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City Guide : MilanLocated at the north of Italy, Milan is the capital province of Lombardy Region, one of the 20 regions of Italy. Being one of the world's main financial and commercial centers, Milan is the richest city of Italy. Admired as the worldwide renowned fashion and wealth capital of Italy, the city is the Europe's creative capital. Milan is the fundamental industrial zone of Italy. Textiles (especially silk), car manufacturing, machinery and rolling stock, paper making and chemicals are among the main industry specific areas in the city.
Tourist AttractionsPutting some scenery and historical structures (especially gathered at the center) of the sprawling city and the decorative old streets of the modern Milan aside, the city comes to the fore with its life pattern and cultural treasury.
Began to be constructed in 1386, Duomo at Piazza Del Duomo is one of the largest churches in the world. It is the most famous religious building in the city.
Built between 1358 and 1368, Castello Sforzesco is the castle at the square with the same name Piazza Castello. Located at the city center, the castle is home to about 10 museums.
Antico Ospedale Maggiore at via Festa del Perdono was used as hospital till 1942. It is now home to the Università degli Studi di Milano (University of the Studies of Milan).
Museo Teatrale all Scala at Duomo (La Scala Theater Museum) is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Having a collection being all about the theater history, the museum hosts autographs, stage sets, miniatures and many other theatrical works inside.
Museu Poldi Pezzoli (The Poldi Pezzoli Museum) hosts a collection of the best Italian paintings of the period between 15th and 18th centuries and decorative arts.
Culture & EntertainmentWhile the hearth of the world fashion industry pulsates at Milan, the life cells of the world culture breath a substantial deal of its oxygen from the same city. Multitudinous cultural centers, galleries, exhibitions and libraries are placed at the city. Theater, music and cinema add a great deal of importance to the cultural treasury of the city existing as a reference pattern. Milan is one of the world's centers for opera and art.
Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea at the city center is a huge cutting-age art gallery and harbors a brilliant collection of experimental works.
Classical music, rock, jazz, pop and especially opera blow the soul of the city. Teatro all Scalla (La Scala) is one of the best and the most popular opera and ballet houses in the world. La Scala is the central place for classical ballet in Milan. The theater hosts festivals like Short Formats Festival (the latest European dance trends, May).
Milan boasts with the myriad theaters and performing centers within the borders of the city.
Milan is home to innumerable festivals and celebrations. The Festa del Naviglio (June) is popular with its banquet of smorgasbord, dance and music organizations. The Festa di Sant'Ambrogio (7 December) is the most significant feast date of the city. From religious celebrations to various entertainment activities, this festival leaves a permanent mark on the city life.
A plenty of bars, clubs, discotheques, pubs and other kinds of entertainment destinations are all over the city. These are the top entertainment venues of the country.
Food & DrinkMilan has limitless eating and drinking places offering sophisticated, traditional, regional, international and ethnic specialties of every kind. Whether you are looking for a trendy, romantic, family or business atmosphere it is easy to find the restaurant with the ambiance of your choice. In addition to the restaurants of every category, excellent pizzerias are existed at every point of the city. Aperitifs, wine bars, breweries and more top quality places are available to cover all kinds of drink preferences.
Butter, cheese, milk and the by-products of milk are the main supplies of the Milanese cuisine. Gorgonzola (soft cheese) is a kind of cheese from the Italian culinary culture. Milanese cutlet, saffron risotto (pilaf with chicken and cheese), cassoeula (stewed pork rib chops and sausage with cabbage and tomato sauce) and panettone (a sweet yeast bred with raisin and anise) are among the main local dishes.
Leaving Paris and London out, Milan is the best shopping area of Europe. Milan is the world's fashion and design capital. The world renowned Golden Quad harbors the world's most exclusive boutiques.
The area between Duomo Square, Cavour Square and San Babila Square is one of the main shopping locations of the city. Located at this part of the city, Montenapoleone, Vittorio Emanuele, Della Spiga and Manzoni Streets teem with shops and outlets of all the major world famous brands. Giorgio Armani, Prada, Gucci, Versace and many more are found at these streets.
Architecture That Makes People Happy
Italian architect Benedetta Tagliabue has put her signature on important projects like the Scottish Parliament Building, HafenCity Hamburg, Santa Caterina market, and the Spanish Pavilion at Expo Shanghai 2010. In Istanbul recently, she replied to our questions.
Many of your projects are about transforming industrial areas outside the city into urban centers. Is this a coincidence or a deliberate choice?
Rehabilitation projects are under way all over the world, perhaps a little more even in Europe since Europe is short on space. Also, in the last 50 years industrial sites have taken over almost all the living space in our cities, so it needs to be reincorporated back into life now. Take HafenCity Hamburg, for example; it isn’t just port workers there any more but people going to work as well. Even sunbathers… Many former factories are being socialized by converting them into museums.
Like Tate Modern, Santralistanbul and Istanbul Modern. Industrial plants turned museums. Is this a trend then?
Yes, it’s a trend. There is a very unusual and special example of it in Barcelona: Santa Caterina Market. Barcelona used to be a city with a closed urban texture. But this project, the rehabilitation of a large public space that took ten years, opened it up to the outside world. It taught us - me and my late husband, that is - a lot. First we tried to understand the narrow streets. Then we learned how we had to proceed in an historic venue. Starting from the realization that history is in a constant flux, we wanted to create a space that urban people would be happy to use, so we rebuilt the market, the roof in particular. With the help of Spanish ceramicists, we created a fantastic roof that can be seen from all over the city. It’s a pleasant shopping center and commercial venue now. A powerful bond was also forged between us and Santa Caterina. The project inspired many things in our lives right down to the names of our children. My daughter’s name is Caterina.
What projects do you have in hand at the moment?
There is no end of projects. We have two offices, one in Barcelona and one in Shanghai. We are also building a tower in Hong Kong these days, a somewhat proud tower… And a university in one of Shanghai’s new residential areas but not cut off from the city. We are building a museum for a Chinese painter too. In Spain we are reorganizing a former cloth factory as a museum. We have office buildings in Milan, residences in Madrid. But recently I’ve been occupied mainly with HafenCity Hamburg in Germany.
Do you have any particular sine qua non’s?
There is one thing I always try to do. I try to make the project harmonize with itself and with the surroundings. Without any pushing or shoving… As modest as possible, in harmony with the environment and the world, not altering or playing too much with the landscape. I avoid any solution that might dominate or overwhelm.
Changing things is sometimes good, but only if it is done quietly, without any noise or shouting… Architects can’t save the world, but friendly architecture can ensure that people live a happier, more expansive and more civilized life. Architects should try, through small interventions, to give people better spaces to live and work in. Good architecture is architecture that makes people happier than they used to be and makes them feel good about themselves.
What are your forecasts for the future?
Houses are going to be smaller in the future because the world is getting crowded and resources are being depleted. We are going to have to live in smaller houses. There won’t be any more enormous estates. But there are going to be more public areas. And that is a good thing, because more social sharing means less social conflict.
Barselona / Barcelona
Classy and mad. And fabulous because it is both at once. A city dedicated to people. People go for long walks. At the seaside, in the parks. The city seems to exist so people can walk.
Mysterious and wonderful. Small but huge. Has a powerful history that nevertheless does not fly in your face. Waits unobtrusively to be discovered.
Defies description. As a friend of mine says, Venice makes intelligent people look stupid… if they try to describe it. More like a person than a city.
Capital of a great empire. Harbors a lot of different people within it and is therefore very modern. In fact, is one of the world’s most modern cities for that reason.
A city that has everything you can imagine, where all dreams come true. A city that has seen everything. When a person goes there he says, Okay, now I get it.
City of refinement. The refinement of existence… City of social graces. City of the good life as well as of great restaurants, theater and opera.
The Spanish-Italian Artisan Soul
Born in Milan, Benedetta Tagliabue graduated from the University of Venice in 1989. In 1991 she became a partner in the studio of Enric Miralles, whom she also married. Tagliabue, who has built several award-winning buildings around the world, became head of Miralles-Tagliabue-EMBT following her husband’s untimely death. She has worked on many important projects, among them HafenCity Hamburg public space, the Expo Shanghai 2010 Spanish Pavilion, Hamburg Music School and the Scottish Parliament Building. Perpetuating the tradition of the architecture studio with Spanish-Italian artisan soul, Tagliabue has earned a RIBA International Fellowship for her contributions to architecture.
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