Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Primo giorno per Xavi

As Milan is only a six hour flight from New York, Monica, Paul and Xavi visited last week for an autumn break. Although they arrived at lunchtime it was a busy first day for Xavi.
First a quick stroll to the local train.
A quick refuel on piccola pasticceria,

then on to Parco Sempione for a strange Italian rope-balancing game.
After an exciting ride home on the tram

it was easy to eat hands-free pizza while watching Peppa Pig.
And of course it's never too late to finish the day with a quick gelato from the local gelateria.

Grazie Xavi per un grande primo giorno a Milano da tua zia e lo zio.

Sunday, 3 November 2013


When I saw these chocolatey looking biscotti suddenly appear in the window of our local pasticceria Fontana e Fontana  a couple of weeks ago, I asked if they were for a special occasion.  I was told that Pan dei Morti - Bread of the Dead are cakes/biscuits made specially to celebrate All Souls Day. .

Although the Italians don't celebrate Halloween in the same style as Americans - well, not yet anyway - the 1st and 2nd of November are important dates in the Italian calendar.  The first, All Saints Day, is a public holiday and the second is All Souls Day. On this day every year families throughout Italy visit the cemetery to remember loved ones who have passed away.

I'm not one for cemeteries. I don't find them comforting nor particularly interesting, so I tend to avoid them. But yesterday morning, as it was All Souls Day, I surprised Stefano by suggesting that we visit Milan's famous Cimitero Monumentale
So off we went and joined the Milanese as they bought flowers and tended the graves of their family and loved ones. This is no ordinary cemetery. In fact it's one of Milan's most popular tourist attractions. They come to see the sculptures of beautiful artworks adorning the graves of the famous, and not so famous, past residents of Milan.   

There was one grave in particular which attracted quite a crowd. People stood silently praying, others knelt on the steps crowded with plants, while young children wrote notes and posted them in a small box attached to the simple glass and metal frame. It was evident that Don Luigi Giuassani, a theologian and educator from Milan is still much loved.
 It's hard not to be moved by the beautiful sculptures adorning so many of the tombs, both old and new alike.
As we strolled through these incredible monuments we too remembered our much loved fathers and some dear friends. May they rest in peace.

Stiamo ottenendo entusiasti i nostri visitatori che arrivano Domenica prossima. Ciao fino ad allora.