THE LANGUAGE LEARNING TRILOGY – I don’t claim to be an A-student….

I’m looking so much forward going to Brazil next month: Two weeks Portuguese at a school in Rio de Janeiro including living like a teenage exchange student with a family.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: GNAM Roma - Sala delle Colonne / Alfredo Pirri: Passi
Learning abroad means not exclusively increasing command of a language; it allows you to learn and grow and look at
things from a different perspective.
Here during my first language course in Rome on a visit to the GNAM – Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna:
Standing on “Passi” by Alfredo Pirri, consisting of a huge broken mirror on the floor
 of the Sala delle Colonne, the entrance hall.

On this occasion I’d like to look back at my previous language classes that took place in Italy and Turkey – and share some precious, fun and a bit quirky stories with you:

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Language Learning Trilogy: Rome
Part One: ROME
bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Language Learning Trilogy: Izmir
Part Two: IZMIR
bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Language Learning Trilogy: Milan
Part Three: MILAN

If you choose to pin this post, please use this picture (and check my Pinterest boards)

Wondering why I’ve chosen this motive? Well, it’s a sculpture by Pietro Canonica, who died in 1959 in Rome. A museum at the Villa Borghese is showing his vast work – Canonica in his time made busts and statues of many great men e. g. a equestrian stuatue of Mustafa Kemal Pascha aka Atatürk standing in Izmir.
I like how Italy and Turkey are united in Pietro Canonica’s naturalistic work.


24 hours in…MILAN

After my stopover in Milan on the occasion of my trip to Venice for the 57th Biennale, I’m now ready to share my best bits of advice in this brand-new “24 hours in…”-post. As usual, writing it I had a layover in mind or a short break on a road trip down South. If you’re staying longer or want to try out more, check out my recent post on an entire weekend in this North Italian city of art and fashion and get inspiration and information.

View of the cathedral from the museo del novecento
Here you can kill two birds with one stone (actually that’s a quite disturbing idiom): Best view at the Duomo, Milan’s cathedral, from the Museo Novecento (the spiral on the ceiling is by Lucio Fontana, just so you know)

 

Of course you won’t be able to see all that there is in only 24 hours. But since Milan has much less touristy sights to offer than most other Italian cities, a day will definitely allow you to see the major part of the city’s touristy sights; unless you lose yourself somewhere between the posh designer stores….

?   Local Currency:

Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1.17 US$ (October2017) / current rate



?    Emergency Hotline:

Carabinieri (Police) 112

Fire Department 115

?    National Airline:

Alitalia

?    Airports:

Malpensa Airport, IATA Code: MXP

Linate Airport, IATA Code: LIN

 

?    Tourist Info online and onsite:

TurismoMilano
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II  (corner piazza della Scala)
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 45 55 55

Opening times: Monday to Friday 9 a. m. to 7 p. m., Saturday 9 a. m. to 6 p. m., Sunday and holidays  10 a. m. to 6 p. m.

Following either of the itineraries, you should consider getting a Museum Card. It’s good for three days which you probably don’t need, but it costs only 12 €uro which you already pay for a visit to the museums at the Castello.

?    Getting Downtown and Back

No matter what people say about Italy, I’ve been there so often and I really like their public transport system that brings you to almost everywhere at a reasonably price.

The joy starts with the airport shuttles: From Malpensa airport there are two options – you either take a bus (a little slower (traffic!) and a little cheaper, i. e. 8 €uro one way and 14 €uro round trip – there is a little booth with a very unfriendly man right at the arrival door) or the train (a faster and a little more expensive, i. e. 13 €uro one way, 20 €uro round trip within 30 days – to be booked online if you want this price).

From Linate airport you have to take a coach, there is no train connection.
There is also a bus connecting both airports. So getting to the city center and back is really a piece of cake.

Tram in Milan
My favorite means of public transportation are the old trams.
Unfortunately they cover only a small part of the city.

Note: If you want to follow the sunny day itinerary, you better go to Cadorna station (only possible by train from Malpensa) instead of Milano Centrale. There you can leave your luggage at the ‘Deposito Bagagli’, the luggage deposit, and head straight to the fun.

Public transport in Milan costs 1,50 €uro one trip, if you buy a card with ten rides on it, you pay 13,80 €uro, but honestly I don’t think that you will use them – at least not on a sunny day.

 

?    Morning Activities

Parco Sempione
View of the Castello Sforzesco from the Parco Sempione.

Milan is a relatively green metropolis – compared to other Italian cities – so you could spend a sunny day just strolling through one of the many parks. But then of course you’d miss out on a lot, so let’s level it out; which is easy since the largest and most beautiful park, the Parco Sempione, is adjacent to the Castello Sforzesco.

If you arrive at Cadorna station (like I suggested above), you just walk down Via Marco Minghetti to the castle – five minutes. If you’re coming from Centrale, take Metro M2 to Cadorna (5 stops).

The castle was built from 1450 by Francesco I. Sforza on the remnants of the destroyed Visconti family’s castle. Over the centuries many architects – i. a. Leonardo da Vinci and Bramante – have built and altered it. The former systems of bastions was transformed and is today part of the park.

Pietà Rondanini
This Pietà is rather interesting than
beautiful, I give you that.

Besides admiring the old structures, you should absolutely visit the Museo Pietà Rondanini located to the left as you enter from Via Marco Minghetti. The Pietà Rondanini is a marble statue by Michelangelo depicting Mary and Jesus taken from the cross. Although many of Michelangelo’s sculptures remained unfinished, this one is special since it was his very last work.

Museo Pietà Rondanini
Castello Sforzesco
Piazza Castello
20121 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 46 37 03

Inside the castle are two other museum complexes, the collection of ancient art including many archeological treasures as well as paintings and sculptures.

Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Antica 
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 46 37 34

A large variety of antique instruments is to be seen at the

Museo dei Strumenti musicali 
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 46 37 03

All the museums at the Castello are open Tuesday to Sunday 9 a. m. to 5.30 p. m.

If you intend to visit these three museums, you should consider the museum card (which i. a. grants you also access to Milan’s aquarium mentioned below).

 

Scultura di sedie Parco Sempione
My favorite spot at the Parco is this mini-colosseo.

Once you walk through the backgate into the park, you can buy a gelato and stroll along the trails in the shade of the majestic trees, sit on one of the benches or just on the thick and soft meadows.
If you get bored, there is more to see like for instance the Acquario Civico di Milano, Milan’s aquarium, or the Palazzina Appiani, a small neoclassic villa by Luigi Canonica which was used as a podium for the French royal family during games and events.

If you wanna find out, how the French royals watched the game – the villa can be visited.

I know that especially in the US Italians have a reputation…for having a thing for food. You’ll appreciate it as it now comes to lunch. Walk back to the castle and get to the other side, take a selfie at the Fontana di Piazza Castello, the castle’s square, and then continue down Via Luca Beltrami to the traffic circle Cairoli. On the opposite side of the circle begins Via Menfredo Camperio, and that’s the first step to your special lunch.

⛈    Morning Activities

Although Milan does not overwhelm its visitor with statues and facades and museums like Rome, Florence or Venice, there a some visitable venues; whereby the really great art here is rather modern to contemporary.However, two of my favorite galleries are not far from the station Palestro (M1 – when at Cadorna, just take the metro towards Sesto 1 Maggio, coming from Centrale, you take M2 to Loreto and change there into M1 towards Bisceglie) and right next to each other. That makes them the perfect spot for a rainy morning.

GAM Milano
The ceremonial hall with Alessandro Puttinati’s
sculpture of Paolo e Francesca

The GAM – Gallery of Modern Art, which are approximately the years from 1800 to 1900, is housed in a neo-classicist villa, built at the end of the 18th century as Count Ludovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso’s home. Besides the wonderful symbolism paintings by Giovanni Segantini and the post-impressionism, realism paintings by Angelo Morbelli and late neoclassicism sculptures another very interesting part are the ancient decorations and furniture of the majestic rooms and halls.

Galleria D’Arte Moderna di Milano
Via Palestro 16
20121 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 44 59 43
E-mail: c.gam@comune.milano.it

Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a. m. to 5.30 p. m.

PAC Milano
From the PAC’s exhibition “Africa. Raccontare un mondo/
Africa. Telling a World”: Barthélémy Toguo Road to Exile

The PAC – Gallery of Contemporary Art, which does not show any permanent collection, but invites the public to see outstanding contemporary pieces from all over the world, is the GAM’s modest neighbor: It’s housed in the former stables and the space is much smaller. However, the art isn’t: Every exhibition I’ve seen here got me all enthusiastic!

Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC)
Via Palestro 14
20122 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 44 63 59

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30 a. m. to 7.30 p. m. (Tuesday and Thursday to 10.30 p. m.)

By the way – if the rain stops for a while, you are also in the perfect spot to enjoy one of Milan’s many parks: The Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli are just across the Via Palestro, and although this public garden as significantly smaller than the Parco Sempione, it’s just as beautiful and ‘entertaining’.

Hungry for lunch yet? Although on a nice day you could walk the 2,5 km / 1.5 miles to the restaurant, you might not wanna do it in the rain. No problem, hop on the M1 at Palestro (towards Bisceglie) and get off at Cairoli. Via Manfredo Camperio, where the restaurant is located, starts just at the Cairoli traffic circle.

?     Lunch

Riso e latte on bye:myself
Benvenuti nella casa della nonna : At Riso e latte you’ll
feel at your Italian grandma’s house
(even if you’ve never had one)

Of course you can get a slice of pizza or a piece of focaccia at every corner. But if you want to combine typical Italian food with a really fun environment, make reservation at the “Riso e latte” (rice and milk), a tiny family style restaurant decorated in the fashion of the 1960s.

Riso e latte 
Via Manfredo Camperio 6
20123 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 398 310 40
Email: ristorante@risoelatte.it



They are open every day, but Mediterranean style, i. e. for lunch from 12.30 p. m. to 2 p. m. and fro dinner from 7.30 p. m. to 10.30 p. m.

Reservation is highly recommended.

?    Afternoon Activities

Via dei Mercanti MIlano
Palazzo dei Giureconsulti on the Via dei
Mercanti to the left – and straight ahead
you can already spot the Duomo.

Riso e latte is not only a great place, it’s also very conveniently located between the castello and the must-see Duomo and adjacent Galleria Vittoria Emmanuele in the very heart of Milan. To get there, make sure to turn into Via dei Mercanti once you get to Piazza Cordusio. This street is smaller than the Via Orefici, one of Milan’s main shopping streets, but much more picturesque and ‘Italian’. It leads you straight to the Piazza del Duomo where you can see Vittorio Emanuele II on his high horse; and he doesn’t get off it…

View from the Duomo
View from the Duomo’s roof.

Since lines can be very long, I strongly recommend to make online reservation, otherwise you risk to spend too much of your precious time in Milan in a queue. There are different parts that you can visit and various packages, so you better consult their website.

Duomo Info Point 
Piazza Duomo 14/a
20122 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 72 02 33 75
Email: info@duomomilano.it

The Info Point is open daily from 9.30 a. m. to 5.30 p. m.

The Duomo is open daily, but the individual parts have different opening hours, so check out what you want to see and which package is suitable for you.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Honestly, since everybody makes such a fuss about the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, I don’t like it. Yes, it is very posh and elegant, but it’s also full tu the brim with tourists; and exclusively tourists, no Milanese would go shopping or take selfies at the Galleria. But suite yourself, it’s certainly an important sight and to be found in each and every guide book on Milan.

Built in 1864, the building is lavishly decorated in marble, with stucco and frescos, covered by a posh glass roof which highest point reaches 47 meters / 154 feet. It’s obvious that this construction is a celebration of the declaration of the Italian state in 1859.

The Galleria is accessible every day from 9 a. m. to 11 p. m.

After the über-touristy part of the itinerary let’s get to the fresh, young and hip part of town, the neighborhood around Porta Genova South of the center.

⛈    Afternoon Activities

I admit that the afternoon activities do not differ that much from those on a sunny day. That’s because even on a sunny day, you have to see the Duomo; otherwise it’s like visiting Paris without…you know what.
Only that on a rainy day you probable do not want to walk from the lunch place to the Piazza. You don’t have to: M1 stops at Cairoli circle and takes you straight to Duomo station (2 stops towards Sesto 1 Maggio).
MIlan's Duomo inside
Inside the Duomo, Milan’s iconic cathedral

Visiting the cathedral on a rainy day, you’ll probably miss the opportunity to climb around on their roof. Never mind, you get a good view of the Duomo and its surroundings from an neighboring building that houses another great museum, too, it’s the Museo del Novecento which shows art from the last century (it’s very confusing in Italian that they don’t number the centuries as we do: for us the past century is the 20st, for Italians it’s the (1)900st).

Museo Novecento Milan
The Spatial Ceiling was created by Luciano Fontana
for the dining room of the Hotel del Golfo
on Procchio (Elba) in 1956.

The museum has an interesting permanent exhibition of all the famous Italian futurists and constructivists, but they also organize inspiring special exhibitions. Already the building itself is very intriguing since they basically pulled a modern glass construction over the old structures so these are still visible – and the view from the museum towards the cathedral, the piazza and the adjacent streets is priceless.

900 Museo del Novecento 
Via Marconi 1
Milano
Phone: +39 – 02 -88 44 40 61
Email: c.museo900@comune.milano.it

?    Dinner

You’re in Italy, you have to have a pizza at least once a day and “I Capatosta” does not only make some of the best pizza in town, it is also ideally located in the currently hippest district of town, in the area around the Navigli. The Navigli (singular Naviglio) were waterways to facilitate the transportation of goods to and through the city; practically like the Grachten in Amsterdam or the Fleete at Hamburg. Today this area full of shops, bars and restaurants – partly on the water – attract mosquitos and crowds of nighthawks alike.

To get from the centre to the restaurant, take the M1 at Duomo and go back to Cadorna where you change trains and continue on the M2 to Porta Genova.

Pizzeria I Capatosta
Alzaia Naviglio Grande 56
20144 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 89 41 59 10

Open daily for lunch from noon to 2.30 p. m. (weekends till 3 p. m.)and for dinner fom 7 p. m. till midnight.

?   Nightcap

Navigli MIlano
Very determined shopping advice at the Navigli
neighborhood.

You’re already in the best neighborhood for food and drinks and joy and fun – just cross the Ponte di Ferro, the iron bridge and turn right. Walk along the Naviglio for less than three minutes before you turn left into Via Angelo Fumagalli and on the left side you’ll see Rita’s bar.

Rita
Via Angelo Fumagalli 1
20143 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 837 28 65

Rita’s bar is open daily from 7.30 p. m. (aperitivo!) till 2 a. m.

To get back to your accommodation  at Milano Centrale, walk back towards the pizzeria and continue on Via Casale to the end. There you turn right into Via Valenza that takes you to the metrostation Porta Genova. The train M2 towards Cascina Gobba takes you straight to the main station Centrale.

?    Accomodation

Especially if you are on a layover and need to get back to the airport in the early morning, staying close to either Milano Centrale station (or Cadorna) is the best option, and the Marconi Hotel is a pleasant place at a reasonable price and a less than 10 minutes walk from the mail station (where also the airport bus station is located).Marconi Hotel 
Via Fabio Filzi 3
20124 Milan
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 66 98 55 61
Email: info@marconihotel.it

Need more ideas for what to do in Milan? Check my recent post – also on a visit to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Cenacolo = 15 minutes staring.

Note: If you have a couple of days in Milan – or if you don’t want to see the city center at all – you can easily go to one of the lakes North of Milan like Lago di Como (my favorite) or Lago di Garda (everybody else’s favorite). Since the train ride takes about an hour and you don’t even have to go do downtown to take it, but can hop on right at Malpensa, it’s a great alternative, especially during the hot summer months.

Need assistance planning this or other trips? Check my service pages

Plus – I’m happy to answer all your questions and share further information. To get in touch, please follow my blog (check also facebook and twitter) and send me a message, I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Here are more pins with 24 hours itineraries to great destinations for you:

Weekend in Milan – an ‘aperitivo’ for the eye

Squeezing in an art weekend in Milan while on my way to Venice. What – do I think there won’t be enough art waiting for me at my final destination? By no means! I’ve still got free miles on Eurowings (formerly known as German wings, wisely changed their name after one of their pilots flew an aircraft on purpose into a mountain in 2015), and they don’t go to Venice.

Duomo di Milano
Piazza del Duomo – with the iconic cathedral.

Plus I’ve been to Milan for two weeks last year for my wonderful Italian class and do know that there are a couple of highly interesting venues housing highly exquisite exhibitions. To be honest, this is – besides the fantastic ‘aperitivo’-habit –  the only thing I love about Milan; otherwise it’s not Italian-historic-romantic enough for me.

But this weekend was awesome: great exhibitions woke – as an aperitivo for the eye – great expectations what Venice will have to offer.

SATURDAY

Buongiorno, Milano!
We art addicts have a huge advantage in comparison with ordinary people: When we land in Italy and the cielo is not azzurro, we just pace a little to get to the next gallery a bit faster.
As I landed, the cielo was far from being azzurro, it was actually mousy grey.

Galleria D’Arte Moderna di Milano (GAM)

What an excellent excuse to start the day with the first museum visit right away.

The GAM – Gallery of Modern Art, which are approximately the years from 1800 to 1900, is housed in a neo-classicist villa, built at the end of the 18th century as Count Ludovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso’s humble home.

At this moment they are celebrating “100 anni scultura a Milano 1815 – 1915”, presenting 63 sculptures made of plaster, marble, and bronze that were restored and are usually preserved in storage and not on display.

GAM Milano
Vincenzo Vela: The Morning Prayer (the central piece)

A visitor commented in the guest book “Arte moderna – certainly not Toulouse-Lautrec and Renoir”. Even though this a rude comment, every country had its guilded art age depending on the political, social, and economical situation, and Italy’s great eras were the Renaissance and the Baroque. Still, also some of the Italian symbolism is exquisite.

GAM - Milano
Giovanni Segantini: L’Angelo de la Vita (Angel of Life) (left) and L’Amore alla fonte de la vita (Love at the Source of Life) (right)

GAM Milano
Angelo Morbelli: Inverno nel Pio Albergo Trivulzio (Winter at the Trivulzio Shelter)
Just so you know: I took the picture from this angle so you are able to see at least something.
This painting is miraculous: When you stand right in front of it you hardly see anything.
Morbelli does not only touch my heart with his melancholic motives, he also has my full admiration for his technique.

Anyway, I’d recommend a visit to this venue mainly for the building itself respectively the old decoration of some parts of the galleries rather than for the art.

GAM MIlano
Looking this couple over the shoulder into the ceremonial hall.

Galleria D’Arte Moderna di Milano
Via Palestro 16
20121 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 44 59 43
E-mail: c.gam@comune.milano.it

Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a. m. to 5.30 p. m.

By the time I was done visiting the GAM, the weather was fair enough to walk a little bit. I can tell you, if you are carrying this big backpack full of money and your back hurts from the load, just check out the stores along Via della Spiga, Via Sant’Andrea, or Via Monte Napoleone – and your burden will be taken from you in a blink of an eye.

Milano Shopping
Missoni at Via Sant’Angelo….

MIlano Shopping
….or Fendi at Via Monte Napoleone

Walking along Corso Venezia instead is a nice alternative to all this decadence. Keep your eyes open not to miss all the great ancient palazzi there – the facades, the gates, the statues…just beautiful.

When you turn at San Babila from Corso Venezia right, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II takes you straight to the Duomo. I didn’t visit it this time, but if you haven’t seen it yet, I would definitely go, especially the climbing around on it’s rooftop is really special and fun.

I had a slice of pizza at “Spontini”, a chain restaurant which is…a chain restaurant, and did then pay the Museo del Novecento a visit.

PIzza
A humble meal on a gold plated counter.

Museo del Novecento

I love the Novecento for its architecture and its location and the views from the 4th and 5th floor.

Museo Novecento
The Spatial Ceiling was created by Luciano Fontana for the dining room of the Hotel del Golfo on Procchio (Elba) in 1956..

Museo Novecento
View from the 4th floor of the Novecento at the Duomo – standing under the Struttura al Neon, that Fontana designed on the occasion of the IX Triennale di Milano in 1951.

I’m not so crazy about it for the art: Severini, Balla, Carrà – I strongly dislike Italian futurism, to say the least, and the Novecento surely celebrates its masters, mainly Boccioni whom I particularly dislike.

Piero Manzoni
Yes, it’s a little bit childish, but I love the integrated slap in the face of the whole pretentious art scene.
Piero Manzoni: Merda d’artista (The artist’s shit)

At this moment there is a special exhibition on Italian art in connection with the US, and there are some Fontanas and some De Chiricos and it’s fine. Since you have to go there for the architecture and the views from the 4th and 5th floor, it won’t hurt to take a look at this event, too.

Museo Novecento
Entrance of the special exhibition “New York New York”.
On the left side Lucio Fontana: Spatial Concept. New York Skyscrapers, next to it Pietro Consagra: New York City

900 Museo del Novecento 
Via Marconi 1
Milano
Phone: +39 – 02 -88 44 40 61
Email: c.museo900@comune.milano.it


Palazzo della Triennale

I was also at the Palazzo della Triennale, but it was nothing what I expected, but very confusing: There is the Triennale Teatro dell’Arte going on, a theater festival, and everybody was all hyper and there were long queues and I felt a tad confused and completely out of place.

Tiempo delle donne
Me being part of an art project.
I didn’t really get what the whole thing was all about, but I take every chance to make a fool of myself.

Then they have a quite neat exhibition on design for kids (that I’ve just recommended some other guest at my B&B since she’s here with a small child and it’s still pouring), There were many kids, and I’m happy that their parents introduce them to the world of exhibitions because it might hold them back from slapping their flat hand on a Kandinsky painting like a maybe 8 years old girl did at the Novecento. Only when her mother saw me hyperventilating, she told her better not to slap Kandinsky.

Museo Disegno Triennale
Pretty cute: You enter the exhibition over a bridge that’s Pinocchio’s nose.
Come to think about it, it’s also a bit gross. 

Palazzo della Triennale 
Viale Alemagna,6
20121 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 72 43 41
Email: info@triennale.org

Open Tuesday to Sunday 10.30 a. m. to 8.30 p. m.

Museo delle Culture (MUDEC)

I was afraid that “The Klimt Experience” would be exactly what it turned out to be: It’s a poorly made assembly of Gustav Klimt’s paintings, pictures of him and his circle and of Vienna in his time.
Accompanied by all the Austrian popular tunes – starting with….of course “The Blue Danube”!
To screen this “experience” they’ve built some sort of big tent where there’s room for I’d say 150 people. These people are sitting there watching Klimt’s painting passing by.
I don’t get the concept. This is like making a comic book of Proust’s “In Search Of Lost Time” – easifying it because the real thing is not entertaining enough?!

The Klimt Experience
Surrounded by a painting.

I’ve seen something similar about a year ago in Berlin: “Hieronimus Bosch. Visions Alive”.

Bosch alive in Berlin
The people that organized the Bosch-show took it to the max: Visitors were even able to become part of an artsy freak show. Did I mention that I’m not afraid to make a fool of myself?

Even there I was skeptical, but with Bosch’s fabulous creatures from heaven and hell it still somehow makes sense that they are moving around you; actually I think it must be very disturbing watching Bosch’s imaginary friends moving around when you’re not …completely sober.
But Klimt’s elegant ladies?
What’s the point in letting Judith rotating in six different sizes around me while I have to listen to some cheesy waltz?
The show is screened every day for hours and still people had to wait in line since the tent is constantly full.
When I left it was drizzling so people waited in the rain.
I wanted to shoo them away: Do something else, it’s not worth the wait watching Judith rotate, go home or have a aperitivo at some nice bar.
But I let them see for themselves and instead I left to get an aperitivo.

Aperitivo
This is how a long day has to end: With a big glass of Aperol Spritz and some niblets.

I’ll be in Vienna for Christmas where I’ll see all the Klimt originals and none of them will rotate around me.

Museo delle Culture (MUDEC)
Via Tortona 56,
20144 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 549 17 |
Email: info@mudec.it

Open on  Monday from 2.30 p. m. till 7.30 p. m, Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30 a. m. to 7. 30 p. m. (Thursday and Saturday till 10.30 p. m. – no, this is not a mistake, they are open till very late!)

SUNDAY

Ugly can be just gorgeous, every fan of industrial chic knows that. Therefore numberless art venues are to be found in abandoned industry sites which obviously have the advantage to offer enough space even for humongous installations.

Pirelli HangarBicocca

Going to the Hangar, you will get to know a pretty ugly neighborhood – but that’s one side of Italy, too.

The Seven Heavenly Palaces

And one of the highlights of the HangarBicocca gallery, established in 2004 on a former industrial site, is the humongous installation “The Seven Heavenly Palaces” by Anselm Kiefer: seven towers made of concrete and other construction material, 14 to 18 meters / 46 to 60 feet high – at which other venue could he have installed something like that?!

Anselm Kiefer at Hangar Bicocca
When Anselm Kiefer is at work, heavenly palaces can become pretty hellish.

Anselm Kiefer at Hangar Bicocca
One of five the towers accompanying paintings: Die deutsche Heilslinie (German line of salvation)

From Source to Poem to Rhythm to Reader

This is an installation of projections and films by Rosa Barba, of whom I’ve never heard before although she has participated in several Biennales and showed her work at the most prestigious venues. Anyway, at the Hangar you can see her work till October 8, 2017.

Efêmero

Even before you reach the site, which by the way covers 15.000 qm / more than 161,000 square feet, you can enjoy a great piece of art – namely street art: The Brazilian twins Gustavo and Otávio Pandolfo (born 1974) who adopted – very clever! – the name Osgemeos, meaning ‘twins’, did decorate one part of the hangar with their graffiti. This is the first of the “Out of the Cube”-project the gallery initiated.

Osgemeos - Hangar Bicocca
Osgemeos: Efêmero

#arttothepeople is this gallery’s motto, hence entrance is free. I personally find that this for one sounds a bit marieantoinettish, plus I’m a bit torn when it comes to free entrance: In London all public permanent exhibitions are free and I saw people – kids and grownups alike – doing the most incredible things to the exhibits like touching paintings and climbing on statues to take pictures. Museums degenerated to playgrounds and covered markets. If that’s the result of free entrance, please triple whatever you’re charging now!

Pirelli HangarBicocca 
 Via Chiese 2
20126 Milano
Phone: +39 – 02 – 66 11 15 73
Email: info@hangarbicocca.org

Fondazione Prada

While the HangarBicocca is in the middle of nowhere all the way North, I had to cross town to the South East to get to another posh venue founded by another stinking rich company: Prada. Here my thanks go out to all people who shop their stuff and thusly finance their foundation.

Subway Milan
Taking the subway in Milan: Even half a minutes are announced. Do you get now, why they are called German Italians?

Fondazione Prada has venues in two North Italian cities, Milan and Venice. You’ll read about latter next week, here is what’s to see at the Milan branch, that used to be a distillery and was transformed into a art gallery the size of 19.000 qm / more 204,500 square feet, whereby three new buildings were added to the existing seven.

Fondazione Prada
A golden entrance. Quite promising.

There is the permanent exhibit of Thomas Demand’s “

“Processo Grottesco”

, a grotto that Demand built in layers of cardboard and photographed it in a way that you have to look really close to see that it’s artificial; like he does with all motives of his photographs.

Thomas Demand at Fondazione Prada
The grotto model made of cardboard layers. Photographed by me.

Thomas Demand - Fondazione Prada
The grotto model made of cardboard layers. Photographed by Thomas Demand.
And then photographed by me.

The other permanent exhibition is in the so-called “Haunted House”: There are installations by Louise Bourgeois on the two lower floors and by Robert Gober on the three upper. Since the “Haunted House” is very narrow, it can be visited only during time slots.

Louise Bourgeois at Fondazione Prada
Louise Bourgeois: Cell (Clothes)

Robert Gober at Fondazione Prada
Robert Gober – part of his installation for the 4th floor of the “Hounted House”

At this moment there is a special exhibition by Francesco Vezzoli that’s probably much more fun if you are Italian respectively very familiar with Italian TV, but it’s also well worth seeing if you’re not because it’s set up very nicely.

Francesco Vezzoli installed “TV 70. Guarda la Rai” in four different halls:

NORD

On large screens artists are interviewed or filmed and at the opposite wall is an example of their art – sometimes the one you see in the TV feature.

Giorgio di Chirico
Giorgio di Chirico in an interview to the right (he seems to be quite a grouch) and the painting which he’s working
on in this feature to the left (in the dark, but you can trust me, it’s there)

Pistoletto at Fondazione Prada
Michelangelo Pistoletto explaining his mirror-art to a reporter – and behind him the very mirror.

Pistoletto and me at Fondazione Prada
Michelangelo Pistoletto: Serigrafo Bianco – and me.

SUD

In five galleries, garishly furnished with elements that could as well be part of a TV setting, the tackiest TV shows are screened – put into dialogue with corresponding photo series.

Grace Jones
Grace Jones singing in Italian while taking a bubble shower.
Congruously screened in a room next to photographs of transvestites.
Cicciolina at Fondazione Prada
Cicciolina singing “C’era due volte” and writhing through blinding colors. No wonder Jeff Koons went nuts.

Tomaso Binga
This is complimenting my review of the current exhibition “Art and Alphabet” in Hamburg:
Tomaso Binga: Alfabetiere murale

CINEMA

At the cinema a collage of different TV fragments is screened.

PODIUM

While the exhibition at the South gallery shows the shallow, tacky, even moronic TV snippets in a gay, colorful environment, the upper floor of the Podium is painted pitch black and the small TV screens show news from the 70s dealing with murder, bombings and other terror attacks. If you think Europe is an insecure place right now, this part of the exhibition reminds you that some European countries have had to cope with terrorism already years ago.

Fondazione Prada Milano
Largo Isarco 2
20139 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 56 66 26 11
Email: info@fondazioneprada.org

Open Wednesday to Monday from 10 a. m. to 8 p. m. (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to 9 p. m.)

Tip: Keep your ticket since it gives you free access to the observatory at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC)

I didn’t even do it on purpose, but actually I’ve saved the best for last: “Africa. Raccontare un mondo/Africa. Telling a World”, presenting 33 artist from various generations, countries, and backgrounds using different materials and media to implement their art.

Last year during my language course in Milan, I saw an extraordinary exhibition of Cuban art that really impressed me a lot; and this one on African art is just as wonderful. Seems to me the PAC seems to be a venue one should never leave out when in Milan.

PAC Milano
Barthélémy Toguo: Road to Exile

PAC Milano
Chéri Samba: Quel avenir pour notre art? (Which future for our art?) – and that’s a question asked by one of Africa’s most
famous and recognized artists. But he’s right: I’ve only seen his work in exhibitions on African art, never in a permanent
collection. Picasso is shown everywhere – whether in context with Spanish art or not.

PAC Milano
Frédéric Bruly Bouabré: Les Rires (The laughs)
Mister Bouabré, who sadly died in 2014, was presented in two venues on the Venice Biennale in 2013.

PAC Milano
Remarkably many artists show sculptures made of trash – a reproach also to Europe flooding Africa with our discards.
In the front Amadou Fatoumata Ba: A Petit Fauteuil Tressé (Little woven chair) and
in the back: Romuald Hazoumé: “W”, a totem made of  a ski, a toilet seat and a receiver.

Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC)
Via Palestro 14
20122 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 44 63 59

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30 a. m. to 7.30 p. m. (Tuesday and Thursday to 10.30 p. m.)

I had great plans getting a wonderful aperitivo at my favorite bar since it’s my last evening, but it was raining so hard and I was soaked so I just grabbed some grilled chicken and some Gnocchi at the supermarket and ate in my room at the B&B.

Guys, after this weekend I will be so ready to write the rain-part of the upcoming “24 hours in Milan”-piece….

Fondazione Prada
Looking at the golden “Hounted House” through the falling rain.

I love to listen to music that reflects the atmosphere of the place, therefore here Lucio Dalla’s hymn to Milan:

Sadly, Lucio Dalla – who was a wonderful poet – died in 2012. But he left us his tender songs.

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The Language Learning Trilogy. Part 3: I don’t claim to be an “A” student…bye:myself in Milan

I can remember neither the moment nor the occasion – but there was a point when I clearly saw my life’s biggest goal. No, I don’t need to see a 1000 places, they can’t make me hear 1000 recordings, and I won’t read their 1001 books before I die.

byemyselftravels
Class of 2016: my wonderful interesting, sophisticated, talented, and creative co-students
and our sweet teacher Claudia (kneeling in the middle).
In the back you see my class mate Ji Hun Yeo from South Korea who came to Italy to study – take a wild guess – lyrical singing. One time we had the great pleasure to get a mini-concerto.
Click here to enjoy it, too.

My goal in life is to be fluent in ten languages when my time has come.
If I were happy with elemental knowledge, I’d be already there. But ‘fluent’ is key, consequently I’m taking my “Bildungsurlaub” serious and do brush up the dusty basics.

After Rome and Izmir, last year I intended to study Portuguese in Lisbon. Since this didn’t work out due to the school’s neck cutting prices, I was rather indecisive. And I was indecisive until there wasn’t much to decide anymore, therefore I ended up in Italy again. This time in Milan.
Being disenchanted by the first two bummers, I chose renting only a room, no strings or families attached. But faith was kind and surprised me with a landlady that turned out to be a very classy, highly educated retired teacher – after all she was all I had unsuccessfully expected from my guest families during my first two language vacations.

There is much less ancient art found in Milan than further South, but in return there are exquisite modern venues financed by big companies such as Fondazione Prada or Pirelli’s Hangar Bicocca – creative, stylish, cool. Of course there are the renaissance and baroque paintings to be admired at the Pinacoteca di Brera (I’m willing to appreciate sites just for the term ‘Pinacoteca’ – already the sound promises beauty) and divisionism and Italian neo-impressionism at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna. And obviously there is must-see Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper at the church Santa Maria delle Grazie. But don’t think you can just waltz in there whenever you like. You have to either book online or call a hot line days ahead. You have to pick a precise visiting time – and we’re talking minutes here. Supplied with your personal booking number you need to show up thirty minutes ahead to pick up your ticket and eventually you’re waiting on a wooden bench with the dozen of people who booked your time slot, too. Due to the tight time slots there are at least two groups waiting at the same time together, feeling competition, eyeballing each other suspiciously. At the designated time, a guide – or rather guard – shouts your number and everybody is pushing towards a sliding glass door. It’s like a frigging high-security wing – one door has to close behind the group before the next opens, and this goes on and on, and then you’re finally standing in the refectory marveling at the fresco. You have fifteen minutes, that’s a lot to marvel at one single fresco, even if you take a couple of pictures and turn to the other wall from time to time. But the ticket is 12 Euro so you marvel till you can’t marvel no more to get your money’s worth. After 13 minutes the guard finally releases you from by now mindless staring, announcing that in two minutes the next marvellers will get in. Again, on your way out you have to pass some security door systems as if your escaping a quarantine laboratory.

byemyselftravels
Da Vinci’s ‘Cenacolo’: staring for 80 cents per minute.

Regarding my Italian class, it was again the eclectic mix of students from around the globe that impressed me the most. It was like Luciano Benetton put us together to incarnate his ‘United Colors’ campaign:

There was Paolo, whose name was certainly not ‘Paolo’ since he’s from Taiwan, but in class they called him Paolo. Very classy, very camp, and on top of it all brilliant, he gained a one year scholarship for Germany and made the most of his stay in Europe by first learning Italian.

He was sitting next to Gamze, an aerial Ottoman beauty from Istanbul, formerly studying economy in Harvard. Beautiful Gamze with this melancholic expression on her face despairing over the events of Summer 2016 back home in Turkey.

Then there was Paula, a sumptuous Brazilian looker, putting up with two hours on the train every day just to come to class from the lost village whereto she had followed her Italian love.

Jorge from Medellín who despite obvious lack of sleep from heavy partying managed to have a mischievous twinkle in his eyes and more energy than any of us. Must be a Colombian thing, because when Carolina, a Franco-Colombian journalist, joined the class, it was like a whirlwind whipping us all up.

What a contrast to the cautious, restrained Asian school mates like Vittoria (again an Italianization of names, I guess), studying fashion, writing poetry, searching and finding herself in a million poses and selfies. Best buddy with gorgeous Bo Jing, a design student of flawless beauty – face like an Asian film star (was it you the main lead in ‘Hiroshima mon amour’? Oh no, that was in 1959 when probably even your parents weren’t born yet).

Rassa, a worldly and refined Lithuanian, doing simultaneous translations at the European Union in Luxemburg.

I could go on and on and list outspoken Johanna, a bel canto student from Düsseldorf and Ji Hun who seemed to be taken by surprise by his own overwhelming talent and all the other exceptional talents and personalities.

And what brought us together was the joy or necessity of learning Italian – Babel was a brilliant idea after all.

Did you enjoy this funny little story? Here you can read what happened at the other destinations:


The Language Learning Trilogy. Part 1: I don’t claim to be an “A” student…bye:myself in Rome

The Language Learning Trilogy. Part 2: I don’t claim to be an “A” student…bye:myself in Izmir

The Language Learning Trilogy. Part 3: I don’t claim to be an “A” student…bye:myself in Milan

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