Milan is not what I dreamed of when I thought of Italy before coming here. It lacks the golden light of Tuscany. The ochres of Rome. The romance of Florence and Venice. It is a “working” city—urban, almost industrial by Italian standards. I have grown to love it, with its hustle and its sense of design and its commitment to modernity and getting-the-job-done, but I crave softness and grace and romance sometimes. And sometimes, I find them—in a single vine:
Wisteria (glicine, in Italian) doesn’t have a ubiquitous presence in this city, but it appears here and there, usually rising from the ground in ancient trunks and hanging from balconies and architectural overhangs in dense, theatrical swags. It perfumes the air, shades pedestrians, and softens whatever surface hosts it.
There’s an enormous vine across the street from our house, clinging to an old building that houses a restaurant (Trentino cuisine) on the ground floor. The vine rises next to the dear, little eatery in two or more intertwined trunks, and rises up to the fifth floor, taking over balconies and downspouts in its climb up. I look at it everyday now, knowing that sooner than I’d like, the beautiful flowers which hang like phantom bunches of grapes, will wither and blow away. I thank it for dressing the stage of my continual comings and goings with an unabashed romance befitting the reason I came to this city in the first place: Love.
I love wisteria!!! There is a tiny plant on my balcony and I am in Spain!!!! I hope it is still happening when I get back. The wisteria here is crummy.
the wisteria here murders. murders! chokes, smothers, overwhelms and slowly dominates the big old oaks and sycamores….and then they fall in a flutter of pink confeetti…..sigh. beauty….
Your descriptions of Milan have encouraged me to fly there rather than to Rome for a trip in late May to Lucca and Florence. Do you have suggestions for areas to stay in? We will have one night on arrival so we should be near the train station, and a few days at the end in early June. I love the picture with the restaurant in the background!
Hi Janette! Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply…I’ve been trying, among other things, to get advice about hotels near the station. As it turns out, there are quite a few, but the best one–if it fits in your budget–is probably the Principe di Savoia. It’s a bit of a grand Milanese institution. Very elegant and ornate and over the top, with quite the scene in the lobby/bar. If you’re only going to be in Milan one night, and you need to be near the station, it might be worth the splurge. Let me know if I can be of more help…of if you have a budget in mind, I can look around some more.
Pingback: Confession #4: The risks involved | The Daily Cure