Tag Archives: Milan

7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free

After over a hundred years of living with cars, some cities are slowly starting to realize that the automobile doesn’t make a lot of sense in the urban context. It isn’t just the smog or the traffic deaths; in a city, cars aren’t even a convenient way to get around.

Traffic in London today moves slower than an average cyclist (or a horse-drawn carriage). Commuters in L.A. spend 90 hours a year stuck in traffic. A U.K. study found that drivers spend 106 days of their lives looking for parking spots.

Continue reading 7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free


Bosco verticale by stefano boeri greens milan’s skyline

bosco verticale by stefano boeri greens milan's skyline

stefano boeri‘s ‘bosco verticale’ has opened its door to residents, five years after construction started in milan’s emerging porta nuova district.

the project, which translates in english as ‘vertical forest’, comprises two landscaped towers that between them contain 113 apartments offering expansive views across the city.

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom

the design is characterized by its integrated vegetation comprising 1,000 different species of trees, shrubs and plants.

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom

in total, the scheme contains 780 planted trees, seeking to increase the site’s biodiversity, which may have been adversely affected during the project’s construction.

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom
the tower’s are located in close proximity to cesar pelli’s ‘unicredit tower’

the taller of the two towers climbs to a total height of 112 meters, with staggered concrete balconies protruding from each of the scheme’s façades.

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom

each individual dwelling features a private garden which protects interior living space from acoustic pollution,

dust particles, harsh winds and direct sunlight. at roof level, photovoltaic panels contribute to the self-sufficiency of the complex, while greywater from the building is filtered and reused to irrigate the site’s extensive flora.

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom
staggered concrete balconies protrude from each of the scheme’s façades

I think this is a prototype of a possible way to extend the natural sphere in a hyperdense urban context‘, stefanoboeritold designboom at the project’s opening.

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom

‘this is a not a unique way to implement biodiversity in an urban environment, but it is for sure one of the most environmental ways. so let’s see together what will happen.

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom

we are continuously asked by research centers from all over the world to follow what will happen. I think that every year we could have a moment of thought and discussion about the results – month by month, year by year.

see designboom‘s previous coverage of the project here.

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom
each individual dwelling features a private garden which protects interior living space

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom
the vegetation protects against acoustic pollution, dust particles, harsh winds and direct sunlight

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom
greywater from the building is filtered and reused to irrigate the site’s extensive flora

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom
living accommodation offers expansive views across the italian city

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom
at roof level, photovoltaic panels contribute to the self-sufficiency of the complex

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom
the scheme is envisioned as an extension of the surrounding parkland

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom
the twin landscaped towers can be seen from across the district

project info:

location: milan, italy
architects: boeri studio (stefano boeri, gianandrea barreca, geovanni la varra)

bosco verticale vertical forest stefano boeri studio milan designboom
landscape design: emanuela borio and laura gatti
developer: hines italia and coima
artistic direction: francesco de felice, davor popovic
final project: gianni bertoldi (coordinator), alessandro agosti, andrea casetto, matteo colognese, angela parrozzani, stafano onnis

Vladimir Putin says he has never made a mistake because God wanted him to be perfect

In a rare newspaper interview ahead of his state visit to Italy, Vladimir Putin has claimed he never makes mistakes because God “built his life so he’d have nothing to regret”.

The Russian president was due to meet Italy’s Matteo Renzi at the Expo 2015 world fair in Milan on Wednesday, where he is expected to discuss the prospect of easing economic sanctions imposed by the West over the Ukraine crisis.

Renzi was among the G7 leaders who pledged at the group’s Bavaria summit to step up restrictions on Russian trade if violence in the contested Donbass region continues.

But Mr Putin is nothing if not confident. Speaking to the editor in chief of Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Luciano Fontana, he warned that it was

“in the interests of the Italian people… to maintain friendly relations with Russia”.

He rejected any criticism of Russia’s conduct over the Ukraine crisis, and said the deterioration of relations with the West was “not our choice”.

“It was not we who introduced restrictions on trade and economic activities. Rather, we were the target and we had to respond with retaliatory, protective measures.”

In the wake of the murder of Boris Nemtsov, Mr Putin was asked about the challenges of being an opposition politician in Russia – specifically their lack of coverage on the main TV channels.

“I think if they have something interesting to say, they will be interviewed more often,” he said.

And for the final question of the interview, Mr Putin was asked by Fontana:

“Is there an action that you most regret in your life, something that you consider a mistake and wouldn’t want to repeat ever again?”

According to the paper’s report, Mr Putin pondered the question for a short while before his eyes lit up and he replied softly:

“I’ll be totally frank with you. I cannot recollect anything of the kind. It appears that the Lord built my life in a way that I have nothing to regret.”

While it is becomingly increasingly rare for Mr Putin to make state visits to EU countries, the Milan trip will be his second to Italy in eight months following the Europe-Asia summit last October.

But in a separate interview with Corriere della Sera, Italy’s foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni signalled there would be no chance to his country’s stance on the Ukraine crisis.

He said: “Italy has been combining loyalty to its allies with a special relationship with Russia.”

Leonardo da Vinci’s 500-year-old vineyard replanted in Milan

Leonardo da Vinci, 1452 -1519

Italian experts using genetic testing in bid to produce the same crisp white wine that Leonardo da Vinci enjoyed from his Milan estate 500 years ago.

A vineyard that once belonged to Leonardo da Vinci has been recreated down to the last detail by Italian experts nearly 500 years after his death.

After a decade of research including genetic testing, they now hope to be able to produce the same crisp white wine that the Renaissance genius once enjoyed from his own estate.

Leonardo may be best known for his remarkable paintings, sculptures and scientific inventions, but true to his Tuscan roots he was also a keen lover of the grape.

He was given the vineyard in 1499 as payment for the painting of The Last Supper by Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, who commissioned the tableau.

Leonardo, who died in 1519, bequeathed the vineyard to two of his most loyal servants and it remained in existence until the Second World War, when it was razed to the ground by an Allied bombing raid in 1943.

Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci owned the vineyard from 1499. Presumed self portrait. Image credit: Getty / De Agostini


The plot of ground now forms an immaculately tended walled garden inside a grand palazzo known as the Casa degli Atellani in central Milan. Working with the family who own the property, researchers excavated the garden and to their surprise and delight found that a few vine roots had survived.

They subjected the roots to genetic testing at the University of Milan and were able to identify the exact type of vine that Leonardo had planted – a variety known as Malvasia di Candia, which is still grown in the hills around Piacenza, a town in the Emilia Romagna region, south of Milan.

The experts have replanted Malvasia di Candia vines, recreating Leonardo’s original vineyard, in the garden of the palazzo in Milan’s Corso Magenta.

The vineyard will be opened to the public for the first time in May, to coincide with the start of Expo 2015, the world fair that is being hosted by Milan.

The garden di Casa degli Atellani

“It’s a unique way of demonstrating to the world how art and wine in Italy are closely intertwined,” said Gabriella Bechi from Confagricoltura, an Italian agricultural organisation that sponsored the recreation of the vineyard.

A 1920s picture of the vineyard/garden given to Leonardo da Vinci in Milan

“No other city in the world can boast the honour of having the remains of a vineyard once owned by one of the greatest geniuses in history. “It is just a short distance from the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where Leonardo painted The Last Supper.”

The project was led by Prof Attilio Scienza, an Italian expert on the DNA of vines, Serena Imazio, a geneticist, and Luca Maroni, a renowned oenologist and an editor of wine guides.

“Our research started in 2004. We were able to identify the plot and the last surviving vines. I was amazed – to think that a treasure like this had fallen into oblivion,” he told Il Fatto Quotidiano, an Italian newspaper.

Leonardo was born near the Tuscan town of Vinci, the illegitimate son of a lawyer, in 1452. At around the age of 30 he moved to Milan to work for the ruling Sforza family as a painter, sculptor and architect.

He painted The Last Supper in the refectory of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie between 1495 and 1497.

Expo 2015 will feature around 60 pavilions and contributions from more than 130 countries, including Britain. The main theme of the world fair will be nutrition.

A Vertical Forest Is Growing In The Middle Of One Of Europe’s Dirtiest Cities

Denizens of Milan, Italy will have a brand new 2.5 acre forest smack in the middle of their city by the end of 2013. You might think that’s a city with its priorities straight. But this particular forest didn’t require the sacrifice of precious commercial real estate—because it’s of the vertical variety.


Brainchild of Italian architecture firm, Boeri Studio (Stefano Boeri, Gianandrea Barreca, Giovanni La Varra), the Bosco Verticale(literally, “vertical forest” in English) is two residential apartment buildings peppered with cantilevered terraces.

Each terrace is specially designed and engineered to support a small community of trees, shrubs, and other greenery.

When complete, Bosco Verticale will house 730 trees from three to six meters (10 to 20 feet) in height and irrigated primarily by the buildings’ grey water—runoff from baths, sinks, washing machines, and dishwashers. 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 plants will keep the trees company. A true forest.

Milan is the second biggest city in Italy and one of the most polluted in Europe. Bosco Verticale, an “anti-sprawl measure,” is intended to set a new course for the fashion capital. Vertical green spaces expand biodiversity without expanding city limits.

Trees and other green things filter dust and carbon dioxide and breathe out fresh oxygen. They’ll also produce humidity and shield residents from city noise. Along with all that, of course, they’ll bring a touch of nature into central Milan.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Bosco Verticale is it isn’t just an intriguing concept on paper. The €65 million project (about a 5% premium on traditional costs) is slated to be finished this year. Already, construction on the buildings is complete, and workers have begun lifting the first trees into place with cranes.


Bosco Verticale may be a proof of concept for more such buildings in Milan or elsewhere in the future. But already there are other similarly upright projects afoot that may bring more of the countryside into future cities.

Last year we wrote about a vertical farm in Singapore. Dubbed A-Gro-Gro and built by the company, Sky Green, the stacks growing veggies on nine meter aluminum towers. The towers use hydraulics to rotate their plants in the sun and run on a mere light bulb’s worth of energy per day.

So far, Sky Green’s veggies are limited and tend to cost more than the competition, but folks are buying, and the firm plans to double their towers from 120 to 300 and quadruple production from half a ton to two tons this year.

As for Bosco Verticale, although it’s almost complete, whether the project proves a success story will be borne out in the coming years. As you’d expect, planting trees on apartment buildings presents a few unique engineering challenges.

Laura Gatti, the landscape consultant on Bosco Verticale, said it’s lucky Milan isn’t a terribly windy place. (Perhaps, the design wouldn’t work in Chicago.) They tested the forces acting on the trees, the building, and the trees on the building in a wind tunnel. These calculations helped determine the right tree dimensions.

Further, engineers had to calculate the weight of the trees, containers, and soil and appropriately reinforce the concrete terraces. Each tree container is lined with a waterproof membrane, a root barrier, and a polypropilene grid to avoid leakage and keep roots away from walls.

Ultimately, the only way to fully vet the design is in practice. But if all goes to plan, tenants will soon retire to their apartments after a long day in the grit and grime and drift off to the sound of wind in the leaves—and muffled car horns.

Putin Misses Meeting With Merkel Before Partying With Berlusconi Until Early Hours

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin was four hours late for a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel at the ASEM summit in Milan on Thursday after stopping by Serbia on the way to Italy to enjoy a military parade in Belgrade.

“The meeting did not go through as scheduled due to a major scheduling reshuffle,” a spokesperson for Putin told press on Thursday, though it was later confirmed Merkel met the Russian president four hours later then planned.

Putin missed most of the first day of the two day summit, joining Merkel and other EU leaders eight hours after he was due to arrive at Milan’s Royal Palace, where the summit is being held.

Television coverage of the event showed Putin finally arriving at the diplomatic meeting 30 minutes into Thursday evening’s welcome toast during the president of European Council Herman Van Rompuy’s speech.

Putin was spared no blushes as room was made for him to sit right next to Van Rompuy.

The Kremlin later confirmed Putin’s evening in Milan did not end with dinner, as the Russian president paid a visit to Italy’s disgraced ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi whom Putin still considers an “old friend” after 1am on Friday morning.

Putin left Berlusconi’s Milan home at around 3.45am.

After less than four hours sleep, the Russian president arrived back at the ASEM summit at 8am on Friday to hold another meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel on the crisis in Ukraine.

The situation in Ukraine will be the focal point of Friday’s talks, though Ukraine’s foreign minister Pavel Klimkin told Interfax today that so far discussion has not gone smoothly.

Putin is due to have private meetings with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko later on Friday and with Italian premier Matteo Renzi, who is hosting the ASEM summit.

This is not the first time Putin has kept another head of state waiting, as he was also 50 minutes late when he was scheduled to meet Pope Francis in the Vatican last year.

Russian and Ukrainian presidents fail to reach breakthrough

Vladimir Putin (left) with Matteo Renzi (centre) and Petro Poroshenko (right) at the summit in Milan on Friday

Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko, the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, failed to reach a breakthrough to end the crisis in Ukraine, after a day of intense negotiations brokered by EU leaders in Milan.

Mr Putin and Mr Poroshenko discussed a number of thorny issues, from allowing drones to monitor the border between the two countries to the structure of local elections in the pro-Russian separatist region of eastern Ukraine.

They pledged to enforce a truce agreed last month that has since been frequently breached.

One of the most notable features of the encounter was that a single, one-hour meeting was expanded to include two additional – previously unscheduled – ones.

Those sessions were an apparent attempt to resolve a dispute over gas payments, with Russia threatening to cut the supply to Ukraine through the winter. After emerging from the final round of talks, Mr Poroshenko said the pair had “failed to reach any practical results” on gas despite some progress.

Mr Putin, speaking to journalists after the meeting, suggested the EU should help Ukraine pay its energy bill. “The EU should help Ukraine with payment. It’s up to the EU to risk something to help Ukraine with its economic revival,” he said. “It would not actually require large money, something less than Russia has already provided.”

Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister hosting the summit of European and Asian leaders, sought to frame the encounter as a chance to reopen the dialogue to solve a crisis that has already claimed 3,600 lives this year and cast a cloud over the global economy.

“Obviously there are a lot of differences but I would underline the real desire to find a solution and for this reason I think we can be positive,” Mr Renzi said.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused some of taking an “absolutely biased, non-flexible, non-diplomatic” approach to Ukraine, offering little hope that an agreement was in the cards.

He said: “Some participants seemed to be totally unwilling to understand the actual state of affairs in the southeast of Ukraine and to demonstrate an objective approach”.

Angela Merkel, German chancellor, François Hollande, French president, and David Cameron, UK prime minister, also attended the meetings, which occurred on the sidelines of a wider summit between EU and Asian leaders.

Mr Cameron said Mr Putin had indicated clearly that he did not want a “frozen conflict” or a “divided Ukraine”. However, he said the onus was now on Moscow to remove Russian troops and weapons from its neighbouring country.

“If those things do not happen then clearly the European Union, Britain included, must keep in place the sanctions and the pressure so that we do not have this sort of conflict in our continent,” Mr Cameron said.

Mr Hollande added: “Things have moved forward but they have not been sorted.”

The EU has stepped up economic sanctions on Russia as the Ukrainian crisis deepened this year, while also indicating that they could be relaxed if Moscow takes steps to end the conflict.

Violence has also continued to flare in eastern Ukraine. In addition, there have been mounting fears that Russia could seek to cut gas supplies to Ukraine during the cold winter months, a move that could also disrupt access to energy for many EU countries at a time when many economies are slowing.

Obviously there are a lot of differences but I would underline the real desire to find a solution and for this reason I think we can be positive.– Matteo Renzi, Italian prime minister

Mr Putin arrived in Milan on Thursday night later than expected after attending a military parade in Serbia, forcing a delay in a planned bilateral meeting with Ms Merkel.

He then paid a visit to Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian media mogul and former prime minister – and his close personal friend – who was convicted of tax fraud and is serving a one-year community service sentence.

Mr Berlusconi and Mr Putin met at the former Italian premier’s apartment in the centre of Milan, rather than his villa on the outskirts of the city after the former Italian prime minister received a green light from judicial authorities, according to Italian media reports.



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