Sunday, August 31, 2008

Milan: Duomo di Milano

 If you only see one thing in Milan, make sure you see the Duomo. Photos don't do it justice - you have to see this magnificent building to truly appreciate it.
 I won't go into the history of the Duomo, there are plenty of places online to read about that. I'm just going to give you a brief tour of the parts we saw while in Milan in 2008. First, note that the exterior is under restoration. That is while parts are covered with signs - to hide the restoration work.
 Notice the height of these doors in relation to the people. Those are HUGE and probably rival the height of my entire house!
 And of course, the obligatory pigeons. Diamond ring, anyone? (You have to have seen the "Diamonds are Forever" commercials to understand that reference)
 A close-up to show you how the marble looks in person.
 The building is obviously very ornate, but I don't think I realized that it was covered in gargoyles and whatnot until we saw it in person.

 Here is a sign describing the restoration work. I think you'll be able to read it if you double-click on the photo.
 Looking along the side of the Duomo, later in the afternoon.
 A single window from the same side of the building.
 Here is a photo I took on another day when it was obviously much sunnier. Shall we go in? One word of warning, they check you over very carefully before you enter. That did not alarm us since we don't carry bombs or guns or anything...but as we got to the front of the line we noticed that they were making the women cover themselves! And they weren't even that exposed! I see much more skin going to the grocery store. Now that did alarm us (see my wife's photo in the Galleria post - that is how she was dressed) but we talked it over and decided to go for it anyway. For whatever reason, they did not say a word to us and let us go in. I have no idea why we got special treatment.  [Note:  we finally figured it out...women with their shoulders exposed were not allowed in]
 Once inside, this is what we saw. Again, photos do not do it justice. The space and heights are tremendous. These were extremely dark when I downloaded them from the camera...I actually used Photoshop to lighten it considerably...before, I couldn't even see the columns!
 There weren't all that many people in the church, but then again it wasn't exactly empty either. Notice the circumference of that pillar in relation to the people.
 Somewhere through here there was a huge statue of Jesus on the cross wearing only a loincloth. Now, what was the scrutiny at the door about, again?
 Towards the back of the church, there is a stairway leading to the basement where there are relics on display. So we headed down...

 Back out on the Duomo Piazza, there are other noteworthy buildings besides the Duomo and the Galleria. Here is one.
 Now let's return to my new-found favorite activity, people-watching!
 Still on the Piazza, I snapped this photo. Gray Crocs...just the thing to wear on your day at the Piazza.

 On a separate day, we were on the hop-on hop-off bus which stops for about 15 minutes in front of the Piazza. Nothing better to do than to snap photos of people (mostly tourists on the Piazza)...let's do it!

 Suits four abreast...

 Note the graffiti, even at the busiest Piazza in Milan.

 I can't remember, but I bet I took this photo trying to get a glimpse of those wild fishnets! You can just barely see the leg kicking out.

Milan: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

 On the north edge of the Piazza del Duomo is the covered arcade called the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Construction began in 1865, and the mall was named after the first king of a united Italy.
 After we toured the Duomo, this is the second thing we did in Milan. Since they are only a few hundred feet apart, it is hard to do one without doing the other.
 Ready to go in, Sweetie? I take that smile as a yes!  Or a "let's get out of the sunlight..."
 The roof over the central section is the first thing we noticed upon entering. It would have been more dramatic, I'm sure, had the day not been overcast.
 Bringing the camera down a tad, we see the hallway that we had just walked down to enter.
 And bringing the camera down again, we see things at eye level.

I'm not sure what these women were talking about, but I'd love to know.
 And a few more random shots of the interior. We did eat lunch in this mall, down the other wing a little bit. It was a good meal, but uneventful.

Milan: Fashion District

 One afternoon, we did spend a few hours wandering around Milan's fashion district. We didn't do it in an orderly fashion, we just sort of meandered around. Here are some things I found worthy of a photograph.
 Another nice window display.
An indoor breezeway in one of the malls. We stopped into  a shop or two, but I can't remember which ones. I do remember we did not buy anything.
 On the second floor of one of the shops we entered, I took this photo of the street level. The shop was very high end and we had our own personal employee assigned to us - that's a sure sign it is very expensive, a la Nordstrom.
 A close-up of some of the people in the above photo.
 And another...

 This was an interesting street. The eye is immediately drawn to the billboard at the other end...
 ...walking a little closer...
 ...and finally there it is. Quite a visual statement.
The fashion district is quite close to the Duomo, as this pic illustrates.
 We did stop for lunch while we were there. I can't remember what we had, but I do remember that it was extremely good.
 Now let's have some fun dissecting photos into groups of people, shall we?
 It sort of looks like she is talking on a cell phone, though I'm not sure.
 He definitely is! And look...he's wearing shorts! I can't remember another photo of a male wearing shorts in Milan, though it certainly would have been fitting given the weather. In San Diego, half the guys would have been in shorts. He's almost certainly a tourist.
 Another interesting group of people. I dig the boots.
 What? You mean the Suits actually talk to the Jeans?
 Let's dissect another photo...
 Not exactly sure what Jeans is doing here...
 Same Boots lady, I presume.
 And the preppy sweater over the shoulder look. These two women are dressed in a very typical fashion for any place in the US.
And finally, we'll wrap it up with one more Suit.