29.9.17

Castell'Arquata


Weather in October in Milan was not very nice.  We were lucky enough to have sunshine on a Sunday. We drove to Chiaravalle, Vigolo Marchese and Castell'Arquato for a beautiful day.

We arrived at Castell'Arquato after 1pm. We parked at the lower town and walked up a tree alley to reach the high rock which is strategically important in the medieval time.


Castell'Arquato is dated to 10th century. In 21st century the town still preserves the medieval look and set up, stone houses, cobbled alleys and .....


It took us about 15 minutes to reach the monumental square. The view was gorgeous: the collegiate (religious power), Rocca fortress (military power) and palace of the Podesta (political power).


We walked around the square and appreciated the beauty of the surroundings. Autumn colours were beautiful under the sunshine.




Tourists spots were closed during the lunch break.  My friends wanted to save but I went for a small sandwich. Yup, I needed energy and to stop the stomach from crying.


At 2 pm we climbed the collegiate tower. We were welcome by knight models. The way going up is displayed with medieval torture scenes.



But over the top is a fantastic and unparalleled panorama which goes from the Po Valley to the Alps in the north and Appennine ridge in the south.





After bathing in the natural beauty, we then descended to the ground level and appreciated art in the church.  I don't know the name of the artists but some are really impressive: the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of Disciples and Saint Agatha's breasts being cut off.









The colourful paintings add beauty to the dark high church.  Spend some time to linger and let the paintings to please your eyes and sooth your nerves.



Time was passing quick. We had to say goodbye.





17.9.17

Lecco


Lecco is a city in Lombardy, 50 km away from Milan.   It lies at the end of the south-eastern branch of Lake Como. Nearby is the Bergamo Alps.  At time of our visit in October, peaks had a trace of snow on top which added beauty to the town.


The most famous person of Lecco is Alessandro Manzoni, a famous poet and novelist between 18th and 19th century. Lecco is so proud of the poet and name itself as City of Manzoni. The first sentence of his novel Betrothed is shown at the river side. uel ramo del lago di Como, che volge a mezzogiorno, tra due catene non interrotte di monti.........


After visiting Villa Manzoni on via Mendona briefly, we descended down to reach and cross the river. Walking along the promenade are one after one scene of tranquillity and beauty.  We spent quite much time strolling there and enjoyed the views very much.


Saint Nicolo bell tower is easily seen from the waterfront.  It is situated at the bustling squares of Piazza XX Settembre and Piazza Zermenati.   





The local government invested to make the promenade suitable for strolling and taking rest to admire the beauty. Benches are available. Green grassland next to the waterfront, mountain reflection on the river, the town opposite shore....  all compose a nice big painting of the town.


Near the mouth of Caldone stream stands the Monument to the Fallen (Monumento ai Caduti ).  The work is from the Milanese sculptor Giannino Castiglioni. It was built built between 1922 and 1924 and inaugurated on 4 November of the same year, the eightieth anniversary of the National Unity commemorating the Italian victory in the First World War.

You would not have missed the impressive golden statue of Saint Nicholas in the water.  He is the patron saint of the town.  The town's basilica is also dedicated to him.








Lecco is normally not on the list of tourists visiting Lake Como as it is more an industrial town. But if you have time, it is a nice alternative for its charming waterfront.


1.9.17

Saint Christopher on the Naviglio


Centuries ago Saint Christorpher was the first stop on the way to Santiago de Compostela.  Pilgrims first came here to get the credenziali (credentials, also known as pilgrim's passport) before embarking on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Originally, it was a simple chapel with a typical bell-shaped roof. The church was added only at the end of the 13th century.  A pilgrim's hostel was added a century later.



There are two entrances. The older one on the left can be recognised by its beautiful 15th century door with a delicately worked Gothic terra-cotta rosette in the middle.  The one on the right is Cappella Ducale (Ducal Chapel) built at the beginning of 15th century by Gian Galeazzo Visconti. Above the entrance is the symbol of the noble family, a snake.

 

I can imagine that the church would have been very beautiful when it served the pilgrims in the past. Why? The reminiscence of the frescoes is beautiful.  Those at the central apse were restored. It houses frescoes of Bernardino Luini's school, portraying the Father with angels. I like a duke or gentleman.



But the rest on both sides of the apse vault were destroyed.  Byzantine-influenced Christ Blessing (dated back to the late 12th century) is the only part which can be seen on the left side of the apse vault.


There are some precious wooden statues.  For examples, a Saint Christopher from the 14th century and one from the 16th century, which reflects the locals' devotion to this patron saint of travellers.