coffee bar to say high to Papa Francesco and Principessa Laura.

Papa Francesco had a surprise for me that he baked himself from his long list of Sicilian recipes.

MADONNA!

Filled with sweet ricotta cheese and there were TWO of them in the package he gave me to take home.

BEAT THE GORILLAS!