Jan 132012
 

Nothing can be more iconic of Milan than her gorgeous Duomo especially seen just after dusk on a lovely Autumn evening.

I was very fortunate that one of my clients, the Consumer Electronics Association, CEA for short, brought me along to photograph their 2011 CEO Summit held this year in Stressa, Italy on the shore of Lago Maggiore in northwestern Italy. I’ve photographed the CEO Summits for a number of years but this was the first time outside the U.S..

The Northern Italian city of Milan is the natural arrival point for travel to the lakes along the Swiss border. Lake Maggiore, a half hour train ride from the city is the westernmost and lies somewhat parallel to perhaps more famous Lake Cumo. Having always wanted to visit Milan and it’s most famous of all Italian opera houses, La Scala, a few days there before my job were imperative. Milan has the reputation for being an industrial city. That might be true, but its credentials as a center and arbiter of fashion are unquestioned.

While strolling the streets of the fashionable city center, store windows of Italy’s most famous labels compete for the eye. And better, at least for me, is checking out the many beautiful women stylishly walking outside the restaurant while I partake of an early supper.

Art too, holds its claim. The architectural masterpieces of the Duomo and its 19th century neighbor, the Galleria Phillip Emanuel? are astounding side by side. The museums of the Sforza Palace contain treasures and masterworks from Milan’s history along with a trove of unique and beautiful musical instruments. An entire afternoon can be spent wandering among the poignant and majestic tombs of the Cementerio Maggiore. In my experience, only the monuments of Buenos Aires’ Recoleta can compete on this world-class stage of after-worldly opulence.

And then, there is one of the most famous paintings in the long, accomplished and magnificent history of Italian art, painted by perhaps Milan’s most famous adopted son on the wall of an un-prepossessing refectory attached to the luscious Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie, Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper.

Plus, there seems to be music every night. Major music. If the current offering at La Scala doesn’t appeal or if a decent seat can’t be had, concerts by Europe’s finest musicians and symphony orchestras abound.

And everywhere, Gellaterias entice with their delicious and imaginative Italian ice creams.

Time, very well spent.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Lovely late afternoon light on the front facade of the Duomo.

Door panel detail-Milan’s Duomo.

A chapel in one of the transcepts in the Duomo.

Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II

Sforza Palace fortification and typical 19th century apartment building.

In the Sforza Palace.

The hall of armory.

A beautifully, crafted lute thingamajig in the musical instrument collection-Don’t ask me how you play it.

Only three panels of the massive, electronic tone generator/computer used by Luciano Berio and others to create their experimental electronic music in the 1950’s. My Macbook Pro at maybe a thousandth the size of this behemoth does everything this baby could and infinitely more.

An Aussie performing in the courtyard of the Sforza Palace on a Hang, an instrument with an amazing, hypnotic sound very similar to a Jamaican steel drum.

Santa Maria delle Grazia.

In the Santa Maria dell Grazie we stumbled upon this visiting Russian orchestra and chorus rehearsing for that night’s performance. Exceptional music making!

The streets of Milan are rife with the scourge of graffiti. Dogs pissing on fire hydrants as I like to say. Occasionally, something interesting can be found amidst the scrawls.

In the Cementerio Maggiore.

From the “Great War”.

Stacked niches 20-30 feet high in mauseleums both above and below ground went on for miles.

As the sun goes down on our final night along the streets of the Piazza Duomo.

Copyright 2011 Dennis Jones/Dreamcatcher Imaging

www.dreamcatcherimaging.com