A 'Bella Vacanza' to Italy: The Latest from Martha's Blog
My Visit to Italy's Milan Cathedral
I traveled to Milan -- a beautiful metropolis in Italy’s northern Lombardy region -- for business last week, and when my schedule allows, I always try to include a few fun and interesting excursions.
One of the grand sights I visited was the Milan Cathedral, or Duomo di Milano. It is among the largest churches in the world, and took nearly six centuries to build.
The exterior of the cathedral is made of brick faced with a beautiful mottled pink marble from the Candoglia quarries, which were donated into perpetuity for the cathedral's use.
Each of these spectacular pillars is 80 feet tall.
A group of vacationing young college women from the United States saw me walking in front of the Milan Cathedral and asked if I would pose in a photo with them. Of course, I did.
Expo Milano 2015
If you’re in or around Milan this summer, try to attend Expo 2015 -- the Universal Exposition currently being hosted by Milan, Italy. The Expo opened on May 1st and is scheduled to run through October.
Held every five years, the event provides participating countries with a venue to reinforce international relations and a platform to exchange ideas, information, and inspiration for solving global needs.
Dante's parade of statues was inspired by the portraits of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, a 16th-century Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made of objects such as fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Within the Expo are various artistic installations, some displaying audio or visual effects or futuristic architecture.
The facade's vertically arranged gardens include growing plants from all 50 states.
La Triennale di Milano
A major art show evaluating the relationship between art and food is underway, now through November 1st, at La Triennale di Milano Museum.
This is a reconstruction of an early-20th-century Milan cafe spotlighting how objects, furniture, posters, glassware, and appliances create a narrative impact on how food and drink were distributed and shared.
"Maison Bulle" by Jean Maneval, 1968. This house consists of six shells connected to each other to form a single housing unit.
In the outdoor garden of La Triennale Museum is an inflatable installation of Daddies Tomato Ketchup by Paul McCarthy, 2007.
A Visit to the Illycaffe Factory in Trieste
Did you know that more than 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each year? And at least 14 billion of them are Italian espressos.
While I was in Italy, I had the opportunity to learn more about the culture of fine coffee from Mr. Andrea Illy, the chairman and CEO of illycaffe.
Andrea graciously took us on a helicopter ride from Milan to Trieste to tour the illycaffe factory. Trieste is the Adriatic port town where coffee first entered Europe. It was a delightful and very informative visit.
Our director of food development, Thomas Joseph, was ready for the caffeinated taste test.
Here were the tasting samples. It was a very interesting process called "coffee cupping" -- a technique used by "cuppers" to evaluate the aroma and flavor profile of a coffee. To properly understand the differences between coffees grown in different regions, it was important to taste them side by side.