Milan celebrates anniversary of Liberation

70th anniversary marked in Milan.

Saturday 25 April marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Italy at the end of world war two, and Milan – awarded the gold medal of the resistance – will be celebrating in style.

On that day in 1945, a radio message at 08.00 from the high command of the liberation committee in Milan launched the armed insurrection against the retreating Nazi troops and the Fascists who were still active, freeing the city and surroundings before the arrival of the Allies who had marched up the peninsula.

City hall, ex-partisan associations and institutions have planned a series of events across the city, many of which started as early as 18 April, continuing throughout the weekend and until 29 April. High point will be a visit by president of the republic Sergio Mattarella.

Partisans parade in Milan  in 1945
Partisans parade in Milan in 1945

Thursday 23 April will see a ceremony in Milan’s main cemetery, Cimitero Maggiore, in honour of the fallen during the conflict and the resistance to the occupation.

The weekend programme will start with the inauguration by mayor Giuliano Pisapia of the Casa della Memoria (the House of Memories) in Via Confalonieri at 11.00 on Friday 24 April. The museum, hosting a collection of memories of the war and the occupation by the German forces, will remain open to the public over the weekend (except for Saturday afternoon, during the procession), with readings, concerts, and screenings of multimedia accounts of the war years.

On Saturday, the morning will be dedicated to the laying of wreaths in the cemetery and at the foot of memorials around the city. President Mattarella will address Milanesi at 12.00 in the Piccolo Teatro in Via Rovello, accompanied by the mayor and the president of the ex-partisans’ association.

The traditional procession will start from Corso Venezia at 14.00 and wind through the city centre to reach Piazza del Duomo .

Sunday will be a day of celebration at the newly restored Darsena, the old canal barge docks. From 10.30 until late at night, one of Milan’s best loved and most characteristic areas will show its new face, with street music, exhibitions and boat trips along the canals.

Two new websites have been opened to mark the occasion. Milan city administration has a detailed programme of all the events around the city celebrating the liberation. And Milan Polytechnic, together with the Memory of the Deportations Foundation, is offering a guide to the places in Milan where important events took place during the war years. The site at www.mi4345.it is geo-tagged to enable smartphones or tablets to connect to nearby points of interest and display detailed information about their role in Milan’s occupation and liberation.