The epitome of regeneration: Milan is the blueprint for 21st century urban renaissance
In the early 2000s when I was based in London, I spent a weekend in my hometown of Genoa, in Italy. As I could not catch the direct early flight to Genoa, I took the roundabout route, via Milan. It was a decision that proved to be an eye-opener.
My late Friday evening flight to Milan’s Malpensa airport led me to catch a 3.30 a.m. train, which would see me arrive in Genoa for a very early welcome breakfast. This meant going from Milan’s Central Station to its Porta Garibaldi Station. The weather was pleasant and as it takes around 20 minutes on foot from one to the other, I walked.
My stroll, however, was not to be pleasant at all. That night I discovered that the area in close proximity to Porta Garibaldi Station was totally dilapidated and populated by all sorts of people engaged in various types of legitimate — and illegitimate — trade. The “locals” found it quite peculiar to see someone in a suit rolling a suitcase around the area at that time, but I man