“From gritty and grey to gorgeous and green”
The prestigious US daily Wall Street Journal is the latest example of overseas media sitting up and taking notice of Milan.
“There’s a hot new destination—a cultural, culinary and style center—trending in northern Italy. It’s called Milan and it’s been hiding in plain sight for decades beneath its reputation as ‘Italy’s industrial capital’ … with factories belching grey smoke over gray buildings in gray weather,” begins Andrew Ferren’s article in praise of the city’s architecture, greenery and cuisine.
Ferren lauds the “vast new network of tree-shaded parks” which, he states, link the historic centre with the surrounding hills and forests. And he picks out architect Stefano Boeri’s award-winning Vertical Forest for particular mention.
Also in the architectural field, the article recommends some of the urban regeneration projects which have turned old factories into new museums and cultural centres – among them the Armani Silos, Mudec Museum of Cultures and the Prada Foundation art complex.
And although Milan remains “the undisputed Italian capital of … fashion and design,” visitors no longer stop to shop and then leave, Ferren says: overnight bookings have increased by 30 per cent over the past five years as shoppers want to stay for two or three nights. This has led to a boost in quality and quantity of the hotel and restaurant offers, he states.
The article closes with some recommendations for attractions not to be missed, like the Villa Necchi Campiglio and the Pinacoteca Brera gallery. On this latter, directed since 2015 by British museologist James Bradburne, Ferren quotes a travel expert: “People battle crowds at the Vatican Museums … to see similar artworks, and here you sometimes have them all to yourself.”