Abroad in Milan, a Geographical Phenomenon

Upon entering Milan the first thing that I noticed was that in terms of architecture, there are many different colors of bricks used for the buildings. Buildings can be next to each other and be completely different colors even thought they might be the exact same design. I was wondering why this would be so I asked Luca. He told me that apparently during the war, Italy was bombed and nearly half of the buildings were destroyed. The Italians needed to rebuild as quickly as possible in order to house all of the people who were displaced because of this. They used whatever materials that they had available at the time, which is why many of the buildings have different colors even though they may be similar. He said that much of this building was done during the 1940s-1980s.

Another interesting thing that many people noticed was the juxtaposition of new and old styles of architecture. You have skyscrapers next to what seem to be much older buildings from before even the war. It seemed as if Luca didn’t really like the new buildings. He seemed a little upset that they were kind of forcing this new age onto the existing Italian buildings. He seemed to favor what many Italians do, preservation of culture, whether it be architecture, food, or whatever. This is likely due to the fact that Italy is a nation rich with a long history and plenty of culture. In a country like the United States it’s hard to be like that aside from what might be considered just “traditional values.”

The fashion seems to be nearly identical to Americans for the young kids. For the older generation however there seems to be more of a push towards looking more upscale and business casual. This perhaps could lend itself to the aforementioned concept that the older Italians are trying to maintain this sense of preservation of Italian culture and values. This would make sense because dressing more upscale was more common in the past than it is nowadays where you can dress very casually when going out. The one thing that I noticed that seems to bridge the generation is the Italians’ hair. They seem to consistently have the most well groomed hair out of any European nation. They have extremely tight and well kept beards that have a very distinct line where you know that it was very recently shaved. Their hair itself also always seems very trendy and well taken care of. They seem to be the first nation to standardize the usage of hair gel before even in America.

In terms of food, I noticed that the Italians are more liberal with their usage of olive oil as a main element of the dish. They’re not afraid to have the their sauce be just mainly meat and diced tomatoes/other vegetables in olive oil. I think that perhaps the stigma against that in the United States is that people think that because there’s olive oil in the bottom that it’s an oily and unhealthy dish whereas a little olive oil isn’t nearly as bad as they might think. Olive oil is relatively fine compared to many other foods that Americans typically indulge in. With that in mind, the American version of pasta sauce is much more liquidy and what you would typically think of as a sauce. The Italians seem to focus more on using good ingredients and having they meld together naturally in the dish rather than having to liquify it to make a cohesive sauce initially. Perhaps in Italy, seeing the freshness and quality of the ingredients is more important. This makes sense with what we had as part of our meal of the meats. It was a giant platter of nicely prepared meats. The meal was letting the meats themselves do the talking. There was no additional flare on top of just the quality of the meats themselves. I think that this also applies outside of just the food world and perhaps even into fashion. It could be about the raw quality of the material and craftsmanship rather than about being flashy and adding unnecessary things to the clothes or accessories. This seems to be a rather common thing to do as an Italian.

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