Sunday, October 2, 2011

Last Day & Last Supper

Hard to believe that this was our last day in Italy. I feel, like our luggage, that we've packed culture so tightly into our heads, we are literally bursting at the seams. I'm not sure I could take much more! What are two girls in this predicament and no more room for trinkets to do...

How about a three-hour walking tour and viewing of Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper"?

Since I booked it months ago, which you MUST do in order to get in to see this work, we are off and running. Well, after I make eggs and we futz around with luggage and such. That makes us a tad bit late, so we hop in a cab instead of making mom sprint again. Arriving at the meeting spot in front of the Duomo, there's a bit of congestion due to the Ferrari club of Milan gathering to show of their cars. My inner crow is drawn to the pretty and I am separated from our group. I actually am a tiny bit panicked when I can't see anyone and imagine I've. Issued the tour and lost mom. Until I hear her yelling for me over the din of the revving engines and gaggles of pigeons and people milling about. 

Amazing how no matter where you are, you can always hear your mother when she calls. Sure, sometimes you pretend not to hear... as a kid, playing outside as dusk settled. It's just such a familiar sound. Of course, she's calling my name, too, so maybe I'm being a bit dramatic. 

Today is a day for drama, starting with this stunning building and the tour around it. Sadly, there is a mass happening inside and we are unable t take a look, but there is plenty to see outside. The sets of massive doors on the front, each panel telling a story. The statue of Moses with horns. A story about a Dolce & Gabbana advertisement placed on the back of the structure on scaffolding during a renovation project. This is typical to raise money to pay for the restorations, but this particular ad was of a woman clad only in underwear. It caused quite an uproar. The former arch bishop, apparently a guy with a sense of humor, pointed out that the statue of Eve is naked, so what's the difference? It was still removed after a few short months. Funny. even more so to me because the history of Italy is steeped in paganism, adoration and love of the human form. Then Constantinople ends the persecution of the Christians and the Catholic Church brings an about face of modesty to the country that is contadicted by so much of it's tradition and history that it appears almost hypocritical. Naked statues here, prim and proper there, and the buying of indulgences in the middle.

But what do I know?

We tour through a darling little neighborhood, Brera, which is closed up tighter than a drum on a Sunday. Milan is a little funny like that. Not much is open late. In Rome and Florence, and even Venice, some shops were open past 10:00 PM. We stop at a darling little patisserie and have a snack with the group and then head toward the Cadtello and eventually, the painting we've all been waiting to see.

Like most things here in Italy, I'm not sure what to make of it until I'm sitting in front of it. It's quite something, but also simple in it's beauty. The painting was made to decorate the room where monks at the church would dine. As is tradition, one wall would have a last supper image, the opposing, the crucifixion. That reminds me... apparently the Duomo Has several of the nails used in the actual act. Macabre. Da Vinci's work is deteriorated, but now less magnificent. He is an artist I have always admired, particularly for his precision and, like me, perfectionism. It's a terrible affliction and those of us suffering with it ought to stick together.

Afterwards, we meander through gelato heaven and the square near the Duomo for hugs...

...and birds...

...before hitting a few stores on our way back to the apartment. 

Our hostess here in Milan, Paola, and I discovered when I was making the booking that we were born just a few days apart. She makes gorgeous jewelry (, and so we've brought her a small gift of one of mom's stone bracelets for the occasion and we plan to go have a drink to celebrate. We have planned to get together at 6:00 PM tonight, but we have been running around and didn't call. Regardless, promptly on time, she and her husband, Luca, arrive to collect us. They've made dinner reservations for mom and I at a lovely place, and brought us an unbelievably thoughtful gift of some homemade pasta. We head over to her showroom for a little tour, and I pick out a pair of lovely earrings to buy, but Paola won't hear of it. They are a lovely, lovely gift.

We have such a nice time over a glass of wine and a drink Paola orders that looks like it is in a double sized glass with half a banana and laden with other fruits. Totally fun, and we laugh that Luca has to help her finish it. We have such a nice, easy conversation that it feel like we've known each other for a long time. This is someone I hope to stay in touch with. They may be planning a trip to Florida for Christmas, so hopefully we will have the chance to chow the same warm hospitality there. What a fabulous way to wrap up our visit here.

Packed up and ready to go. I know hearing this will make some of you a little sad. But don't worry... I'll be back tomorrow and have a few other posts to tantalize you with before this journey, too concludes. 

Until then, I thought I would ask if there is anything particular you would like to know? Leave a comment, sent us an an email or Facebook post and let us know. Mom will be delivering a sum-up, too, so don't forget her. We've really enjoyed all your comments and thoughtful notes over the last month. It's what makes doing this fun. Yes, even when you are writing because you are addicted and mad I'm not posting regularly! 

Send us good vibes for the flight... when I tried to check in, there was no record of our reservation.

Did you expect anything less?

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