I noticed a couple of these around the city centre and couldn't help but be impressed by the functionality of the design. These are basically mobile "sandwich bars" - "Paninoteca" which as well as serving sandwiches and drinks also have a gelato machine and all sorts of other bits and pieces all built in tardis-like.
I never actually bought anything from one but they seemed as popular with the locals as they were with us tourists.
I came across this building whilst randomly wandering in the area around the Duomo and was struck by how out-of-place it was amidst its Gothic and Neo-Classical neighbours.
So a little research had to be done.
It turns out this is quite an important historical building whose name translates as "Palace of Reason". The original structure dates back to about 1230 when it was one of the city's main administrative buildings and the Judge's Hall.
The incongruous upper storey, with its round windows, was added in the late 18th century to function as a legal archive, a role the building maintained (except for a short period when it was the headquarters of the Banco Milano) until about 1970.
It was refurbished shortly after and is now used as an exhibition space.
As with any city centre you'll find a variety of buskers around who have varying degrees of proficiencly. This guy tho' was excellent and as you can see well set up in a little piazza at the end of via Dante, heading towards the Duomo.
He was playing "Still Got The Blues For You" when I passed. I gave him a couple of Euros in change and he was quite happy to let me video him with my camera, segueing into "Wish You Were Here" as a sort of finale - how he guessed my musical tastes I don't know!
Anyway the video is on this page if you want a taster yourself - click HERE
Seeing a red Routemaster bus on the road to the Duomo caught me by surprise and so I just had to take a pic and find out what it was all about when I got home.
It seems this is actually a sightseeing bus run by the Zani Viaggi company who also have a small fleet of open-topped buses. They operate two routes taking in most of the city's main attractions and the ticket, priced at the time of writing of 20 Euros, is valid for 48 hours allowing the buses to be used as a hop-on, hop-off service.
PS The destination board reads 38 EXPRESS To and From Notting Hill Carnival
OK This is just an excuse to use this pic but it does amuse me.
Italy has seven different police forces each with their own laws enforcement role and obviously there will be some overlaps. This makes the Country the heaviest policed, per capita, in Europe. Of these forces one of the largest is the Carabinieri which was formerly part of the army and is now viewed as a separate armed service with police duties.
One of their duties is to provide ceremonial guard at public buildings which is what I assume this guy is supposed to be doing - well, I don't reckon he's there, dressed like this, to guard the bicycle!
Milano is cosmopolitane place, open for many different cultures, religions and traditions. Most of the Italians do welcoming and tolerate those who follow life style different then it is in Italy. It is problem that some people who imigrated in Italy do not follow the rules and do not have very honest intentions.
This building is the central Post Office of Milano, located in the Historic Center of the city, just at the walking distance from Piazza del Duomo. You can reach it easily by the public transportation, several bus and tran lines stop nearby and M1 the Red metro station Cordusio is very close to the building.
Piazza Cordusio is one of the Milano's two main squares, it is a major transportation hub for streetcars.
The palace was built in 1557 by Tommaso Marino, a banker and merchant, on a large plot near the church of San Fedele and was designed by Galeazzo Alessi. At the time the Piazza della Scala didn't yet excist so this monumental construction faced the small Piazza San Fedele.
In 1861 the palace was acquired by the city of Milano which soon moved its administration to this building. The current look of the building is the result of a major renovation carried out by Luca Beltrami, Italian architect who also restored Castello Sforzesco. Palazzo Marino is still the City Hall of Milano and Prefettura, the main police station of the city.
Dopo un percorso di "mille" kilometri, a 38 gradi, ero stuffo di tutto. Non avevo piu voglia di caminare ne cercare i luoghi asegnati nel mio itinerario. Mentre passavo Via Carducci, come un robote, ho notato questo graphiti che mi ha aiutato di riprendere il morale.
"Berlusconi, Bossi e Finni, finirete come Mussolini"
Eviva la democrazia!
Sorry folks, this is written in Italian and assigned to my Italian friends.
During the Fall and December you might find roasted chestnuts for sale in Italy. There was one person selling these at the entrance of the Sforza Castle. See below for photo.
If you have never tried these, you should. You will need a tissue to clean the charcoal dust off your fingers when finished eating.
Some years ago when time were difficult the flour of chestnuts provided flour for food. There are many recipes for food made with chestnut flour that will be found in genuine cookbooks.
Every end of October in Milano in the Park right outside Castello Sforzesco a Celtic festival is held.
It celebrate the Celtic new year eve and it is very intersting. There are music concerts, food stands and art and craft stands. In 2011 it will be from 29 to 31 October.
I was there during 2009 celebration, we walked out the castle and saw the crowd so we went to check it out. It was lunch time so we decided to mix with the various kind of people there and get some food. We bought a sausage sandwich and we tried differnt kind of beer from a artisan brewery stand that was very good. Then we walked around looking at the craft artisan stands. I have to say that I was surprised about the quality of the items, even if the subjects were sometimes a little weird, the quality was very good and the prices reasonable.
We could not got nightime to listen to the concert, that by the way is free of charge, but we looked at the program and it appeared to be good.
The event is organized by a local association, check their site for a more detailed description.
On the 7th of December, even the frenetic Milan stops every year to celebrate its patron saint: Saint Ambrose, who was its bishop in Medioeval times.
This is a real “holy” event, not only for its religious nature, but especially because the citizens of Milan are really envolved in it! In particular they woudn’t miss for any reason the “Oh Bej Oh Bej” fair, which traditionally takes place exactly in the period of the patron saint’s celebrations, and this year from 5th to 8th of December.
This is one of the most ancient events in Milan. The legend tells that its strange name “Oh Bej Oh Bej” comes from children’s astonished exclamations (the expression, in fact, means something like “Oh how great, how great!”), amazed by the wonderful presents given to the city by the Pope Pio IV in 1510 . The fair is still the reign of surprises for children and for adults as well, thanks to more than 400 stalls full of every kind of objects and to an overwhelming atmosphere of feast.
Traditionally, here people buy Christmas decorations, eat hot chestnuts and drink “vin brulè” (hot spiced wine), perfect against the ice-cold of Milan
During our stay in Milano, there was a pro-Tibet demonstration across the main streets. Many people waved Tibetan flags, but I didn't succeed to find where they got them, so that I could get or buy one, too.
The most beautiful image of that peaceful and colourful protest was this little boy in his stroller, surrounded by Tibetan flags, and his father with a Tibetan cap. I found them very sweet!
Though Milan does have a long pedestrian zone in the city center (from the Cathedral to the Castle, almost), it still has a lot of scope for future re-allocation of urban spaces in other parts of the city. (Not that this seems to be a big priority so far.)
In the Via San Marco (first photo) there is adequate space that could easily be used for pedestrians, cyclists and trees, but in fact non-motorized human beings are squeezed into a narrow gap between rows of parked cars.
Second photo: Via Vitruvio, near the Central Station, is a typical Milan street with narrow sidewalks, no bicycle lanes, space-wasting on-street car parking and unnecessarily wide automobile lanes. At least they have tram tracks here, but the trams are liable to be blocked by cars during the rush hours.
Third photo: There are a few places in Milan where re-allocation of urban space has begun. Here in Corso Garibaldi they have recently made a limited traffic area by removing one of the two automobile lanes and using the space to widen the sidewalks.
The happy hours in Milan are very famous. Usually they start around 6 pm and finish around 8-9 pm. The drinks during this time cost a fixed price starting from 5 Euro to 8 Euro depending on the bar. Most Milanese bars have happy hours or aperitivo as we should say. During this time, there will be open buffet food which may turn your evening to a feast. Some bars really have incredible buffet food with lots of variety and some buffets are quite weak compared to these. You can eat as much as you want from the buffet so this aperitivo finally becomes a dinner for you. This is the best solution for a cheapdinner in Milano. You can find some of my favorite bars for aperitivo in restaurant tips.
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