“Pic of the Week”, August 16, 2019: Fashion Week, Milan

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Milan Fashion Week was founded in 1958 and is held twice a year– once in the spring, and once in fall.  We were surprised to find ourselves in the middle of the fall show during our recent visit to the city, especially notable in the Brera and Duomo neighborhoods.

Fashion Week is a clothing trade show spread over multiple events and venues, including the stereotypical models on runways, models and their photographers on the streets, promotion of clothes and such.  Fashion Week is run by a non-profit association which coordinates and promotes Italian Fashion, both male and female.

Milan’s is one of four important international Fashion Weeks, the others being held in Paris, London and New York.  

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.All Trips / Car Culture / Europe / Italy

Great Cars along the Highway! Ferrari, near Venice

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The Autostrada has excellent rest/food/gas stops placed at regular intervals, and it was at one of these stops close to Venice that we spotted this beautiful Ferrari.  We were not the only ones to admire this lovely machine.  A tour bus had pulled up beside it and seems like everyone was having their photo taken beside this car.

I don’t know enough about Ferraris to tell you with authority which model this is, although some research indicates it likely is a Ferrari F430 Challenge.  Only 142 units were built between 2006 – 2010, so it is not only beautiful to look at but of rare vintage.

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A Visit to the Leonardo da Vinci National Science and Technology Museum, Milan

Leonardo Da Vinci National Science and Technology Museum

The da Vinci Science Museum is spread over 40,000 m2 and is in three separate buildings, one of which was a 16th century monastery.  There are more than 15,000 pieces in the museum’s collection, so trying to see everything is like taking everything at the Louvre — an impossibility in a week, much less in a single day.

It’s hard for anyone with a love of science not to be drawn to a museum with the great Leonardo da Vinci’s name in it.  I wish I could gush about what a wonderful museum this was, but that would mostly be untrue.  There were a few aspects to the museum that were quite imaginative and interesting, but overall it was a rambling unfocused collection …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Italy

The Art of the Almond

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Marzipan is popular treat, especially in Europe, made of ground almonds (almond meal) mixed with sugar or honey — sometimes with added almond oil.  It is often molded into the shape of fruit and vegetables and tinted with food coloring, as seen in these window displays in Venice.  I though these little pieces of marzipan quite beautiful and tried a piece — tasty but heavy, not really my style.  

Besides being shaped to look like fruit, marzipan can also rolled flat and used an icing layer for fruitcakes and the like, and sometimes is used as a baking ingredient, as in a German “stollen”.

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Milan’s San Bernardino alle Ossa

00 San Bernardino alle Ossa (10)

The most unusual chapel I’ve ever visited is this one in Milan.  It’s located not far from the great Duomo — about a 10 minute walk — and probably would be interesting to most travelers.  Some might argue it’s a morbid sight and I suppose that’s true, but many might regard being buried in a church a great honor.  There are several other bone-filled churches in Europe, although I’ve never visited any before this one.

The main sanctuary of San Bernadino is nice but similar to thousands of other churches in Europe.   Attractive but not very remarkable, in direct contrast to its unusual ossuary.  To find San Bernardino’s famous chapel of bones you need to divert down a corridor to …

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A Visit to the Basilica of San Zeno, Verona

00 Church of San Zeno, Verona (2)

Saint Zeno (about 300 to 380 AD) is the patron saint of Verona, and this Basilica is named in his honor.  He migrated from northern Africa and possibly was a black man.  Saint Zeno spent much of his life in Verona – first as monk, then as bishop.   He was beloved by the people of Verona and it seems he served them well.

Verona has many very old buildings and historic churches, of which San Zeno is one of the more interesting.  A church has existed on this site since the 4th or 5th century to house the remains of San Zeno.  The building you visit today is a Romanesque church built in the 12th century after its predecessor suffered …

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Palermo’s Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico)

01a Orto Botanico

While Sicily itself is green and lovely after the rains, Palermo doesn’t have many spacious parks or gardens.  This is in part why exploring Orto Botanico di Palermo (Palermo Botanical Garden) was a treat for my wife and I.  It covers about 30 acres and has a large and interesting variety of plants that are pleasant to stroll through.  Orto Botanico also conducts research for the Department of Botany, University of Palermo. 

The garden dates to 1779 when the University created a chair of “botany and medicinal properties” and dedicated a plot of land for a botanical garden.  The goal was to grow and study plants that useful had medicinal properties.  The garden was moved to the present site in 1786 when …

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A Day of Mosaics: Visiting Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily

24 Villa Romana del Casale (189)

I like to visit UNESCO World Heritage sites when travel allows because they are uniformly interesting.  Villa del Casale is no exception as it has some of the best preserved and most extensive Roman mosaics anywhere.  The place is situated off the main tourist path in the central hills of Sicily and was a little hard to find, but the lovely well-preserved floor mosaics make it worth a little effort to get to.  It’s about 3 km from the town of Piazza Armerina.

Villa Romana del Casale was built in late Roman Empire, around the middle of the 4th Century AD, as a hunting lodge for a wealthy Roman (whose name is unknown).  The overall architecture is similar to many villas …

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