Milan’s ATM provides guide for umarells

Handy guide for Milan's sidewalk supervisors.

Pensioners and strollers who enjoy watching workers and calling out suggestions can now follow a handy guide provided by Milan transport authority to the various maintenance sites around the city.

Sometimes known as “sidewalk supervisor” in English, the umarell is a recent addition to Italian drawn from the Bolognese dialect word for “little man”. Umarells are men of retirement age who pass their time watching construction sites and road-works – stereotypically with hands clasped behind their back and offering unwanted advice.

And now ATM has decided to help them pass the lazy days of summer with a practical guide (in Italian) to the work being carried out across Milan. It provides information on how to reach the sites, from the extension to tram line 15 from Gratosoglio to Rozzano to the complete remake of the surface in Piazza Sempione, from the installation of anti-noise rails in Viale Monza to the resurfacing at Porta Genova.

Summer is the best time for umarell activity in Milan, the guide points out. With schools closed and many people on vacation outside the city, construction and maintenance cause less interruption to traffic.  While the Twitter feed #atm_informa will help keep sidewalk supervisors advised of the best places to carry out their work, the feed @ATMTravelAlerts continues to provide real-time travel updates in English.

The guide, however, contains no guidance on how to offer advice to the ATM workers.  Presumably Milan’s umarells are considered to be expert enough in that side of their activity and need no help.