Festa Italiano (and Festa Broadway)


View of Galleria from David’s Park Hyatt window.

JACKIE: We want to Talk about David’s training (choo choo) around Italy and my lingering New York visit, meandering around the wonderful town. Two different worlds, indeed….

DAVID: A working festa (holiday) is more pleasure than work when it takes this Signor from one glorious Italian city to another, sampling the best attractions, hotels, and restaurants in each. My first stop wasMilan, home of the world’s largest gothic cathedral, The Duomo, and of da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper, and the celebrated opera house, La Scala, and of — catch your breath, Amico; there’s a whole world to see in this one great city. And it’s all footsteps away from the hotel where I hung my cappello (that’s right, “hat”) for my first two days inItaly.

(JACKIE: Warning! David lived inRomewhile producing movies for a year and will break into Italian from time to time.)

DAVID: Now the Hyatt hotels are princely; the Park Hyatts are fit for a king (or a “re” in Italiano). First of all, the Park Hyatt Milan is a 5 star boutique hotel housed in a palace born in 1870; however what was old is super-new and in the best of taste. The lobby gleams beneath an enormous glass cupola which pays homage to the arched glass ceiling covering the nearby Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, with its chic boutiques and charming cafes. I offer a heart-felt grazie mille for my deluxe room arranged by the Park Hyatt Milan’s congenial General Manager, Claudio Ceccherelli. Loads of Carrera marble accenting the walls and forming my desk and the floor of the bathroom fitted with a big tub and a huge walk-in rain shower. Super comfy king bed and flat screen with 10 English channels plus others from Arabic to Russian with many Italian in between. One wall had windows looking into the Galleria with mobs of people gawking at all its attractions. Very complete digs even with an Illy expresso maker.

I managed to tear myself away from the hotel to explore the wonders just beyond its entrance. The Duomo is absolutely enormous, fulfilling its promise of making you totally aware of how insignificant you are in the presence of a force so much larger than a simple mortal man. It is, in a word, heavenly. The roof of this overwhelming edifice is alive with flying buttresses, spires, and pinnacles. 135 spires and 3,500 statues! Linking the Piazza del Duomo to the Piazza della Scala is the Vittorio Emanuele II gallery where I window-shopped under the glass roof, and lingered to sit at a café sipping a Campari and soda. Buono!

JACKIE: Exactly what we did when David took me toMilanon our very first trip together. Only my drink was tea. And I was seeing double (result of a sleeping pill on the plane over. But that’s another scandalous story!)

DAVID: Actually, that’s a novel! Next, I paid a visit to the La Scala Museum with its tributes to Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, and Toscanini. One of the treasures is the jewel-laden baton presented to Verdi after the exuberant reception of Aida. I decided to save the temptations of the extravagant fashion houses and boutiques on the close-by Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga for my second day. Instead, back to the Park Hyatt for a bracing shower and to get ready for dinner. Tomorrow morning I would visit the state of the art gym and take a look at The Spa, luxury that would make me miss mio amore Jacquelina even more. The Park Hyatt’s breakfast (prima colazione) is the stuff of dreams, and just the ticket to start a long, busy day wanderingMilan.

My last supper (sorry, Lorenzo!) was at La Veranda, the fashionable restaurant inMilan’s Four Seasons. Behind a contemporary wall of glass overlooking the garden, I enjoyed the innovative cuisine of Executive Chef Sergio Mei. A delicious lobster salad offered the surprise of peaches along with green beans, red onions, hazelnuts, and tomatoes. Of course I had to have a pasta dish; linguine with carpet clams, sea urchins, and mullet roe. Super yum! Then, veal cutlet Milanese (when inMilan) along with baked potatoes and a rocket salad. Dessert? Naturalmente; I’ll diet dimani (tomorrow). So, an assortment of homemade gelato made my night.

JACKIE: Poor me. Suffered through quality time with friends, seeing Ed Asner backstage after his performance in Grace (also with Paul Rudd and Michael Shannon!), several off B’way gems, and a visit to Actors Studio as a guest to observe some acting sessions. Home as I write, so I’ll say Buona Notte, to David and to you … We’ll Travel….

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