This blue marble

– and yet it spins

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Once upon a time there was a citadel

Milan castle

Once upon a time there was a citadel, built to resist and to conquer. In the setting sun it was a thing of beauty, but once darkness fell it seemed a formidable prison of cold stone and shadows to get lost in. Visitors were duly warned by the weapon above the entrance illustrating a dragon on the back of a knight, swallowing a screaming man whole.

But those brave ones who defied the scares and entered were greeted by one of the grandest courts in existence: one that inspired Leonardo da Vinci to intricately paint a whole ceiling, and a vast courtyard that captured the last, dancing rays of the sun.

(Milan, Italy; March 2013)

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The skinned saint

skinlessman Milan

Saint Bartholomew was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, and the story goes he was skinned alive. With a sensation that something was clearly wrong, I stared at this statue for quite a few minutes before realizing that he was not wearing his skin – he was carrying it wrapped around his arms – holding his hand in the most gruesome way possible.

(In the Duomo, Milan, Italy; March 2013)