Adventure in Italy: Oh! Glorious Milan
Walking through Milan during the Renaissance was a treat for the eyes, ears and nose. Thanks to Marco Polo who, hundred years prior, had returned from his trip to China with “Chinese noodles” and silk, Italians were now beginning to eat these noodles or pasta as it was now known and also enjoying the luxury of wearing silk. Cheese of every possible shape and size, meats from different animals and beautiful ripe fruits were all plentiful in the markets.
Mira pointed out that there wasn’t a single tomato in the market! How did Italians make all that tomato sauce? Teyus laughed and told Mira that it wasn’t until the 16th century, or another 150 years later that tomatoes would come to Italy!
“Imagine that!” she said with astonishment, “a trip to Italy without tomato sauce!”
“Even pizza wasn’t invented back in the Renaissance” pointed out Teyus. “That was only created about 110 years ago”. The look on Mira’s face was of pure astonishment.
When they passed a trattoria, just next to the cathedral or “Duomo”, Mira noticed that most diners had carried their own knives, spoons and forks with them in small boxes. In those days trattorias served food and wine, but did not provide cutlery or napkins, only the food on a plate! Whoever wanted to eat there, needed to bring their own napkins and cutlery from home. Teyus told them that eating with a knife, fork and spoon was becoming quite common in Italy, but that elsewhere in Europe, people were still eating with their hands and maybe a spoon.
As they walked the old streets, Salvio explained that many of the streets in Milan and most of the roads throughout Italy had been built by the ancient Romans in 300BC or 1800 years before Da Vinci was born! They followed him down a few more streets and alleys, until finally, they came to a small door in a large wall.
“This is the fortress Castello Sforzesco where Master Da Vinci is working. He will be very excited to meet you and to look at your strange contraption”, he said pointing to Luctus.