Wednesday, February 23, 2011

La Vie En Rose: New Year in Europe

Friday, January 7, 2011 - Milan, Italy

Before we knew it, the end of our vacation had arrived. We woke up early on Friday to enjoy breakfast at the hotel, which was pretty extensive as far as continental breakfast goes, and get an early start on walking to Brand New Gallery. We'd heard that Via Farini was the new up-and-coming gallery section of Milan. Having walked a large section of it in the rain, and arriving at a very closed Brand New Gallery, we have determined that this is a lie. That, or "up-and-coming" means "no where near up yet." Oh, rainy Milan. You were so harsh.

We walked ever further to the Castello Sforzesco, a 14th century castle that now hosts a variety of Italian art pieces and artifacts. Roger was extremely happy to see the Rondanini Pietà, Michelangelo's last sculpture, and I loved seeing a room designed by Leonardo Da Vinci, with a ceiling covered in paintings of trees, and the coolest devil automaton from a 16th century wunderkammer. We wandered slowly around the several museums housed in the castle, knowing (from our brief forays between buildings) just how cold it was outside. I don't think I've ever been so happy to look at paintings.

Eventually, we did have to leave, though. We wandered briefly through another arts district, Brera, which had lovely cobblestone streets and some interesting shops, back to the Duomo area to get my mother her souvenir of choice, a magnet. Exhausted, cold, and soaked, we headed back to the hotel to rest and dry off for a while, picking up some fun Italian treats at a grocery store on the way. The break at the hotel was much needed, and I'm so glad we stayed in a nicer place for our last few days on the vacation.

When the rain had abated a bit, we headed back out for dinner at Da Maruzella, a really, really good little restaurant just a quick walk from our hotel. When we arrived, it was very crowded, but we gave them my name (turns out Maffei is easier for Italians to understand than Arnold. Who would have thought?), and only had a 15 minute or so wait. We ordered a carafe of the house red wine, which was good, and started our meal with a prosciutto and arugula pizza, which was, um, amazing. And, by all means, big enough to fill both of us up. We continued our way through a delicious risotto Milanese and fluffy gnocchi, splitting everything between us. The meal was the perfect ending to a really lovely trip, filled with shared food, wine, and love. I could not have been happier.

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