MILAN, ITALY: Guest Post by Cathy Bonnell

Gothic Cathedral, Milan, Italy
My friend Cathy Bonnell, a school librarian (now retired) in Phoenix, Arizona, loves to travel. Recently, she went to Italy, visiting Florence, Siena, and Milan with her daughter Courtney. I thank her for sharing the joys and discoveries of this special trip and for being one of my most faithful followers of The Intrepid Tourist. Here is Part 3, about her visit to Milan.

….and last but not least, Milan

Upon arriving in Milan I took a picture of public art—a colorful knot—that later I would find out had significance to one of the most famous Italian artists, Leonardo da Vinci.

The Last Supper by Leonardo De Vinci
In order to see his most famous work—the Last Supper-- we needed to book a tour of the Santa Maria delle Grazie which, in the end, I’m glad we did.  Our group’s fifteen minutes with the tempera-painted wall was fascinating.  In Italian, the part of Leonardo’s name Nardo means knot. 

Knotted tablecloth
Instead of signing the huge piece, the lower right hand corner of the image’s tablecloth is a painted knot.  These tidbits told to us by our guide enhanced the experience.

Frescoes salvaged from the remodel of our Milan Hotel
Like many parts of Italy, Milan was heavily bombed in the war.  Instead of trying to save artifacts and buildings, much of the city was merely bulldozed to make restoration quicker.  Our wonderful little hotel had salvaged pieces of frescoes adorning most of its walls.
Lovely library around the corner from our hotel
Many historic buildings remain, but the stark concrete architecture of the 50’s newer buildings are built right up next to them. 
Inside the Duomo
Surprises around every corner stunned us, including the huge Gothic Duomo with its numerous spires.  After heavy security we were finally able to see the many giant pillars inside and all the spectacular stained glass.
Stained glass window in the Duomo
Since most everything in Milan is closed on Monday, we took a train that day to Varenna, not far away, to enjoy the Lake Como area.  

Snow on the Alps from Lake Como
Snow on the Alps, spectacular villas hugging the lake’s shore, and a beautiful landscape made for relaxing sites along the ferry we took back to Como after lunch on the water.  The whole trip had the most glorious weather and this day was sunny and warm.
Serene landscapes of Lake Como
I can wholeheartedly say this trip was the most wonderful way to celebrate a BIG birthday—many thanks to my fabulous daughter Courtney.

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