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  • Writer's picturekc dyer

Incredible Italy: A Minute in Milan

Before I make my way into today’s blog post, I hope you will indulge me in a quick goodbye to Pride month, combined with a Happy Canada Day wish [from afar!] to everyone at home.

And I am far away indeed. Since last we chatted, I have made it across the Alps in into Italy. While the story I am writing has the characters racing down the Italian boot in pursuit of their madcap goal, I have been delighted renew my aquaintance with this incredible country after a long absence. Italy is as chaotic and wonderful as I remember, and I’m thrilled to be able to visit a corner I’ve never seen.

I’ve been knocked out by the beauty and majesty revealed in my first visit to Milan. This city is home to possibly the most ornate cathedral I’ve ever seen. It is the largest in Italy [St. Peter’s, in the Vatican, is technically not in Italy at all], the third largest in Europe, and took a full six centuries to build.

After visiting the Cathedral on my first night in town, I spent most of the following day prowling around Sforza Castle. Sforza is not only a 15thC castle of epic proportions — one of the largest citadels of its time in all of Europe — but these days it holds no less than nine of the city’s museums.

Many of the pieces housed throughout this marvellous locale are enormous in size and scope, but for me, paying close attention to the finer details often brings the best rewards.

This Madonna and Child, for example, by Filippo Lippi — an amazing, mysterious piece, was completed sometime in the mid-15th century.

But on closer inspection…

The devil — or in this case, the blood dripping from the head wound of the saint — is always in the details.

Here’s a look at poor St. Sebastion, who has clearly had a very tough day…

As has this fella, set upon by high-kicking bullies…

And just look at this collection of faces depicted in a piece by Benedetto di Milano…

It’s always the expressions and the details that bring these pieces to life for me. I love peeking through these little windows back into time.

My time in this amazing city was all too brief, but I have to tell you that it was capped by finding a wine bar tucked into the back of this downtown bookstore. As the clerk rang my purchases through, I mentioned that winebars aren’t really a thing in bookstores in Canada.

The pitying look he gave me as I paid for books– without wine– said it all.

I miss being home on Canada Day, but I still have a lot to share before I head back. Any guesses as to where the next stop will be?

More soon…



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