Giorno tre – Milano

Duomo Milano. After the Andrea Bocelli concert.

Once again I am astounded with the fantastic transportation systems in Europe, particularly the trains. We had a 2 ½ hour train ride from Rome to Milan and it couldn’t have been more pleasant (well, other than the ear-wax guy). The seats are comfortable, and you have a table in front of you, with power! We were able to relax, complete our writing/photo editing and have a snack all while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

The whole purpose of this side trip was in order for us to attend the Andrea Bocelli benefit concert at the Milano Duomo. The money raised was to support the Haiti orphans of the earthquake victims. This Duomo (cathedral) is over 600 years old with the construction starting in 1386 and ending in 1810.  It is the fourth largest church in Europe, and one of the last Gothic churches built (the gothic style was losing popularity in favor of the more vogue Renaissance style domes).

All of those details are nothing compared to actually seeing the magnificent grandeur, and I do mean GRANDEUR of this cathedral. The spires, the statues, the pure detail is absolutely awe inspiring.

After Carl finished the photo editing, cropping, resizing and uploading of our first blog post (trust me people, it’s a significant effort), we got dressed in our finest attire and set out for the Duomo. We checked in to be sure where we needed to enter and when we needed to be in line (the concert didn’t start until 9:00 p.m. – love the time schedules of the European’s—I was clearly born in the wrong country). We then headed out to a nice dinner and found a great spot very near the Duomo. After a lovely appetizer of Gnochinni – fabulous – Carl enjoyed an amazing veal dish and I had a lovely swordfish with fresh shrimp and, of course, a ½ carafe of red wine. The food here does not disappoint. We only wish we would have had time for dessert and espresso.

My breath left me and I was utterly speechless the moment we entered the Duomo. I could not believe how magnificent it was. I captured a million pictures in my mind, which is good, because we weren’t allowed to take photos inside. The Duomo was built to hold 40,000 people, which was the entire population of Milan at the time of completion. I don’t know how many people were at the concert, but it was very full. It was also a great representation of the culture of Italy, and particularly Milan. There was high fashion everywhere you looked. Sequins, furs and suits were the norm. I was SO pleased we had taken the extra suitcase space to bring Carl’s new suit.

The only down side, and I mention this reluctantly, is that although I could have listened to Andrea Bocelli all night long, in addition to the elation and joy of his music, there was also the excruciating pain of sitting on a most uncomfortable church pew for 2 ½ hours (clearly designed to keep the parishioners upright and awake during long church services). We were so packed in we couldn’t even move and poor Carl had one butt cheek off the edge of the pew the entire concert. But, again, 100% totally, most assuredly worth it!

Enough complaining already, we know how blessed we are. As if Andrea Bocelli wasn’t enough, the Italian Philharmonic joined by a 100 member choir with angelic voices accompanied him. The program of sacred music included arias by Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Mascagni, Gounod, Rossini and Bizet. Several of the numbers were also accompanied by a boys choir and a brilliant 16-year old female violinist, Anastasiya Petryshak, from the Ukraine. Those additions just added more drama and emotion to an already moving event. The evening didn’t conclude until Andrea came out for THREE encores and three standing ovations. Bravo! Bravo! There are very few things that bring my man to tears, but on this evening I can tell you there was definitely moisture in Carl’s eyes.

Every Hotel we are staying at includes breakfast and, so far, each one (ok, there have only been two) has been delicious with a wide array of choices. This morning was no exception. Fresh fruit, eggs made to order, fabulous cheeses and the best cappuccino we have had so far. It is a marvelous way to start our day. We are back on the train heading to Genoa, where we will pick up our rental car and head to Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino. We will actually be staying here for TWO NIGHTS!

Rejuvinated by the concert

One other note worth mentioning is the Italian ingenuity applied to the creation of bathrooms. For example, at the Marriott, they actually constructed the hot water pipes to create a towel rack that is heated by the water, thereby ensuring that your towel is nice and warm when you are finished. Then, in Milano at the Hotel Spadari, our shower had three options. One side had a waterfall-type showerhead while the other side had more traditional fixed/hand-held showerhead. Even more unique than that, however, were the two brilliant blue light fixtures overhead that would also emit vertical showers of neon blue-looking water. So creative and enjoyable! Of course there is also the obligatory bidet, which can also double as a mini bathtub—just ask Chase (ok he was only 12, so he didn’t really know…  I hope he’s not reading this).

Grazie mille for following along!

Ciao!

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4 Comments

  1. Linda O.
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hey Bev and Carl! I’ve been to Milan, but it was 15 years ago. The Duomo is magnificent! I sent your post to some running friends who love Bocelli. In fact we saw him on the Santa Monica beach path last spring while we were running. I’m sure they’ll enjoy reading about the concert as much as I did. Enjoy!!

    • Posted October 4, 2010 at 1:28 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Linda! it is a blast and we are having a great time. We listened to Bocelli all throughout our courtship, so very special to see him during our “anniversary trip”. Ciao!

  2. Dmytro Kovalov
    Posted October 17, 2010 at 12:35 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Bev and Carl.
    We are not acquainted. I googled your post when searching for feedbacks on Andrea Bocelli concert at Duomo.
    My wife and me we’ve been there too and, as you, we intentionally came by for a couple of days to Milano before our trip to the south of Italy.
    I agree that it was a miracle and all the performance we had seen before faded after this one. Actually there were about 4 000 visitors and the young violinist comes from Ukraine and she is really about 16.
    As for the sits, I do agree that you may felt uncomfortable. We were sitting in the first raw of Sector E and there were plastic chairs. We was also pleased to see people dressed appropriately though the dress code was not indicated.

    With my best compliments
    Dmytro

    • Posted October 17, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Dmytro. With your message I was able to locate the talented violinist’s name, Anastasiya Petryshak, which is now reflected in the post.

      Best regards,

      Carl

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