Posted by Julie Carmigniani | 1 comment(s)
Following our visit to the Duomo, the group visited Castello Sforzesco a fortress built in the fifteenth century by Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan, on the ruins of a citadel built in the same place by Galeazzo Visconti. This place is now a museum. I did a little research of the background of this impressive citadel using Wikipedia.
The fortress is a quadrangle surrounded by moats and flanked on the city side by two rounded towers, which based on Wikipedia, housed the water tanks, and two square towers (as can be seen in the pictures below). The castle is separated by a ditch, called the fosso morto.
At the death of Francesco II Sforza in 1535, Milan came under Spanish rule and a line of star-shaped fortification was built around the castle. It was destroyed during the Napoleonic occupation in the beginning 1800's. In 1815, Castello Sforzesco served as barracks for Austrian troops.
Finally, in 1893, the demolition of Castello Sforzesco was considered but rejected. A restoration began with the intention of make the castle into a museum and a cultural institution.
Unfortunately, since we went on a Sunday, we were not able to get into the museum, but were able to walk through the castle. Pictures can be seen below.
Behind the castle, there was a medieval troupe organizing a show. We did not get in, but here are the few pictures I was able to take.
As I said in my previous blog, last Sunday, the group visited Milano. We got up around 6AM and took the train at 7:30AM to arrive in Milano around 8:45AM! Bright and early to enjoy the city as much as possible!
The train station Milano Centrale is very big and the architecture beautiful. Pictures of the Milano Centrale can be seen below.
The Milanese seem to have a bike system to get around: people can rent bikes in the same way they would take the bus (the bikes are located at specific locations) and they can get to wherever they need to go and leave the bikes at specific places where they can rent them to make their way back. This is a very healthy way to get around town while enjoying the weather.
We also noticed some touristic buses, which offered guided tours of Milano in many languages!
Then, the group decided to stop for some breakfast before heading towards the very famous Duomo of Milano! We decided to walk as the weather was cool and not very sunny, thus perfect for "hiking" through the city! On our way to the Duomo, we went through a park where the Milanese seem to enjoy some walks, runs and most likely some sunny afternoons (it was still too early for that, but the place was so enchanting that the opposite would be surprising!). Enjoy the pictures below.
We finally arrived at the Duomo and the pictures taken on our way there of the different interesting monuments as well as the pictures of the Duomo can be seen below. As you can see, it is a very impressive monument and it was very hard to be able to catch the whole thing in one shot as it is enormous! The Italians can be proud!
More to come about Milano in future blogs
For this first weekend, the group decided to stay in Crema on Saturday and to go visit Milano on Sunday.
Consequently, a thorough visit of Crema was planned done on Saturday and here is a summary of the wonders of Crema:
Crema is a town in the province of Cremona in the region of Londardy in northern Italy. Based on Wikipedia, it is also the seat of a Catholic Bishop who gave it the title of city. Crema's main economic activities realte to agriculture and cattle breeding, but its manufacture now include cheese, iron products and cotton and wool textiles. Inhabitants are called cremashi.
A number of conferences are held in Crema, notably IEEE workshops such as Environmental, Energy, and Structural Monitoring Systems (http://eesms2009.dti.unimi.it/cfp.php) and organized by our host university Universita degli Studi de Milano, department of Information Technology. The building where the department is settled also happens to be Olivetti's old factory, so as seen in the pictures below, there are a number of museum-like old computers presented under glass. Unfortunately, due to renovation, we were unable to have access to that part of the university and could only guess at the wonders hidden throughout the department.
This is the little restaurant where we were advised to eat for lunch. The food is as most italian food delicious. Below are some pictures of a few of the meals I had there, as expected, I mostly ate pizza and pasta; however, the menu is much greater than that and changes everyday!
Here is a picture of the outside of the building we stay at. It is located right next to one of Crema's churches and we get to hear the bells almost every hour (I do not know if they ring at night, but usually I do not hear them until about 5 or 6 in the morning when I am close to waking up) and sometimes, it is some sort of elaborated chorus played by the bells. Below are some pictures of the building and the bells.
Although there are a lot of serious congresses and conferences taking place in Crema, it remains a very simple town with many charms where most people bike and walk around. Below many pictures of the different wonders of Crema can be seen. Note that one of the wonders is a gelato (ice cream) machine, this is because gelato here is delicious and I really wish I could bring some back for my friends back home because it is a shame to go through a lifetime without having the chance to try it!
This last picture is a picture of the Barcelona Cafe, the little bar in which we found some wireless internet; it is a lovely place where we hang out when we feel the need to stay connected!
On Thursday our host had organized a nice little press conference to introduce us to the local newspaper and present the PIRE program. One of the first article we saw this morning was an online article from Crema on line: http://www.cremaonline.it/articolo.asp?ID=11039 (to translate the page simply use google translate!). We are still very eager to see the newspaper; if only we knew what it will say (can't use google translate on a newspaper..).
Press Conference Room
Another Conference Room in the Municipaliti
After the press conference, we had a very nice lunch with our main host advisor, Professor Damiani. The food was as expected delicious and I really wish I had a picture to brag about it!
Next, we went on a little touristic visit of the city and found another very beautiful side of Crema. The picture on the side is a picture of the cathedral located in the center of Crema right next to our appartment
Here are also some pictures of my room and the appartment:
We are now famous in Crema :