Luca Guadagnino’s Guide to Milan

The filmmaker shares his favorite things to do and see in the city, from 20th-century Italian art and neighborhood walks to a house with very big men

When I went to Milan for the first time, I’d come from Palermo. I arrived there December 1987. I was 16. I used to live in the south, and I was used to living in warmth and light. And I went into this gray, bleak, cold city. The second I came to the city, I felt that I belonged to it almost in a sort of reincarnation way, almost as if I’d lived there in my past life. It’s uncanny. And I love everything about Milan. I love the center. I love NoLo (north of Loreto). I love the south side of the city. I love everything.

Favorite museum and work of art

Margherita by Antonio Donghi, a painting at the Museo del Novecento. The museum holds an incredible collection of 20th-century Italian artists, and it’s always riveting to walk through its rooms and understand the crises and triumphs of the past century. I often think about the sense of color in Antonio Donghi’s painting.

Casa degli Omenoni
Casa degli Omenoni

Favorite building

I am quite fascinated by the facade of Casa degli Omenoni [House of Big Men], a scherzo of eclecticism because it makes viewers ask themselves why on earth such big men were needed on the facade of a building. Is it to show their virile power in order to tell the city of the power within that building? Or is it possibly testimony to the tragic insecurity of that kind of power itself?

Favorite place to walk

I love to walk through the Città Studi neighborhood and lose myself in the area north of Via Padova. I find that part of Milan rich in architectural texture, without the self-importance of the city center but with the testimony of an ever-changing urban landscape.

Favorite view of the city

Certainly from the living room window of my apartment, which oversees the opposite side of the final stretch of the Brera district.

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