I am now in Milan enjoying Spring weather not the Summer temperatures that we had in Verona. This is the week of the Salone del Mobile, a huge design fair. I have always gone to the Fuori Salone and not to the fair itself. The fair has become the biggest design event in the world people tell me.
When I lived in Milan in Piazzale Stazione Genova, the Via Tortona area was hopping during il Salone as people call it. Now, the Via Tortona area is one of six areas Bovisa, Brera/Garibaldi, Lambrate, Duomo/San Babila, Magenta and the fair itself in Rho where events are held, showrooms exhibit their wares and lots of food and drink is shared by people who are here for the fair and the Milanesi in general.
This year I found Milan, the location of my second Italian life, much changed and all for the better. A wonderful new museum dedicated to artists from the late 1800s-1900s has been created called the Museo del Novecento. The collection which comes mainly from the Jucker family’s private collection includes amazing works by Boccioni, Modigliani, Fontana, Sironi, and many others. It’s also physically beautiful and the contrast between this modern glass structure and the Duomo of Milan is a terrific visual experience.
Milan will be the home of the Expo in 2015. As the city prepares for that event, it is constructing new buildings, parks and a gorgeous new train station. The Centrale is unrecognizable. Where pigeons used to roam, chic coffee bars and all the latest shops abound. It is a welcome change.
Additionally, even the trains have improved. I am on the Frecciarossa as I write this. During the Salone del Mobile, free Wi-Fi was available at different points in Milan in glass structures that served as information points for visitors. The press can use a space in Via Tortona, 21 where computers, sparkling wine and help is being offered by the Gancia winery. Look for Spazio Gancia if you are in Milan.
This year, the Salone was even more international with design events from many different European countries, the US and Asia. It was very exciting, as always. After Vinitaly, the Salone del Mobile is my favorite trade show and a great moment to visit Milan, although hard to find a hotel. Luckily, I always stay with friends.
Milan has changed immensely in the past five years with new buildings all over and I think it is only the beginning.