I am one day past my due date, so I decided to go for a walk to encourage this baby to come out and meet us. I chose a metro station close to home and one that I could walk to to avoid riding public transportation during this coronavirus. Brenta station is on Line 3 of the metro. It was inaugurated in 1991.
I entered the area from Piazza Geremia Bonomelli. According to Wikipedia, "Geremia Bonomelli was the bishop of the diocese of Cremona in the late years of the 19th century and first years of the 20th century. Bonomelli is still remembered for his work in support of Italian emigrants." I couldn't help but notice there are many centri di assistenza fiscale (C.A.F.) in this area. I wonder if it's due to the high concentration of immigrants. I walked along Viale Brenta to Via Don Bosco. Viale Brenta is named after the river that runs from Trentino to the Adriatic Sea. According to Wikipedia, Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco a.k.a. Don Bosco "dedicated his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth. He developed teaching methods based on love rather than punishment." I took a left turn on Via Breno (a comune in Val Camonica, Brescia). This street is very residential.
On Via Benaco, I discovered Feeling Food. Feeling Food is an event space that can be rented for business or private events. They offer team building services for businesses and a 'chef goes home' service in which a chef cooks for you and 20 guests in your home. Turning onto Via Verbano (a province in Piedmonte) takes you back into the residential area. There are some newer looking buildings on this street, with business on the street level.
Back on Via Don Bosco, you'll find Ristorante Baja Sardinja. This is a very intimate Sardinian restaurant. Reservations are a must. The staff are a bit brusk, but the food is authentic. At the corner of Via Don Bosco and Via Tagliamento is Piazza San Luigi. Here sits the San Luigi Gonzaga church, the main focal point of the area. In fact, this district used to be known as San Luigi. It can be seen from many vantage points in the Brenta area. Aloysius de Gonzaga died as a result of caring for the victims of a serious epidemic, which seems fitting during this coronavirus pandemic. For this reason, he is considered the patron saint of plague victims. Maybe we should all be praying to Saint Luigi!
I discovered a restaurant that we're going to try called L'Altrimenti Ci Arrabbiamo on Via Tagliamento. Tagliamento is another river that runs from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea. I'm hoping this restaurant will become a new local favourite that we can bring guests to. Check out their antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci.
I'd say the gem of this area has to be Cartoleria e Tipografia Fratelli Bonvini. Even the name of the place is charming. This place has been around since 1909, over 100 years. According to their website, "Fratelli Bonvini Milano, an entrepreneurial initiative and a cultural project created in 2014 by a group of friends who are passionate about graphics, publishing, typography, and art. We refurbished the shop keeping all the original furniture and equipment, restarted the machines, and integrated the equipment. Here you can find all the objects related to our passions: pencils and pens, albums and notebooks, nibs and inks, books and rubber-stamps." This place is my father's dream. From their Facebook page, it looks like they're still hosting workshops and book signings. I bought a set of 16 Carlo Stanga illustrations and two Rifle Paper Co. enamel pins as gifts. A special, historical place in Milan worthy of supporting.
It seems Le Officine del Dolce has bought up real estate in this area starting at the corner of Corso Lodi and Via Tagliamento in 2017. Le Officine del Dolce is a pastry shop and laboratory dedicated to gluten-free pastries and gelato. A few doors down from Via Tagliamento, 2 you'll find the Pizza & Salato location of Officine del Dolce. A third location sits on the other side of Corso Lodi at Via Tullo Massarani, 2. It seems the whole business started in 2014 with Centro della Mozzarella, an artisan cheese shop on Via Benaco, 1.
Further down Corso Lodi is La Stazione delle Biciclette. This is more than just a bike and repair shop. One evening each month they transform their workshop to host readings, book and magazine presentations, cinema and cycling stories. From their Facebook page, "evenings to meet, talk about bikes, have a bite to eat and taste a good wine offered by La bottega del Vinaiolo."
Continuing on the north side of Corso Lodi, Via Tullo Massarani (writer, artist and politician) intesects Via Nervesa at a huge park. The huge triangular park surrounds the Mangoni tower. The Mangoni tower was designed by Luca Mangoni, known simply as Mangoni. He is not only an architect, but also a musical artist in the band Elio e le Storie Tese. The tower was built between 1995 and 2000. In the early 2000s it was considered Milan's top and iconic residential high-rise building. Based off a review on Google, it seems the park has been overtaken by Latin gangs. When I walked by, there were mostly adult men hanging out around the park. There is a basketball court where children were playing. The park continues along Via Enrico Gonzales (politician, lawyer, and anti-fascist). The third side of the triangular park is along Via Leo Longanesi (journalist, publicist, screenplayer, playwright, writer and publisher). On this side of the park there is a cool pirate ship-looking playground and a fountain.
The one street in the area that I didn't explore is Viale Bacchiglione (another river that empties into the Brenta River). I ended my exploration walk at the intersection of Corso Lodi and the Milano Porta Romana train station. I always wonder if Patchouli Cafe is any good, or if it's even open. It's in such a neat location and kind of has a Great Gatsby vibe from the outside. But I wonder if anyone is maintaining it.