The word Cascina means farmstead. If we think of a cascina, we imagine wide, green spaces, bales of hay, hens hatching and peasants strolling around. On the other side, we don’t imagine anything similar to Corso Lodi, a busy, chaotic street. Well, there’s a place in Milan that has changed our minds. Near Porta Romana, not far away from Corso Lodi, there’s actually a farmstead: the Cascina Cuccagna. Obviously, there are no hens or peasants, but the atmosphere is still incredibly bucolic for the district it stands in.
It was 1998 and Sergio Bonriposi was tired of his city, Milan, so cold and sterile. Thus, with a group of friends, he decided to stop complaining and to start rolling their sleeves up.
They have a project, an idea: to build a place where to meet, exchange ideas and develop creative projects. First there was the concept, and then came the place. Sergio and his friends found a big, abandoned building in the South of Milan, close to Corso Lodi: a building that once was a farm. “As a location, it was even bigger than what we needed,” says Sergio. And yet, they chose it: bringing back to life something that big was a symbol, a sign for anyone who, like them, needed “a new, deeper relationship with the entire universe”.
Seven years went by: in 2005, they took part in a municipal contest and conquered the Cascina. They managed to leapfrog Dolce and Gabbana, who had spotted the farm to build a showroom, and Quadro Curzio Spa who wanted it to become a thermal space. Sergio followed one goal: to bring back to life such a chaotic space and, with it, the entire city of Milan.
Did he make it? Visit in the Cascina Cuccagna to get an answer.
The area of Corso Lodi is busy, chaotic and noisy. Despite these negative attributes, the area welcomes peaceful, silent and creatively prolific corners. We have already introduced to you The Tank, the pop-up space that has drawn the locals’ attention in the last few months.
However, you should not be distracted by it. Also the Cascina Cuccagna deserves your gazing. It is not difficult to find: it’s easy to spot the eighteenth century building that takes over most of the private street via Cuccagna. Yes, you read that right; it’s a real eighteenth-century farmhouse, renovated and redecorated, a few steps from the centre of Milan. It’s so anachronistic and unusual that it arises always the same reactions: “It doesn’t even look like Milan!”.
And, in fact, when entering it, the Cascina Cuccagna attracts us in his court, in its world walled up and allows us to forget the nearby traffic and pollution.
The first thing you’ll notice is the cobblestone entrance that winds along different paths.
On the left, you will find the restaurant and café Un posto a Milano, the cherry on top of Sergio’s project.
The bright lights, the light wooden furniture and the colourful paintings create a joyful and chilled
atmosphere: you can order a slice of cake, a hot meal or a cocktail at the bar and then take a look at the board games and books on display.
The menu often changes, but if you are lucky you can ask for ravioli with goat cheese, lemon and pea’s sauce or baked chicken with potatoes: they are simple dishes, but cared in the aesthetic and in the taste.
When you have laid down straws or forks, head to the outside of Cascina Cuccagna to explore its surroundings. Every corner hides a surprise: from the florist with freshly cut sunflowers to the joinery where to admire and buy small wooden creations. Anywhere you turn, you will find something interesting: apples that actually taste like apples, colourful bouquet and even the melancholy of a bygone age.
Official website: www.cuccagna.org