Tuesday, October 24, 2006

After taking a few years off my aunt's and uncle's lives (I'm still so, so sorry!) I felt like I couldn't complain if mio zio wasn't taking me anywhere in Milan this morning. I mean, I complained to my grandmother here in America, and, since she speaks Italian, she tried to convince my uncle that I'm fine by myself, at least in the daytime, but no luck. This afternoon, we hit the roof of the Duomo. The view is breathtaking. I've got about a hundred digital photos, but they all look more or less the same.

Also, Castello Sforzesco, which I could neither care less about nor pronounce. Try throwing a diphthong or two in there. I was so frustrated with my uncle, his inability to understand "più piano" ("slow down"), his determination to show me the castle, and his insistence that we go inside the castle museum without buying tickets, that I don't exactly have a valid opinion of it. (Also, my uncle would read me the Italian descriptions of the pieces, but he only speaks Italian, so I still didn't understand them. And he'd point to the dates listed for pieces, and tell me the date aloud, as if I couldn't read the Arabic numbers. And, inside the armory, he pointed to a collection of swords and then mimed fencing, just to make sure I knew what swords were used for. I think that's it.) The museum is an extensive collection of medieval and Renaissance art, mostly decorative art, but the museum exudes an aura of mere competence rather than the artistic spectacle Italy is famous for. You'd have to be really into fifteen-century silversmithing, for example,

For my money, the only thing really worth seeing in the Castello (and it is worth the money) is the Rondanini Pietà, which Michelangelo was working on when he died. Michelangelo's student finished the piece and, as one of my guidebooks commented, "no where in Italy is the difference between genius and competence so clear."