Monthly Archives: April 2010

more monumentale…

So indulge me a little longer with my trip to Monumentale, it was too big to fit into one post, and there were so many, many things to see, for example these beautiful fonts:

…and there was unbelievable glamour and almost creepy eroticism:

i thought that some of these were pure Busby Berkely

beautiful shapes…

When we came upon this particular grave, my companion and i had very different reactions, he was a quite repulsed by the object and also affected by the fact that it represented the death of a child and what that meant and how it had been depicted, he moved on quickly.

I on the other hand was fascinated by the aesthetics of the thing, the monochromes of the sculpture and the contrasting faded colour of the fake flowers, i was obsessed with how it looked, with its almost corpulent volume. He reacted humanly and i rationally, and even clinically.  It made me think how sometimes being an artist can desensitise you…but looking now i still find the images beautiful, arresting even…

“For those interested in conserving this grave, come and see us in the office” – did the family run out of money, is there no one left to pay? i don’t know…

more Monumentale photographs:

click here for full set of  photos on my flickr

I guess at some point Monumentale was situated outside the city, but now it is pretty central. Its easy to get to and if you can you really should go.


While in Milan i went to see “Io sono l’Amore” (i am love) as there is nothing better than seeing films set in the city where you happen to be at the time of viewing. The film is kind of ludicrous and i loved every minute of it, it makes Milan look a little stark and very beautiful. At a climactic pivotal point of the film, when misery is heaped upon misery, the action moves to Monumentale, the city’s cemetery for the milanese rich and upwardly mobile.  Tilda Swinton was in full breakdown mode among the gravestones and mausoleums…I went there the very next day…

I happen to love old graveyards (and Edinburgh is a great place to indulge this interest, see previous posts), i have been to a lot in my time, but this is one of the strangest, for a start it was constructed in the eclectic style which means you have gothic, classical, neo classical…even Mayan style architecture side by side.


And it is VAST, I can’t really do justice to the scale and weird juxtaposition of styles, but the details like the fonts used, the sculptural style of individual graves…well you will see…

The cemetery is a hall of fame to the city’s industrial past.

yes, that is the (larger than life size) Last Supper brought to you by Campari

monumental in Monumentale

Apparently Eva (Duarte de) Peron is buried there as Maria Maggi, (1919-1952), i could not find her…it’s a big place…am going back… but this glamorous and beautiful lady made me think of her a little:

and this was her neighbour, like i said, juxtaposition is the only common thread to this place:

…and the place was full of beautiful eccentricities like this magic carpet grave:

the magic carpet man was a university professor, a man of letters,  i checked, but for every charming eccentricity, there is a polar opposite, for example, what were they thinking of here? Tim Burton?? I don’t wish to disrespect the human condition in its grieving  process, but i certainly am baffled by it…


…and i thought these were rather lovely (see below) – veristic portraits of old ladies at their graves, there were rather a lot of these. Am not sure how it must have felt to visit a life size sculpture of your nan…standing over…well, your nan.,.,.

click here for more photos on my flickr

more monumentale in the next post…

revelations in a milanese restaurant…

Italian food, much as i love it…it is can be so goddamn rigidly regional that people have never heard of common dishes that are being served up by their neighbours 30 of 40 km up the road. 5 years in Piedmont educated me well in their cheesy-meaty-polenta-y…well…heavy but truly wonderful cuisine (except for the polenta [concia]…or prison food as i like to call it…). But the food of Lombardy and of Milan in particular has always remained a bit vague to me, a risotto here, a frogs leg there…However the other night in a local Milanese restaurant i had a bit of a revelatory culinary experience…

To start with something very austere, it’s so Italian to pare your food down to the bare but exquisite essentials…so a plate with one solitary thick slice of very lightly cured soft salami. You have to keep space for the serious stuff ahead…

…and to the house speciality…ossobuco e risotto allo zafferano (osso buco with saffron risotto)…i had my doubts…i don’t normally like risotto…too boring…too bland…can make it better myself at home…blah blah blah…Trust me says my friend and generous host, you will like it. I trust him, and so i found myself with this placed in front of me:

ossobuco e risotto allo zafferano

So the photo does not really do justice to the scale and perfume of the thing but suffice it to say it was a mighty plate-full…and the risotto, so rich, so perfect, so full of butter that as it cooled it was reverting to its previous incarnation (in a good way), full of flavour from the stock of the meat and just al dente…and the meat, aromatic and buttery soft and falling off the bone in a liquor of its own juices that was rich with herbs and well…meat. I ate it all…every last scrap of it, even the fat around the outside. In fact i think i scared/impressed the waiters, all hardened professionals of a certain age who were used to more petite milanese ladies than myself…,whatever… i would have licked the plate clean if i thought i could have gotten away with it! There was pudding too (there is always room for pudding)…a bready, raisiny, chocolatey affair and it was good, but i was drunk on meat and saffron (and dolcetto d’alba red wine) and forgot to photograph it. If anyone is planning a trip to Milan ask me where this place is and go there, the people watching is also fantastic, it’s an old school neighbourhood restaurant, its not cheap and it is worth every single penny.

other foodie posts on this blog

chocolate con churros

pani puri sunday

cicchetti tea-break


further adventures in foraging

braid burn

cooking the haul



more foodie questions

foodie questions

nose to tail,

(s)light relief,

pulpo a la gallega

the matanza

morcilla and dying arts

jamòn serrano


Final post about previous salones…if  i remember correctly, all the following images are all from a selection of Japanese exhibitors from the Triennale at the 2009 salone in Milan:

moss pod gardens

water repellent fabric

“please do not touch”

this was fun to watch for a wee bit; robot cubes with sensors that anticipate and move in accordance with an individual’s footsteps, creating a moving footpath…

travel update…

…i interrupt this series of archival salone posts to celebrate the fact that i finally made it onto my plane…and we were not alone up there…

Crazy cloud formations towards the end of the alps…incidentally, i posted this photo on my Blipfoto account and this was one of the comments i got:

In shipping we call this ‘a near miss’ regardless if you use the zoom function. The relative speed should have been in the +1600 km/hr region when he was heading into opposite direction. A remarkably shot. Can’t imagine NCA will be proud.  ~ GERT

I was too busy fumbling with my camera to worry about stuff like that…but i did think it was a bit close!

I did not tamper with the colour here, the sky was crazy blue…and no ash in sight.

Chasing the moon, which was odd as it was 2.20 in the afternoon.

Winding road and cloud shadows, am always looking for signs of life from the plane…still looking.