Sunday, August 8, 2010

Understanding Milan (01)

Milan often is not on the list of first-time Italy visitors. If one has an exceptionally limited amount of time to dedicate to Italy, visits to Rome, Florence and Venice are more common. Milan's undeserved bad rap as a cement-filled rainy city does its part. (For my related "Slow Travel" article:

Milan's weather is characterized as "continental": often cold and rainy in the winter, usually hot in the summer. No surprise, there. The fall and spring seasons often are quite short, too, a couple of weeks, at best. Since the city is located in the middle of a fluvial plain humidity hovers, and I'm happy when it gets down to about 35%. What would surprise visitors is that Milan's weather is often gorgeous, the deep blue skies tipped with a few puffy clouds bleached white by magnifying glass sharp light...great for urban photography.

Cement does exist in Milan. It would be silly to deny it. Around 50% of the city was bombed to bits during WWII, so a desperate need for affordable housing and for a sharp break with the recent past resulted in less than edifying results (no pun intended). Bursts of economic prosperity throughout the ages also expressed themselves in building and artistic activity.

I'm not a fan of modern art and architecture, but not everything modern in Milan is hideous, and sometimes it just takes a bit of study and familiarity to generate fondess, if not like: my feelings toward this 1960s sculpture, "The Sun," by A. Pomodoro, recently reinstalled in the just renovated Piazza Meda.

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