Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Milan Trip, Tuesday 9th September, 2008

I have put the photographs on first today as I had trouble moving them down the page. So the text is at the bottom for a change.

I had a cappuccino at the Zucca in Galeria, a very expensive art deco style cafe restaurant. You can tell by the fancy artwork on the coffee! It cost twice as much as anywhere else.

Jim in the archway leading to a courtyard

The same courtyard, this one all draped in greenery

We loved the splendidly grandiose door knockers

Not exactly welcoming

This lady is a bit blurred

An amazing carved door, the chap looks a bit frightening though.

Giuseppe Verdi died in this hotel

Another courtyard, this one with a horses head and a well. You can see a young lady in the top right hand window. Mysterious.

Most of the courtyards were behind locked gates. We were peering through to see these wonderful arches when the owner came and let us in to have a look round. How wonderful.

Jim in the same venue looking up at the wonderful ceiling. I wonder whether the lady had always lived there and had inherited the property. In the centre of Milan, it must be worth a fortune.

Isn't this clock with its bells above and ornate decoration splendid?

Fabulous old balconies and warm colours in the sunshine

I was trying to take a photo of these unusual 'snake' door handles when this young girl became trapped in the strong doors

This fine archway straddled the road. Even the trams went through it.

The other side. It was a very busy spot

This beautiful picture is above the Post Office entrance. The whole building was majestic

A close up.

I actually wrote a bit of a diary when I was in Milan. I must do it more often as it's so easy to forget where and when you went to certain sites. On the Tuesday, we had a leisurely breakfast. The food at the hotel was wonderful, the selection mind boggling, so we really enjoyed ourselves there. It was also a great place for people watching and we had fun guessing the nationality of the other guests.

We caught the metro to go to El Duomo but I had naked shoulders so we weren't allowed in. Jim had a super book on Milan and we followed some of the walks, well, our own versions. They were great and took us down streets we would never have found otherwise. The first church on the walk (after the cathedral) was closed!! Good start. We walked through the fashion district and marvelled at the names and prices on display (or not in some cases). We visited a private collection of carpets and paintings, but weren't allowed to take photographs. The carpets were ancient and some quite badly faded but such work had gone into them. There were a couple of Botticelli paintings and they stood out among the others.

We walked back to the Cathedral and both of us were pretty tired, so we caught the metro back to the hotel, where I had a good sleep! On this evening it was my surprise trip to La Scala. Unfortunately, there wasn't an opera on but 3 short ballets choreographed by Roland Petit, famous one time ballet dancer. Luckily I like ballet too.

The famous La Scala Theatre and one of the many orange trams

If anyone is interested, here is the information on Mr Petit:

Trained at the Paris Opera Ballet school, Roland Petit joined the company in 1940 but left in 1944 to create and perform his own works at the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt, in Paris. In 1945 Petit was instrumental in creating Les Ballets des Champs-Elysees, where he remained as principal dancer, ballet master, and choreographer until 1947. In 1948 he formed the Ballets de Paris de Roland Petit, which made several tours of Europe and the United States.
His choreography was often angular or acrobatic and was considered theatrical in its use of mime dance, occasional singing, and props such as cigarettes and telephones.
Petit staged several music hall revues and choreographed the dances for the films Hans Christian Andersen, The Glass Slipper, Daddy Long Legs, Anything Goes, and others. The ballet film Black Tights consisted of Petit's works La Croqueuse de diamants, Cyrano de Bergerac, A Merry Mourning, and Carmen. Petit also staged several of his ballets for Sadler's Wells Ballet (now the Royal Ballet), for the Royal Danish Ballet, and for other troupes. From 1970 to 1975 he owned and operated the Casino de Paris. In 1973 he became director of the Ballet de Marseille. He choreographed a modern version of Coppelia in 1975 and a new Phantom of the Opera for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1980.


The interior of La Scala is beautiful and we had excellent stalls seats with full views of the stage. The comment about Petit's choreography being angular and using props was demonstrated to us in the ballet, Le Jeune Homme et La Mort. If you are at all interested in dance, you will love this. It is a video of the ballet, quite short but amazing. Not the performers we saw but they were equally breathtaking. Jim had never seen a live ballet before and was surprised at the modernity of the dance, not the kind of dancing you would see in the traditional style of, say, Giselle.


The final ballet was Carmen, much loved by me, the wonderful music superbly played by the rich, sonorous orchestra.

It was a long but fantastic evening and we decided to walk home. Unfortunately, we got lost and our feet were about dropping off. Luckily we did eventually get our bearings and managed to find our hotel.

You may wonder why I'm such an opera and ballet fan. My father was the principal percussionist at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for 25 years, so I was lucky enough to see many operas and ballets while I was growing up. I was so pround of my father down in the 'pit'. I still have some films with him in and many recordings.

Back to the story. Tomorrow it's the cathedral trip. Lots of lovely photos to come.


willow said...

Naked shoulders?! BT, how scandelous of you!! ;^)

I especially like that hand door knocker.

The Weaver of Grass said...

You can always pick out Italian architecture - it is so elegant both in its colour and in its structure. Beautiful photographs BT

aims said...

What an incredible place Milan is! I'm stunned by its beauty.

Baryshinikov made it look so easy didn't he? OMG! What an incredible dancer.

Very interesting to learn of your father and you getting to see so much culture from an early age. It gives a different view of life I think.

DJ Kirkby said...

Fantastic photos as usual!

BT said...

lol, willow. I know, and at my age too! The knockers are great!

Thanks weaver. Italians have style oozing from every pore.

aims my friend. Milan is wonderful. You must go. I'm so glad someone watched Baryshinikov. So so beautiful and such athleticism.

I'm sure my father's influence has coloured my view of life. I'm always saddened that people won't give opera or ballet a try. I find opera particularly thrilling, especially when the whole chorus and singing and the principals weaving their magic over the top of them. Sigh.

Sam said...

Looks wonderful, i'd love to see it - not sure a 3 year old would appreciate it though.
I like the way everyone is playing on the 'nice knockers', good to know the 'carry on' sense of humour is alive and well. Speak soon XXXX

BT said...

Good one Sam. And all in the best 'possible' taste!!

Casdok said...

That coffe looks great as so the rest of the photos. Looks a beautiful place.

ChrisH said...

Oh you lucky, lucky girl! What a wonderful trip and such ravishing photos - must tell Tom about your dad, he'll be impressed.

Son1 said...

Yes watch the Baryshinikov if you can, I thought it was superb. Great shots. x

BT said...

Jason, I'm so glad you liked the ballet. It's truly amazing, isn't it? The other short ballet was much the same and Carmen was beautiful.

DK Green said...

Wow, stunned by the Baryshinikov short, wonderful!

BT said...

I knew you'd like it K. Quite amazing stuff.