Hidden beauty of Milan

20140708_100107 modIn Milan there so many hidden beauties.. Have you ever walked in the city center and a lovely garden just appeared but you were so in hurry that you didn’t stop to admire it? This happened to me several times so I decide to take afternoon break and ride around city searching for the hidden beauty. Behind every old building there are always design windows, wonderful ancient doors.When I travel I used to take pictures of little details as small gates, the doors of the houses, old windows, shutters, fountains, decorative elements that enrich the buildings. The names of the streets speak and tell us about the history of the city .. so even the doors, gates and windows have something to show us .. if we listen to them. In particular Milan has a hidden beauty that needs to be discovered and revealed .

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While discussing with an old friend about real Milan identity , we agreed that several centuries of foreign dominations ( the french, the spanish and the austrians) have so impacted on Milan attitude that the Milan people are more used  to enjoy beauty in their homes and in their backyards rather than to show outside. We define it the so called ” sobriety”.

Here you’ll find some shots that I took during my urban riding, I stopped on purpose when I saw a intriguing detail that struck me .. For each photo there is a small caption. I hope you will enjoy!

Old window in Corso di Porta Vercellina , perhaps belong to an old mechanics workshop.

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We can  find a beautiful design window near  an old mechanic workshop closed for years.. not necessarily in the city center .
Maybe some superintendent understanding that if you are just curious and you do not have the slightest intention of robbing the apartments will let you go in ..this luckily happened to me .. and so i find yourself in a beautiful courtyard of an Ancient palace. .

So I guess one  this could be the gate of  Cinderella Palace with climbing roses .. very romantic, isn’ it?

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Tivoli street

In via Tivoli, near the Metro Lanza I saw his magnificent iron gate combined with wooden door and I tried to guess what’s inside .. a design shop, a representative office, a private manor.
I found just beautiful the entrance of Palazzo Bovara . It looks like the gate to get into a secret garden ..

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Palazzo Bovara decorated gate

I think this summer I ‘ll read again the book The secret garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
And you have you never seen in everyday life or during a travel some beautiful details ?  Where are hidden beatuties in Milan?Today let me know your hidden beauties..


Exploring walking in Porta Nuova new district..

A walk near Porta Nuova Garibaldi district is really striking to realize how Milan is being changed. The new urbanization project including the three districts Garibaldi Isola Varesine is really changing the Milan city aspect and not only the skyline! So I decided to explore and take photos of the new buildings. When I find myself in front of a yard I typically begin to fantasize and think about what it will be built .. a hotel, a park, a school, a swimming pool .. unfortunately often are private homes, hotels and shops rarely new schools, libraries and sports facilities. In this case, the area in question certainly become a new residential district, there is a  new and spectacular square where stands the  Unicredit tower , nearby there is a green area and above a panoramic walkway connected by streets and bridges . My exploring tour started from Palazzo della Regione Lombardia. ( Gioia stop -Metro green line )


The Palazzo della regione is the new headquarter of Regione Lombardia, is a  spectacular skyscraper, 160 meters high. It was completed in 2010 . Aesthetically it does not look much different from other skyscrapers in other cities, the striking feature is the covered square inside. (What you see in the picture with all the flags), is  very useful, because it offers shelter to the bike racks, there are also several coffe and shop and a nursery .. a kind of square.

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At the top was placed a copy of the Madonna statue from Duomo. In Milan traditionally when the building is higher than the Duomo you must put a statue similar to Madonna statue above the Duomo!

On the upper floors they organized guided tours of the skyscraper, it would be wonderful to be able to climb once!
I cross the street and I go into a beautiful garden where little red roses grow and in the background stand the Porta Nuova beautiful skyscrapers. Nice contrast the height of new grey buildings with small plants of the secret garden. I decide to go in. Nothing has been planned and it’s just a discover.. moreover this is the spirit of this blog ..travel adventure near home! In a few seconds I understand is a beautiful garden, but not secret .. manicured lawns, a path of stones, hedges and rose gardens and a historical building. The building is the headquarters of the Foundation Riccardo Catella.


They kept this historic building within a project so innovative and conceive of it as a space of conviviality and meeting with the restaurant, an exhibition space, a bowling club and a new children’s play area. New and old meet: a far-sighted decision .

Outside the garden of Fondazione Catella i found myself  right near the Boeri  Bosco verticale which recently was selected by an international Jury for the prestigious international architecture award Highrise Award 2014.

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The Bosco verticale is really impressive, trees are like suspended. I believe there is a special watering system independent from housing. Who knows how much water will be used? They will certainly designed an eco-system for harvesting rainwater .. I will always be a thousand questions in the face of such innovative projects. Plants seem one with the building, the skyscraper seems to breathe .. like a giant tree or nest .. 🙂
I take a path that lead me finally in Gae Aulenti sqaure. Here I am finally to look at the site, particularly the part that has yet to be completed …

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The square is already opened and is very much alive, there are several resto, shops ,offices, including Unicredit headquarters in the highest skyscraper. While I head to Corso Como I get lost in my thoughts .. it is amazing to think as through the talent and genius of man will be realized projects that change the lives of people and city. Part of the city sheds its skin and history, and this is a typical features characterizes Milan .. here there is no fear of change. Several urbanists, sociologists ,anthropologists predicted in the next 20 years that the world’s population will leave in the cities leaving countryside. We will know that they call the regiona lcities..so current cities must change, city have to become smart . Planners therefore always speak of smart city, that are characterized by shared public spaces, a wide range of transport fast capillary , a compatible use of resources with great attention to lighting and heating, and especially the application of new technologies to share and offer services to the community. Have you ever visited a smart city? For now I’am sure that Porta Nuova district looks quite smart! P,s I ‘ll come back when the project is completed to tell you if the area is really smart

How to reach the district

You can reach Piazza Gaeu Aulenti, the Bosco verticale and the Foundation Riccardo Catella by  lilla and green lines stop Garibaldi or Gioia Metro.

How to reach the Garden fondazione Riccardo Catella

The garden can be accessed both from an entrance in Via De Castillia, 28 and one in Largo de Benedetti, adjacent to Via Melchiorre Gioia.

The garden is open to the public:

from 08:00 to 20:00 from April to September

from 09:00 to 18:00 from October to March