Buona Befana! Today is a holiday in Italy where an unattractive old looking woman gives out coal to children who are bad and candy to those who were good, the Feast of the Epiphany.
Mostly though, the Befana signifies the end of the Winter holidays and by Monday, after two weeks of vacation, everyone is back at work, even in Italy. Many including me, have considerable trouble getting back to work after the holiday season.
I just got back from a short jaunt to Milan where I rediscovered for the millionth time why Italy makes me heart sing. Yes, I know Milan is nice because it’s “near Italy.” That’s what a British friend told me when I moved to Milan from Florence and I have to say, she wasn’t totally wrong.
That said, I love Milan and for the most part had great weather, and a great time, seeing friends, eating great food, going to amazing churches and museums and seeing interesting movies. Milan is surrounded by mountains but you don’t always see them because the sky is not usually so clear.
Even the newly cleaned Stazione Centrale looked beautiful this past weekend, with a lovely Christmas fair inside.
I also went to a great exhibit on Artemisia Gentileschi, a fascinating painter in the Caravaggio-style who has seldom had her own show. This beautiful exhibit was held at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, right near the Duomo. As always, I was reminded of the level of artists that Italy has produced throughout the years as well as the high level of design that they put into all of their exhibits.
There’s just never any country that is able to match the mix of art and beauty that Italy puts forth and has for so many generations. My mother, who is a sculptor and a painter, and I have had this conversation for as long as I can remember.
I also went back to the Galleria d’Arte Moderna and saw works by one of my favorite sculptors that make my heart sing, Medardo Rosso.
In all, I had an incredible 4 days. My New Year’s meal will be another post but as today is the end of the holiday season, I thought I would just relive my time in Milan out loud.