On Monday, Italy's dancing legend, Carla Fracci, will receive one of Milan's most prestigious awards, the Carlo Porta.
Porta, born at the end of the 18th Century, is Milan's most famous poet, and he wrote in the Milanese dialect, which is still kept alive in parts of the Lombardy province. The award is given to Milan's most famous children, and Fracci is Milanese through and through. Her father was a tram-driver, trundling through Milan's streets in the iconic orange wagons.
What is your fondest memory of Milan?
The sound of the dialect of Carlo Porta, the tongue in which I used to greet my tram-driver father, Luigi…
What is the worst memory?
The explosion in piazza Fontana [a terrorist attack which killed 17 and wounded 88, near Milan's Duomo]. I had just become a mother a few months previously…
What are you hopes for the future?
Finally we have as mayor Giuliano Pisapia [recently elected after 3 terms of a right-wing city council]…
If a Martian arrived in Milan, how would you explain this city?
Once the Martians were the workers from Italy's south who came looking for jobs… that was Milan at its best, helping Italians who were worse off. But still, a Martian would be able to tell how much we love Milan.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.