As I keep returning over a distance of years to visit cities I once lived in, the perception of change is much more clear. Obviously, you note new architecture, big and small alterations of the urban tissue, like this external staircase, constructed around one of historic palaces in Milan’s city center, Palazzo della Ragione – ( Palace of the Reason) a hopefully named medieval building dating back to 13th century.
You also notice changes of mood. The current economic crisis has been putting lots of pressure on everybody in Italy lately, and there is a perceptible tension and nervousness in the air. The people of Milan have been regarded as the most productive and matter of fact of the whole peninsula for decades. The milanese stereotype: “Lavoro, guadagno, pago, pretendo .” ( I work, I earn, I spend, I pretend) reflects a society centered on purposeful actions in life. When stress overflows, and obstacles to do business as usual become insurmountable, something starts to break.
The city has been visibly split in two, with sectors orbiting around high fashion and design flourishing thanks to exports and foreign buyers, while the rest is in decay.