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Milan in movies

THINGS TO DO IN MILAN THIS WEEK – JANUARY 16-22

Things to do in Milan this week – January 16-22

The best things to do in Milan this week, including Music, Art, Museums, Shopping and Restaurants, chosen by Bella Milano Tours.

East Market

East Market

VINTAGE MARKET – East Market, located in an old aeronautical factory, is the first marketplace  where everyone can buy, sell or swap any kind of stuff: antiques, furniture, vintage, second hand, sneakers, vynil, curiosities, oddities and old collections. There is also a food court, and plenty of stalls where you can taste any kind of food. Next edition is on Sunday Jan 20, from 10 am to 9 pm. Entrance is free. East Market is in via Mecenate 84 (tram 27 from piazza Fontana, at the back of Duomo).

MILANO IN THE MOVIES – Palazzo Morando, formerly the elegant house of a noble lady, is hosting an exhibition about the close relationship between Milan and the movie industry. For decades Milan has played a significant role in the development of cinema as an industry and as an art form, besides being the location of such famous movies as “Miracolo a Milano” by Vittorio de Sica and “La notte” by Michelangelo Antonioni. Palazzo Morando is right in the middle of the Fashion District, in via Sant’Andrea 6. The exhibition in open Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 8 pm.

LA SCALA – La Scala Opera House is, for music lovers, “the temple of music”. But getting tickets is so difficult, and they are so expensive. Yet there is a way to get cheap last-minute tickets, at the cost of 5 to 15 euro depending on the performance. All you have to do is queue in front of the ticket office on the same day of the performance, write your name in the waiting list, be back a couple of hours later for the roll-call and finally, just before the performance, redeem the last-minute ticket. More info here, on the official web site. On Jan 17, 18 and 19 do not miss celebrated conductor Riccardo Chailly directing Gustav Mahler’s Symphony nr. 6, a work that Mahler himself described as “tragic”.

Sant'Eustorgio basilica

Sant’Eustorgio basilica

FARMERS’ MARKET – Lombardy, the region of Milan, is the first agricoltural region in Italy in terms of output. On Tuesday Jan 22, in front of the ancient Basilica of Saint Eustorgio, you will have the chance to taste local products and specialities at the weekly farmers’ market. It is held in the morning, 8.30 am to 2 pm, and includes stalls of local artisans with their typical creations. Do not forget to visit the church itself, a precious example of Romanesque architecture, and the famous Cappella Portinari, entirely frescoed by the Renaissance artist Vincenzo Foppa.

MUST DO – A guided walking tour in Milan with us! This week we recommend the Aperitivo Tour: a taste of Italy in 4 delicious stops.

Bansky at Mudec

THINGS TO DO IN MILAN THIS WEEK – JANUARY 9-16

Things to do in Milan this week – January 9-16

The best things to do in Milan this week, including Music, Art, Museums, Shopping and Restaurants, chosen by Bella Milano Tours.

Fabrizio De André

Fabrizio De André

CANTATA ANARCHICAFabrizio De André was an Italian singer-songwriter,  or rather a poet who – like Jacques Brel and Leonard Cohen – put his own words to music. On the tenth anniversary of his death, January 11th, his fans will remember him with “Cantata anarchica“, a spontaneous gathering in Duomo square starting from 8 pm. Everybody is invited to join in singing and playing, and if you don’t know De André’s music, don’t worry: just enjoy the warm embrace of a crowd still passionately loving and missing this great artist.

SAINT ANTHONY BONFIRE - Saint Anthony is the patron saint of pets and livestock, and he is traditionally celebrated with a bonfire on January 17th. This year the bonfire will be anticipated on Sunday 13th at Cascina Linterno, from 3.30 pm until 7 pm, where a famers’ market will welcome visitors. During the afternoon the ceremony of the blessing of animals will be celebrated, and after sunset the fire will be kindled, accompanied by music, dances and vin brulé (mulled wine).

The easiest way to get to Cascina Linterno is by bus 67 from the metro station Bande Nere (Red Line).

FLEA MARKET – On Sunday 20th, the traditional Flea Market will flood with its stalls the narrow, cobblestone streets of the picturesque Brera district. Antiques and vintage furniture, handmade accessories, fancy jewels: a treasure trove for everybody. In via Brera, at the corner with via Fiori Chiari and via Fiori Scuri, from 8 am to 6.30 pm.

BANSKYThe art of Bansky. A visual protest is one of the most successful exhibition in Milan at the moment. Mudec museum is the first public Italian museum to host a monographic exhibition of this elusive and misterious artist, showcasing about 80 works including paintings, sculptures and prints, accompanied by objects, photographs, and videos, about 60 album and CD covers, which the artist himself curated, and about forty pieces of memorabilia (lithographs, stickers, prints, magazines, fanzines, tickets, promotional flyers), that retrospectively describe the work and thinking of Banksy.

And no, no painting will self-destruct during the exhibition.

La Scala Opera House

La Scala Opera House

OPERA – Remember Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, desperately sobbing at the opera? You have a heart of stone, if you don’t shed your tears for the fate of Violetta in Verdi’s most celebrated work. La Traviata will be directed by Myung-Whun Chung at La Scala from January 11th. If you have no ticket, don’t worry: here you will find all info needed to purchase last-minute, super-cheap tickets.

MUST DO – A guided walking tour in Milan with us!
Carolina Kostner

Leonardo da Vinci at the World Figure Skating Championship

Leonardo da Vinci at the World Figure Skating Championship

Our beloved Leonardo da Vinci will be protagonist tonight at the opening ceremony of the World Figure Skating Championship, which this year is being hosted by our city, Milan.

Leonardo is a constant presence in Bella Milano guided walking tours and in this blog; after all, he lived here 25 years of his life, the longest period of time that he  spent in just one place. And he dearly loved Milan, the city where he could follow all his many interests, where his versatility was truly appreciated, and his genius could blossom freely.

For tonight’s ceremony, the renowned choreographer Corrado Giordani, art director of the event, has focused on three key elements.

Vitruvian Man

Vitruvian Man

The one that everybody will recognize is the Vitruvian Man. The most famous of Leonardo’s drawings, it depicts a man in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and inscribed in a circle and square. An iconic picture, so widespread that it can be found even on Nasa spacesuits, the Vitruvian Man represents the ideal proportions of the human body and its relationship with nature: the close adherence between man and the world, microcosm and macrocosm. What is better proportioned than the elegant athletes that will skate in Milan’s Assago Forum?

The second key element will be the snowflake, a symbol of nature’s ingenuity in creating something that Leonardo considered superior to any human design.

Finally, tonight’s coreography will focus on the flying man, the dream of Leonardo, who dedicated a great deal of his genius and time to the invention of a flying machine.
Milan houses two splendid exhibits of Leonardo’s inventions. A gallery of wooden models of some of his most famous projects is in Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia, the Science and Tecnology Museum (which is by the way named after Leonardo!).
A truly fascinating exhibition is The World of Leonardo, where real life size flying machines (thoroughly explained by videos and interactive screens) allow to understand the struggle and the successes of Leonardo in trying to turn the dream of flying into reality.

The logo

The logo

From tonight until the end of the week, we will have the pleasure of watching amazing skaters fly on ice with elegance and harmony. Leonardo would have greatly appreciated.

P.S. Look carefully at the logo of this year’s World Figure Skating Championship: can you spot a knot? Well, that is another decorative motif connected to Leonardo. Follow us on a guided walking tour of Milan and we will tell you more!

March 21, 2018

Italiana 1971-2001

Italiana: Italy through the Lens of Fashion, 1971-2001

Italiana: Italy through the Lens of Fashion, 1971-2001

Milan is one of the top international fashion capital, and elegance is everywhere as you walk around the city: in the high-end shops, in the businesswomen dressed in black and graciously wearing high heels, in the quiet courtyards of the historic centre.
If your interest in fashion is half as strong as ours, do not miss a new exhibition recently opened at Palazzo Reale: Italiana: Italy through the Lens of Fashion, 1971-2001.

Italiana 1971-2001

Italiana 1971-2001

“Italiana” celebrates the Italian fashion system in 3 key decades that shaped the world of today. The starting point, 1971, is the year that symbolically marks the break with high fashion and the beginning of the period of Italian ready-to-wear: in 1971 fashion designer Walter Albini chose Milan for the  first show of his line, and in that same period the women’s liberation movement emerged in Italy.
On the opposite end, 2001 is the year that marks the transition between two centuries, the year of the attacks of 9/11, but also the period when Italian fashion finally became a global phenomenon.

Fashion is a complex, polycentric phenomenon that draws on a whole range of expertise and intelligence, involving such diverse players as designers, industrialists, artists, architects and intellectuals. Industry and art converge into fashion, and in Italiana you will get to know its protagonists. From the industrial production of quality clothing in the 70s to the system centered on the fashion designer that emerged and triumphed over the course of the eighties; from the names and brands that in the nineties shaped a global economy of styles, to the new figure of the creative director.
As the subtitle of the exhibition reads, fashion can be seen as a lens, a key to the understanding of Italy. Fashion reflects the social, political and cultural history of Italy, and “Italiana” will take you on a voyage of discovery of the Italian soul.

Pink FLoyd Legend

Things to do in Milan this week – February 22-28

Things to do in Milan this week – February 22-28

The best things to do in Milan this week, including Music, Art, Museums, Shopping and Restaurants, chosen by Bella Milano Tours.

Simply the Best 2018

Simply the Best 2018

WINE FESTIVAL – “Simply the Best” is the name of a wine festival that will be hosted in Museo della Scienza e Tecnologia on Monday 26. The top 50 Italian wine producers, chosen among those awarded by the most authoritative wine guides, will offer tastings of their best wines. Ticket: 25 euro, tastings included. In via Olona 6, open 5 pm to 9.30 pm.

PINK FLOYD TRIBUTE – The Italian group Pink Floyd Legend is the only one who since 2012 plays the Pink Floyd album “Atom Heart Mother” integrally, accompanied by a symphonic orchestra and choir (as in the original recording). A two-hour music and light show, made even more impressive by a circular 5 mt screen. Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Monday 26, 9 pm.

ART – A rich exhibition about German painter Albrecht Durer has just opened at Palazzo Reale, in Duomo square. More than 130 works from 40 international museum are on display, including watercolours, oils, drawings, manuscripts, side by side with a selection of works by other German artists such as Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Altdorfer. Open 9.30am-7.30pm, Monday 2.30-7.30 pm, Thu and Sat 9.30am-10.30 pm,

Albrecht Durer, Portrait of a young Venetian woman

Albrecht Durer, Portrait of a young Venetian woman

FREE CLASSICAL MUSIC – Friday 23, 5.30 pm, in Biblioteca Sormani (the public library of Milan), Sala del Grechetto, lecture-concert about Bach. Saturday 24, 8.30 pm, in Tempio Valdese, via Francesco Sforza 12, trio concerts by Beethoven and Schubert. Sunday 25, 6 pm, in Conservatorio, Bach and Mozart music for harpsichord. Monday 26, 9 pm, in Auditorium Gaber, Anna Dmytrenko will play works for piano by Rachmaninoff, Ciaikovskij, Coorelli, Barber.

ANTIQUES MARKET – On Sunday 25, along the picturesque Naviglio Grande (in the Canal district), the Antiques Market of Navigli consists of  over 380 stalls where you can hunt down art, furniture and jewellery. From 9 am to 7 pm. Stop at one of the cafés for a bountiful aperitif or a charming dinner along the quiet waters of the canal.

MUST DO – A guided walking tour in Milan with us! :-)

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo – from Mexico to Milan

Frida Kahlo – From Mexico to Milan

Frida Kahlo was a fascinating woman and an original artist. Her works are as colourful as her native Mexico,  but they also have strong autobiografical elements, representing a sort of sincere, disarming diary of her life. And what a life!

Self-portrait, 1940

Self-portrait, 1940

The best way to get to know this remarkable figure of the past century is to visit the recently opened exhibitionFrida Kahlo – Beyond the myth“, at Mudec in Milan, which lays bare Frida’s soul through her oils, drawings, watercolours, letters and photographs.

Frida Kahlo was born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Calderon in 1907 to a Hungarian/German-Jewish father and a mother of Spanish and Mexican Indian descent. Later, Frida proudly claimed to have changed the German spelling of her name from “Frieda” to “Frida”.

Becoming a painter was not a part of Frida’s career goals, yet her dream of becoming a doctor vanished when, at the age of 18, she suffered a tragic car accident that devastated her body. During her convalescence, Frida began to take painting seriously “to combat the boredom and pain” she said. Over the next three decades, she would produce a relatively small yet consistent and arresting body of work. She developed a sort of folkloric style of painting, quite unique, both drawing from the popular artistic tradition of her country and also reflecting the influence of her husband Diego Rivera, a celebrated Mexican muralist.

The wounded deer, 1946

The wounded deer, 1946

All her works, meticulously painted, somehow captures the multifaceted aspects of her personality: the constant physical pain she endured all her life; her inability to have children; the emotional distress caused by her turbulent relationship with Rivera; her political activism.

But what will strike visitors will be the extraordinary mix of sensuality, wit and irony that her paintings reveal. In spite of her lifelong physical ordeals, her work is a hymn to life and to the unstoppable force of nature.

During these cold grey February days, an exhibition that will lift the spirit!

 

February 21st, 2018

 

"The Fourth Estate"

Things to do in Milan this week – February 1-7

Things to do in Milan this week – February 1-7

The best things to do in Milan this week, including Music, Art, Museums, Shopping and Restaurants, chosen by Bella Milano Tours.

Olio Officina Festival

Olio Officina Festival

OIL CULTURE – From Thursday 1 to Saturday 3, visit the seventh edition of Olio Officina Festival, with tastings, lectures, and events about extra vergin oil. Producers from all over the world will be there, for a sensory feast open to anybody. Vinegar, a usual companion to oil, will be co-protagonist. At Palazzo delle Stelline, corso Magenta 61. Free admission on Thursday, from 7 pm. Friday and Saturday, ticket 15 euro.

MUSIC – Concert rehearsals are always fascinating, with the conductor instructing the orchestra according to his own interpretation of the music. When La Scala Opera House is the venue, the event gets more juicy. Myung-Whun Chung will be on the podium on Sunday 4 at 10.30 am, rehearsing Brahms’ Concert for violin and orchestra op. 77. On Monday evening, the actual concert will be at 8 pm.

AUGMENTED REALITY – “The Fourth Estate” is an iconic painting by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, hanging in the central Museo del Novecento, just in Duomo square. It shows striking workers (members of the fourth estate) marching. Pellizza da Volpedo used a very peculiar technique, divisionism, in order to obtain the maximus possible luminosity. From Friday 2 to Sunday 4 you will be able to download an app which allows you to explore the painting in an extraordinary way, and to learn the stories of some of the men depicted. You may even take a picture of yourself together with the “man with the hat”. Free admission.

Cascina Cuccagna

Cascina Cuccagna

PHOTOGRAPHS – The photo album of Corporal Antonio R. born in 1913, accidentally found in a drawer after his Death, is on display at Cascina Cuccagna, a farmhouse magically surviving in Milan. Stop at the farmer’s market, have a snack or a proper meal at the restaurant, or simply enjoy a cup of tea at the café. In via Cuccagna 2.

MUST DO – A guided walking tour in Milan with us! :-)

 

 

Maurizio Cattelan

Who is Maurizio Cattelan?

Who is Maurizio Cattelan, and what does he have to do with Milan and our guided walking tours?

"The Ninth Hour"

“The Ninth Hour”

Cattelan, an Italian contemporary artist, has recently hit the news for a rather funny dispute involving the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Mr. Donald Trump and a very peculiar sculpture: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet — an interactive work titled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country. The whole story is rather funny, and that is no surprise when Cattelan is involved. Cattelan’s work , which have sold for millions of dollars, are often satirical and provocative, such as  a sculpture depicting Pope John Paul II lying on the ground after being hit by a meteorite.

He co-founded the magazine Toilet Paper (long before the Guggenheim’s “America”!) and in 2011 a retrospective exhibition of his works, “All”, was organized at the Guggenheim Museum, where all his works were hung up  like laundry to dry.
But Cattelan is also one of the protagonist of our guided tours, the creator of a sculpture that we admire at one of the stops in the Highlights and Beyond tour and an increasingly beloved highlight of our city. It is named “L.O.V.E.”, it proudly stands in front of the building where the Italian Stock Exchange is located, right in the middle of the financial district, and it represents… well,  an 11-metre white marble middle finger sticking straight up from an otherwise fingerless hand.

"L.O.V.E."

“L.O.V.E.”

Sheer vulgarity? Pointless provocation? Easy satire? Not at all, or maybe yes, in part, but that is not the whole story. Cattelan has always resisted interpreting his work, telling interviewers he would leave that to his audience. As it always is the case with art, multiple interpretations are possible.

Join us on a guided tour of our city, and we will reveal you the hidden messages of the naughty boy of the art world.

Affordable Art Fair

Things to do in Milan this week – January 25-31

Things to do in Milan this week – January 25-31

The best things to do in Milan this week, including Music, Art, Museums, Shopping and Restaurants, chosen by Bella Milano Tours.

ANTIQUES MARKET – On Sunday 28, along the picturesque Naviglio Grande (in the Canal district), the Antiques Market of Navigli consists of  over 350 stalls where you can hunt down art, furniture and jewellery. From 9 am to 7 pm. Stop at one of the cafés for a bountiful aperitif or a charming dinner along the quiet waters of the canal.

ART FAIR – From January 26 to 28 the Affordable Art Fair offers first-time collectors the chance to buy artworks at a decent price (maximum cost allowed: 6,000 euro). This is the 8th edition of AAF in Milan, involving 85 international art galleries. Do not expect famous names but take this as an opportunity to discover new emerging talents. At Superstudio Più, in via Tortona 27.

CLASSICAL MUSIC – On January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Milan will commemorate the tragedy of Shoah with a number of concerts; this is a selection of the ones which are free and located in special venues:

– in Palazzina Liberty, largo Marinai d’Italia, at 2.30 pm a concert of music based on Shakespears’s sonnets;

– in the Gothic church of San Cristoforo sul Naviglio, via San Cristoforo 3, at 4 pm music by Couperin played by an ensemble including flute, clavichord, violin, viola; in the same Church at 9 pm the ensemble “Hornpipe” will performe;

– at Conservatorio, in via Conservatorio 12, a youth choir will sing music by Mozart, Hindemith, Ilse Weber, Ravel, Rodrigo, Hemsi.

JAZZ – A rich weekend lays ahead: Salumeria della Musica, Blue Note, Masada are the places to be. The latter in particular will host guitarist David Torn in a live performance at 10 pm on Sunday 28. Info here.

Shoah Memorial

Shoah Memorial

SPECIAL TIP – Italy has its share of guilt in the persecution of Jews. In the years 1943–1945, fifteen trains left from Milan’s Central Railway Station carrying Jews and other persecuted people to concentration or death camps. Thousands of people were loaded onto livestock cars and taken away to be killed. The recently opened Shoah Memorial is a dramatic reminder of such past tragedy and a warning against fascism. It is located exactly in the area where deported people were gathered and loaded on the trains. Simply breathtaking.

MUST DO – A guided walking tour in Milan with us! :-)

 

 

 

 

Vertical Forest

Milan is growing green

One of our favourite places in Milan, when planning a guided walking tour for our clients, is the business district of Porta Nuova, and the reason for that is its perfect blend of daring architecture and nature, a living proof of how Milan is growing green.

Library of Trees - the project

Library of Trees – the project

Built during the last decade, Porta Nuova skyscrapers have transformed an abandoned area in a hip district bustling with life, with a keen eye on the importance of nature even in the middle of a big city. In the heart of the district, a “Library of Trees” is now being created, a 3,500 square meter green space that, when completed, will consist of 450 trees from 19 species, plus 90,000 plants including hedges, shrubs and climbers.

But this return to nature had already been anticipated by the now world-famous “Vertical Forest”: two residential tower blocks built in 2014 that are covered in 800 trees, 4,500 shrubs and 15,000 plants. If this forest was planted on the ground, it would cover 20,000 square meters – the size of three and a half football pitches.

Designed by architect Stefano Boeri, the vertical forests concept has proven so popular that similar projects have been commissioned for Lausanne in Switzerland, Utrecht in the Netherlands, and the Chinese cities of Nanjing and Liuzhou. The proposed Liuzhou Forest City is the most ambitious project yet: a new town with homes for 30,000 people, where buildings will be covered by 40,000 trees and 1 million plants. Each year the trees will absorb 10,000 tonnes of CO2 and 57 tonnes of pollutants, and produce about 900 tonnes of oxygen.

Boeri’s team of architects say the plants will also decrease the average air temperature, create noise barriers and boost biodiversity by creating a habitat for birds, insects and small animals.

The whole project is also a feast for the eyes: just walk around Porta Nuova district in early Spring, and you will be delighted by the wealth of colours and shapes and scents from the blooming trees.

With two-thirds of the world’s population predicted to be living in cities by 2050, Milan’s Vertical Forest and tree library might show the world a way to create healthier, happier urban spaces.

For a thorough experience in the area, follow our tips or contact us: we will be happy to guide you around this successful project, revealing you the many stories of the people who made it possible.