While having being here in Milan, we have taken a bus ride into the city, visited our hotel multiple times, seen the duomo, visited Intesa Sanpaolo bank, taken a walking tour, visited Migliore + Servetto architects, and had plenty of time to freely explore the city.
The Duomo is by far the most astonishing. The first thing you notice is its great size. While taking our own time the first night in Milan to view it, I could not believe my eyes. At first it just seems like a massive structure with gothic features which, as an American, I am personally not used to seeing. Once we took the walking tour with our guide Morena, which by the way is hands down amazing, we were truly able to understand the gravity of the work behind such a structure. It has 3,400 statue on it and according to Morena, each one is thought to have some identity important to whomever created each one. The delicate detail we viewed every step of the way to the top including: the marble flower shapes along the stairs, the direction in which statues were facing, and the gilded statue of Mother Mary at the very top. It was said that no building could surpass the height of Mary at the time. Now, sky scrapers well surpass the statue of Mary at the top.
The next thing which I enjoyed about Milan was meeting Migliore of the architect firm. Her presentation covered mainly the principles which they follow to create their projects. Specifically they talked about how they go about communicating brands. This process does not center itself around the brand, but it requires one to define the culture surrounding the brand. It is the difference in marketing and art of the message delivery. I collected a theme from her presentation which in my own words was “they are selling an experience, not a brand.” Look at all the high end brands: Gucci, Versaci, Prada…etc they are all great quality items but what will set them apart? The presentation and delivery through efficient use of physical space. Another topic we discovered is how often people visit museums and monuments now. In the 1600’s it was seen as a way to learn and gain incite. Now museums are seen as boring and pointless; 1 in 7 Italians visit museums according to Migliore. This is a problem which a solution to can be through culture. Finding a way to manipulate structures and space so that generations can relate to them and even learn from them. Towards the end of her presentation I asked how she came into such a career, when was the moment she realized she liked such art. She recalled a time when she was between six and ten at the Galaria playing with leggos to build a sky scraper. She said the value they had for her ideas was passionate to her. No one has ever known what they want to do at that age but it makes me wonder what interests and behaviors I exhibited at that age.
Lastly I want to talk about free time. I visited a few stores and did some shopping here and there but a good amount of time was spent walking or sitting on the train or trolly. I started people watching a lot and noticed that there were so many different forms of fashion. On one hand there were people wearing very nice and high end clothing, then on the other hand I saw people that see shirts as shirts and pants as pants no matter what logo was put on it. When at the soccer game we went to we sat in the Inter Milan fan section. we had great seats and even made friends with multiple surrounding people. I noticed that the whole game time they stayed to see their team fight to the last second and lose. I for one don’t think that compare to football in the US because I have watched people leave the stadiums early, win or lose. Its much more than the sport to these people; its a lifestyle. Its about unity of the world through competition, which in the end is truly for entertainment, nothing more.
I hope we can all take this experience back to America and make a difference, even if it is just within one or two other people’s lives. I have enjoyed this trip very much and tonight it comes to an end in Italy. Tomorrow morning it is back on the flights to the good ole USA. See you next time Italy!