A SONG FOR MILAN
“Go back to what’s old, and it will be a progress”. There’s a quiet place in my city, set amidst the streams of traffic and the countless shades of rush. It’s a place often unnoticed, renownedly precious but not as preciously renowned. I just have to walk a few steps from home, to find myself in to a story that bonds the soul of a city to the soul of one of the greatest composers of all time, and to his life, and death, and life again… And today I need to take a walk around here.
It’s right in the middle a square that’s dedicated to Michelangelo that I can gaze at the mindful smile of a tall, bronze Giuseppe Verdi, silently contemplating Milan. Right on the side of the statue lies “Casa Verdi”, the Nursing Home for Musicians. This is what Verdi he considered his masterwork more precious than La Traviata, Aida or Rigoletto.
“Believe me, friend, that house is truly my most beautiful work”, he used to say. The place was set to welcome old artists which have not been favored by fortune or by the virtue of thrift, and still performs its function. Different generations of musicians find their home under its roof, walking their steps accross the garden and playing their notes amongst the marble pillars, constantly animating the building. It’s a familiar place, a warm environment, a monument to equality in a city that can often be harsh and indiffrent. Verdi himself, with his wife Giuseppina Strepponi, decided to be buried here, in the majestic crypt you can reach after hearing some gravel creak underneath your shoes.
It’s a sound I love, it is the sound that makes you conscious of the steps you’re taking in all of their weight. “Casa Verdi” is a place where time is suspended, where you can still hope Milan can still pump some blood from its heart, not ony fuel. It’s a place where you can listen. Listen to stories both from the present and the past, listen to little musical treasures…and most of all, if you dare, listen to yourself. Just what I needed on a rainy summer’s day.