4.11.10

Castello Sforzesco


Castello Sforzesco is one of the landmarks in Milan.  It is a witness of the history.  It was founded  by the Visconti family.  The size of the castle reached 180m x 180m.  A tower stands at each of the four corners.  It was demolished after the last decendent had died.   But it was rebuilt after three years by general Francesco Sforza who married Visconti's illegitimate daughter.  The next heir transformed the castle into a luxury residence.  Thereafter, it fell into hands of different nations: French, Spanish, Austrian.  Only with the unification of Italy in 1861, the castle could recover its cultural an public functions.  Apart from as a key sightseeing point, it is also a transit point of getting through from one to another direction of the city.

It houses many art treasures in its several museums.  With 3 Euro you can appreciate them in a day.  Fabulous!

Ancient Art

This section houses lots of stone sculptures of the ancient time.  The most striking one is the sheer sized general on a horse.  A dying young soldier is peaceful yet melancholic.  The one remains my favourite is Michelangelo's incomplete Pieta.   It is rough and raw but still shows the sadness, unwillingness to separate.  This Pieta is very different from his other piece shown in the Vatican which is delicate and desperate.















Pinacoteca

It stores over 200 of masterpieces from great artists of different periods.


















Furnishing and Wooden Sculpture, 15th - 21st century











I was amazed by some of the furniture pieces.  They were old but have modern looks.  I will be happy if I have a similar desk in my office like the one shown on the left .  Home?  No space!  The colourful cupboard is also nice.  Decorative arts in the exhibition room are of excellent quality. 




















Collection of Applied Arts and Musical Instruments























Applied and decorative arts have a bit overlap, in my opinion.  Whatever it is defined, the excellent craftsmanship cannot be denied.  The exquisite ivory jewellery box and sculpture, fine porcelain, beautiful cutlery and many many still......

Unfortunately, we were short of time and had to leave out the  Egyptian and Prehistorical section of the Archaeological Museum and Sala Viscontea.

1.11.10

Portofino



Towns along the coast in Liguria are beautiful.  We arrived first at S. Margherita Ligure-Portofino.  The local train from Milan took 2 hours 20 minutes.  At the railway station you can take a bus connecting Portofino.  It became very full at the town centre of S. Margherita.  People were crowding face touching face, almost.  The bus journey passes through the sea with resorts dotted along the coast.  A lovely start of the trip.

Different pastel coloured buildings line up at the port.  They are not fighting to get the best attention but standing in harmony to charm.  Together with the many yachts it composes a fabulous view winning everybody's admiration.  No one can deny, reject the beauty. 

Walk up to the hill with a castle.  Gorgeous views of the port and surrounding will sure be shot non-stop.  We skipped the castle but walked around to enjoy the nature.


Head to the other side of the hill is a shady, quiet path passing some villas and leads to a view of the sea splashing the cliff.  Spendid!  Coming back to the sea level and head up to the hill on the right side.  A standalone little church is under the blue sky. It has old green bronze doors with a series of craving showing from Creation to the death of Jesus Christ.


Then come the hardest part, climbing up endless staircase, breathing hardly with a quick pumping heart, sweating all through.  But gorgeous views come after the hardship,  beautiful vegetation and pine trees are high up the sky.  An unforgettable trip!  Hmm, to start the trip, go back to the direction of the bus stop and walk upward.  Passing by nice houses and you will come to a wooden gate.  Get through it.  Don't worry about the warning of wild boar but be cautious of snake.  My friend met one.  He stopped and she escaped. 

Our destination is San Fruttuoso.  The walking was supposed to be 2 hours, without stopping.  We took 3 hours to enjoy the beautiful views.  The trip is mainly through a dense forest with lots of sharp inclines and declines.  Be sure that you are strong enough, else reach the destination by a boat (€7). 


San Fruttuoso has two major attractions.  One is the Benedictine Monastery and the other Christ of the Abyss (Cristo degli Abissi).   The monastery dated as early as 10th century.  It has a little dome. Doria family members are buried at the valuts.  Nearby is Doria Tower.   In front of the monastery is a little lovely beach.  Families, couples and groups enjoyed the fantastic day.  Just we must be hurry for our boat to Camogli.


Camogli is a fishing village in Liguria.  The oldest part with delightful buildings dotted around the harbour.  Most visitors are drawn to the seaside promenade.  For a lazy afternoon, just lay on the pebbly beach or dive into the sea under the sun.  What a cool day.  Bars, foccaccia, restaurants line up the promenade, eager to welcome you.  Nice is that it is free of traffic.  Not until you climb up steep staircase to Via XX Settembre where the train station, tourist office and all kinds of shops are located.