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Milan, Italy 22 Feb. 2016

Milan, Italy 22 Feb. 2016
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Miguel’s favorite part about this trip?  Probably the seafood.
Mine?  Definitely picking up my Vlinder- that and the AMAZING boots I got for 10 euro!!! (:
My kids?  WITHOUT A DOUBT- playing with the pigeons! lol
In one of the most beautiful countries in the world full of so much art and culture and architecture- getting to feed pigeons in Italy while taking photos with them in front of the Milan Cathedral in the Piazza Del Duomo- definitely memories the kids will have the rest of their lives!!  For whatever reason, since they were as young as I can remember, my kids have all loved animals- of every kind (imagine that- my children being animal lovers LOL) and the highlight of every trip we have ever taken as been a turtle or a hermit crab or a crane or a stray kitty that had to be fed and EVERY country we go to visit, the pigeons just fascinate them- the slight differences from country to country and I think mostly the fact that most pigeons get relatively close to people no matter where we are.  My kids will spend so much time and energy trying to catch or get close to one every where we go.  So, to FINALLY get to not only touch them, but hold and feed them WHILE IN MILAN- it was all that was talked that night in the hotel and most of the time since we got back 😉  Melts my heart that something so small that most of us, myself included, might take for granted means the absolute world to them.  Love these beautiful babies!  They bless me so much unawares.

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My handsome young men <3
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Everything in Italy is so very beautiful- even just a photo of the street with apartments makes you want to be there.
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I learned a long time ago when I first started traveling to avoid the mainstream stores and restaurants if you want authentic.  So we always look for the little “hole in the wall” places that seems to attract the locals and it never fails!  The food here was absolutely divine!
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Duck and artichoke hearts- REALLY delicious!
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According to my kids- nothing beats Italian pizza!
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Homemade pasta- so very fresh and delicious!
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Although I would not have ever imagined lamb paired with potato chips, they were fresh, homemade chips and really yummy!  The kids devoured them before I had even finished the salad!
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Leave it to little boys to turn seafood into action figures!  lol  But ever bit was devoured- even kids will eat seafood when it is this fresh and well prepared!
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We followed a crowd into this beautiful building only to realize that it was a classroom!  Everyone else ducked out real quick but I had to get a photo- can you imagine a place so beautiful that even your classrooms look like this??
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Liliana and Tahlia have been wanting for awhile to get their hair cut and done while in fashion forward Europe.  Here was the funny part- even though they did not speak any English and we definitely do not speak enough Italian to communicate, we were still able to convey exactly what the girls wanted– compared to here in the US when you and the hair stylist both speak the same language and they STILL cannot give you want you want!!
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Feeding the pigeons in Milan Cathedral in the Piazza Del Duomo
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Miguel is The Bird Man 😉
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In 1859, when the cathedral was close to completion after a construction period of almost five hundred years, the city of Milan decided it was time to create a large square at the foot of the cathedral

It launched a competition for the design which attracted 176 participants. The Italian architect Giuseppe Mengoni was selected as the winner.

Mengoni designed a wide open square flanked by grand buildings to offset the dominance of the enormous Duomo. At the same time he also designed a monumental glass-covered arcade to connect the new square with the just completed Piazza della Scala, the square in front of Milan’s most famous theatre, the Teatro alla Scala.
(From http://www.aviewoncities.com/milan/piazzadelduomo.htm)
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If it weren’t for the Duomo, the piazza’s north side would be the square’s highlight. Here the square is defined by the arcade of the Palazzo Settentrionale which is interrupted by the monumental triumphal arch that marks the entrance of the equally monumental Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a five story high glass-vaulted arcade which was completed in 1877.

Opposite the Galleria is the Palazzo Meridionale – similar in style to the Palazzo Settentrionale – which is bordered on the east side by two symmetrical, three story high modernist structures known as the propylaea. The two buildings, with stark unornamented loggias, seem out of place here. They replaced the Manica Lunga, a historic building that was demolished in 1937.
(From http://www.aviewoncities.com/milan/piazzadelduomo.htm)
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Statue of Victor Emmanuel II

In 1896 an impressive monument was installed at the center of the Piazza del Duomo in honor of Vittorio Emanuele II (Victor Emmanuel II), who in 1861 became the first king of Italy. 

An equestrian statue set on a marble pedestal shows the king leading his troops to battle, flanked on either side by a large lion. Reliefs on the sides of the pedestal show soldiers ready for combat. The monument, which is set on a massive plinth, was created by Ercole Rosa, an Italian sculptor.
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Street performers are often the heartbeat of any city and I love to stop and take them in- and of course give back.  The kids love to put money in the open instrument cases.
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Italy, really all of Europe, is so much more dog friendly than we are here in the US and it is very refreshing.  You see dogs everywhere and it is not uncommon at all to see spots like this for watering your dog or pans and bowls near sinks or restrooms.  Nearly every cafe or sitting spot will have dogs.
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We spent quite a bit of time doing this lol although for the first few hours we just gave up on the map all together and simply wondered around downtown.  It was great!

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Italy is a deeply religious country and this was too poignant not to get a photo of.
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Largo Caduti Milanesi per la Patria- Monument to the dead of World War I   MilanItaly22Feb16_85 MilanItaly22Feb16_87

The War Memorial consists of two buildings.

The War Memorial, the one built by Giovanni Muzio, is the external octagonal temple and narrates the exploits and battles of those who died for their country.

The eight sides of the temple consist of four doors and four niches alternating, and it is customary to associate each side to one of the eight gates of the Old Milan; starting from the north, clockwise, in fact we find the following ports: Comasina, New, East, Tosa, Romana, Ticino, Vercellina and Jupiter, the latter located in the area of ??today’s Castello Sforzesco.

The actual memorial was instead designed by Mario Baccini in 1973 and developed instead of three underground levels and collect the remains of the fallen for which it was issued authorization by the Ministry of Defence – Funeral Commission Fallen in War.

Over ten thousand Milanese fallen names are written on bronze tablets in eternal memory of their sacrifice, while outside is kept lit a brazier with a perpetual flame.

Worthy of mention is the statue, a work by Adolfo Wildt (Italian sculptor of Swiss origin, 1868-1931), at the entrance, depicting the patron saint of Milan, St. Ambrose.

Translated from Vecchia Milano.
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You can see the eternal flame on the left side of this photo surrounded by the flags.

November 4 is the date that is celebrated the feast of the Italian Armed Forces and also the anniversary of the end of World War I officially ended on November 11 of 1918, although it dates back to November 4 (a week in advance) the Bulletin of Victory which was released by the Chief of Italian army general Staff – general Armando Diaz – which begins with these words:

“The war against Austria-Hungary, under the high leadership of HM the King, the supreme leader, the Italian Army, inferior in number and equipment, began May 24, 1915 and with unwavering faith and tenacious bravery conducted without and asprissima for 41 months, is won.”

Translated from Vecchia Milano.
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I failed to get a photo of the caption on the stone for this monument so I could look it up, so please if anyone has any information, let me know.  I did find this in doing research and wonder if it has any bearing?
During the bombing of 1943 the Sant’Ambrogio area was heavily affected as evidenced by the photographs that have reached us. (Translated from Old Milan)
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Taking the train back to the hotel after a very long, but amazing day.
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Vlinder absolutely remembered her people!  She literally slept into Liliana’s arms and had to be forcibly removed from Ethan’s lap so that she could get inspected in Milan prior to boarding.  Love this sweet girl with her heart on her sleeve <3
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The pilot came back to where Korbin and Ethan were sitting and asked me if they could come up and see the cockpit!  What an honor and awesome opportunity!  These 2 little boys felt so special and proud!  Great job Delta- that was definitely a win!
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