La Milanesiana 2020, culture colours the world

Published on Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Culture colours the world. Confirmation of this arrives with the new edition of La Milanesiana, the festival directed by Elisabetta Sgarbi. The Enel Group is the main sponsor of the programme, which is set to begin today and will run until 6 August.

It features more than 40 meetings, involving 115 Italian and international guests, five exhibitions and 12 Italian towns and cities. The theme, which was chosen by Claudio Magris, is “Colours.” “Never has a theme been more open to contradictions with the times we’re living in, and yet it seems to me to be in absolute continuity with the idea of hope,” Elisabetta Sgarbi says.

Opening the festival on 10 June with “Aspettando la Milanesiana” (Waiting for La Milanesiana), French economist Thomas Piketty will hold a live-streamed discussion with Italian journalist Ferruccio De Bortoli on capitalism, ideology and inequality, while the other two meetings (which will also be attended remotely) on 15 and 16 June, will involve the astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti and Luca Parmitano, who will talk about their experiences with the European Space Agency. All three events will be live-streamed on the websites of the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera and

The festival proper will get under way on 29 June with the inauguration in Bormio of the exhibition “L’origine della luce” (The origin of light) by Luca Crocicchi and with readings by Paolo Crepet and Vittorio Sgarbi. As with previous editions, the 2020 Milanesiana will be an itinerant festival, with events scheduled beyond the confines of Milan in another four towns in Lombardy – in Bormio, Pavia, Monza and, with a strong sense of symbolism, in Casalpusterlengo near Lodi. This was Italy’s first Coronavirus hotspot and the first community to be placed in lockdown.

 “I really didn’t want to surrender to the idea that the Milanesiana could only be live-streamed: I think that culture lives off physical emotion and we shouldn’t have to settle for a state of immateriality”, Elisabetta Sgarbi says.

And, in order to respect the Covid-19 safety regulations, many live events will be taking place in outdoor venues. Some of them will prove to be particularly evocative, such as the courtyard of the Almo Collegio Borromeo in Pavia and the outdoor spaces of the Palazzo Reale and the Sforzesco castle in Milan. In keeping with the tradition of La Milanesiana, the programme will extend across various Italian towns and cities, including Forlimpopoli, Cervia, Santarcangelo di Romagna and Gatteo a Mare in Emilia-Romagna, Villafranca di Verona in Veneto, Ascoli Piceno in Marche, and also the Campania region.

The guest line-up is also varied, ranging from, to name just a few, the President of Italy’s Constitutional Court Marta Cartabia to philosopher Massimo Cacciari, film directors Pupi Avati and Amos Gitai, writers Claudia Durastanti, Sandro Veronesi and Edoardo Nesi, comics Carlo Verdone, Massimo Lopez and Tullio Solenghi to musicians Enrico Ruggeri, Elio and Morgan, and former football managers Arrigo Sacchi and Carlo Mazzone. “This Milanesiana 2020 is a Milanesiana of resistance that has been imagined rather than planned. I felt that the image of the festival was an act of resistance against the current dismay: my own resistance and that of those contributing through their work and the guests that have agreed to take part in this, the 21st edition. Without wishing to overstate things, it is my tribute to Milan, a city that has given me much and therefore deserves a hand to help get back on its feet,” Elisabetta Garbi explains.

Many different voices and “colours” to show that the pandemic has not wiped out culture, nor indeed Milan. And, thanks to La Milanesiana, both are ready to start again with renewed vigour.

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