Thursday, February 1, 2018

Of the Questura, Frescoes, the Knights Templar and Stadio San Siro

Wednesday, 31 January, 2018

An early wake-up call was needed as I had a busy day scheduled yet again.

Venegono Inferiore train
station at 7:00 a.m.

I needed to board the 7:23 a.m. train to Varese to present myself to the Questura di Varese with Babara Nardi (soon to be sanctified to Santa Barbara di Varese) to complete my work visa documentation.

If you recall, our last trip to the Questura led to getting an appointment to complete the all important work visa documentation on the day I'm scheduled to fly home in June.

Barbara weaved her magic yet again and that appointment was moved to today.

I did have time to have a café and brioche at the Le Due Isole bar across the street from the station before my train arrived.

The ever upbeat Laura makes a perfect café for me each morning and, because it was so early, the requisite marmalade brioche was piping hot having come straight from the oven.

Batteries charged, it was back to the track two loading area.

The 7:23 train arrived right on time

It took about 25 minutes to arrive at the designated train stop in Varese where Barbara was in her car waiting and ready to roll.

We were off to the Questura di Varese!

This was the office we needed

The Italian word Questura means "police station."

It comes from the Latin root word Questorola which means . . . "ready to wait a long time."

We arrived at about 8:10 for our 8:30 scheduled appointment.

And we waited . . .

We were a bit early, as this office did not open until 8:30. There were only about ten other people waiting with us for the opening hour to arrive.

And we waited . . .

The doors finally opened at 8:40 to an awaiting crowd that now had swelled to about 50 people.

And we waited . . .

At 9:20, a full 50 minutes after our scheduled appointment time, we were finally called to window #5.

By 9:45 our interview with a cordial policewoman was over, now we only had to wait for my finger prints to be scanned into the system.

And we waited . . .

At 11:15 we were finally called into a back room in the Questura to find pleasant policeman operating the world's oldest, active finger print scanner.

He had just about laboriously completed my left and in including my pesky left palm when the scanner shut down unexpectedly. He rebooted the now groaning artifact and it was on line again quickly.

This time the scanner worked to efficient perfection and, at last, at 11:20 we were finished.


Barbara dropped me back off at the train station as I wanted to head back into Milano for the day to do more exploring.

I had about a thirty minute wait for the next Milano bound train so I opted to explore my surroundings and have lunch (pranzo) before my one hour train ride.

An old brick gateway

A local produce market


As usual, the train ride to Milano was smooth, quiet and uneventful.

Made With Love

Is there any other way?

Nice Beard

The twin brother's was nice too

You would think that a 2,000
year old Corinthian capital
would hold up better

Chiesa di San Maurizio al
Monastero Maggiore

From its outer appearance, why would anyone go inside?

This is why!

This church dates from about 1500 A.D. It is part of a 9th-century convent that was built into a surviving bit of Milan's ancient Roman wall.

Bernardino Luini frescoes

Bernardino Luini (1480-1532) was a protégé of Leonardo da Vinci who was also inspired by the works of Michelangelo and Raphael.

His amazing work has given cause for some to call the Chiesa San Maurizio, "The Sistine Chapel of Lombardy."

Wearing the yellow cape standing
on the pedestal is San Maurizio

San Maurizio was a 3rd-century Roman soldier who persecuted Christians. He would eventually convert and worked ceaselessly to end these very same persecutions.

Kneeling is nobleman
Alessandro Bentivoglio

He was married to Ippolita, a member of Milan's powerful Sforza family. He donated the funds to defray the massive costs of all of the art found in the chiesa.

Luini used the likenesses of several Sforza family members in his frescoes.

Good career move.

Apparently lots of men
without sin . . .

St. John the Baptist
baptizing Jesus

Sensible shoes are always
a good thing

Lots of bright colors


St. George does it again!

Mary fainting at the
foot of the cross

Sant'Agata holding
her breasts on a plate as usual

She is the Patron Saint of the city of Catania in Sicily where I coached in 2008 and 2009.

Catania goes CRAZY every year for the three days around her feast day. That festival is coming up this weekend if memory serves me correctly.

And then I entered the chiesa's
Hall of the Nuns or Aula delle Monache


This is a walled off area behind the main altar where the cloistered nuns could worship away from the usual assembled congregation.

Deep, Rich Blue

Noah's Ark

Jesus being flogged

Jesus being taken
down from the cross

Mary is still down for the count.


The Last Supper

No, not THE Last Supper, da Vinci's masterpiece is located nearby in the Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Jesus getting arrested while
St. Peter gets violent

In the Gospel of John, he mentions that while Jesus was being arrested, Peter cut off the ear of one Malchus who was a servant of the High Priest.

The Choir

This organ dates from 1554

What a spectacle!

Pleasing to the eye
no matter where one looks

Jesus bleeding with two
martyrs at his side

Martyrs are identified by holding a palm frond.

Two soldiers just hanging out

God the Father

Jesus going off in the Temple

To say the least, this was an impressive church.

Amazingly, admission was free but I did make a modest donation to their restoration fund.

The Church-of-the-Day visit out of the way, it was time to head to a museum.

Won't this Argentinian
ever go away?

This gelato, made with love I'm sure,
can NEVER go away!

"The Story of Pinocchio"
written by Italian author
Carlo Collodi in 1883

The entrance to my

This time the Circle Cobianchi
Duomo Museum was open!

I was ready for their Knights Templar exhibit and was happy at the two Euros Senior Citizen discounted entry fee.

In 1095, Pope Urban II declares

Funky Cross

It held something . . .

. . . so did this . . .

. . . and this

The Knights were warriors

The Knights were commissioned
to protect people along the Crusade
routes in the East

They would become an extremely rich and powerful organization soon which would lead to jealousy, rumors and their eventual down fall.

An original helmet

What ever happened to dragons?

Ceremonial helmet
complete with peacock feathers

I love illustrated manuscripts

Don't you?

More dragons

The last Templar Grand Master
Jacques de Molay burned at the stake
in 1314

King Philip IV of France ordered his death which signaled the end of the Templars.

Unless you believe in conspiracy theories . . .

The Knights Templar tour ended
in the atmospheric and long titled
Circulo della Letteratura e delle Arti di Milano Cobianchi Caffé

Interesting artsy touches

I indeed did have a café

That reminds me . . .

Son Mike's American Civil War re-enactments start soon back in California. It is time for one of his famous mustaches/beards.

Angelic in stone

Entrance into this same caffé
via the Piazza del Duomo

Nothing says Italy to me quite like
Peruvian flute players

I opted to hop on one of the ubiquitous trams to further explore Milan.

On the #16 line heading towards
Stadio San Siro

Memorial Mural near Stadio San Siro

Giacinto Facchetti was a beloved defenseman for 18 seasons with the Inter Milan club that shares Stadio San Siro with FC Milan.

He passed away in 2006.

Stadio San Siro

Wait, why is everybody setting up?

Is it possible?

Why, YES, it was GAME DAY!

It was a night game, a semi-final of the Coppa Italia tournament between AC Milan and S.S. Lazio.

If only I had dressed a bit warmer in preparation for tonight's plunging temperatures . . .

I have got to start keeping an eye out for upcoming home games for either AC Milan or Inter in Serie A play. 

Oh the AROMAS!

As for the game itself, it ended as a 0-0 tie. The two clubs play again in Rome on February 28th in a semi-final winner-take-all affair. 

Nice packaging

I needed a good scarf to keep me warm and it was Skorpion Stinger Red to boot!

I had an overall interesting day but it was getting late so I headed to the Cadorna train station to catch a train back to Venegono Inferiore.

When I got to the Cadorna station, the next train heading my way was scheduled to leave in just two minutes.

I made a mad dash for it and boarded a surprisingly empty train that indeed left on time.

I say surprisingly because it was rush hour and the last time I boarded a train home from Milan at about this time, it was jam packed and I had to stand the entire 40 minute ride.

I had a book with me and was deeply involved reading it. I looked up at a stop and it was Tradate, the one just previous to my stop.

I remember thinking that we got this far seemingly quickly which I attributed to being lost in my book.

Then we rushed by the Venegono Inferiore, Venegono Superiore and Vedano Olona stops at a full clip.

I had boarded an express that only stops at a few of the stations that my usual local hits. Now the limited number of commuters made sense.

The train stopped at Malnate about 15 minutes farther north than I wanted.

And I waited . . .

Fortunately, the next local train heading south was scheduled to arrive in only 15 minutes and was on time.

Once home, I made a tasty
ravioli with balsamic sauce

Finally, I got this news from Los Angeles about the Rams 2018 schedule last night.

We're playing the Kansas City Chiefs
in Mexico City at a date to
be determined soon

Anybody want to go?


David said...

Ah, the dreaded boarded-the-wrong-train error. Even with the misstep, is it possible you were still home more quickly than taking the local?

George said...

Now that you mention it . . . YES!