Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More on Milan

Quite some time back I blogged about being in Milan, and about Newman's remarks on the cathedral. Just lately I happened on this description of the city, by one of the products of Oratorian education:

What a magnificent city is Milan! The great houses are all of stone, and stand regular and in order, along wide straight streets. There are swift cars, drawn by electricity, for such as can afford them. Men are brisk and alert even in the summer heats, and there are shops of a very good kind, though a trifle showy. There are many newspapers to help the Milanese to be better men and to cultivate charity and humility; there are banks full of paper money; there are soldiers, good pavements, and all that man requires to fulfil him, soul and body; cafés, arcades, mutoscopes, and every sign of the perfect state. And the whole centres in a splendid open square, in the midst of which is the cathedral, which is justly the most renowned in the world.
The source is Hilaire Belloc, The Path to Rome, first published 1902 (7th impression, London, 1949), 294-295.

1 comment:

David Petts said...

"Milan, as a whole, has proved something of a surprise. I don't know why it should have done so; but you know how it is. You get an imaginary picture of a place in your mind, and then are upset when the reality doesn't fit. I had always pictured it as a collection of small houses in the Borghese manner grouped around an enormous rococo opera house peopled by stout passionate tenors, sinister-looking baritones and large mezzo-sopranos with long pearl necklaces. Vociferous international audiences thronged the street. Actually, it is nothing more or less than an Italian version of Birmingham' Eric Ambler, Cause for Alarm (1938)