Thursday, December 9, 2010
Weekend in Milano
In lieu of the Thanksgiving break we would have celebrated back in the states, we took advantage of the 3 days that the Spanish have off in early December to visit Milan. It was a cold few days with a mix of rain and sleet, but we managed to stay warm with plenty of cappuccinos and wine.
The crown jewel of Milan is of course the Duomo, which is a massive structure that rises from the center of the city. The Gothic cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world, with an exterior covered in huge slabs of a pinkish colored marble. It was truly an impressive sight.
The highlight of the trip for us was the visit to the Santa Maria delle Grazie church. The convent's refectory houses Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper mural. Tickets have to be purchased in advance as only groups of 25 are permitted to visit at a time, and only for 15 minutes. The painting started deteriorating only 6 years after da Vinci completed it, due to a technique that he was experimenting with. It underwent a 20 year restoration (1979-99) and in effort to further preserve it, visitors must go through a series dehumidifying chambers before entering the room. We could have stood there for hours marveling at the fresco.