Saturday (June 26) I took the bullet train from Turin to Milan. It was about an hour ride.
The big main train station in Milan, Milano Centrale, is a serious misnomer. It is in fact 30-45 minutes outside of the city center. Once I got out of the train station, I had to make my way to the metro station and take two different metros to get to the apartment where I was staying. Once I found the apartment, I met the owner to get the keys.
Once he left, I got settled and did some laundry. It’s the first time I’ve done all my laundry in about three weeks. It’s a nice feeling to have clean clothes – not totally necessary per se, but definitely a nice feeling.
While I was waiting on my laundry to finish, I worked on planning my days in Milan.
Around 6, I headed over to the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie to see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper fresco.
To see The Last Supper, you have to get a ticket for a specific time several months in advance. They only allow 900 visitors in to see the fresco per day because of the fragile state of the fresco, and visitors can only be in the room for 15 minute intervals.
A little history about the fresco… Milan’s leading family at the time, the Sforzas, hired da Vinci to decorate the dining hall of the Dominican monastery that adjoins to the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. In paying for da Vinici to decorate the refectory of the monastery, the Sforzas family was essentially trying to bribe the monks to allow their family to be buried in the church.
Going into it, I was a little skeptical and worried about how impressive it would actually be. Obviously any work by an artist as profoundly talented as da Vinci is impressive. But I knew that the fresco has been slowing fading and peeling away since it was finished in 1498.
What can you say about seeing The Last Supper? Wow! It definitely exceeded my expectations. I had an audio guide while looking at it, and I learned so much new information I didn’t know before.
This fresco was pretty rebellious for the era in which it was done. Depictions of the last supper scene are typically just a meal between Jesus and his disciples. Da Vinci, however, chose to depict the moment right after Jesus said “surely, one of you will betray me.” This depiction shows the raw emotional responses of the disciples right at this moment.
Everything I had ever read about visiting The Last Supper said absolutely no photography- so I didn’t even bother bringing my SLR camera. When I got there, they had changed it to no FLASH photography. So, I only have phone pictures from my visit. When I go back with my family, I’ll definitely bring my SLR.
June 27 (Lake Iseo & Floating Piers)
Mid-afternoon, I made my way from Milan to the town of Sulzano on Lake Iseo. The town of Sulzano is about 65 miles east of Milan; two hours by train.
My good friend and coworker, Craig, told me about a temporary art installation on Lake Iseo called Floating Piers. Since Lake Iseo is only about 65 miles from Milan, I decided to do a day trip to see the art installation. It was a stroke of good fortune that I happened to be in Milan and so close to Lake Iseo while the installation was up.
The Floating Piers was designed, created, and built by environmental artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The installation is a 1.8 mile stretch of temporary floating walkways covered in fabric across Lake Iseo.
The installation is only up for sixteen days, June 18 through July 3, and is free and open to the public 24/7.
“Those who experience The Floating Piers will feel like they are walking on water – or perhaps the back of a whale,” said Christo. “The light and water will transform the bright yellow fabric to shades of red and gold throughout the sixteen days.”
To read more about the project, click here.
It truly was a once in a lifetime experience that I was so fortunate to experience.
I left the piers around 12:45am and got in line to get on the first of two trains to get back to Milan. Once I arrived at the Brescia train station, around 2:30am, I had to wait about three hours until my next train. My train from Brescia to Milan left around 5:3oam. I didn’t get back to the apartment until around 7:45am.
Because of my crazy all night adventure the night before, I chose to rest for most of the day.
At 8pm, I went to La Scala Opera to attend Giuseppe Verdi’s Opera Simon Boccanegra. It is hard to put into words what an amazing experience it was.
The DHAM clan arrives Wednesday, June 29th!!