Milan, neighborhoods in progress: via Padova Area

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The part of Via Padova, which goes as far as the railway bridge, recalls the image of a “village street”: the very dense urban fabric, with the exception of Trotter Park, does not have open spaces for parking and recreation.

As it often happens, the conformation of the urban fabric defines by reflection the forms of sociality that take place in public space; the sidewalk, in this case, is the only place where people can meet. And so the places of relationship are expressed as a “natural extension” of the stores, in front of which people meet, chat, stay together during the day and sometimes even at night.

The conversion to social use of spaces intended for parking, as in this case, seems a viable option in a city where everything seems to go very fast and in a neighborhood where even in the houses spaces are often restricted. With the exception of Trotter Park, even the public green areas are minimal, insufficient for relationships. The small gardens of Via Mosso and Via dei Transiti are now fenced off, empty and suspended as if waiting for something to happen.

On the other hand, when one enters Trotter Park, one finally has the sensation of finding a “center of convergence”, an escape route from the congested neighborhood, heart and lung of this part of via Padova. It is easy to see how the population of different social classes, backgrounds and ages flock here on weekends or after school hours.

Continuing to pedal along Via Padova and passing under the railway, it is as if, after those few seconds of darkness, the light comes on stronger on the second stretch and you have the feeling of breathing better. Even the traffic is more relaxed: the road has suddenly widened. On the left we find the bocciofila (bowls club) and the famous via Pontano, which with its murals runs along the tracks; a little further on, turning right, here are the Orti di via Padova. Imagining this space a few years ago, abandoned, full of undergrowth and destined to become a parking lot, and looking at it now can only bring a smile; a small agricultural heart not far from the center of Milan and along the busy Via Palmanova, where the elderly and young people of the neighborhood put their “hands in the ground”, in a gesture that mixes lost sociality and horticultural knowledge.

Continuing to pedal towards the Alps, from via Padova we turn left towards the Naviglio Martesana. Here the landscape becomes surprising: suddenly we are catapulted elsewhere and we are no longer in Milan with its stores, large buildings and traffic;

Guided by these unexpected stimuli you enter the Martesana Park, an expanse of green, with mountains, the amphitheater, the Naviglio, the pedestrian bridge that leads to Gorla and the Martesana farmhouse, a place of leisure and a refuge from the chaos of the city. Following the bike path that runs along the Naviglio from the center of Milan, you cross an area made up of rows of houses and farmhouses, hidden gardens, decades-old trees and suddenly, on the right, historic buildings such as Villa Pallavicini.