milan / 37 posts found

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.

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.

Brera market

Things to do in Milan this week – January 18-24

Things to do in Milan this week – January 18-24

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

Die Fliedermaus at La Scala

Die Fliedermaus at La Scala

OPERA – An extraordinary debut at La Scala Opera House: Johann Strauss’ Die Fliedermaus is performed for the first time in Milan, conducted by Cornelius Meister and directed by Cornelius Obonya. It is such a funny, sparkling, surprising opera, or rather “operetta”, light opera, that in spite of being sung in German it can be enjoyed by really everybody. In any case, subtitles in English are provided. Find here more info about last minute tickets.

FREE – Saturday 20, at 9 pm, the choir “Amici del Loggione” will sing in Palazzina Libery, an Art Nouveau building located in the middle of a park. The address is Largo Marinai d’Italia. Palazzina Liberty used to be the headquarters of Dario Fo’s theatrical company, when the Nobel-awarded writer and playwriter was still considered by mainstream critics as a subversive agitator.

Sunday 21, at 5 pm, organ music is played in a magic location, the church of Saint Simpliciano, whose foundation dates back to the 4th century AD. It is located in Brera district, the fascinating neighborhood of Milan famous for its narrow streets of cobblestones, fine boutiques and cosy cafés.

FOODEataly means good food, and being housed in a former theatre it also means good music: every Wednesday at 6.30 pm, on Eataly stage, a jazz group will play while guests enjoy their aperitifs prepared by the Michelin-starred Alice restaurant. On January 24, the Bublitschki Band will entertain the audience with a mix of rithms from different cultures and traditions: Brazil, the Mediterranean, East Europe.

FLEA MARKET – Flea market may not be the exact definition for the antique-artisan-collectors market of Brera. Stalls will fill up of colours and scents the usually quiet Fiori Chiari, Madonnina and Formentini streets. Sunday 21, 10 am to 6 pm.

SPECIAL TIP – For cinema lovers, Anteo Palazzo del Cinema offers you the chance to enjoy fine food and film in the newly renovated Sala Nobel.  Usually movies in Italy are dubbed in Italian, unless the original version is played. This is the case for “Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Saturday 20 and Sunday 21, 1 pm).

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

 

 

Leonardo's horse

Where is Leonardo’s horse located?

Where is Leonardo’s horse located?
When we guide our guests around Milan, we are frequently asked a question: “Where is Leonardo’s horse located?“. The answer is a long, articulated story, so follow us in our quest of the famous statue.

Leonardo da Vinci spent decades of his life in Milan, a city that he truly loved. In 1482, Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, challenged him to build the largest equestrian statue the world had ever seen in honor of his father, Francesco. Always distracted by the most diverse projects and artistic works, only in 1493 Leonardo presented a 24’ clay model of the statue, from which a bronze horse could be made.
But those were troubled years, and when the Duchy of Milan was engaged in a war against the French, Ludovico Sforza confiscated the 80 tons of bronze that had been set aside for the horse to make weapons. Things got even worse, and in 1499 Milan was invaded by the French army, whose archers used the huge horse model for target practice, reducing it to ruins. Leonardo’s molds and sketches of the original horse were lost, and the project abandoned.

 

Leonardo, Study of horses

Leonardo, Study of horses

Now we have to move forward in time by 5 centuries and in space to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where a retired pilot and collector, Charles Dent, read in 1977 of an extraordinary finding: a few years before, the lost sketches of Leonardo’s horse had been found in the Biblioteca Nationale in Madrid.
He decided he would be the one to complete the project, with the collaboration of Japanese-American sculptor Nina Akamu. The outcome is not exactly what Leonardo had in mind. According to Akamu herself, “the sculpture which I created for the Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse Inc. … is not intended to be a recreation of his sculpture. However, it has been significantly influenced by certain works of art and writings from that period, and specifically Leonardo’s notebooks and accompanying drawings with great emphasis on his involvement with the Sforza monument.“
The final, giant bronze horse was finally installed in Milan in 1999, but unfortunately Charles Dent died before he could see it.

It now stands, proud and bold, at the entrance to the secondary grandstand of the San Siro gallop racetrack in Milan.
If you are interested in Leonardo’s life and works, and want to know more about its closeness with our beautiful city, join us on a guided walking tour of Milan. We have plenty of stories to tell you and places to show you!

Palazzo Lombardia

Things to do in Milan this week – January 11-17

 

Things to do in Milan this week – January 11-17

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

Ducati Store

Ducati Store

NEW OPENING – 1.400 square meters the showroom, 700 square meters the repair workshop. This is the new Ducati Store recently opened in Milan. Ducati fans will find accessories and clothings, such as helmets, bags, gloves, jackets, but above all the whole range of Ducati motorbikes, including the latest models.

MUSIC – Museo del Novecento, in Duomo square, is the unusual location for a concert of contemporary music on Sunday 14, at 11 am. Luca Avanzi (oboe), Lorenzo Gorli (violin), Elena Casoli (guitar), Maria Grazia Bellocchio (piano) will play music written by Bruno Maderna. A fantastic chance to visit a fascinating collection of paintings and sculptures by the greatest Italian artists of the XX century. The breathtaking view of Duomo square from the museum is a plus.

EXHIBITIONS – The voice of Maria Callas will accompany you in the visit of an exhibition dedicated to the grand dame of opera, open until the end of January in Museo Teatrale della Scala. Photographs, sketches, jewels used during famous performances, such as “La traviata” directed by Luchino Visconti in 1955.

Bagni Misteriosi

Bagni Misteriosi

LEISUREBagni Misteriori is the leisure area next to a famous Milanese theatre, Teatro Franco Parenti. Built in the Thirties and recently restored, during winter its swimming pool turns into a floating skating rink surrounded by a magical atmosphere. Complete your experience with a glass of vin brulé or a cup of hot chocolate. It is open on weekdays 4.30-7.30 pm, Saturdays and Sunday 10.30 am to 7.30 pm.

SPECIAL TIP – Visit the 39th floor of Palazzo Lombardia, where Regione Lombardy has its Headquarters. The belvedere (at the height of 160 meters) offers a 360-degreee view of the city and in particular of the newly developped Porta Nuova district, with its daring and elegant high-rise buildings. No booking is requested. Open 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday 14th. Palazzo Lombardia is in piazza Città di Lombardia, Nucleo 1.

MUST DO – A guided walking tour with Mirella & Valeria :-)