Saturday, November 19, 2011

Milanese Charm

 

My wonderful French parents!
As many of you may have guessed by now, I’m on break. I’ve decided to take this break in Europe again to catch up with old (and new) friends.

I started my journey in Italy where my French parents and I traipsed through the cobblestone streets of Milan looking for the Scala theater and the Duomo cathedral.

The Scala is one of Europe’s oldest opera theaters. Its crimson cushioned seats stack in a neat half-circle facing the stage. Its halls have heard the world’s finest voices; the echo of their memory hangs in the air.

The Scala theater.
Although we were unable to get tickets to see a show, we were able to enjoy its museum where Lizt’s piano sits next to a bust of Rossini and a portrait of Callas hangs beside encased props from operas gone by.
The Duomo cathedral.
The Duomo is a neo-gothic cathedral that took several hundred years to build. They started it in the 1300s but never really declared it finished. With reportedly over 3400 statutes and roughly 200 spires, this cathedral stands out as a modern beauty. Remarkably it has all of its original stain-glass work and its rose-tinted marble facade has recently been scrubbed.

We were able to climb the 250 stairs to the marbled rooftop and gaze out over the city. Its rosy glow at sunset took my breath away.

Italy --this enchanting land of miniscule espressos and parmesan-drenched pasta!-- this mystic city of bustling fog-coated fashionistas!-- this modern beauty rooted firmly in the past!

How to describe her elegance and charm?

Milan --though once famous for her music and art-- is now mostly known for her fashion. Large windows with sharply dressed mannequins line the streets. Clothed in intricately-knit wool dresses too fine to wear, these muted ladies stare on.

Oddly enough in Italy as winter fast approaches, fashionistas have painted themselves in dreariness. Everywhere I looked, blacks and browns in over-sized sunglasses stomped through the streets. A quick turn of the head and a sea of charcoal grays undulated past.

Before living in the wild yellows and florescent greens of Africa, I never realized the bleak palate  of Europe’s most chic. What of color and life? What of vibrant patterns and geometric designs?

Gone.

Instead a sorrowful array of muted tones parade through neo-gothic marbled streets while well-worn gargoyles watch on.

These overcast colors need a bit of Sudanese inspiration... or maybe just I do.

Next on the agenda... France!