"Or... How I learned to stop worrying and enjoy the"
Date: May, 2001.
Place: Milan, Italy.
Location: The Duomo, in the city centre.
Event: Football fever!
When the European championship football (that's soccer to other North Americans reading this) match (um... that means game) comes to town, look out! I stopped in Milan for about 2 hours between trains, hopped on the subway to see the great Duomo, and found myself in the middle of a thousand football fans, blowing off fireworks and other noisemakers, and drinking themselves silly.
While I wasn't too concerned about my own safety or comfort, there were families & elderly people, walking into firecrackers exploding, and broken glass absolutely everywhere - I like soccer, but I'm glad North Americans invented football! The fans are so much more civilized.
Above is a brief glimpse of the crowd causing a ruckus...
Next to the Duomo stands the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II (the 'father of modern Italy), a shopping/dining gallery with a very European flavour to it. It has been featured in numerous films and TV shows, but my experience browsing through it was quite limited - for security reasons, the riot police were herding everyone outside, except for those already in shops or cafes.
After the first wave of police passed me over, I grabbed a shot of them, since the next wave didn't want their photos taken, and their batons looked quite ready for action !!!
"Inside the Duomo"
Once inside the Duomo, the noise was somewhat filtered out, but even a thousand drunken hooligans' voices will carry through the still air of a church, so I couldn't fully escape them.
This poor soul is Saint Bartholomew, patron saint of plasterers... one of the 12 at that big party given one suppertime, he was flayed alive & then beheaded (ouch!!!) by King Astyages, in what is believed to be Abanopolis, on the west coast of the Caspian Sea.
In any case, it's a pretty gruesome sight to see... but hey, it's art!
The great Duomo itself, built between 1386 and with finishing touches put on in 1813, stands as the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
Its dozens of spires make it a wild sight to see, and I understand that from the roof (there is a fee to get up there) is a wonderful view of the city.
"The Duomo once more"
Since I had a very short time to be in Milan (in fact, I returned to the train station with just minutes to spare), I checked out the Duomo & area carefully, as I didn't have time to go anywhere else. Inside the front entrance to the Duomo is Europe's largest sundial, on the floor, and virtually everyone I saw ignored it completely. Even the caretaker didn't understand what I was asking to find, but eventually understood when I pointed it out to HIM!
It's not fancy, but it is about 80 feet long, and 215 years old, so it makes for a 'different' photo.
"Last but not least..."
Around the corner from the Duomo, behind the Galleria, is a relatively small building in a small, peaceful square.
The La Scala Theatre is, of course, world-renowned for its opera, and while I honestly can't stand to listen to it, I appreciate its place in the culture of Italy.