About an hour’s drive from Milan this 15th century Monastery that used to house a cloistered monastic order of Carthusian monks rises from the fog to greet us in the early morning. We are in time for Mass in one of the smaller decorated chapels.
Later a monk from Eritrea walks us through the snow-covered cloisters into the locked Holy of Holies in the main Basilica, which shares the same architect as the Cathedral of Milan. Stained glass, and ceilings coloured blue with powdered lapis lazuli are but small first things that grab the eye as we enter this cavernous structure, an example of Renaissance architecture.
The sun is starting to break through as we get to the Sunday Markets in the university town of Pavia. Tastes of local salami and cheeses at the stalls has me ready for good antipasti for lunch.
But it’s seafood that I settle on. Fishermen friends of the owners of the trattoria make a stop here in Pavia every morning on their way to the Fish Markets in Milan to deliver them the freshest seafood, straight from the seas around Puglia. Homemade Scialatielli alla Pescatora is my pasta dish, leaving barely sufficient appetite for the grilled scampi. I miss the extra garlic and a touch of chilli that I’m now accustomed to with Walter at La Vecchia Cucina in Sydney. A jug of local Puglia white wine, so light and frizzante tops off the simple meal.
In the afternoon, a visit to a Monet Exhibition in the 14th century Castlello Visconteo in Pavia completes a perfect winter’s Sunday. I learn from Monet . . .