La Milanesiana 2021: what is progress?

Published on Thursday, 8 July 2021

It’s a record-breaking new edition for La Milanesiana, which is now recognized well beyond Milan and Italy: over 600 events scheduled between June 13 and August 6, more than 150 Italian and international guests, 9 exhibitions, 22 towns and cities – all brought together by this year’s theme, progress. “A theme that is full of paradoxes in and of itself. After what we have experienced, can we still talk about progress? And can we do so in a singular way? Or are there many different types of progress? These are some of the questions that we will try to answer,” explained La Milanesiana’s artistic director Elisabetta Sgarbi as she presented the cultural festival for which our Group is the main sponsor.

The 22nd edition continues to cultivate the virtues of courage, hope and trust. The festival opened on June 13 in Sondrio, with a concert by the singer Enrico Ruggeri, which was preceded by a conversation with Corriere della Sera journalist and writer Candida Morvillo. As Sgarbi pointed out, “There is no progress without memory.” For this reason, La Milanesiana is also celebrating some important anniversaries this year, beginning with a commemoration of the Centenary of the birth of Giorgio Strehler (a famous Italian theatre director), which took place on June 14 in Milan and featured some of his actors and friends, such as Ottavia Piccolo, Massimo Ranieri, Ornella Vanoni and Andrée Ruth Shammah. The Italian singer and eclectic artist Franco Battiato, who recently passed away, was also remembered with a screening of his films on June 18 in Milan, followed by a talk with some of his friends and pupils.

The theme of change and progress was also at the center of a show created with our collaboration at the Palace of Venaria on June 23, which starred singer-songwriter and poet Simone Cristicchi. Another event was, however, only available via video stream. This was the debate on July 2nd on La selva oscura delle leggi (The dark wood of laws) involving Guido Alpa, Piergaetano Marchetti, Natalino Irti and our Chairman Michele Crisostomo. As Elisabetta Sgarbi pointed out: “Laws are the mirror of our progress.” Michele Crisostomo took the debate as an opportunity to express our Group’s vision: “A virtuous crossroads between our identity and a strategy that is focused on sustainability: decarbonization, the digitalization of grids, the growth of renewables, attention to local areas and people, all of which helps to develop a perspective of progress that leaves no one behind.”

As has become a tradition for La Milanesiana, the program will continue by visiting other towns and cities across Italy. The list of guests is extremely varied, ranging from the Ministers of Culture, Dario Franceschini, and Education, Patrizio Biachi, to philosophers Massimo Cacciari and Salvatore Veca, film directors Emir Kusturica and Giuliano Montaldo, actors Michele Placido and Antonio Rezza, journalists Aldo Cazzullo and Federico Buffa, writers Sandro Veronesi, Tahar Ben Jelloun and Michel Houellebecq, singers Pacifico and Alice, musicians Uto Ughi, Paolo Fresu and Ramin Bahrami, film critic Paolo Mereghetti and art critic Vittorio Sgarbi (Elisabetta’s brother), as well as comedians Gene Gnocchi, Massimo Lopez and Tullio Solenghi.

 “The Milanesiana is back, roaming up and down the Italian peninsula with renewed enthusiasm, happy to surprise and to be surprised,” Elisabetta Sgarbi commented. And after the summer break, in the fall La Milanesiana will return in three more locations, including the symbolic town of Codogno (which was Italy’s first Covid hotspot), and, for the very first time, Paris.

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