IES Trip to Milano

Mary Kelso
March 11, 2013

I just got back from a trip to Milan with IES Abroad. Milan was exciting and fun…but it definitely isn’t the constantly picturesque, romantic, relaxing Italy that I am used to (Tuscany has spoiled me already!). It is a big city and you have to constantly avoid men trying to tie bracelets on your wrists and sell you corn to feed the pigeons, as well as keep your hands on your purse at all time. It was Fashion Week 2013 in Milan, although we hardly noticed because there weren’t many events open to the public (we did pass some tents set up for fashion shows). We were surrounded by Prada and Gucci stores, and many, many fur coats.

For a few hours each day we had a wonderful tour guide to show us around the city. Milan’s Duomo is incredibile and absolutely breathtaking, even in the snow and rain. Inside you can see actual dead bodies of Saints (yes creepy) and it also houses a supposed nail from the crucifixion of Jesus, although it is only brought down for three days a year. We visited a castle (Castello Sforzesco) and museum which houses Michelangelo’s Rondanini Pieta. We got a tour of the studio of Achille Castiglioni, an internally recognized Italian designer of objects ranging from ingenious booklights to creative chairs. One afternoon we went to the Cimitero Monumentale, a gigantic graveyard that houses many elaborate tombs of rich and famous Milanese people. My favorite part of the weekend was seeing Leonardo DaVinci’sLast Supper. To be in the same room as this masterpiece was a moving experience – to stand where Leonardo once stood, creating this work of art, was unforgettable. Each face has such a unique expression upon hearing the news that one of them would betray Jesus-ranging from shock to anger to disbelief to embarrassment.

One of the best parts of the whole trip was the dinners, which were organized by IES. Both nights we had full two course dinners with dessert and wine. We had two traditional Italian desserts, pannacotta (a creamy jello-type substance with chocolate poured over the top) and chocolate salami (slices of a creamy chocolate with pieces of broken cookie mixed in). It was a wonderful weekend of traveling and bonding with the IES students, but I have to admit it was nice to be welcomed home to a family who had waited for us for dinner, with steaming pasta on the table!

Ciao ciao! Mary

Milano’s Duomo under a snowy sky. We had a beautiful 3-hour train ride to snowy Milan. While many people complained about the weather, the huge snowflakes in the air reminded me of home and it was a wonderful feeling.

Michelangelo’s unfinished Pieta…beautiful symbolism in the way that Mary and the dying Jesus seem to be merged into one body and unconventional in the way they are both standing and Mary struggles as Jesus slides from her grasp.

Our fantastic tour guide explaining the story behind this tomb (built by a mourning husband for his 24-year-old wife who died during childbirth).

molto belli frescos inside a church in Milan (I think painted by a follower of Leonardo DaVinci)

Candles lit in the Duomo…adds to the eerie yet awing atmosphere of the room.

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Mary Kelso

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Ciao! I&rsquo;m Mary and I&rsquo;m blessed to spend the semester in Siena, Italy. I&rsquo;m a junior double major in Psychology and English at Hope College in the charming West Michigan town of Holland. I grew up in the woods of Michigan&rsquo;s Upper Peninsula and love to go on adventures, have deep conversations, drink unnecessary amounts of chai tea, play the piano, become totally engrossed in books, and most of all&mdash;learn. I am very excited to be immersed in the Italian culture and beautiful language, learn to cook, and have the experience of a lifetime! I can&rsquo;t wait to share my journey with you!</span></p>

2013 Spring
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