Tour of Italy

Figure 1 Globus Tour LN0616

Dedicated to My Mother, Isabel Flavia Daniels Paolini

By A. Rod Paolini

June 2005

-2I thought that it would be nice for my mother and me to take a trip together to Italy. She and my father traveled to Europe about twelve times, but she often did not have the opportunity to do and see the places that she alone would have liked. So here was a chance for her to choose a trip of places that she wanted to see, and for us to spend time together. The tour was entitled “Northern Italy at Leisure” (Tour LN0616), and featured the cities/areas of Milan, Venice, the Dolomites, and Lake Como. And so this is a rememberance of the historical sites, the interesting facts (and opinions) and the beautiful scenery that we saw.

Figure 2 Globus tour bus


Day 1: Flight from Washington-Dulles to Milan Malpensa Day 2: Welcoming Dinner Day 3: The Tour provided a guided tour of the Piazza del Duomo and the Duomo or Cathedral of Milan, the Galleria, the Piazza La Salla, and the Sforza Castle. A block from our hotel, the Piazza del Duomo takes its name from the Duomo or Cathedral of Milan.

Figure 3 Milan Cathedral

Figure 4 Milan Cathedral spires

Figure 5 Milan Cathedral statue near entrance

Figure 6 Milan Cathedral central nave

-4The Duomo di Milano is one of the most famous buildings in Europe. It is a particularly large and elaborate Gothic Cathedral (Duomo ) on the main square in the center of the city of Milan, Italy. Milan's Duomo is the second largest Roman Catholic cathedral: only the cathedral of Seville is larger (as is Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, which is not a cathedral). It is 157 meters long— 40,000 people can fit comfortably within. The main spire is 109 meters high. The great windows of the choir were reputed to be the largest in the world.

Galleria of Milan On another side of the Piazza del Duomo is the Galleria, which consists of a main section that is a shopping center and flanked by two wings of offices and apartments. The shopping mall consists of two cross “streets” with an iron and glass roof. The masonry buildings have beautiful designs with mosaics at the four corners of the groin supporting the dome roof. The interior contains cafés, restaurants, and shops. It was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni, who fell from the roof and died a few days before the inauguration of the arcade in 1878.

Figure 7 Milan Galleria front

Figure 8 Milan Galleria inside

Figure 9 Milan Galleria mosaics

-5The Sforza Castle While the Sforza Castle is about a ten minute walk from the Piazza del Duomo, the Tour took us by bus which allowed us to see the city and to cool ourselves in the air conditioned bus as the temperature was at least in the high eighties. A detailed history of the castle is given in the appendix. Briefly, the present structure was constructed in 1450-1500 by Ludovico Sforza. (see Addendum)

Figure 11 Milan Sforza castle

In 1450, the soldier of fortune Francesco Sforza, after the fall of the republic, took possession of the stronghold. He began the reconstruction with the intention of creating a fortification for his own defense but it was gradually transformed into an architecturally impressive noble residence. After Ludovico il Moro's fall (1499), the magnificent palace was occupied by the French forces commanded by marshal Gian Giacomo Trivulzio and the beginning of the destruction of the splendid castle commenced. In 1521, a gun powder explosion caused the destruction of the central tower built by Filarete.

Figure 10 Milan Sforza castle

-6Milan never had it easy. To turn their landlocked outpost into a regional power, Milanese had to dig an extensive network of deep canals, eventually linking the city to the Po, Ticino, and Adda rivers. Lacking natural defenses, they built strong walls to keep the marauding hordes at bay. For income, local merchants took advantage of nearby Alpine trade routes to build a great trading center. Even talent was imported when needed; from St. Ambrose and Leonardo da Vinci to the waves of migrants who fueled its growth in the second half of the 20th century, outsiders have been drawn to Milan for its open, freewheeling commercial culture and acceptance of new ideas. The result has been an ever-expanding power, and a juicy target for conquest. Virtually every invader in European history -- Gaul, Roman, Goth, Longobard, and Frank -- as well as a long series of rulers from France, Spain, and Austria, took a turn at ruling the city. After being completely sacked by the Goths in AD 539 and the Holy Roman Empire under Frederick Barbarossa in 1157, Milan became one of the first independent city-states of the Renaissance. Its heyday of self-rule proved comparatively brief. From 1277 until 1500, it was ruled by the Visconti and subsequently the Sforza dynasties. These families were known, justly or not, for a peculiarly aristocratic mixture of refinement, classical learning, and cruelty, and much of the surviving grandeur of Gothic and Renaissance art and architecture is their doing. Be on the lookout in your wanderings for the Visconti family emblem -- a viper, its jaws straining wide, devouring a child. During the Spanish domination (16th-17th century) the castle underwent further transformation and addition of buildings, becoming a military fortress. Charles V had a new rampart built which connected it to the new walls of the city. At the end of the 16th century the stronghold was surrounded by six bulwarks. At the beginning of the 17th century the moat was put in order and the covered road along the external border, and six detached ravelins were built. In 1800, Napoleon demolished the Spanish additions and only the original Sforza Castle was left standing. With the join of the Lombardy to the Regno di Sardegna, the old castle became a barracks and in 1880 was sentenced to complete destruction. During the following years, however, a large number of citizens and the interest of the Lombard Historical Society foiled all attempts in this direction, so much so that in 1893 the architect Luca Beltrami, who had already put forward a project, began a radical reconstruction.

-7In the three nuclei of the historical building - the Parade Ground, the Rocchetta and the Ducal Court - he sited the Civic Institute for Art and History. Although it was damaged once more during the last war, the Sforza Castle was restored and became a museum. The doorway, under the Tower of Filarete, leads into the grand and picturesque Parade Ground, now a garden, was once used to exercise the Sforza troops. The Rocchetta is a fortress within a fortress surrounded on three sides by porticoes. The right one was constructed by the Florentine Benedetto Ferrini (1466- 1476) by order of Galeazzo Maria, the one opposite is by Filarete and the left one was begun by Bernardino da Corte in 1495 and finished by Bramante under the orders of Ludovico il Moro. From the courtyard, through an archway, one enters the Treasure Room, so called, because the ducal treasure was kept there. On the walls one can see the frescoes of the Lombard school and a damaged fresco by Bramante, showing Argus with a hundred eyes guarding the door leading to a small room in which the most precious jewels of the Duke were kept.

Figure 12 Milan Sforza castle parade ground

Figure 13 Courtyard or Rocchetta

-8Behind the Sforza Castle is a large park. At the end of the park, there is an Arch of Peace as shown in the picture below. In the afternoon, Mom decided to rest and so I had to determine my own tour. I first enjoyed a lunch in, of all places, a cafeteria with an American decor of 1950's advertising signs and automobile license plates. The benefit of the cafeteria was that I could see what I was choosing, and my choice was a plate of grilled vegetables and cheeses.

Figure 14 Milan Arco della Pace

I then set out for La Scalla, although I was somewhat reluctant as I have little interest in the history of opera. Still, I felt obliged to see the theater as everyone would ask me if I saw it having been in Milan. As I reached the fourth floor in which to view the theater, I met Aurora and John, a couple with which Mom and I shared a dinner table the night before. Aurora said that she and John had decided (though I’m sure John had simply acquiesce) to see Il Cavallo–The Horse, a statue designed by Leonardo da Vinci. I had read of Leonardo’s disappointment in this endeavor:
From 1482 to 1499 he worked for Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, and m aintained his own workshop with apprentices there. Seventy tons of bronze that had been set aside for Leonardo's "Gran Cavallo" horse statue was cast into weapons for the Duke to save Milan from the French under Charles VIII in 1495 - see also Italian W ars. W hen the French returned under Louis XIII in 1498, Milan fell without a fight, overthrowing Sforza. Leonardo stayed in Milan for a tim e, until one m orning he found French archers using his life-size clay m odel for the "Gran Cavallo" for target practice.

I thought this a worthwhile pursuit and a chance to share it with an interesting couple. We began with negotiating the Metropolitana or subway for which we were quite successful. However, we were uncertain as to the location of the horse once we emerged from the tunnel. As it turned out, the statue was inside the wall that surrounded the hippodrome, namely the San Siro Racetrack. Unfortunately for us, it was at the extreme opposite end, making for a very long walk.

Figure 15 Milan Leonardo’s “Il Cavallo”

-9Upon my return to the hotel, I took a very restful nap, little realizing that it would be my last. I had thought that a tour would be a leisurely means of seeing the sites without the care of looking for hotel, carrying luggage, and judging places to eat. The Tour did enable us to avoid these aspects, but it scheduled the beginning of each day no later than 7:00am. And while we could take leisurely strolls, we often were on the bus fighting to stay awake.

Day 4: We departed Milan by motor coach driven by Walter, an Italian from Bergamo, and led by our tour director, Silvana, an Italian from Rome. Our destination for noon was the city of Padua in order to visit the Church of St. Anthony. The sun was scorching as we walked along the paths of a park that was lined with statues. Also there was a market selling various items including fruits and vegetables, jewelry and clothing. But as in most Italian cities and towns, the streets are narrow providing shade while the air remained relatively cool.

Figure 16 Prato delle Valle

Figure 18 Padua Gothic

Figure 17 Padua: Church of St. Anthony

-10St. Anthony was born in the year 1195 C.E. at Lisbon (Portugal). While he sought martyrdom, it seems that he was a popular preacher as the number of those who came to hear him was sometimes so great that no church was large enough to accommodate and so he had to preach in the open air. During his lifetime, his claim to fame was his reputed ability to perform miracles of conversion. Deadly enemies were reconciled. Thieves and usurers made restitution. Calumniators and detractors recanted and apologized. He was so energetic in defending the truths of the Catholic Faith that many heretics returned to the Church. This occasioned the epitaph given him by Pope Gregory IX "the ark of the covenant." But after his death in 1231 C.E., his popularity seems to have grown due to his reputed ability to perform miracles for the disabled, sick and diseased. And thus at Padua, a magnificent basilica was built in his honor, his body and his holy relics entombed there in 1263. From the time of his death up to the present day, countless miracles have reputedly occurred through St. Anthony's intercession, so that he is known as the Wonder-Worker. In 1946, St. Anthony was declared a Doctor of the Church. Upon my return, I investigated the life of St. Anthony and discovered that he is regarded as the patron saint of lost and stolen articles, for which I now shall revere and call upon when I am searching for something that I have misplaced, which occurs on a daily basis. Upon entering the church, one immediately notices the tomb of St. Anthony for which there is a long line of people either seeking his aid or reading the notes of thanks for past and future favors. Wanting to test my ability to read Italian, I attempted to translate one rather lengthy letter addressed to the saint. As most people know, Romance languages have a formal and a familiar form of address in the second person, singular and plural. I noted that the supplicant used the familiar form of address which I thought was rather forward. I mean, surely a saint is of a higher social status than a patron of a store or your grandfather! My mother and I proceeded through the church, inspecting various statues and paintings, trying to discern the symbols, usually unsuccessfully. We then came upon the section reserved for relics which seemed like a massive store of golden containers. My mother declared emphatically that she did not want to ascend the dais for viewing the items, but I was rather curious as I had no idea as to what I was to discover. I viewed the containers thinking that they must hold such items as the splinters or nails of the cross. At first I didn’t see any labels, but then I noticed a few written in Italian, one stating ‘mento.’ I had recently seen and heard that word in my study of Italian. I tried to recall, and then it came to me: chin. Chin?! To what could the term “chin” refer? Then I examined the container more closely. Holy Shit! There was a guy’s whole jaw bone, including his teeth!! Then I noticed a label ‘lingua.’ Tongue! There was a shriveled tongue!! With that revelation, I too departed the sanctuary and quickly.

-11After a lunch and another two hours of riding the bus, we arrived at a villa designed by Andrea Palladio called Villa Pisani. “When it became fashionable in the 16th century for wealthy Venetians to acquire rural estates on the mainland, many turned to the prolific architect, Andrea Palladio (1508-80) for the design of their villas,. Inspired by ancient Roman prototypes, described by authors such as Vitruvious and Virgil, Palladio provided his clients with elegant buildings in which the pursuit of pleasure could be combined with the functions of a working farm. Palladio’s designs were widely imitated and continue to inspire architects to this day.” [254, p 24] “Often thought to be the most magnificent, grandiose building on the Riviera, Villa Pisani is in Stra, about 8 km from Padua. It was built around 1720 in a style that brings together Classical and Baroque elements, producing an effect that is worthy of the palaces in Versailles and Caserta. Visitors to the Villa can still see the original furnishings in the 114 rooms and the

Figure 19 Villa Pisani magnificent frescoes painted by Gianbattista Tiepolo between 1760 and 1762 in the ballroom. The huge park surrounding the villa is filled with statues and buildings, such as the exedra1 , the archeological hill, the ice-house, the lemon-house and the stables.” I was more impressed with the area just inside the main entrance as there were stone columns for supporting the upper stories plus stone paving. While it was very hot that day, this area remained cool.

A room or building (as in a temple or house) in ancient Greece and Rome used for conversation and formed by an open or columned recess often semicircular in shape and furnished with seats.


-12The tour of the house was typical of most villas, the local guide identifying the title of each painting and the name of the painter. I have little recognition of these names and so the list becomes tedious. I liked the advice of our tour director, Silvana, who said that one should study one painting and get the most out of it. I believe that would be the advice of our son Jared as I remember that he said that often he went to the Walter’s Gallery in Baltimore and often just looked at one piece for an hour. The fun part of the tour was trying to reach the

Figure 21 Labyrinth in the garden of Villa Pisani center of the labyrinth in the garden. It was much more difficult than it looks.

We then walked to the skene which provides a view from the house and blocks the view of the stables. It is simply a facade although it does have two rooms. We traveled to a dock in order to embark on a boat and cruise down the Brenta Canal. The Guidebook, Venice & Figure 20 Garden of the Veneto describes Villa Pisani it as follows: “The River Brenta, between Padua and the Venetian Lagoon, was canalized in the 16th century. Flowing for a total of 36 km (22 miles), its potential as a transport route was Figure 22 Cruising down the Brenta Canal quickly realized, and fine villas were built along its length. Today, these elegant buildings can still be admired. Three open their doors to the public: the Villa Foscari at Malcontenta, the Villa Widmann-Foscari at Mira, and the Villa Pisani at Stra.” [254, p.182] While these palazzo’s were and are elegant, all are not in the best condition nor are they all surrounded by gardens as urban development often has encroached upon them. Still it was pleasant and relaxing to view them from the deck of a boat as it glided on the Canal.


Figure 23 Piazza San Marco with the Palazzo Ducale from the Lagoon

Day 5: Arriving by Vaporetto at Saint Mark’s Square (or Piazza San Marco) from St. Elena, where our hotel was located, we were given a guided tour of the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale). The doge or duke was the head of the Venetian government, although over time, he became more of a figurehead. The Venetian government was an oligarchy of about 2,000 noblemen. From this body, a Great Council (Gran Consiglio) was elected, and from this body, a Council of ten was elected. This body grew in power over the 800 year life of the Republic of Venice. In addition, there was a judicial body called the Chamber of Three. The State Inquisitor Room was used to interrogate (and torture) prisoners. The prison (where the fashionable bon vivant Casanova was once incarcerated, and escaped!) is connected to the palace by a covered bridge called the "Bridge of Sighs," so called because it was the last time the prisoner would see the outside world or be seen by his loved ones witnessing his walk to the dungeons. The palace contained rooms for the meeting of these bodies, and the home of the doge. Unlike the White House, the doge brought his own furniture when installed, and he removed Figure 24 Palazzo Ducale it when he left, although most died in office.

-14It was thrilling to walk in the rooms were men of great power fashioned the events of history. Unfortunately (for me), instead of telling the history of the Republic, the guide described the various paintings, neglecting for the most part even its architecture. The painting that most interested me was that of the conquest of Constantinople of the fourth crusade. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a photograph of this painting on the Web. We then took a tour of a glass factory and given a demonstration of glass blowing. While this was interesting to watch, Mom and I had no intention of buying these decorous and expensive items. Aurora, John, Mom and I then walked east in the sestiere or war of the city called the Castello, named after an 8th -century fortress that once stood on what is now San Pietro, the island which for centuries was the religious focus of the city. San Pietro was the episcopal see from the 9th century and the city’s cathedral from 1451 to 1807. While there were several sites to view, our objective was the Arsenal (Arsenale) which at the time of the Republic was the industrial hub where the great shipyards produced Venice’s indomitable fleet of warships. Figure 25 Gate of the Arsenale (For more information, see the Addendum Arsenale.) We discovered a ristorante with outdoor seating just in front of the impressive gate of the Arsenale. With the early morning activities and walk, oppressive heat, and scheduled activities for the evening, Aurora, John, and Mom decided to return to the hotel for a nap. I decided to continue my walking tour, but upon reaching San Giorgio del Greci, I succumbed to a sonellino (nap). At six o’clock in the evening, the three returned, and so began delicate negotiations to decide whether or not we would hire a gondola and hire a singer and musician to accompany us. A gondola ride is touristy, but then we are tourist. And it is a way to view the houses from the canal instead of just the streets. Of the music I was a bit more leery. I am not an opera buff, but I could see listening to some arias while drifting along. However, we discovered that the offering was those classical arias of “Volare” and “Oh Solo Mio.” The cost of one gondola was $80; the cost of the musicians was $120. We decided on just the gondola! After the ride, we searched for a ristorante–something that wasn’t extravagant. As we wandered through the maze of streets, I left my companions in order to save my mother from extra walking, and found the perfect place, complete with dinning in an interior garden. Figure 26 Aurora & John

-15We had a good conversation, discussing the state of the world and comparing the cities of the United States and those of Italy. We then described our personal situations and our previous travel. For some reason, this discussion elicited Aurora to share the fact that she and John were not married, but have been involved with each other for the past four years as John was divorced and Aurora’s husband had died. While Mom and I were not embarrassed by the disclosure, we did not know how to react, and so we simply let Aurora carry the conversation to a new topic. Upon returning to our hotel, Mom disclosed the fact that she had bumped her shin while disembarking from the gondola. She showed me a bleeding spot about the size of a quarter. Normally this would not be very serious, but her aged skin was fragile and healed slowly. Luckily I had brought along a small first aid kit that contained an anti-bacterial cream and a telfa pad. I then cleaned her right shoe that had some blood drops on the surface. There was also some blood on the top of the tongue of the shoe but I could not wipe it off so I dipped it into the water in the sink. To my amazement, blood flowed from the tongue, obviously being almost fully saturated. Trying to rival the martyrs of St. Anthony, she had not mentioned this injury until we returned to the hotel.

-16Day 6: Mom decided to rest for the day until our evening meal; so Aurora, John and I decided to take a vaporetto from St. Elena’s to the end of the line at Ferrovie and then search for the church called Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. I didn’t need to see another church, but I needed an objective and I needed companionship. We reached the church and viewed the altar pieces and paintings. There were two that interested me. Figure 27 Santa Maria Gloriosa One was a painting by Titian that hangs to the left of dei Frari the side-door: The Madonna di Ca' Pesaro . “This work was commissioned by Bishop Jacopo Pesaro in 1519 and celebrates victory in a naval expedition against the Turks led by the bellicose cleric in 1502. The Bishop is kneeling and waiting for St Peter to introduce him and his family to the Madonna. Behind, an armored warrior bearing a banner has Turkish prisoners in tow.”

Figure 28 Madonna di Ca' Pesaro

“The whole of the next bay, around the side door, is occupied by another piece of Pesaro propaganda - the mastodontic Mausoleum of Doge Pesaro (died 1659), attributed to Longhena, with recently restored sculptures by Melchior Barthel of Dresden. Even the most ardent fans of the baroque have trouble defending this one, with its blackamoor caryatides, bronze skeletons and posturing allegories; political incorrectness is the least of its faults. It seems impossible for false taste and base feeling to sink lower,' wrote Ruskin, and you can see his point.” [254]

Mark Twain also had something to say: The monument to the doge Giovanni Pesaro, in this church, is a curiosity in the way of mortuary adornment. It is eighty feet high and is fronted like some fantastic pagan temple. Against it stand four colossal Nubians, as black as night, dressed in white marble garments. The black legs are bare, and through rents in sleeves and breeches, the skin, of shiny black marble, shows. The artist was as ingenious as his funeral designs were absurd. There are two bronze skeletons bearing scrolls, and two great dragons uphold the sarcophagus. On high, amid all this grotesqueness, sits the departed doge.

Unfortunately I was not able to find a photograph of this tomb.

-17We wandered eastward and considered lunch but decided that a sit-down affair would be too much food. We happened upon a grocery and decided to have a peach. We spotted some peaches, and John tried to squeeze the fruit but the owner quickly rushed over to stop him. We were later informed by Silvana that customers are prevented from touching the fruits and vegetables as a sanitary precaution. We Americans squeeze the fruit to determine if it is ripe and juicy, but in Italy this seems not to be a question. As we bit into the fruit, the juice gushed from our mouth. Delicious! We wandered into the Campo San Paolo, the piazza of the church, and read from my guidebook as Aurora and John looked at some postcards: “As far back as the 15th century it was the venue for festivities, masquerades, ceremonies, balls and bull-baiting. The most dramatic event was the assassination of Lorezino de’Medici in 1548. He had taken refuge in Venice after brutally killing his cousin Alessandro, Duke of Florence. Lorenzino was stabbed in the square by two assassins who were in the service of Cosimo de’Medici, and both were handsomely rewarded by the Florentine Duke.” While not as dramatic, I found the following tidbit of history to be equally interesting. On the apse of the churched, a plaque dated 1611 forbids all games (or selling of merchandise) on pain of prison, gallery service or exile. Such a sign compares to the signs today prohibiting riding bikes, roller skating, and skateboarding. We crossed the Rialto Bridge and then wove our way to Piazza San Marco in order to visit the great cathedral. Kathy and I had walked around thirty-two years before, but the only thing that I remember was that it was very dark inside. Since that time, I had read of the history and edifices of Constantinople and the theft of much of the wealth taken to Venice by the Fourth Crusade. Of particular note was the quadriga or four horses that once sat atop the hippodrome and were now atop the roof of San Marco.

Figure 29 Cathedral of San Marco

Figure 30 Interior of San Marco

-18I must say that I was greatly impressed with San Marco as I noticed a similar feel, if not design, to that of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. I marveled at the floor which had sections with intricate patterns of marble inlay. The interior is covered with mosaic of gold. After following the flow of the crowd, we stopped briefly to admire the interior. I was wearing my baseball cap when an attendant came up to me and told me to remove it, which I did. But I could not help remembering an observation made by Plutarch: “Why do men veil their heads when they worship the gods and uncover them when they wish to do honor to men.” In ancient times, it was a sign of dedication, not a show of modesty. It seems that over the past 1,500 years, the understanding and convention has changed: now men uncover while woman, as a indication of modesty, often cover their head. As Kathy can attest, it once was required. In the further course of our tour, Aurora was stopped for her bare arms and required to seek a shawl from the attendant at the entrance. For the price of 3 Euros, we ascended a winding staircase in order to visit the museum so as to see the real quadriga. “The bronze horses that once proudly rose over the main portal of St. Marks, were removed from the Hippodrome in Constantinople and displayed as a prominent spoil (the horses by the way had been earlier removed from the quadriga on top of Trajan's arch in Constantinople, who had in turn transported them from Nero's arch in Rome, who had borrowed them from a Hellenistic monument in Corinth.). Today they have been substituted by copies due to corrosion of the originals by salt air and pollution.” I then walked outside onto the balcony, right behind (literally) the horses. I walked toward the square between the Palazzo Ducale and the Campanile. This was the place on the balcony where a new doge was presented to the people of Venice. San Marco was built as a depository of the body of the Saint Mark, first Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt. His body was maintained by Muslims but was smuggled by the Venetians in 828, reputedly under slices of pork to deter prying Muslims. A mosaic of this act is in the concave vault over a doorway to the right of the central entrance.

Figure 31 Quadriga

Figure 32 Smuggling the body of St. Mark

-19There is an interesting postscript to San Marco. In preparing for my next trip to Istanbul and Türkiye, I read a book entitled, A Byzantine Journey by John Ash. He reported on the discovery and excavation of the Church of Saint Polyeuctus near the Fatih Mosque (Mosque of the Conqueror) in Istanbul. [As another aside, Polyeuctus was a Roman soldier that converted to Christianity and was martyred (d. 259). He writes that: It soon became apparent that the church had been very thoroughly plundered by the Venetians, some time shortly after 1204. Palmette capitals from Saint Polyeuctus surmount columns on the façade of San Marco, and the two sumptuously decorated pilasters that stand nearby in the piazzetta, which for long were (are!) thought to have come from Acre, were undoubtedly part of the same parcel of loot: the match with the fragments discovered in Istanbul is exact.”

Figure 34 Palmette capitals

Figure 33 Pilasters outside San Marco

-20That evening the tour took the group by private boat to a restaurant on an island called Burano The island is noted for the strikingly bold and various colors of its houses, originally painted by the wives--so the story goes--in order to aid their husbands finding the correct house in the fog.

Figure 36 Burano street

Figure 35 Burano canal


Day 7: Leaving early as usual--7:00am--we traveled northwest through the Dolomites to the town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, best described as an Austrian hamlet and ski resort. The views were magnificent, and Mom and I hoped to have a late-morning café and pastry and view the mountains on some shady patio. Alas, there was no such place to be found, and at 12:30pm, there were only restaurants serving full meals. Otherwise most of the town closed for the afternoon siesta. We were thus forced to buy some pastry and water, and consume them in the piazza of a church. We then set off to find the perfect viewing spot, only to find it about 30 yards from the parking lot for our bus. It was a small park with a memorial, seemingly dedicated to the fallen and heroes of the Great War (WWI). For this trip, I had taken along a book entitled, Unto the Sons by Gay Talese. It is the story of

Figure 1 Cortina d’Ampezzo

Figure 2 Isabel Paolini in the park

his family and their origins in southern Italy--from about 1800 to the time of emigration by his father to American in 1920. A few chapters are devoted to a friend of the family, Antonio, who was drafted and sent to the front when Italy declared war on Austria. The Austria-Hungarian Empire was engaged with Germany (and the Ottoman Empire) against the Triple Entente of Great Britain, France and Russia. Thinking that the Austrians would have their hands full, the Italian government thought that it could wrestle away the Tyrolian region which it considered a part of “Italy” when one views Italy as a boot. No doubt the area has strategic value as it enables control of the Brenner Pass through which northern invaders descended upon Italy. In one of our bus rides, our tour director, Silvana, related the history of Italy as it defined the nation-state. Her description affirmed my own knowledge of the history of Italy. I had read a book entitled, A Concise History of Italy: From Prehistoric Times to Our Own Day, which I can only say that I would hate to read the complete and unabridged version. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the country fragmented into various principalities and communes. The history of “Italy” is the intrigue and battles among these entities. Thus there never developed a feeling of nation, only a loyalty to a principality at best or to a noble at worst. Even when Italy was formed by the Risorgimento lead by General Garibaldi, many Italians wistfully longed for the continued rule of the Spanish Bourbons in the South. And so:

-22“Thus the Italian army was divided as the nation itself was divided. The unification of Italy more than a half-century before had failed to unite the south with the north; and the southerners like Antonio felt no more assimilated nationally in 1916 than had his grandfather Domenico in 1861 after the Risorgimento and the fall of the [Spanish] Bourbons.” [61, p.327]

With regard to the battles of the Isonzo River, and after the Battle of Caporetto, a disaster for the Italian army: “Nearly 40,000 Italians had already been killed or wounded, and 250,000 had been taken prisoner. “The Italian nation, having sacrificed the lives of more than 530,000 soldiers....” [61, p.371] Being in the Dolomites and reading this book reminded me that my uncle Armando, for whom I am named, fought near the Austrian border and was captured by the Austrians at the battle of Caporetto. One wonders whether or not the war initiated by the Italian government for control of ski resorts was worth the sacrifice.

“...the Vatican seemed tentative about the
secular role it should play with the two belligerent Catholic nations. If Pope Benedict XV was privately partial to the Austrians, as many Catholics on both sides suggested, it was perhaps understandable, given the contrast between the Hapsburg crown’s history of homage to the Church and the seizure of the Papal States by the Italian leaders of the Risorgimento–led by the Pope-baiting Garibaldi. Even the passage of nearly fifty years had failed to heal the rift between the Italian government and the Vatican. The papacy had yet to recognize officially the nation of Italy.” [61, p.332]

In any case, Silvana stated that the nation seemed to be coalescing due to three factors: television; the highway system especially the A1 which probably replaces the Apian Way; and soccer, Italy having won the championship in 1982. We continued on to Bolzano. Though we were traveling through this magnificent panoramic countryside, I continually fought to stay awake but eventually had to surrender to a nap. Bolzano is a beautiful city but we didn’t have much time to explore it. Most notable were it portico’s, that is, buildings that hung over the sidewalks and arched openings on the street, thus shielding the pedestrians from the sun.

Figure 4 Main piazza of Bolzano

Figure 3 Portici of Bolzano


Figure 5 Merano

Figure 6 Merano castle

Day 8: We took an optional tour to the town of Merano in the south Tyrol. The area was beautiful with perfectly kept homes, hotels, and parks. The road was winding and narrow, putting our driver Walter to the test, but he was up to the challenge. With a local guide, we walked in the downtown area along the Adige River, and then inspected a 12th -century castle. We returned to Bolzano to pick up the other passengers, have lunch, and then depart for Como. It was a long drive, and we passed near Lake Garda and the town of Desenzano where Kathy and I had stayed on our first visit to Italy in 1973.


Day 9: In the morning we traveled to the town of Stresa on the banks of Lago Maggiore in order to take a boat to the island of Isolla Bella, which lives up to its name. There are three major components of the island: the castle, the garden, and a small houses attached to the castle and garden that are the homes of the staff that support the castle. A local website described the setting: “Isola Bella, named by the 16th century count Carlo Borromeo for his wife, Isabella. The island showcases a palatial villa filled with stuccoes, frescoes, tapestries and crystal chandeliers. Rare and unusual plants such as tea, coffee, lotus flowers and Egyptian papyrus thrive in the 10-tiered terraced garden rising up from the water like a Mayan temple. Snow-white peacocks and pheasants patrol the elaborate grounds. The island even boasts a place in history as the location of a meeting in 1935 between Mussolini and British and French diplomats. Unfortunately, the meeting failed in its attempt to scare Germany out of starting World War II.”

Figure 8 Isola Bella from Stresa Figure 7 Town of Stresa on Lago Maggiore

Figure 9 Part of the palazzo


Our local guide was not only informative but a great comedian. For example, “note this beautiful and large chandelier. It takes three days to raise this chandelier into position. For Italians, it takes three days but for Americans probably two or three hours.”

Figure 10 Portion of the garden

Figure 11 Backdrop to the garden As at Villa Pisani, an exedra or backdrop provides a vista at the end of the garden as viewed from the palazzo. Returning to Stresa, we were allowed only one hour for lunch, and so Mom and I searched for a place that was reasonably priced and that could serve us in less than fortyfive minutes. We were successful and had a meal of vegetable soup (minestrone in Italian) and grilled vegetables. Excellent!

Figure 12 Apartments

-26It was then onto Lugano, Switzerland. It was during this ride as well as earlier ones that Silvana talked about various words: What is the word that is the same in any language all over the world? Taxi. “Ciao” is now recognized as an international word as is the word “fax.” The word ‘ghetto’ derives from the ‘getto,’ pronounced ‘jetto,’ which referred to the iron works in Venice. [From a current Italian dictionary, the word getto means ‘dump.’ Since the Jews had to live there but changed the pronunciation, the word comes to us as ghetto. The word secretary seems to have referred to a desk with multiple drawers with locks in order to hold secrets, thereby giving us the present name of an office role. The name of Terry Schiavo was always mispronounced. Schiavo means slave in Italian. And the area of Dalmatia or the upper portion of the Balkans was called Shiavonia in ancient times. Silvana talked about the resource planning that has been enacted in Italy. Divided into three zones, the power supplied to the upper zone of Italy is less than the south in summer (for air conditioning) while the power supplied to the lower zone is less than the north in winter (for heating). We were given two hours to stroll around Lugano but again it was very hot. Having consumed our daily gelato, we visited a photography exhibit in a gallery and then strolled through a park next to the Lake. The number of times and the number of hours were given to stroll in various towns seemed to be for the purpose of allowing us tourists to shop. But of course, this is not a pleasant pastime for my mother or me. I compared our situation to having us plopped down in downtown Chicago. Now there are sites to see in downtown Chicago, though they require a great deal of walking. Still, the Tour could have provided us with a self-directed, walking tour so as to be more interesting. Day 10: The entire next day consisted of a boat tour of Lake Como. It was very picturesque and the water provided some relief from the heat. We learned that two days prior, it was 104 degrees in Milan and that on this day, Bolzano was the hottest city in Europe. We were told by Silvana that no new buildings could be constructed around Lake Como, but only the renovation of existing structures provided no change be made to the facade. We sojourned for two hours in the beautiful and wealthy city of Bellagio. Of local interest was the shooting of an Italian film in the streets and in the park. Mom and I simply walked in a park along the shore and sat on a bench, looked at the Lake, and talked about the succession of English kings.

Figure 13 Bellagio on Lake Como

-27Our next stop was Menaggio for a one hour stop, the highlight being the consumption of one of the best gelati. As we waited for the tour bus to take us to our next stop, Argegno, we began talking to a couple: Lori and Stu Wheelwright from Ogden, Utah. While I estimated this couple to be in their mid-fifties, I noticed that they seemed inordinately affectionate for a couple of that age. While she often similed, I thought that she had sad eyes, as though she had recently cried. Lori told us that she had divorced about five years ago while Stu’s wife died about the same time. She had been married to a policeman, who came home one day and announced that he was getting a divorce. She said that he had grown distant over the last five years. And when she asked if there was someone else, he said that he had met someone about five years previously. Obviously this was devastating. I asked her whether or not she was a saint, that is, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). She had been a saint as she was raised in the faith. But she and her husband had studied the Bible and the Book of Mormon. They had questions about certain contradictions between the two, and sought answers from their president, their bishop, and finally the council of the Church in Salt Lake. Deciding that the answers were inadequate, they asked to be excommunicated from the Church. Such an action in a Church and in the religious community of Ogden, Utah takes a great deal of conviction and courage. She was an example of a seemingly ordinary person doing an extraordinary thing. The next stop was at the town of Argegno in order to catch a public boat backed to Como. It was an enjoyable trip as we stopped at various towns to pick up and discharge passengers. Silvana also pointed out a home of George Cluny which was of great interest to all passengers on board, causing us all to yell, “Hello, George” as we passed. The farewell dinner was held at the top of a hill overlooking the town of Como. To reach this restaurant, we took the funicular which was only a few blocks from our hotel. Silvana informed us that the song “Finiculi, Finicula” was a advertising jingle produced in order to combat the negative propaganda of teamsters who pulled the carriages and who were then to be made obsolete by this motorized, cable car.

Figure 14 Argegno on Lake Como

-28At eight in the evening, the air was so humid that the view was obscured at the top; but by the time we departed at 10:00pm, the air had cleared and the view was beautiful. It was an excellent meal, and I had the pleasure of talking with Michael, a psychologist from the San Diego area who worked for the Veterans Administration and who treated discharged veterans suffering from combat stress. Across from me sat the only single woman on the trip (there was one single man). She was friendly and vivacious and interesting. But I also noticed that often she wanted--and got--things that she wanted, and not what was offered to the group. Her meals often had to be specially prepared, for example. She also seemed to fidget, leaving the table three or four times during the dinner, perhaps at times to smoke a cigarette. She added variety to the mix, but I doubt that she made life easier for our tour director. As we departed the restaurant, Walter and Silvana were saying goodbye to each of us since we would be departing the next day. My mother and I tipped Walter $70 and Silvana $100. You would have thought we were kin as Walter shook my hand and Silvana gave hugs to both Mom and me. We both thought that they had worked very hard, especially Silvana who was up before all of us making sure that the hotel was portaging out luggage, that our transfer transportation was correctly arranged, the next hotel was ready to accommodate us, etc. And she did it all with a smile and a joke at the ready.

La Fine

-29Addendum: Milan The most striking feature of the city is the Duomo, the large, white-marble cathedral (1386–1813), which shows traces of many styles (especially Gothic). It is elaborately ornamented, with 135 pinnacles and more than 200 marble statues. A statue of the Madonna is on the highest pinnacle (354 ft/108 m). Other points of interest in Milan include Brera Palace and Picture Gallery (17th cent.), which includes major works by Mantegna, Bellini, Piero della Francesca, and Raphael; the Castello Sforzesco (15th cent., with 19th-century additions), which houses a museum of art; the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie (1465–90), containing the famous fresco, the Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci; the Basilica of Sant' Ambrogio (founded in the 4th cent., rebuilt in the 11th–12th cent.); the Ambrosian Library, which houses a rich collection of paintings; the Church of Sant' Eustorgio (9th cent.); the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology; the gallery of modern art; and the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, with paintings by Boticelli, Pollaiuolo, Mantegna, and Piero della Francesca. Long a center of music, Milan has a conservatory and a famous opera house, Teatro alla Scala (opened in 1778). Between the Duomo and La Scala is the 130-year-old Galleria, an enclosed four-story glass-roofed arcade that contains shops and eateries and is a popular gathering place. The city also has three universities and a polytechnic institute. Probably of Celtic origin, Milan was conquered by Rome in 222 B.C. In later Roman times it was the capital (A.D. 305–402) of the Western Empire and the religious center of N Italy. In 313 Constantine I issued the Edict of Milan, which granted religious toleration. From 374 to 379 the city's bishop was St. Ambrose, known for the liturgy he wrote and for his eloquence. Milan was severely damaged by the Huns ©.450) and again by the Goths (539) and was conquered by the Lombards in 569. In the 12th cent. it became a free commune and gradually gained supremacy over the cities of Lombardy. From the 11th to the 13th cent. Milan suffered from internal warfare between rich and poor, from the Guelph and Ghibelline strife, and from the enmity of rival cities, which assisted Emperor Frederick I in destroying it (1163). As a member of the Lombard League, Milan later contributed to the defeat of Frederick I at Legnano (1176). The city's independence was recognized in the Peace of Constance (1183). In the 13th cent. Milan lost its republican liberties; first the Torriani, then the Visconti (1277) became its lords. Galeazzo Visconti received (1395) the title of duke of Milan from the emperor, and under him the duchy became one of the most important states in Italy. After the death of the last Visconti (1447) the Sforza became dukes of Milan. The city flourished until it became involved in the Italian Wars and passed under Spanish domination (1535). At the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, Austrian rule of Milan was established (1713–96). Napoleon I made the city the capital of the Cisalpine Republic (1797) and of the kingdom of Italy (1805–14). In 1815 Milan again came under Austria. It was a leading center throughout the Risorgimento; after five days of heroic fighting in 1848 the citizens of Milan succeeded in expelling the Austrians, who returned, however, a few months later. In 1859 the city was united with the kingdom of Sardinia. Its industrial importance grew after it was incorporated (1861) into Italy. In World War II Milan suffered widespread damage from Allied air raids; many significant buildings were damaged beyond repair.

-30Addendum: Ludovico Sforza Ludovico Sforza (Ludovico il Moro, "The Moor") (July 27, 1452–May 27, 1508), a member of the Sforza dynasty of Milan, Italy, was the second son of Francesco Sforza, and was famed as patron of Leonardo da Vinci and other artists. On the assassination of Ludovico's elder brother Galeazzo in 1476, the crown passed to his seven-year-old nephew Gian Galeazzo Sforza. Ludovico seized control of the government of Milan during his minority despite attempts to keep him out of power. When Gian Galeazzo died in 1494, Ludovico received the ducal crown from the Milanese nobles on October 22. The same year he simultaneously encouraged the French under Charles VIII of France, and the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, to become involved in Italian politics, hoping to control the two and reap the rewards himself—so starting the Italian Wars. Things did not go as planned, and finding his own position endangered by the French, he joined the league against Charles VIII, giving his niece Bianca in marriage to Maximilian I and receiving in return imperial investiture of the duchy. After first defeating the French at the Battle of Fornovo in 1495 (making weapons from 70 tons of Bronze, originally set aside for a Leonardo da Vinci statue), Lodovico was later driven from Milan by the new French king, Louis XII in 1499, and although reinstated for a short time by the Swiss he was eventually delivered over by them to the French (April 1500) and died a prisoner in the castle of Loches.

Addendum: Leonardo's horse Piazzale dello Sport 6 • MM1 Lotto, then 1 km walk down Via Caprilli; or MM1 De Angeli, then tram 16 to Piazza Esquilino, then 600 m walk down Via Palatino. Admission free. Open every day 9.30-18.30. This, the largest equestrian monument in the world, is a modern reconstruction of a monument brought to the casting stage by Leonardo in the late 15th century, but that was destroyed before it could be cast. This version, installed in 1999, was sculpted by an team brought together by the American ex-airline pilot Charles Dent, on the basis of Leonardo's drawings and notes. There are panels in English and Italian describing the history of this extraordinary monument. Unfortunately it is not centrally located. If you use public transport, there is a bit of a walk (as above). Alternatively use the Metro to MM1 Lotto, then take a taxi. To return to MM1 Lotto, you can phone the taxi rank there on 02.469.51.19.

-31Addendum: Villa Pisani It represents the heights of 18th century architecture when the splendour of the baroque blended with the harmony of classicism on a par with great palaces like Versailles or Caserta. The construction of the main body began in 1720 on a project by Gerolamo Frigimelica, commissioned by noblemen Alvise and Almorò Pisani. After Frigimelica's death, the work of building the grandiose complex was entrusted to Francesco Maria Preti, a young architect to whom the villa owes its present aspect. In the interior, most of the 114 rooms feature their original furnishings and are richly decorated with statues, stuccowork and frescoes commissioned from the great masters of the epoch, artists like Fabio Canal, Jacopo Guarana, Jacopo Amigoni, Andrea Urbani, Andrea Brustolon, Andrea Celesti, Gaspare Diziani, and many others. Reigning over them all is the name of Gian Battista Tiepolo who, in the ballroom, between 1760 and 1762 realised - together with the quadraturist Giovanni Mengozzi Colonna, his irreplaceable collaborator - one of the masterpieces of 18th century Venetian art, the Glory of the Pisani Family. The extensive park is a world apart, with groups of sculptures and features such as the coffeehouse, the exedra, the folly, the icehouse, the lemon-house and the stables that mirror the proportions of the main house. The villa has accommodated many famous guests in the course of its long history, from Napoleon, who became its proprietor in 1807, to Mussolini and Hitler who met here for the first time in 1934. Here too Gabriele D'Annunzio found the inspiration for the maize scene described in his novel The Fire.

-32Addendum: Arsenale It is believed that the origins of the Arsenal date back to 1104, following some fires that destroyed a sequence of shipyards that were scattered throughout the city. At the beginning it was made up of an aggregation of flumes, pools, shipways and "magazzeni". The evolution of the Arsenal structure was marked by a succession of extensions and by ongoing changes in the structures themselves, both following accidents, but above all, due to technical progress and historical events. The "Old" Arsenal was built between 1100 and 1300, and the "New" Arsenal complex between 1300 and 1400, while the "Newest" Arsenal was built between 1473 and 1573. By 1400, the Arsenal was already the world’s most extensive industrial complex, with 3,000 employees (known as “Arsenalotti”) and a production capacity which, by the 1500s, had reached no less than six galleys a month. This achievement was made possible by outstanding managerial talent and modern organisation of all aspects of production, from the procurement of timber to the preference for modular construction. Over the course of the centuries, many major works were carried out, including the construction of laboratories, warehouses and, with the advent of gun powder, artillery rooms. The works also included raising the roof of the covered docks, widening the canal and increasing the distance between the two entrance towers, following the introduction of square-sailed ships in about 1650; and the conversion of old covered shipyards for galley construction into shelters for the ships of the Doge and his retinue. In the wake of the devastation of the Arsenal in 1797 by the French, before their surrender to Austria, rebuilding work was undertaken during the period of Austrian rule between 1814-30. This was followed by the creation of new earthworks and dry docks in the sandbank area to the north of the Arsenal in 1875-78, immediately after the annexation of Venice by Italy. It was during this period that the Arsenal’s docks saw the building of some of the Italian Navy’s greatest ships, including the cruiser Amerigo Vespucci (1882), the battleships Francesco Morosini (1885) and Sicilia (1891), the scout Quarto and the submarines Nautilus and Nereide. From 1900, shipbuilding was transferred to private shipyards and no longer took place in the arsenals. The Venice Arsenal thus gradually reduced its production functions, and restricted itself to maintaining the efficiency of the fleet in peace time and devoting itself chiefly to the manufacture of arms and special equipment. Rather than bringing any improvement to the building works or equipment, the second world war and consequent German occupation, led to further ransacking of materials and machinery. Part of the Arsenal is still under the control of the military authorities, and legally speaking, remains state property.

-33Bibliography [254] Venice & the Veneto, Eyewitness Travel Guides, London, 1995, 2004, [228] Norwich, John Julius, A History of Venice, Vintage Books, 1989. [61] Talese, Gay, Unto The Sons, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1992. [70] Salvatorelli, Luigi, A Concise History of Italy: From Prehistoric Times to Our Own Day, translated by Bernard Miall, Oxford University Press, New York, 1940 (The Italian original Sommario Della Storia D’Italia was first published in Turn in 1938; first published in English in 1939.) [10] Harrison, Jane Ellen, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, Cambridge University Press, 1903.

-34Identification of Photographs 003_00A 004_0A 005_1A 006_2A 006_2A 008_4A 009_5A 010_6A 012_8A 013_9A 014_10A 015_11A 016_12A 017_13A 018_14A 019_15A 020_16A 021_17A 022_18A 023_19A 024_20A 025_21A 026_22A 027_23A 028_24A 029_25A Front of the Borromeo palazzo on Isola Bella Approaching the garden of Isola Bella Park along shore of Lake Maggiore in Stresa #1 Park along shore of Lake Maggiore in Stresa #2 Park in Cortina d’Ampezzo View of mountains surrounding Cortina d’Ampezzo Street in Burano island near Venice Canal in Burano island near Venice Unknown church along the Riva Degli Schiavoni Unknown Isabel Paolini in a gondola Aurora and John Local Communist headquarters in Venice(?) Rod Paolini and Isabel Paolini on the bridge over the Rio Dei Greci with the campanile of San Giorgio dei Greci in the background Top of an entrance in the Doge’s Palace San Marco, Venice Bridge of Sighs over the Rio Del Palazzo connecting the Doge’s Palace to the prison Garden villa along the Adriatic between Piazza San Marco and St. Elena where are hotel was located Modern art piece along the shore between Piazza San Marco and St. Elena where are hotel was located Isabel aboard the boat on the Brenta Canal between Padua and Venice Walking in the garden of Villa Pisani Rod Paolini on top of the pedestal of the labyrinth A facade to the stables at Villa Pisani Isabel Paolini in front of a sandwich shop in Padua Globus bus tour group approaching the Cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua Globus bus tour group approaching the Cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua led by our guide, Silvana in orange outfit