* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Monday, July 25, 2016

PR Meet-up Milano

PR Milano 1Last spring, I had the privilege for the first time of meeting in person a new friend I'd made on my favorite sewing website.  That pleasure was extended recently by getting to meet two more users of the site.

One visit was fairly local, like the first one, but the second one involved a day's trip into Italy, which we turned into a mini-vacation get-away.

I thought I'd show you some of what we did.

Several months ago, I was contacted by Maryfrana in Northern CA who was going to be doing a house exchange nearby and wanted to know where to shop for fabric.  When she got over here, we arranged to meet at the lovely villa she was staying at.  We had a lovely dinner together and set a date for fabric shopping.

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Maryfrana and Alpine Queen with their guys in the South of France
Unfortunately, her schedule didn't end up allowing for that, so it was nice we had that initial dinner.  I was so involved in meeting her that I forgot to pay attention to the beautiful shirt she had made for the Mister.  However, my own Doc Leo did take note and was quite impressed.

Perhaps one day our physical paths will cross again, but now I have a new virtual friend!

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Material Excess, the Kidlet, the Duomo -- in Milano
In the meantime, I discovered that another acquaintance I've had a lot of online contact with was coming to Italy for her summer vacation.  I contacted her to find out where she'd be in case it might be close enough to us.  As she was flying home from Milano, we decided that was adequately nearby to make a little trip worthwhile.

We ended up picking her and her ten-year-old up from the train station, the Doc stored her luggage in our car and then amused himself the rest of the day, while Material Excess, the Kidlet, and I explored the Duomo area of the city.

The Duomo is Milano's main attraction, in my opinion.  It has been undergoing restoration for years and is finally nearly finished.  It was beautiful before, but it is totally stunning now.  It is Italy's largest cathedral and third largest in the world.

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The beautiful interior of the XIV century Duomo in Milano

The interior has also undergone major restoration over the years I've been able to visit it, as the Doc used to have many client visits I was able to tag along on.

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The vaulted ceiling

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The right transept
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Stained glass in the ambulatory

Stained glass is always pretty, but it can be pretty hard to photograph, especially when flash is not allowed.

I think these two examples show up fairly well the general aspect, although the stone is the same color throughout!

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Underground chapel
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Seamstresses among the spires
I'd never visited the underground crypt area before, but I found this chapel really pretty.

After visiting the main interior, we all climbed the 400+ steps to the various rooftop levels and survived to tell about it.

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Spires reaching to the sky
There are 145 spires and 155 gargoyles, as well as over 2,000 exterior statues.

The Kidlet was rather  surprised to discover that the funny gargoyles act as drainage spouts, as do a few of the giant statues.

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600-year-old masonry

Touring the rooftop area was amazing. 

There was just no way I could capture it on camera with my normal model, but hopefully you can still grasp the majesty.

Despite all the years of cleaning and renovation, there were still areas of scaffolding!

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A science fiction kind of flower
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Hidden in a staircase

There were so many areas of stonework, it all became a blur.  But I've picked a few fun features for your enjoyment of how capricious stone artists were 500 years ago.

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The Duomo Plaza from the stars

Of course, it's always fun to be up high and look down on the ant-sized humans below, and this time was no exception. 

I've always been at the bottom being looked down upon.

This is a beautiful view of the main plaza in front of the cathedral.

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Bird's eye view of an old pedestrian area
I was also able to see the more pedestrian side street, which I've walked many times!

The dark red brick building in the center is one of the first Medieval markets I ever visited, and one never forgets the first times.

The buildings on the right are major shopping areas we later visited.

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All the way at the top with Saint Mary of the Nativity
Finally, we reached the top!  How disappointing to finally get there just to find more scaffolding covering the whole front.

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Yay, we reached the highest roof!

The tourists, also from Northern CA, were happy to find a place finally to sit and rest a few minutes before starting the trek back down.

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Chocolate delight
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A great afternoon snack
Immediately after the Kidlet requested something chocolate, we came across this chocolate ice cream store.

Oh, how it fit the bill exactly! 

What a delightful little repose.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, mid-XVIII century

Our first shopping stop was the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II , one of the oldest shopping centers in the world, built around 150 years ago. 

I've never been able to capture it with a normal camera, but you can get a 360° view here.  (Be sure to check out the huge dome in the center ceiling.)

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A gorgeous shopping setting
I knew I was taking the visitors there, so I took advantage of capturing an elevated view while we were on the Duomo rooftops.

The day was gray and stormy, which kept it from being too hot but made gray photos. 

The weather stayed dry while we were on the rooftops, but it totally let loose when we were under cover in the Galleria.  In fact, I think the building got hit with lightening while we were in it, which was rather startling!

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Three bracelets, please
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Seamstresses don't need Prada

The Kidlet seems to like pretty jewelry, so I took her to the Swarovski store right in the center. 

She definitely has already started developing some good taste!

Then Material Excess checked out what the Devil might be currently wearing at Prada.

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Americans wining and dining in Milano, Italy

After a fun day of exploring and shopping, we took the metro to meet Doc Leo.

After installing the tourists at their hotel next to the airport, we all went to dinner at a nice Italian-menu restaurant. 

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The Kidlet

It was a wonderful day's experience and totally worth the travel to meet these lovely people.

As the Kidlet is also registered on Pattern Review, it will be exciting to watch for her own personal reviews as she grows up under her mother's tutelage. 

And again, perhaps one day our physical paths will cross once more.


  1. So much fun to re-visit the Duomo through your post! We didn't go on the roof - I didn't even know that was possible!! I remember the Galleria too. Thanks!

  2. Looks like a wonderful time! Beautiful photos. Thank you so much for sharing this lovely tour. :)

  3. Looks like a wonderful time! Beautiful photos. Thank you so much for sharing this lovely tour. :)

  4. OK, this is the one I've been looking for, your actual visit with your sewing buddy. What a splendid thing to do, go to Milan to meet her and you all had a fantastic time. How neat is this. Happy for every time one of these adventures is such a success.


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