One Special Kind Of Journalism On the Grand Scale Italy Uniquely Inspires

Posted by Peter Quennell

MILANO from Davide on Vimeo.



If you keep a watchful eye on reporting on Italy, every few weeks you’ll see a report like this.

Jay Nordlinger went to Italy as a student - specifically to Milan - and just revisited it. He once again found a LOT to like.

There are many beautiful things in Milan, of course. Many beautiful works of art. But the city itself is a beautiful thing: a work of art. In my music criticism — concerning both compositions and performances — I often say, “Beauty isn’t everything. But it’s not nothing either.” The same is true of cities, I think. Beauty is not the be-all, end-all. But a little beauty … can make a nice difference. I recall what Ed Koch said about cities: Paris, the most beautiful. London, the most interesting. New York — his own — the most exciting, or dynamic.

The Milanese have style. For heaven’s sake, they’re Italian: The Italians have style. There is often a casual formality about them. And, among the older people, a certain courtliness. Can they be drama queens? Well, they wouldn’t want to betray their nationality, would they? Many of the women look and act as though they consider themselves to be works of art — and they are. Men in suits and ties, riding motor scooters, are a sight. I hear a dog not barking: I see just about no one wearing short sleeves, on a warm day.

Mirabile dictu, the window in my hotel room opens. How civilized. Unlike in America. Hang on, I will soon find out this is a mistake. The window is not supposed to open. Someone locks it. And I prevail on someone else to reopen it. Ah, civilization again. (I have promised not to jump out of this window.) (Much to the disappointment of my severest critics.)

Out my window, and all around the city, you hear the squeal of trams. It is a kind of music in Milan. Milanese risotto is a famous dish, yellow in color. I’m not sure what it is, exactly. But, when it’s good, it’ll bring tears to your eyes (not because it’s spicy). When I was a student, I practically lived on stracciatella — not the soup, but the ice-cream flavor (which, in short, is their chocolate chip). It hasn’t gotten any worse … I have always thought of Italian pastries as dry.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/13/17 at 07:49 PM in


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