I can’t believe this is our last week in Italy! It has absolutely flown by. On Monday, which was horribly rainy and dreary, we visited the Church of San Satiro. We’d actually passed it a few times coming from the Duomo, but no one had really said anything about it. It’s much bigger than it seems at first glance. We got there earlier than the church was open, so, naturally, we went to get gelato at a really popular gelateria in the area. Afterwards, we did go into the church, which due to the weather was really dark. The most interesting thing was the ceiling of the nave, which for those of you that are no so art history inclined, is the area behind the altar. At San Satiro, it’s flat, so Bramante was able to create an illusion of depth in the wall and ceiling behind the altar that creates a pretty trippy effect, especially when sitting to the side of the altar. Later, we visited the Museo del Novecento, which was much bigger on the inside than it seemed on the outside. Somehow the architecture on the outside didn’t seem to match the art within, at least in my opinion. I did discover I found that I liked the Arte Povera movement, which I’d never even heard of before, but I found a lot of the art really interesting, considering I’m not a huge fan of a lot of modern art.
Tuesday we visited Brera, and the museum there had a lot of fine art from the Renaissance and earlier, which is more in my area of interest. There was a lot of work by Mantegna and the Bellini brothers. Saint Mark Preacing in Alexandria by Giovanni Bellini was particularly remarkable for its Venetian and Egyptian imagery. We also visited some of the classrooms where students were creating costumes for plays or creating copies of Classical sculptures.
Wednesday, we visted the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, only 3 metro stops away from our apartments. It was a beautiful church, both inside and outside. Even the crypt was beautiful, as odd as that may sound. I think the features of this church had to be the mosaic ceiling and the altar. Some of the ceiling was restored after WWII, but some of it was still the original. The altar was pure gold though. It was absolutely unbelievable. The church also had a small museum attached to it that was done in the Baroque style. It had a lot of different religious artifacts in it, which I found very interesting. Later, we were able to see part two of the Marina Abramović exhibition, which I found interesting, if a little underwhelming, considering some of her other work that we’ve seen.
Today, Thursday, we visted the Castello Sforzeco which was so different compared to anything so many of us have seen before, because, well, it’s a castle. We got to learn about the restoration and the history of the castle as well as see some great exhibits, including Bramante’s painting and the tapestries for the 12 months. My favorite part was Michelangelo’s last work, the Rodanini Pieta.
Afterwards, we all said our last goodbyes to Monica. It was certainly bittersweet, but we’re not going home just yet!