Around Milano

While the city's old sectors continue to feature showrooms and ateliers that showcase fashion and interior design, the areas north and northeast of Milan are where the city's new, stunning built environment now matches its view to the future.

Milan's soccer teams have headquarters in the San Siro area and now play at the stadium renovated in the 1990s, also nicknamed San Siro. But the three skyscrapers that have changed the horizon from some Milan viewpoints (amazingly, you can see two of them if you look one direction on the street where church housing The Last Supper is) are part of CityLife, an attempt to create a new, exciting Milan living, working and recreational center of the future. The three, Allianz Tower (The Straight One), Generali Tower (The Twisted One), and Libeskind Tower (The Curved One), designed by world-renowned architects Arata Isozaki, Zaha Hadid, and Daniel Libeskind (in order), seem to bend toward each other and are striking, beautiful monolithic structures that seem to embody Milan's confident place in the world of design and innovation.

Another innovative site contains the sustainable, biodiverse Bosco Verticale (Vertical Wood) towers, covered with hanging gardens. The 2000+ plants create their own microclimate, absorb CO2, and moderate area temperature and humidity.

Yet another is the city's conevention center, Fiera Milano Congress, is Europe's largest, a sprawling, organic spread of metal.

Ah, La Scala. Even though the opera season would not begin until December 2021, tours are available. You can go behind the scenes of many opera houses worldwide, but this is where so much musical history was made. The visit takes you to the royal box, describes the painstaking rehab of paint fabrics and decorations after a fire and has you climb back and below the stage to see how renovation allows more than one opera to be staged and ready for rehearsals and performance during a season. Chicago's now favorite Italian son, Ricardo Muti, did not fare so well there the first time he conducted due to a creative dispute, but was welcomed back some years later.