36 Milan wards change their names

Popular Milan nicknames become official.

It’s official: you can now refer to NoLo (north of Piazzale Loreto) as your residence, not just chatting but on your official documents.

Following the example of Manhattan’s SoHo (south of Houston Street), NoLo has long been used in Milan street talk for the hip area in the city’s north-eastern quadrant. Along with another 35 of the city’s 88 wards, it has now been adopted into officialese.

Other examples include Porta Nuova, the skyscraper-studded area redrawing the city skyline; “Loreto” has become “Loreto-Casoretto-NoLo”; “Rogoredo” is newly re-christened “Rogoredo-Santa Giulia”. “Tortona” has become “Porta Genova”, while “Washington” is now officially “Porta Magenta”.

Three enterprising youngsters have already started creating and selling scarves with the new names (pictured), following the lead of football clubs, reports Milan daily Corriere della Sera.

City councillor Alessandro De Chirico, whose proposal to rename some of the wards was approved by the municipal council, says the aim is to encourage the identification of milanesi with the ward they live in. “The object is to preserve our home area,” he stated.

The initiative takes the history of some boroughs incorporated into Milan in 1923 into consideration, like Crescenzago, Precotto and Greco; the traditional city gates like Porta Lodovica and Porta Garibaldi; the strong identification of residents with their wards such as Corvetto or Olmi; and the new wards such as NoLo, Cascina Merlata and Santa Giulia.

“We’ll probably need to adjust the names again in ten years’ time,” De Chirico added.

Photo: Corriere della Sera