If you are planning to visit Milan, or you just want to make an unusual tour, here you can find 6 things in Milan that you probably did not know existed. Discover the hidden side of Milan and its unusual monuments:
The Middle Finger
The sculpture, 11 meters high and made of Carrara marble, is commonly known as The Finger. However, his real name is L. O. V E., an acronym of libertà – odio – vendetta – eternità (freedom – hate – revenge – eternity, n.d.t.), but also English term for “love”.
L. O. V. E. would represent the fascist salut, an expression of the artist’s dissent towards the dictatorial regime of Benito Mussolini: the fingers of the hand, except for the one in the middle, are in fact cut off.
However, provocation is evident: the vulgar gesture in Piazza Affari seems to be also addressed to the financial world, after the bankruptcy of the American bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008, and the economic crisis that has also swept Italy.
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The Needle, Thread and Knot
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Sculpture is located in Piazzale Cadorna, a central point of the city where the Ferrovie Nord station is located in Milan, where two underground lines and numerous Trams and buses lines pass, and from where the connections to Malpensa Airport leave.
At the center of the Piazzale there is the imposing sculpture, consisting of a 19 meter long steel needle, planted in the ground, and a 86-meter multicolored reinforced fiberglass wire that rises to another spot in the square with the final knot.
The fact that this sculpture goes underground is not casual, in fact it resumes the colors of the three main subway lines in Milan (red, green, yellow lines), which connects surface with subsoil.
Among the new Milan symbols, it is also a tribute to the creativity and Milanese fashion industry.
The House of the Ear
In via Serbelloni 10 there is a Liberty-style building called Palazzo Sola-Busca, equipped with a little unusual intercom.
The palace was renamed Ca’ de l’Oreggia (the House of the Ear, in Milanese dialect), because on the wall to the right of the main entrance door there is a bronze telephone, now clearly no longer working, just right Shaped as an ear.
It is the first intercom in Milan and one of the first in history. The work was made by the Milanese sculptor Adolfo Wildt in 1930, following the request for the construction of a particular intercom. Wildt thought well of seeing the function of that communication medium by giving it an ad hoc form: his ear. Immediately referable to the purpose, the allusive sense of that form was to “listen” to the city.
St. Peter and the sword stuck in his head
In Piazza Sant’Eustorgio there is a statue dedicated to St. Peter Martyr.
It is the Friar Pietro da Verona who was named Inquisitor of Milan and Como in 1250 by Pope Innocent IV, with the task of coordinating the processes of the Holy Inquisition that were entrusted to the Dominicans of the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio.
The trials and condemnations of heretics and witches throughout Lombardy took place in the area where today’s Vetra park stands, just behind the ancient basilica.
Peter had the reputation of being moderate, and he tried to use his eloquence to persuade heretics. Despite this a group of them decided to prepare an attack against him and Peter fell victim to an ambush while he was returning from Como, mortally hit by a headshot.
The Devil’s Column
The Devil’s Column is a Roman column, located to the left of the Basilica of St. Ambrose. This column has two holes that, according to the legend, would be generated by a devil’s head.
Legend says that one morning St. Ambrose, walking through the courtyard of the basilica, met Satana trying to persuade him to give up on carrying out his bishop’s job. The Devil approached him to try him again, but St. Ambrose struck him with a kick, slamming his horns against the column, forming the two holes.
The devil remained in the column until the next day when he disappeared into the column by passing through one of the two holes, thus creating a gateway to hell.
It is still said today that, coming near the holes, you can smell sulfur and feel the blaze of the Styx, the infernal river, and that in the night before Easter Sunday you can see the wagon of souls carrying the Damned in hell, whose guide is the Devil in person.
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The Sounds of the City
Alberto Garutti welcomes Gae Aulenti Square with Egg, an unusual artwork: 23 tubes of chromed brass metal grow vertically on four levels, from the parking floors to the upper ones: through each tube it is possible, placing the ear on its opening, listen to sounds, noises, words coming from the other head of the same positioned in another point of the building.
At an age when we are thrilled with the noises, but we hardly stop listening to what surrounds us, try to hang your ear near one of the trumpets and magically discover unexpected sounds.
As Garutti says:
These pipes connect different places and spaces of the building
This work is dedicated to those who, from here, will think about the voices and sounds of the city.