For the first time, with this guided walking tour, we will take you on a hunt for art, not the art kept in museums, but the art hidden in the streets of Milan, on its walls, doors and bridges, an art that knows no rules and that in Milan as well is able to astonish more and more.
Follow us on this unmissable tour of street art through the murals in the Ortica district which tell the story of Milan in a completely original way: you will discover the new face of a part of the city which is about to become the first district-museum of Milan.
Street Art in the Ortica: an issue of identity
A guided street art tour for the very curious, to discover the original works by street artists and the most identifying places in the Ortica district of Milan: the Innocenti factory where Lambrettas were made; the Martinitt, the historical orphanage for boys, in Via Pitteri; the Barracks with those bunkers in the shape of missiles which still betray a past that was not happy and a close –knit network of viaducts and rails that, together with the sinuous course of the River Lambro, literally “isolated” the district for many years. Then there are the fields, the “orti” which gave the district its name and which almost completely disappeared with the building of houses for workers.
Ortica: the memory of Milan to be lived through street art in the district
If this was Ortica until the mid-20th century, today this peripheral part of the city has changed its appearance, becoming the first district-museum in Milan.
It was a project of Street Art, in the literal sense of Shared Art, which started in 2017 that gave rise to this transformation. By 2019, it had already brightened up the walls of many buildings in the district with 20 colourful murals. It is not “just” an artistic project that the duo of street artists Orticanoodles undertook, nor does it have the typical connotations of an illegal form of art, as it was supported in full by the City Council. It is rather a “narrative route and one of memory” as the name of the project, Or.Me, i.e. Ortica Memoria, also suggests and which unfolds through the streets of the district.
Reconnecting more with the muralism of artists such as Diego Rivera than with the controversial verve of a Banksy, stories of a recent past surface in Ortica which have their roots in the deeply Milanese identity of the district: the women of the Resistance, the Martinitt a solid and important memory of the city, but also Cardinal Ferrrai or the resistance fighter Morandi. Fo, Nanni Svampa and Jannacci (who sang about a certain Gang of Ortica…) smile from a flyover, with next to them Lea Garofalo, Ambrosoli and Alberto Dalla Chiesa, part of a collection dedicated to Legality. There are stories of figures from sport and culture, like Camilla Cederna or Alda Merini, who share the same wall with Alessandrina Ravizza and Anna Kuliscioff, a pedagogue and doctor of the people and with Liliana Segre, who was a witness to the horrors of Fascism. Very recent, in the end, the murales made in via Pitteri, about the simbol of Milan: the Duomo, with its Madonnina, consistent in their colors with the houses around them.
Every mural tells a story but is also a collective work of creative and productive participation by the local inhabitants, in a project which is also social, as told by the headquarters of the long-established Cooperativa Edificatrice: a thousand faces that were the soul and beneficiaries of that idea of solidarity and cooperation.
A free open-air museum of Street Art where “you can go for a walk and say: here even the walls know history”!
The tour is led by the architect Monica Torri