Read about my trip to Florence, Italy where between my weekend travels throughout Europe, Italian language courses, fashion marketing internship and Tuscan wine tastings on the weekends, I'm not sure if I'll ever want to return to "The States"...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The time I went to Milan for 5 euro.

Yesterday, I got to take a trip to Milano. That’s Milano the town as the Italians say it, not the cookie. I jumped at the opportunity to tag along with the field trip organized for the students in the “Da Vinci” class when we were told there were ten extra spots because I paid a grand total of five euro for round trip transportation and entrance to three different museums and churches. Compared to the 140 euro round trip trains I was looking at just to get to Milan, this was quite the steal.

I was disappointed that I was visiting the “Fashion Capital of Europe” and didn’t get to see anything but the inside of old buildings (except for a gelato shop during our lunch break of course) but I got to see the Duomo di Milano (stunning), the Da Vinci museum, the original “Last Supper” fresco, and the old castle of Milan. While inside Milan’s famous church, our teacher attempted to give us some background information but this was taken by security as an attempt to give us an illegal tour (which it was) so our threatening looking teacher, who was about 5’0” and 100 pounds, was escorted off the premises, leaving us to browse the church by ourselves for a few minutes before meeting up with our B.A. professoressa.

Next we hopped on the bus for a trip to the Da Vinci Museum. I am a huge Da Vinci fan and think he is absolutely fascinating so I was excited to see the museum dedicated to him and his work which included actual pages from his notebooks. Anyone who has read Dan Brown’s widely famous novel, The Da Vinci Code, can appreciate the fact that we were able to see the original Last Supper as well. Because it is a fresco and painted directly on the back wall of a Monastary, they have to be very careful about preserving it. Apparently you have to make a reservation to see the painting six months in advance and if you are late to your reservation time, there are no second chances at getting in. Since our appointment was at promptly three o’clock, our group of about 20 was patiently waiting outside the first of three sets of sliding glass doors to get in at five minutes till. One girl almost didn’t make it through the initial set of doors the first time around but luckily, after she stared at us with her sad puppy dog eyes while receiving no remorse from the grumpy old guard, they opened again after a few minutes to let her in. Once we got to the final set of air-tight doors to the room with the painting, we were herded in like cattle at exactly 3:00 before the doors quickly sealed behind us.

Though The Last Supper was very faded compared to the hundreds of images I googled on the internet after reading The Da Vinci Code ( apparently the reason for the mad amounts of security), it was amazing to see in person. It was painted on what was the back wall of a Monostary dining room so that while the Monks dined, they could look at the image and be reminded of the significance of communion when it originated at Jesus’ last supper before he was betrayed and crucified.

After our allotted time of 15 minutes to look at the painting was up, we headed over to the Castle where we basically ran around for awhile before viewing what must have been the torture chamber they used hundreds of years ago-quite disturbing. I was exhausted after our day of touring so I passed out for the entire four hour drive home while sprawled across the backseat of the bus. After waking up energized and ready to hit the town of Florence for what might be my last full weekend here, we headed off to a bar so “Americanized” that they took dollars for payment. The bar had different shots for college campuses across the US but they were missing the most important one. Since there were five of us there from Wisconsin, including Laura’s boyfriend who is visiting for the week, we created one and took the inaugural shot which consisted of tequila and grenadine. Yum? At least it reminded me of home even though we are on the other side of the pond.

Lots of activities in this upcoming week including two plays and two exams. What? Exams? Ugh. At least I’ll be rewarded with my trip to Switzerland this weekend! Baci!

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