Kaleidoscopic Milan, as vain as it is surprising. From the fog that envelops the Madonnina on the tip of the roof of the Duomo, to the pink, fiery sunsets that accompany the aperitifs of the elite, sipped from a rooftop terrace with panoramic views: we’ll look together at how to capture the best of this complex city.
That Milan is just bricks and mortar is totally untrue. There are areas in which the green is not only protected, but is also included as part of architectural works, thanks to urban recovery projects, such as that of the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Wood), a complex of residential apartment buildings that is home to more than two thousand trees, on the edge of the Isola district. The Bosco Verticale is a must for photographers, especially for those who love innovative architectural styles.
Capturing the greener areas of Milan can also be a fun experience if you include the surrounding stark, urban contrast.
In the ‘triangolo del silenzio’ (triangle of silence), so-called because it is hidden from traffic and enclosed within the streets of the Liberty (Art Nouveau) area of the city, which fascinated many artists, such as Parini, Manzoni, Beccaria and Stendhal, there is a magical and totally unexpected place called Villa Invernizzi, a work inspired by classicism.
Its most unusual feature is its beautiful garden, which is home to a group of pink flamingos.
All it takes is some careful observation to spot these particular residents and, if you manage to find them, all that remains is to click the shutter. However, you will need quite a powerful lens because it’s not easy to admire them from up close.
There are also areas of Milan bursting with colour, which are a pleasure to photograph.
For example, there’s the multi-ethnic Paolo Sarpi; the Milanese Chinatown which, as a lover of Asian atmospheres, is one of my favourite areas of the city. There is no lack of colour here at all, especially from February to March, during the celebrations for the Chinese New Year; you can take out your camera and capture lanterns, dragons, masks and let yourself be carried away by the charm of oriental tradition.
If you like colour, and more specifically Street Art, then Milan will be right up your street.
Creative photos will be no problem at all in areas such as Garibaldi, Colonne di San Lorenzo or Navagli.
With their alternative and underground atmosphere, they give the city that touch of creativity of which only street artists are capable.
I’ll finish up this post by giving you a few tips on taking vintage style photos.
I call it the Milan in black and white and, for me, it includes all those places that have remained more or less intact and still exude a strong sense of the soul of the Milan from a time that everyone seems to have forgotten. For me, one of the best places is definitely Vicolo dei Lavandai, a place in which time seems to have stood still. With a bit of imagination, you can still hear the shouts of the washerwomen who came down to the canal banks to wash laundry and knelt down on the wooden “brellin” (kneelers), energetically scouring the washing on the still visible stone stalls. Alongside the the canal is the former general store, to which people came to buy soap, candles and brushes.
Stefania, born in Milan -a city with which I have a love/hate relationship. I write only what my heart sees, not absolute truths. I like to savour the true feelings of the places I visit. I set aside any comforts to experience people and places to the full. I love to dabble in taking photos with a propensity for street photography. I love to mix in with people and gather fragments of local culture.