A Travellerspoint blog

The Bull¨s balls and Napoleon holding a fairy...

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is home to The Bull with no balls. A few weeks before this soaring iron and glass structure was ready to open in 1877, the builder Giuseppe Mengoni plummeted to his death from the scaffolding. He landed in the place where there was a tiled depiction of a Bull on a shield, which represented one of the Italian Regions To avoid suffering the same fate, millions of visitors to the Galleria over many years have spun on the bulls balls with their heels three times. To date no-one else has fallen from the roof of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, so it must be working... I shot along to the main Art Gallery in Milan and saw some good stuff. One entitled The Kiss, is possibly the predecessor to another Kiss by Gustav Klimpt ( minus the gold leaf ). I include the photo of a painting called Sadness from around the same date. The young girl´s bedroom wall has a print of The Kiss on it.. Napoleon holding a fairy was a puzzler. I have read it is supposed to be a depiction of Napoleon as the God of War and in his hand he is holding Nike ( the goddess of peace ). However I prefer to think it is simply Napoleon holding a fairy...

Enjoy..

The Madonnina atop the tallest spire 1774

The Madonnina atop the tallest spire 1774


as above...so below.

as above...so below.


the bull

the bull


do not try this at home

do not try this at home


spinning on the bulls balls

spinning on the bulls balls


in the halls of di Brera 1

in the halls of di Brera 1


di Brera 2

di Brera 2


di Brera 3 ( creaky but comfortable )

di Brera 3 ( creaky but comfortable )


wealth and happiness

wealth and happiness


entitled Sadness (1862)

entitled Sadness (1862)


madonna of the cherubim 1485

madonna of the cherubim 1485


another entry in the beautiful but strange

another entry in the beautiful but strange


milan modern

milan modern


strange but powerful

strange but powerful


from either angle

from either angle


the kiss by Francesco Hayez 1859

the kiss by Francesco Hayez 1859


the rich

the rich


and the poor 1698

and the poor 1698


Caravaggio..1606

Caravaggio..1606


beautiful landscape

beautiful landscape


the Human Flood 1901

the Human Flood 1901


Napoleon holding a fairy ? 1811

Napoleon holding a fairy ? 1811

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Just another day on the Cinque Terre...

In New Zealand I had booked train tickets for a longish dayś visit to the Cinque Terre (or Five Lands), picturesque villages on the Mediteranean coast. People who go there to photograph the stunning views usually stay a couple of nights and take photos when the light is more subdued in the early morning or at dusk. That´s what I learned when I arrived there under a blazing midday sun ( the sun just washes all the colours out of the landscapes ). Regardless of that I had a really great day wandering around the three most popular of the five villages, and would love to visit there again. Seven hours on a train and five hours of walking up and down narrow village streets was just doable. With a trusty flask of Nescafe, a big slab of freshly baked focaccia bread covered in soft juicy green olives, and a giant Shrewsbury biscuit from the bakery, lunch went down a treat. At the end of a very hot (30 degrees) day in the sun, before catching the train back to Milan, I had to have a gelato icecream. Not my fault.. Nobody was there to tell me ¨Step away from that Gelato Counter, NOW¨ So, sorry about the photos....meah some of them are ok. And that was the story of another of my days at the office.

View from train all along the coast for an hour

View from train all along the coast for an hour


view from railway station at Monterosso

view from railway station at Monterosso


in the new-town Monterosso

in the new-town Monterosso


on the way to tunnel

on the way to tunnel


view looking back to new town from tunnel

view looking back to new town from tunnel


under-cliff tunnel which joins old and new towns

under-cliff tunnel which joins old and new towns


wandered through the old town

wandered through the old town


up and down looking for a bakery

up and down looking for a bakery


past narrow alleys

past narrow alleys


and colourful houses

and colourful houses


shady backstreets where locals kept out of the sun

shady backstreets where locals kept out of the sun


then enjoyed lunch in the shade

then enjoyed lunch in the shade


in the company of Garibaldi- Italian Revolutionary

in the company of Garibaldi- Italian Revolutionary


on the way back to railway station

on the way back to railway station


past people getting drenched while posing

past people getting drenched while posing


new town of Manarola

new town of Manarola


with a steep walk down to harbour

with a steep walk down to harbour


past colourful houses

past colourful houses


and amazing sea views

and amazing sea views


looking back from the harbour

looking back from the harbour


view of houses from lookout

view of houses from lookout


and a final view

and a final view


next town Vernazza

next town Vernazza


larger and not so steep

larger and not so steep


with a stunning harbour

with a stunning harbour


which was well used

which was well used


by the local fishermen

by the local fishermen


when a mob of about 500 Americans arrived

when a mob of about 500 Americans arrived


I grabbed a gelato and went back to Monterosso

I grabbed a gelato and went back to Monterosso

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

More from Milan...

Another man of taste, Mark Twain, visited the Duomo in 1867 and wrote ¨What a wonder it is! So grand, so solemn, so vast! And yet so delicate, so airy, so graceful! A very world of solid weight, and yet it seems ...a delusion of frostwork that might vanish with a breath!... The central one of its five great doors is bordered with a bas-relief of birds and fruits and beasts and insects, which have been so ingeniously carved out of the marble that they seem like living creatures-- and the figures are so numerous and the design so complex, that one might study it a week without exhausting its interest...everywhere that a niche or a perch can be found about the enormous building, from summit to base, there is a marble statue, and every statue is a study in itself...Away above, on the lofty roof, rank on rank of carved and fretted spires spring high in the air, and through their rich tracery one sees the sky beyond. ... (Up on) the roof...springing from its broad marble flagstones, were the long files of spires, looking very tall close at hand, but diminishing in the distance...We could see, now, that the statue on the top of each was the size of a large man, though they all looked like dolls from the street... They say that the Cathedral of Milan is second only to St. Peter's at Rome. I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands.¨ I guess he liked it too. So yesterday afternoon I spent the grand sum of 2 euros and got entry to the Duomo Museum and the inside of the Duomo. The Museum holds many thousands of the original models and sculptures that were entered for approval by Italian artists since the 16th century. Later it was interesting to see some of the finished pieces of work on the inside of the church where they had been placed 400 years previously. I had to queue for 10 minutes and have my bag and pockets searched by army and police to get inside the Cathedral, but it was worth it. Even though it was dark in places and the pillars and other surfaces had been subject to the wear and tear of the centuries, it was still magnificent. Spent almost an hour admiring the wonder of it all. Back in the real world, across the road was a smallish Modern Art Museum. It was free entry for the last 2 hours from 5.30. I fronted up to the ticket office at 5.31 and spent an enjoyable hour and a half with good art, and some not so good art. ( I like modern art, but only if it is colourful and life affirming or if it expresses emotional energy in a powerful and sometimes quirky way) Home at 7.30 to make an omelet and reflect on a good day at the office...

wooden architect´s model of Cathedral

wooden architect´s model of Cathedral


miniature submitted for approval

miniature submitted for approval


model of chapel design

model of chapel design


always a few of these hanging around

always a few of these hanging around


happy martyr ?

happy martyr ?


gargoyle #16

gargoyle #16


16th century frieze panel (original)

16th century frieze panel (original)


16th century-God creating Eve from Adam..

16th century-God creating Eve from Adam..


Eve and serpent (original)

Eve and serpent (original)


someone smiting a lion

someone smiting a lion


possibly Saint Peter´s crucifixion..

possibly Saint Peter´s crucifixion..


original bust for the Madonnini

original bust for the Madonnini


we got em in all shapes and sizes..

we got em in all shapes and sizes..


looking across width of Duomo at entry

looking across width of Duomo at entry


looking down one of five naves

looking down one of five naves


the central nave with altar and window

the central nave with altar and window


closer look at altar

closer look at altar


another nave

another nave


one of many chapels

one of many chapels


under rose window

under rose window


Saint Bartholomew wearing his skin..

Saint Bartholomew wearing his skin..


Madoninna which also sits atop the highest spire

Madoninna which also sits atop the highest spire


across the road is a

across the road is a


Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art


with a Mondrian

with a Mondrian


a ???? but famous..

a ???? but famous..


a Kandinsky

a Kandinsky


a Klee

a Klee


a Matisse

a Matisse


a Picasso

a Picasso


and a good collection of Milanese artists

and a good collection of Milanese artists


from the 20th century

from the 20th century


I love this one

I love this one


token nude..

token nude..


interesting portrait..

interesting portrait..


primitive

primitive


lively

lively


love it

love it


The panelbeater´s daughters - I kid you not..

The panelbeater´s daughters - I kid you not..


quirky ...he´s turning in his grave..

quirky ...he´s turning in his grave..


love it

love it


A celebrity guest...

A celebrity guest...

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Out and about in Milan...

Although it is tempting to just let the pictures tell the story of my first day in Milan, a few short paragraphs may help me remember the day better at a later date. Besides if I gave up on doing the writing it would be a slippery slope to becoming lazy and spending the time drinking wine in the evenings, instead of blogging.. It was well worth including Milan on my itinerary just to see the Duomo. Nothing prepares you for just how over-the-top gorgeous a piece of architecture it is. Without wanting to give a history lesson on the place; it is a fact that it was started in 1386 and took over 600 years to finish. It would not be so ornamental if Napoleon Bonaparte had not taken it upon himself to jump-start the final stages of construction during his reign. Faced by marble, the outside is decorated by over 4000 statues, figures, and gargoyles. Obviously thousands of artists, sculptors, and builders were involved in such a massive undertaking. I have not yet seen the inside.. I have not yet taken the lift to the top to see the spires and statues close-up... I have not visited the Duomo Museum, across the road, which holds thousands of artefacts relating to the building of such an amazing structure. I may or may not pay the euros to do these things, but regardless I will be happy just to have been in the square outside gazing upon such a beautiful creation. Over the road is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele 11, which was opened in 1877. It is full of high end luxury retailers and restaurants. but is worth the time to explore and admire the building. About a kilometre up the Via Dante is the Milano Castle, which was built in the 14th and 15th centuries and renovated in the 1890´s. It is now home to several museums and art collections. As usual I have included far too many photos of my favourite pieces ( but you should have seen how many I started with ) The last photos are of the last piece of work that Michelangelo worked on before his death in 1564. It is called the Pieta Rondanini, and words cannot express how unique the piece is. It may look unfinished, but it is enough as it is...

Duomo Milan - in all it´s glory

Duomo Milan - in all it´s glory


main door

main door


detail

detail


detail

detail


detail

detail


detail

detail


detail

detail


back of the Duomo

back of the Duomo


detail

detail


Galleria on side of Duomo Square

Galleria on side of Duomo Square


very upmarket  shopping

very upmarket shopping


1877- worlds first shopping mall

1877- worlds first shopping mall


incredibly stylish building

incredibly stylish building


from the central dome

from the central dome


to the tiled floor underneath

to the tiled floor underneath


not the bull´s balls (google it)

not the bull´s balls (google it)


up the road is the entry to the castle

up the road is the entry to the castle


with its fortified walls

with its fortified walls


and inner courtyards

and inner courtyards


once served as an army garrison

once served as an army garrison


and today holds a handful of museums

and today holds a handful of museums


showcasing examples

showcasing examples


of Italian furniture

of Italian furniture


throughout the ages

throughout the ages


from 19th century

from 19th century


to the 15th century

to the 15th century


and earlier

and earlier


portrait of 15th century child

portrait of 15th century child


portrait 2

portrait 2


portrait 3

portrait 3


merchant with small dog...

merchant with small dog...


wealthy widow 15th century

wealthy widow 15th century


a drinker and a smoker

a drinker and a smoker


crucifixion figures

crucifixion figures


particularly poignant

particularly poignant


14th century

14th century


panels

panels


lower part of large painting

lower part of large painting


13th century madonna

13th century madonna


so strange and beautiful

so strange and beautiful


a real treasure- murano goblet from 15th century

a real treasure- murano goblet from 15th century


a well needed break before

a well needed break before


seeing the incomplete Michelangelo Pieta

seeing the incomplete Michelangelo Pieta


that he was working on just before his death

that he was working on just before his death


a sublime and profoundly moving piece of art...

a sublime and profoundly moving piece of art...

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Sunday in Barcelona.. without the fireworks.

The two things I wanted to do on Sunday were to see Castellers build a human tower, and watch the fireworks explode in the skies over the magic fountain at 10pm on Placa Espania. To get to the Castle on the top of Montjuic, for some birds-eye views of the city, and to see some street-circus acts on the castle grounds, came a close third. As the song says ¨two outa three aint bad¨. Lets face it, no one can plan for an Act of God... I arrived early in front of the Town Hall for the last festival display from the troupes of Castellers. When I arrived groups of Bastoners (stick dancers) were up on stage giving it their best shot. I stood around watching several groups of these perform for over an hour (wishing I had slept longer, and arrived later) before the real action started. Warm up acts lined up and stacked rows of people two or three high, before the big guns came on stage to build towers. It took a spellbinding ten minutes for the group to build their tower, and not a sound was heard in the square while it was happening. As soon as the last young person climbed to the top and stood up in victory, everyone in the crowd roared their delight at the bravery and skill they were witnessing. As thousands more people were still arriving and pushing themselves into the square I decided that what I had seen was good enough and I squeezed my way against the flow of the crowd to get out and on my way home for lunch. Later that day the people I were staying with, Seth and Juli, asked me to join them in visiting the Castle up on Montjuic. We got there at 5 oclock and wandered all over the place enjoying the views and the small groups of circus performers who were giving free shows on the castle grounds. About 6 oclock we noticed a few clouds far away in the distance, but as we sat on the grass to watch a really good show which started at 7 oclock, those clouds got closer and darker. Twenty minutes into the show: thunder, lightening, gusts of wind, and the first few raindrops brought an end to the evenings festivities. We quickly joined the exodus of a couple of thousand people who were making their way out of the castle grounds to make a long long queue leading to the bus stop. Suddenly the heavens opened and we enjoyed the equivalent of a fifteen minute cold shower as the queue gradually wound its way closer to the waiting buses. We were really really wet. Finally the bus and the metro got us home to get changed into dry clothes and organise some dinner. A couple of wines later, with thunder and lightening still echoing around the city with intermittent rain falling outside, I said ¨Bugger the fireworks¨. So we did. Fireworks still exploded above the magic fountain, but frankly my dear ¨I don¨t give a damn¨...

an hour of Spanish Morris dancing

an hour of Spanish Morris dancing


I came for the castellers not folkdancing

I came for the castellers not folkdancing


warm up act

warm up act


getting better

getting better


building a human castle

building a human castle


one level at a time

one level at a time


the crowd is silent

the crowd is silent


until they reach the final level

until they reach the final level


and then the crowd goes wild

and then the crowd goes wild


Moat/gardens around Castell Montjuic

Moat/gardens around Castell Montjuic


my guides Seth and Juli

my guides Seth and Juli


view from castle 1

view from castle 1


the city of Barcelona view 2

the city of Barcelona view 2


view of the port

view of the port


from the top 1

from the top 1


from the top 2

from the top 2


some good circus acts on castle grounds

some good circus acts on castle grounds


with wonderful accompanying music

with wonderful accompanying music


to a funny storyline

to a funny storyline


but dark clouds are gathering

but dark clouds are gathering


and just as they are getting into it

and just as they are getting into it


the first raindrops start to fall

the first raindrops start to fall

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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