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Neighborhoods of Milan: Discovering Hidden Gems
Thursday, February 27, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.
From top: Park Guell, Barcelona; Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, and Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Barcelona, Milan, and Berlin have been crucibles of culture and experimentation for centuries, instrumental in changing the course of European history. They’ve also long been magnets for talented and unconventional residents, many of whom gravitate to distinctive and colorful neighborhoods. In districts as familiar as the Ramblas, the Piazza del Duomo, and the Brandenburg Gate, there are still many special places beloved by locals that are overlooked by visitors.
Fred Plotkin, a popular Smithsonian speaker on culture, history, and music, has lived in and visited Barcelona, Milan, and Berlin over more than four decades. Join him for a richly illustrated series in which he looks at these places through the eyes of a flâneur—a French term for a person whose casual strolls through city streets produce delight in their chance discoveries. He shares what he’s found on his walks: churches, theaters, specialty shops, restaurants, cafes, and unusual museums just a stone’s throw from world-famous landmarks.
Famous for its banks and wealth, unrivaled fashion sense, and Teatro alla Scala, Milan has always attracted and cultivated genius. The legacy of Leonardo da Vinci, who lived here for 25 years, is found in many aspects of the city’s landscape, including the navigli, the canals he designed that lead from the city to the Mediterranean. Visitors can find surprises all over Milan, from the Bosco Veticale (Vertical Forest), a pair of eco-friendly apartment towers covered in vegetation, to extraordinary barbershops, including the one in which Puccini got his daily shave.
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S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)