Saturday, June 18 – The Milano Duomo
(Outside of the Duomo pic)
Nothing could have prepared myself for the first time seeing the Milan Duomo. It looked so otherworldly and out of place in the center of Milan, surrounded by retail and designer brand stores. Every inch of the duomo had sculptures, and later I discovered there are over 3400 sculptures that decorate the duomo facade. The duomo looked grand in white, like a castle, and upon walking up to it, we were all guessing what style we considered it to be. (We thought it was a mix of Gothic and Baroque)
That morning I decided to wear my spaghetti strap maxi dress, disregarding Ann’s warnings of the shawl of shame. I chose not to wear my cardigan because of the heat and the many unfortunate chocolate gelato stains. We had bought our tickets and headed towards the entrance but before I could enter the gate, a guard said I couldn’t go inside. A scarf seller, like a mosquito, zoomed up to me offering to sell an ugly shawl for 2 euro. Ignoring the seller, the guard told me I had to go back to the desk for a shawl of shame. Out of embarrassment and annoyance I pushed past the seller and to the desk only to be handed an uglier shawl made of napkins for the same price of 2 euro. Call me hardheaded but there was no way I was going back to the scarf seller, so I stubbornly accepted the shawl of shame. (Insert shawl of shame pic) After I put it on, Anamarie asked me, withholding her laughter, “Are you graduating?” The shawl was way too large for me and the sleeves resembled a graduation gown, hence Anamarie’s very appropriate and clever joke. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I felt humiliated and ridiculous wearing it. (Insert pic of me in shawl) I didn’t dwell over the shawl for much longer, because at least I made it inside the duomo which was definitely one of my top 3 favorite duomos we had visited. I had hit the stained glass jackpot. Every single window was a different style it seemed. One window looked like a page from a modern graphic novel, while some looked like from the Renaissance age. It turned out that the Milano Duomo took almost 600 years to build, which explained the inconsistent styles on stained glass. It was an overall lovely visit, despite being burdened with the shawl of shame. I did not let the shame taint my experience, however I did save my shawl. I spent 2 euro for it, there’s no way I’m tossing it out!
Sunday, June 19 – Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Floating Piers; Lake Iseo
[“Those who experience The Floating Piers will feel like they are walking on water – or perhaps the back of a whale,” said Christo. “The light and water will transform the bright yellow fabric to shades of red and gold throughout the sixteen days.”]
“Did you see what Ann posted on the Facebook group?”
“Do you guys wanna g—”
Of course we had to go see the Christo. It only seemed right; it was a last minute decision on our part to even come to Milan. To be in town right when The Floating Piers opened was too lucky. So, we decided to dedicate a day to make a trip to Lake Iseo.
Thank goodness we did.
Here’s a rough guide to how we did it:
Step One: Get to Brescia (1 hour)
In order to get to Lake Iseo, we had to get ourselves to Brescia; an hour away by train.
Step Two: Take a bus to the ferry (30 min)
Once we arrived to the Brescia station, we were confronted with a big sign advertising The Floating Piers. We went to pick up tickets to Lake Iseo. The guide at the ticket office informed us that we’d need to get on a bus that would take us to the ferry. “The ferry is free, you ride it and get to The Floating Piers”, he said.
Step Three: Ferry (about 2 hours total)
Well, wait in line for an hour and half first, and then get on the ferry to Sulzano, where we could then get onto the pier. Each one was jam packed with people, but we managed to get to a good spot to see the lake as the ferry chugged along the water. As we got closer to the installation, the beautiful saffron color became more and more visible and shining.
Step Four: The Floating Piers
Once we stepped off the ferry, we followed the bright saffron covered pavement to the pier. We scurried along the path to the installation, eager to experience the walk on water. I would say that I expected feeling like I was walking on a gigantic waterbed, but it was understandably sturdy and very wide. Nonetheless, it was quite exhilarating; if you stayed still long enough, you could feel the rolling of waves underneath your feet. Perhaps this is what Christo meant by “walk on water”. We were walking on the waves. We took our time strolling along the walkway, as you aren’t allowed to sit (the paths have monitors, who come out of nowhere and politely tell you to get up as soon as your bum touches the ground). It was lovely, and oh so peaceful. There were many people on the structure with us, but the walkway was so wide, it was never loud nor was it crowded. The edges of the path were indeed a golden color, transformed by the water. I could’ve spent all day admiring the color alone; Christo couldn’t have picked a more striking hue.
Step Five: Get back to Milan somehow
Three words: It was wild. In short, there’s just no easy way to get to and from The Floating Piers. We were very glad to make it back in one piece. But I’ll be the first to say it was completely worth it.
Monday, June 20 in Milan
Waking up on our last day in Milan was a bittersweet feeling. Michelle, Anabell, Elysium, and I had already done what Milan was most known for; we shopped, visited the glorious Milan Duomo, and even visited Christo’s Floating Piers. What else could we do to make our trip to Milan better?…………….. ART!
After dropping off our luggage at the train station, we decided to look up some art galleries in the area to see what we could find.
1st Gallery visit was to Giò Marconi:
The gallery was showcasing the “Full-Fall presents Kerstin Brätsch (Poli’ahu’s Cure)”.
The works consisted of large marble paintings, and stained glass self-supporting structures. The work was placed very nicely in the gallery, and each piece was illuminated by neon lights that added a vibrant effect to the overall show.
My favorite pieces in the show were probably the stained glass structures. They each had a unique personality to them, almost looking like faces with very dramatic expressions.
I noticed that some of the stained glass pieces had bubbles protruding out, I looked through one of them and it distorted the view of what was in back of the piece. I thought it was so cool I asked Elysium if she would pose for me behind the bubble.
I took so many photos of her behind each of the pieces, that I have to many to count.
Here are still some of the photos that I took at the Giò Marconi, Enjoy!
[Insert Glass_Milan photo]
[Insert stainglass_Milan photo]
2nd Gallery visit was to A arte Studio Invernizzi:
This gallery was exhibiting Michel Verjux “Staccato Stabile”
The show consisted of spotlights projecting on certain areas in the building. Every spotlight varied in size and interacted with the building in different ways. While looking at the spotlights, I stepped in front of one of the lights and my shadow was HUGE! Michelle, Anabell, Elysium, and I decided to have some fun with these lights. We began to make funny poses in front of the lights and laughed hysterically while doing it.
We had so much fun at the gallery; here are some pictures to prove it.
By the way, if you ever visit Milan and want to try some good food that is not pasta, you should go to Ristorante coreano HANA. I had the best Kimchi bibimbap ever! It was so good; it has been my favorite meal I have eaten in Italy that is not pasta.
3rd Gallery visit: Fondazione Marconi
Amazingly, we stumbled upon a gallery full of Louise Nevelson’s work. This was the biggest gallery we visited that day. We were blown away at the amount of work showcased; but sadly, the gallery attendant told us we had only 15 minutes to browse before the gallery closed for its afternoon “nap”, as Michelle likes to call it. This was the jackpot; we did the best we could and quickly browsed through in order to get through everything. They had her sculptures, they had her collages, as well as a whole wall of her books. We knew her from her sculpture in the Blanton back at UT. It was amazing to see the huge array of work she produced, and we were so lucky to have come across this treasure trove of a collection.