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  • Writer's picturekcdyer

Around the World: kc in Italy (Part One: Milano)

Updated: May 23, 2020

Since many of us are stuck at home right now, I'm sharing some pictures of the beautiful and remarkable places I've seen in my travels. Many of these experiences served as research for my novels, including EIGHTY DAYS TO ELSEWHERE, due out this summer.

After virtually visiting Iceland, Orkney, Wales, Niagara Falls and the completely unique cities of London, England, and Seoul, Korea, today I'm diverting a little from the plan. When I last posted, I fully expected to dive under the ground for this entry and feature all the amazing caves and caverns I have visited around the world. But you know what? I woke up this morning and decided that hanging out under ground was not necessarily going to support my current state of mental health. As I type this, I should have been on a research trip to Italy and Greece for the follow-up book to 'EIGHTY DAYS TO ELSEWHERE' -- now sadly postponed. So instead? Today, I'm going to stay well above ground and [virtually] head back to Milan.

Come with me?

Milano has been one of the cities most brutally devastated by Covid 19, and in the first few week of the plague, I found myself feeling quite horrified by the sight of this brilliant, spectacular city under such seige. While things are still hard there, I am delighted to see that the city is beginning to re-emerge, with solid plans for the future. You can read a Guardian story HERE about the city's ambitious plans to reduce cars after the lockdown lifts.

I arrived in Milan by train, and spent a lot of my time there on the metro and the streetcars. I have very happy memories of hopping aboard streetcars and sorting out which subway train I needed to take to get where. And today, plans are in the works to increase social distancing on the city's subways, to add cycle routes and to widen pedestrian walkways throughout the city. Positive change for Milano!

Last summer, I spent much of my first day in a marvellous castle in the centre of the city.

Castello Sforza was built in the 15thC by the Duke of Milan, and these days every nook and cranny is filled with something interesting to look at and learn about.

This site, once one of the largest citadels in Europe, now house a crazy number of museums. Inside, you can visit:

  • the Pinocoteca, featuring art collections by Titian, Foppa, Tintaretto and many others

  • the Antique Furniture and Wooden Sculpture Museum

  • the Archeological Museum

  • the Egyptian Museum

  • the Applied Arts Collection

  • the Museum of Musical Instruments [ I LOVED this one]

  • the Museum of Ancient Art and you can even view Michelangelo's final sculpture, the Rondanini Pietá.

The entire castle is an absolute wonder. I could have spent weeks inside.

Throughout my time in Italy, I took so much joy from the expressions depicted in the art. No stoic sculptured faces here. The paintings are equally lively -- just look at this coquettish fellow!

[This piece is actually titled 'La fucino de Vulcano' -- Vulcan's Forge, and it's by il Morrazzoni, aka Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli, painted around the turn of the 17th century.]

If you'd like to see more of the Italian artwork that tickled my fancy at the time of my visit last summer, you can find blog posts here from Milan, Rome and Brindisi.

As a final note to these Italian journeys -- I just watched a particularly timely Canadian documentary called 'ASSHOLES: A THEORY', which explores the phenomenon of those people who are so good at putting their own needs ahead of everyone elses. The doc extrapolates this into the world of politics, asking the question: 'What happens when you elect an asshole?'. There is a particularly good segment on former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, and how he paved the way for much of the international assholery we are experiencing right now. You can find the documentary HERE, on CBC's Gem app.

I had such a marvellous time in Milano. I stayed in a teeny, triangular hotel right in the centre of town, owned by an innkeeper who liked to write stories, too. And I visited the first bookshop I have ever been to that houses a wine bar right inside. Civilization at its finest! Leaving Milan was an adventure in itself -- which I'll tell you about next time. My fondest hope is that I can return to this amazing city one day.

Watch for the next installment of 'Around the World with kc dyer', coming soon. And if you haven't signed up for my newsletter yet, please do! The link is on the page below. The next issue, arriving in your inbox the first week of May, will have an interview with debut author Tony Ollivier, and lots of book news and recommendations. Also? I'm giving away not one, but two copies of Tony's new thriller, THE AMSTERDAM DECEPTION, special to subscribers only. Sign up today!

More soon...



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I've chosen a different path today. I'm opting to stay firmly above ground, both physically and metaphorically, and take a virtual journey back to Milan. The decision to divert from the original plan is a nod to the importance of adapting to circumstances and prioritizing mental health. Taxi Chertsey


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