Reappraising Milan

Guy Trebay gives the Italian city another look:

It is not that Milan changed. It remains a vain and superficially dull and distant city, a place whose citizens, as an American friend who lived there for years once said, are at times so aloof they make Parisians seem like members of the Welcome Wagon. But, as happens so often in relationships where emotional attachment forms around habit, I fell for Milan.

It took four visits a year for a decade, but I developed an affectionate knowledge of a city that, far from flaunting its many cultural treasures, makes itself intentionally difficult to know. You are aware of this if you have ever tried to acquire tickets to visit Leonardo’s “Last Supper.” You can sense it from the blank look that greets you when you mention to locals the treasures (a moody Francesco Guardi gondolier shrouded in Venetian mist) at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, a wonderful institution few Milanese of my acquaintance have ever visited.

It’s hard feeling for a guy (heh) that gets to visit the Italian city four times a year. I imagine his love for the city would be a much longer development if he only got to visit once or twice.

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