Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Hot and Humid Monday in Milano

Monday we awoke to another sultry day in Milano.  It would make sightseeing a little more daunting but we were not to be denied!

For some unknown reason, Mike found this ad in the Milan Metro of interest.

He kept muttering something about Claudio that we could not make out.

More omens about the return of Husky football to respectability?

Leonardo's Horse

The 24 hour Metro pass is a GREAT deal!  For only three Euros you get unlimited rides on Milan's subway, trams and busses.  We rode on all three during the day to get us around town.  Normally it costs one Euro per ride so this saved us a ton of money.

We decided to go out to the San Siro district first and by accident stumbled upon Leonardo's Horse in the courtyard of the Ippodromo del Galoppo, Milan's enormous horse racing track.

It is the largest equestrian monument in the world.  It is a modern reconstruction of a model created by Leonardo da Vinci in 1482 for Milan's dominant family, the Sforzas.

In 1499 invading French forces destroyed the original as they used it for target practice.  Wasn't it the French who used the Spynx in Egypt for target practice too?

To honor Italians for their role in the Renaissance and in homage to Leonardo, American renaissance art collector Charles Dent built this replica of Leonardo's 15 ton, 24 foot long statue in 1999.

Why the San Siro district?

Because it is where the Stadio Meazza, home to Mike's beloved AC Milan and hated rival Inter FC, is located.  Nobody calls it Stadio Meazza really, just San Siro.

It is located across the street from the Ippodromo and Leonardo's Horse.

Hey, I wonder what is behind that yellow wall?

The Ippodromo del Trotter

A peek over that yellow wall revealed yet another racetrack for harness racing, eat your heart out Catania!

To sum up Curva fan attitudes in a nutshell as we approach San Siro's entrance.

A few years ago, Inter FC fans snuck a motor scooter into the top tier of San Siro.  Must have been a HUGE overcoat!  During a fan riot, they threw it over the railing onto the people below.  This is why the players, when leaving the pitch, go directly into reinforced, covered walkways on their way to the locker rooms to protect them from flying Vespas!

Why is Mike covering up the Inter FC logo?

Mike treated us to the San Siro Stadium Tour which was quite interesting.

AC Milan #1

Even though Inter FC just won their 17th Italian League Championship to tie his AC Milan for the all-time lead, Mike still knows who the real #1 team is.

The Pitch

This is sacred ground to Mike.

Inter FC's Locker Room

After reveling for 15 minutes in the stadio to take pictures from every angle imaginable, it was on to the locker rooms of the two home teams.

Mike was NOT happy!

Inter FC's locker room is spacious but very simple.  Note the hooks behind Mike's head to hang your clothes.  They have no individual cubicles and one large flat screen TV in the room.  I did like the cut outs of their former great players all over the walls.

The Interview Area

Inbetween the two locker rooms is this Media Interview area.  Behind Mike are the logos of all of Inter FC's sponsors.  On the opposite wall are all of AC Milan's sponsors.  At the time I took this picture we were not aware that Mike was on the wrong wall.

MUCH happier!

We now entered Mike's "Holy of Holies", the AC Milan locker room.

White Board info still up from Sunday's Roma game.

Gennaro Gattuso's Cubicle

Mike is sitting in his favorite player's comfy chair and has hung up his travel bag in Gattuso's cubicle.  Besides having cubicles, each AC Milan player has his own flat screen TV over his cubicle.

Did I mention that the Italian Prime Minister and media mogul, Silvio Berlusconi, owns AC Milan?

Laurie in David Beckham's cubicle

Happy to be alive in the AC Milan locker room!

The visit is over and they both are still glowing walking out of the AC Milan locker room.

Our Tour Guide, Mario

Mario's very stylish, brand new Nikes

They match his tattoos!


The tour ended in a really cool calcio museum that has wonderful memorabilia for both teams.

No pictures allowed and I thought, if they throw Vespas off the top tier, what violence would they do to me if I got caught taking photos?  I played it safe.

Just 50 meters to the right of the museum was the San Siro store where Mike could find everything his AC Milan heart desired to take home.  Oh yes, they also sell Inter FC paraphenalia here as well. 

An Evil Wizard running for office? 

We boarded the #16 tram into the Duomo area fron San Siro, Mike's travel bag was a little heavier after leaving the Sab Siro store.

Mike investigates the possibility of renting this car for his wedding in August.

Milan's Duomo, the 4th Largest Church in Europe

David and Goliath

Note the famous rock still imbedded in Goliath's head.

Some of the 52, 100 foot tall pillars

Renovations are ALWAYS in progress.

Some of the incredible stained glass.

A little perspective on the size of the pillars

Mike lighting a candle for his future Mother-in-Law, Liduvina Perez.

Desperate Measures

Is He feeling the heat of Padre Pio's popularity?  I do not know?

Ornate Door Panel

Ornate Door

St. Andrew with his X-shaped cross

Over 2,000 statues adorn this magnificent Duomo.

Charlton Heston on the left


España Vacation Info

They just opened this Spanish Tourism Center on the sidewalk next to the Duomo.  Great for us since this is our next travel destination.

Brian FitzGerald, come on down!

Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

VERY high end shopping in this place!

In the Galleria, for good luck, Laurie takes a spin on the Torino's testicles.

Laurie discovers the Swarovski Crystal Store

In the Galleria and out of the Sun

Are you looking at me?

When did I pose for this?

Milan Street Scene

The Sforza Castle

Somethings just can not be explained.

The interior wall of the Sforza Castle

The newly built Contreras Beer Garden

We decided to cool off in the park behind the Sforza Castle for about 30 minutes, it was a GREAT idea.

Suddenly a calcio moment errupted. . .

. . . as did a wedding

Hey, just kick your foot up on the handlebar and relax!

Reflections on one of the Naviglia canals

Gelato Cone Storage

Another Happy Gelato in Brioche Story

Mike's call was for Passion Fruit.

If you are in the Naviglia, be sure to buy a gelato here!

A Naviglia Canal at Sunset 

Our Last Supper together in Milan at
Osteria Il Coniglio Bianco

Note the size of Laurie's Cotletta ala Milanese.  It would eventually feed all three of us.

Mike opted for the Spaghetti ala Vongole.

In the morning, Laurie and I flew to Catania out of Milan's Linate Airport while Mike would depart from Milan's Malpensa Airport for London.  After spending Tuesday in London, Mike will fly to Los Angeles and the arms of the lovely Vanessa on Wednesday.

Torino Testicle Spinning Contest

As noted earlier, the tradition in the Galleria Vittorio Emanule is to do this spin for good luck.  Please rate each of these two performances on a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being the highest.  Please consider balance, artistry, flair and grace in your score.

Laurie Contreras won the coin flip and decided to go first.

Mike Contreras had the advantage of seeing Laurie's performance and then knowing how much risk to dare in his routine.


Giovanni said...

"A few years ago, AC Milan fans snuck a motor scooter into the top tier of San Siro."

Coach, Inter FC fans threw the scooter :-)

George said...


I'll correct my error right now!

DPLassen said...

Who says they snuck it in? I've seen scooter traffic in Italy; the driver may just have been trying a new shortcut through traffic.

George said...

As always, David, you bring clarity to a puzzling situation.