Sunday, July 15, 2012

Milano, Part 3

5/09/10, continued
Villa Reale at Monza

On Friday, Rosanna decided that we needed to go to Monza in the morning.  It is a village, not far away from Brugherio, where Patrizia works (teaches school).  It is also the location of a summer palace (Villa Reale or Royal Villa) of the Austrian nobility that controlled the region of Milan for a couple of centuries.  The following day was to be the opening of a Rose Exhibit in a part of the formal gardens, but the weather has been so cold that very few of the roses were blooming.  There is also a very large park nearby (Monza Park) which is apparently one of the largest public parks in the country.  Then we had an elegant “snack” (small puff pastries with meat and cheese fillings, olives, nuts, crispy, seasoned breads) and tea. 

Friday afternoon, Rosanna, Gianni, Guido, Patrizia and I all drove into Milano in Guido’s car, in order to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, for which Gianni had made reservations. It is in a modest church, Santa Maria delle Grazie, with a lovely cloister area where we waited for our time to enter.
Santa Maria delle Grazie

I had seen the Last Supper once before (during the sabbatical year in Switzerland) and we didn’t need a reservation then. I remembered the space being smaller and darker with the cloister more accessible.  This time, about 20 people were herded into a spacious, softly lit room, with DaVinci’s mural on one end and a mural by Giovanni Donatto da Montorfano on the other.  The DaVinci mural has been “restored,” which is to say that it does not seem to be flaking from the wall. However, the colors seem more muted than I expected or remembered them to be. It was fairly easy to pick out Judas among the disciples.  The others were not so clear.  One looked like a woman, but it turned out to be John (the gospel writer). It was good to see the da Vinci again, and this time restored.

The painting by Donatto, was an elaborate, skilled, and richly colored rendering of the Crucifixion, and I actually spent more time viewing that than I did the Last Supper; there were fewer people crowded around it. Of course, photos were forbidden.

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