Sunday, June 17, 2018

Tuscany to Varese - June 16 -- Massimo & Chiara's Wedding!

I managed the actual farewell run this morning.  We sleep with the windows open so I am usually up when the light changes.  Today I was determined to tackle the hill three times and to maybe pick up breakfast if I had time.  Happy to say both were accomplished! 

Beautiful morning light to document before the run...

 My coffee receipt - photo was taken accidentally, but just a reminder that you can get a croissant and an espresso macchiatto for NOTHING!  2.20 EURO.

Today's quote - "Only from the heart can you touch the sky." 

 I had to capture a photo of me as I prepared to run back carrying my bag of milk and croissants.  Pretty hysterical, as I was looking like an attempt to preserve running clothes for the last few days without a washer, and received a couple of honks!  Thank you Italian men for honking at this
"mature woman" out for a run :)  I'll take it!

The drive from Terranuova Bracciolini, the Tuscan village we have been staying, to Varese is 4 hours.  We stopped halfway through the drive at the Autogrille - my FAVORITE driving stop anywhere, bar none.  There are so many magnificent photos to be captured at an Autogrille, but I only managed one, which was purely functional in a second attempt to get Gia the panini she wanted - as my Italian failed me the first go-round.

We checked into our B&B and did a mad-dash to get ready and rush off the wedding...I was with a good looking crew!  Caden in particular was sporting his new Italian suit (from Zara) with a giraffe bowtie :)

You parked inside the museum, and then had a 500 meter walk up a side street to a gorgeous church - Chiesa di San Giorgio.  We arrived at 2:30 to be sure we had ample time to find parking and walk up to the church.  We had time to people watch and just take it all in...and do some photo taking :)

The rice ready for after the ceremony. 

 Little Ada, one of the daughters of friends of Massimo and Chiara's that I typically have dinner with at least once while in Milan teaching.  Very cute how she is finding ways to pass the time before the ceremony starts.

 So fun seeing the beautiful style of the guests.  As they say, there are no better dressed than the Milanese.  However, it is always the Milanese that tell me this :)  Though I concur wholeheartedly! 

 Little Violeta, the other sister, passing her time admiring the beautiful ceiling paintings.

I love these three chick looking women! 

Chiara, Matilda, and Chiara's father arrived!  A stunning entrance!  Chiara's dress is amazing!!!  And as I type this, I am realizing I did not capture a photo of her shoes!  They are the first Jimmy Choo shoes I have seen in person.  Also stunning!  As they say about the Milanese... :)

This little girl decided to sit in the aisle to be sure she had a good view.  Very cute.  As the mass went on, she also danced in the vestibule, ran up to the alter - carrying a toy gun, and played tag with some other kids.  Very interesting to observe.  Corey and I gave a prayer of thanks, and high-fived one another at the end of mass, that our kids were so well behaved during a 90 minute mass in another language.  We actually had an Italian grandma complement us.  Double points :)
BTW - I also was 'stalking' as Lily said, this beautiful woman.  How do all Italian women look so elegant as they age?!?  I am going on a strict croissant, espresso, pasta and wine diet when I get home.  

So maybe we shouldn't pat ourselves on our back too aggressively, but he was a quiet napper.  And as noted the mass was 90 minutes...not including our arrival an hour early.  And it was short nap :)

Matilda was the most adorable flower girl ever!

There are many paparazzi covering all angles of the ceremony :)

A tearful peace be with you to grandma.

These kids are as sinister as they look - ready with the rice for Chiara and Massimo's exit!  

Bellisimo!  Also note the kiss-kiss Massimo is doing with his uncle in the background.  I really have come to love this greeting!

The hazards of the rice throwing job is always the rice in the shoes! 

This little girls wants a do-over :) 

My handsome boy :) 

My other handsome boy - rocking his Miranella tie I bought him in Milan, with Chiara's help, for his birthday.

The procession down to Villa Panza.  Gia walked with Matilda for quite a bit of it.  So cute.

As you arrived, you headed for these sculpted bushes - and then walked right through!

On the other side there was beautiful grounds to explore and an beautiful party.  An evening we will remember a lifetime!

There was a sitter available, that toured the kids around the gardens.
The Appertif was incredible!  After this, waiters walked around with other appetizers throughout the night.  Then around 8:30 PM, the waiters served the main course, which was delicious Milanese risotto.  I keep dreaming about it!

Sweet Matilda reflecting on her day :)
 Chiara's bestie Francesca, who I absolutely adore, sharing a moment with 'Tilda.

The beautiful Villa Panza 

This was set up in the sculpted tunnel of trees you walked through to get to the reception.
 So fun chatting with Massimo and Chiara's family, friends, and co-workers.  Very grateful that most of them spoke English.

Another highlight was the private guided tours of the Villa Panza art collection.  Copied directly from the website, "Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza , or Villa Orrigoni Menafoglio Litta Panza , is a villa located in Biumo Superiore , today a district of Varese . It is known for its contemporary art collection."  Massimo and Chiara LOVE contemporary art and this is one of their favorite places. 

The tour was amazing.  I stuck close to Francesca who amazingly served as my interpreter throughout.

This is a remake of old art using new materials and tools by Barry X Ball titled, 'The End of History' that is, "born from a path that combines tradition and innovation, without ever giving up a highly refined sensibility, in search of purity of light, spirituality and the relationship with space."  It was amazing!!!

That is Caden I saw running off in the distance from the window of the gallery.
 This art is of the open sky.  It is always open to the sky, and frames the sky just so.

The kids started fading around 9... we moved to having them be landscapes photographers, then doodling on photographs of one another, and ultimately, Gia laid her head on the table and nodded off around 10, so we packed up our crew and said our farewells...

We snapped a couple of final photos of these dear friends...

And stopped by the almond table on the way out. 

Such an incredible day and evening.  Looking forward to seeing them all in Chicago in August!