Four months after her death on 27 May 2021, Milan has remembered one of its most cherished children, the ballerina Carla Fracci, with a plaque on the building where she lived with her family from 1945 to 1959.
Fracci spent the first years of her life in the countryside in a period when Milan was heavily bombed, including its famous theatre La Scala, which took a direct hit. In 1945 they moved to Via Ugo Tommei 2, and a year later ‘La Fracci' enrolled at La Scala's dance school where she would remain until her graduation in 1955. The modest council house – which when Fracci lived there had a shared toilet on the stairwell – has been restructured, and with the city in constant growth, no longer finds itself on the outskirts. Beppe Menegatti, Fracci's husband, said,
I never went upstairs to the apartment out of a sense of respect. After rehearsals at La Scala, Carla and I would take the tram from Piazza Duomo and then come here and sit on a bench nearby to cuddle, away from prying eyes. I'd walk her to the front door and she'd give me a hug.
The mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, together with Menegatti, unveiled the plaque which read:
Here lived from 1945 to 1959 and took her first dance steps
one of the greatest dancers of the 20th century
from the courtyards of Calvairate to La Scala and on to theatres all over the world.
The mayor said,
I believe that Milan will remember Carla forever – she is as Milanese as you can get. She gave us so much and we will give much back to her.
The city of Milan has already paid tribute to Fracci with the dedication of a tram number one in her name which has been decorated in white. It was the same line on which her father, Luigi, a city transport employee, worked and he would ring its bell every time he passed La Scala so his daughter would know he was near. Also, she will be buried at the Famedio, known also as the Temple of Fame, which is a rare honour, and she will join 23 other important names who have added lustre to the city's name.
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.
Memories of Carla Fracci – indescribable beauty – whose dancing brought me so many happy moments in life.