Monday, January 22, 2018

Of Italian Bureaucracy, Old Homes and Amazing Milan

Monday, 22 January, 2018

First and foremost today, congratulations to Shawn Cordeiro's New England Patriots and Pietro Caprioli's Philadelphia Eagles for earning their ways into Super Bowl LII in two weeks.

I'm picking the Eagles in an upset
to win their first Super Bowl

I just gravitate to how well they have pulled together as a team since losing their QB Carson Wentz against the Rams back in early December.

The Eagles have won four of their five games since Wentz's season ending injury.

The last time the Eagles won an NFL title was in the pre-Super Bowl era, in 1960 to be exact. QB Norm Van Brocklin and C/LB Chuck Bednarik led the Eagles (11-2) to a 17-13 victory over Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers (8-5).  

Now for our tale of the latest Skorpions battle against the bureaucracy that is the Italian government.

The truly amazing Barbara Nardi informed me over the weekend that I needed to meet her this morning in order to fill out more paperwork so that I can legally work in Italy.

I'm glad that Barbara is so efficient as the Italian Consulate Generale in Los Angeles said nothing about needing any further paperwork once I arrived in Italy.

Skorpions LB Nicolas Principe offered to pick me up today for the trip to Varese via a stop at that wonderful café bar/gelateria/pasticceria that I stumbled upon in Venegono Superiore the other day.

As it turns out, this great little spot is quite famous in the greater Varese megalopolis and people drive for miles to partake of a slice of their version of heaven.

So far, so good!

We would meet Barbara at the
Varese Prefettura

The Prefettura is like a regional government edifice in charge of more than a typical city hall.

We waited first in a short line and then in an uncrowded room for about 20 minutes before being told nicely that we were in the wrong spot.

We needed to drive to another government building . . .

. . . The Varese Questura

The Questura is Varese's police building.

The line here was longer and our waiting room was packed but again in just 20 minutes we were told that no, we were in the wrong place.

At this point I told Nicolas to get on with his life as I did not have a good feeling about our situation. Barbara and I would go it alone from here.

Where we needed to go was . . .

. . . The Post Office!

The line was shorter and we had our answer in about five minutes. We were given a packet of papers to read and fill out, about 40 pages in all.

Rather than stand at the Post Office's small, stand only table, we decided to head to Giorgio and Barbara's home that was nearby to try to unravel the mysteries contained in the paperwork.

The Nardi's home was built in 1500 A.D.

They have tried to maintain some
of the older artwork murals

 More artwork, this time indoors

Their's is one of five homes in this historic building that was originally an inn for travelers to dine, spend the night and to rest and feed their horses.

Meanwhile . . .

Barbara did a great job of
deciphering the papers with the
help of her daughter Federica

They worked well together and we were able to fill out the areas that applied to my situation.

Now all we had to do was go back and turn in the completed packet to the people at the Post Office.

Easy, no?

 A poster of the famous Italian
Rhino Butterfly at the Post Office

Not so fast my friends!

We were told that you can't turn in the finished packet at just any neighborhood Post Office, you MUST return it to only Varese's Main Post Office downtown.

Of course.

Barbara dropped me off at a small train station so that I could journey to Milan while she dropped off the packet.

Later this evening Barbara informed me that we would have to meet up again at mid-day Tuesday for Day II of our battle with the Italian government's bureaucracy, this time at the Post Office again.

On to Milano . . .

With a population of 1.3 million people, Milan is Italy's city of the future. The Milanese seem to love La Dolce Vita to the max.

While famed for its high finance, industrial might and vibrant fashion industry, it is a still city with a long, long history.

Celtic tribes settled in this area in the 7th century B.C.

In 313 A.D., Emperor Constantine implemented the Edict of Milan that legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire.

Milan, not Rome, was even the capital of the Roman Empire from 286 A.D. until 402 A.D.

Today, immigrants from the South of Italy, China, Africa, Latin America, India and Eastern Europe have made Milan one of the most diverse cities in Italy.

 One of Milan's quaint but fully
operational wooden trams from
the 1930s

Artwork outside of the
Milan Cadorna Train Station

More Artwork, same train station

Romeo and Juliet,
The Musical is in town

Castello Sforzesco

The Sforza family was extremely powerful in Milan in the Middle Ages.

Built in the 1300s as a military fortress, the Sforza Castle guarded the gate to the city wall. Leonardo da Vinci lived inside its walls for a time. 

The main entry to
Castello Sforzesco . . .

. . . And I was there

Giuseppe Garibaldi
Italian General, Politician and
National Unifying Force

A Little Theater

 Don't know who he was
but I liked the look

Milan's Duomo . . .

. . . And I was there

I opted not to go inside, I'll wait for Laurie's arrival to re-enter this great Cathedral after a nine year hiatus.

By the way, Milan's Duomo is Europe's fourth biggest Cathedral after the ones in Vatican City, London and Sevilla.

1,000 statues on the outside and
52 one-hundred foot tall spires

 It was built to hold 40,000 worshipers

 Entrance to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Next to the Duomo, it is a four story, glass domed arcade that houses some of the world's most famous and expensive fashion houses.

 The Galleria's Dome . . .

. . . up close

Facing the City of Turin
under the Galleria's Dome

In Italian, Turin is spelled Torino meaning little bull, thus the mosaic bull in the Galleria.


Apparently, Milan and Turin are rival cities, so the tradition is that the Milanese put their heal in the torino's testicles and spin clockwise twice solely on that heal.

When in Milam . . . 

The white cross represents the King
and is located directly under
the center of the Galleria's Dome

Leonardo da Vinci
just outside the Galleria
and facing . . .

Milan's famed La Scala Opera House

It opened in 1778 A.D.

A mere 240 years later, it is still an active opera house.

Laurie, get ready for an extreme cultural experience when you get here.

 Back into the Galleria,
just in time for a social protest

Great Statue in front of the Duomo

I believe that it is King Vittorio Emanuelle II.

 My first gelato of
EuroBall Adventure XII

Tiramisu and stracciatella were my two picks and I was not disappointed in the least.

No "Demon Rum"
for me today!

Just a cool old edifice . . .

. . . and another

Rumor has it that as Italian's
continue to like all things American,
a Starbuck's may be opened in Milan

If true, it would be the first Starbuck's in all of Italy.

Spanish Cultural Center

I LOVE Spain too!


Decathlon is a huge sporting goods chain that is found all over Europe. I was able to find black sweat pants here today to help me get through practice more comfortably tomorrow night.

One more tour of the Castello Sforzesco
on the way back to the train station

 He looks important to me

Guard Tower

Entry Gate

Floating states work and
Castello Sforzesco . . .

 . . . And I was there!

 Massive Castello Sforzesco
Watch Tower

Once safely home in Villa Skorpion . . .

. . . I made a more than passable
pasta dinner

Thank goodness that Laurie gave me all of the trade secrets to making pasta.

The balsamic based sauce from a store jar was good but I will have to add a few more secret ingredients the next time.

And there will be a next time . . .


David said...

I'm going to admit I didn't love Milan during my one visit. I'll be interested to see and hear what you think after (presumably) spending a decent amount of time there during EuroBall XII. And, of course, I'm always looking for someplace worthy of breaking into the Gelato Power Rankings.

George said...

That gelateria in Bologna that you clued me into years ago is still my #1 ranked gelateria in Italy.

But then again, the research MUST continue . . .