maandag 23 april 2012

10. The scraper who got the archbishop of Milan furious...


There he is! Almost next to Central Station, at the exact spot where a certain Mister Pirelli in 1872 built his first little tire factory… I’m talking about the Pirellone. A 127,10 meters high building which used to be the highest skyscraper in the world (until the 60’s)! Bringing a tribute to this immense building is apparently one of the 101 activities which a Milanese should have done at least once in his life, so here we go. I’m not expecting too much of this little excursion because grey skyscrapers never really made me go wild. And this one doesn’t even allow you to enter and have a look from the roof, so I’m afraid this task on my to-do list doesn’t promise much fun.

I walk to the Piazzale Duca d’Aosta, spot the big, grey monster and start reading the explanations in my guide book. After a couple of minutes, the corners of my mouth start curling into a big smile and I have to say that I actually begin to like this Pirellian colossus which previously seemed so boring to me. That’s because I learn that this huge tower provoked the archbishop of Milan by having the nerve of being higher than her divine highness, the Madonnina! This golden statue of the holy virgin looks down on Milan from the highest point of the city, which is the top of the Duomo. And now this metaphysical giant, creature of an architect who declares to have found inspiration in De Chirico, would look down on the highest Lady of Milan?

“I don’t think so”, said archbishop Montini and adjusting his miter, he started preparing himself for war by writing a courteous but inexorable ultimatum letter. Either three floors of the skyscraper were going to be thrown down, either the brand new pride of Milan was going to be coronated with… a statue of la Madonnina! Given the fact that the builders of the Pirellone were peace loving people, it didn’t take them very long to take the right decision. And so it is that the long, linear Pirelli is wearing a little golden lady on his head. Not that the divine patron lady brought him much luck though. In 2002 a small sport aircraft crashed against the skyscraper causing the death of three people. And yet there are still people who dare to ask me why I never pray Hail Mary’s…

2 opmerkingen:

  1. I can't see the Madonnina on top of the building in your photo. Perhaps it's a bad angle. Maybe if you went on the roof...oh, you can't, I guess.

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  2. I can disguish as a cleaning lady with a special badge saying "Private Madonnina Cleaner" and try to get on that roof anyway, but I can't garantee that it will work, Doug! If not, I can send you a self-made picture of the Madonnina on the Duomo...

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