Metal Hammer / Feb 2005

With Lacuna Coil Through Milan

Enough of the cold Nordic rainy weather? METAL HAMMER recommends: Enjoy the sweet life in the sunny Milan instead! With the help of the well-informed guides of LACUNA COIL that shouldn’t be a problem: CRISTINA SCABBIA and ANDREA FERRO tell you exclusive, why, when and where a visit in their home town is worth.

Cristina in MilanA thoughtless tourist can get into the price-trap very fast: At the Malpensa Airport the friendly lady at the information offers a “cheap” taxi ride: 80 euros to the hotel. No thanks, better take the bus for 4,50 euros and from the central station the underground for 1,50 euros. How good that there are no more unclear million-amounts in Lira.
Milan shows it’s most beautiful side already in springtime: blue sky, sunshine. That makes you get into the mood to walk around. Our sightseeing-expert Cristina Scabbia is already waiting at the starting-spot, the Pirelli-skyscraper at the Via Vittori Pisani. In 2002 an airplane impacted in the highest building(127 metres) of the town, but now everything is repaired. The next stop is the Corso Buenos Aires, a shopping paradise: The prices are much cheaper than in the centre there. Boys, hold your girlfriends: there are many shoe- and clothing stores here. In the lingerie-shop “De Bernadi” Mrs. Scabbia would like to buy some unusual stockings, but the store is closed. Typical, cause in Milan the stores are open at many different times – even people who live here are unlucky sometimes.
But who would give up that fast: Cristina wouldn’t. She wants to go to the heart of the town: With the streetcar and a one-day-ticket for 4,50 euros, which you can buy at every newsstand, we go to the middle of the heart of the Italian fashion world: to the Via Montenapoleone. There’s one luxury-store next to another: Louis Vuitton, La Perla, Gucci or Sergio Rossi invite the rich to buy. But only who suffices the critical sight of the security gets in. Hollywood- and pop-stars for example, those like to buy a lot of stuff here. But which real cowl-wearer is interested in shoes, dresses and hand bags, especially when that nightmare becomes worse cause of the trend-color pink? No one. But Milan without fashion just doesn’t work. So enjoy it! Who has too much of money can get unbelievable sweet cakes in funny shapes at the confectioner’s Cova, and not far away the chancellor buys his Armani-suits. But not only the rich can enjoy being here: the narrow alleys with the high houses are absolutely remarkable. Also interesting: the bow of the Archi di Porta Nuova with built-in ancient tomb stones. Though the city has been bombed in the war, you can still find stuff of the Romans everywhere.
Sightseeing makes hungry: Just a block away the delicatessen “Armandola” in the Via della Spiga sells customary usual specialties, but Cristina just comments: “I like to buy in a supermarket out of the centre, everything is much cheaper there.” In this area there are many antique dealers, expensive restaurants and other noble stores. At the Piazza della Scala it’s getting musical the first time, though it doesn’t rock: here the opera-fans are happy, cause there’s the famous Teatro alla Scala: Rossini, Verdi and Puccini had their world premieres there and Enrico Caruso or Maria Callas rousted the audience. When will Cristina and Lacuna Coil finally get on the programme?
The way to the famous cathedral Santa Maria Nascente leads strait through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a shopping centre for owners of gold cards that has a impressive cupola. You just have to come to this place, cause there’s a mosaic with a bull. Mrs. Scabbia shows how to turn around on the genital of the bull to get luck and a save way home. Sometimes tourists stand in line in front of that poor thing.
At the cathedral there’s just a scaffold to see – the monument is just getting restored. Cause of that not very impressing from the outside, but the view is spectacular: For a few euros you can go up the 500 stairs – posers can also use the expensive elevator. You need to do this, the view from the top worth it. The third-biggest cathedral in the world has more than 2300 statues and tons of marble(that doesn’t burn, dear black-metalers…). Back to the ground we go deeper into the underground. The record store “Mariposa” has nice prices and a good metal choice. After that we eat a tasty “Mini-Calzone”. at “Panzerotti Luini” in the Via S. Radegonda. “Those who stay away from school meet here”, tells us Cristina. After eating we go on through the Via Torino(along more dangerous shoe stores with cheap prices) to the Via de Amicis. The are 16 roman pillars in front of the church San Lorenzo Maggiore. On the other side there’s the best address for the black metallers: “Sound Cave”. There’s everything the black heart wants. Only a few houses away Cristina’s brother Alberto sells everything for hip-hoppers: “bling-bling”, clothes… in his store “Wag”. On the walls of the store are tags of famous spray-artists from Europe and other places.
Last stop of the walk around: a visit at in the Castello Sforzesco. The former fortress has several museums with collections of ancient art, for example Ägyptiaca, sculptures and much more. There’s so much to see that you need a whole day to look at it all. Next to the museum, in the Parco Sempiono you can have a little break, but we don’t have time for that cause we’re going to the apartment of the bassist Marco Zelati. A short break at the famous stadium “San Siro”, where Cristina presents the colors of her favourite soccer club AC Milan. After that Marco shows us new acoustic versions of ‘Swamped’, ‘Senzafine’ and ‘Heaven’s a lie’ in his home-studio. Very good stuff, like some demo songs of the new album which seems to be very good. We look at the hot ‘swamped’-video and go to Cristina’s favourite restaurant “Oasi Rosa” to have a typical Italian menu with Antipasti, fish and meat, and a sweet dessert. While we drink lots of wine, vocalist Andrea, who is also with us, agrees to take us on another walk around the next day – thought the band has to do a lot of preparation for the 4 month-US-tour with POD and the Ozzfest.
The next morning Andrea starts the METAL HAMMER-tour with a walk around the district Brera. An important tip of the insider: “Nobody should come to Milan in August, it’s getting very hot and all the stores are closed in the holiday-time. The best time for a visit would be the colder months May, June and September. In winter it always rains.” And Milan is very crowded when the famous car-saloon or the fashion weeks are.
We’re going to the “Pinacoteca di Brera”, an art-school and museum. The district got it’s reputation to be an artist-space cause of it’s little alleys where fortune-tellers offer their services in the evening. After a short walk around we go to the south to the last two canals which flowed through the whole city in former times. Along the Naviglio Grande at the Ripa di Porta Ticinese there are many galleries, antique dealers and book stores. The “Discomane” has old and new records, and in the evening the metal-pub “Wizard” opens it’s doors. At the end of the canal you can visit the second hand –market “Fiera di Senigallia” that many people from the local metal- and gothic-scene like, every Saturday. They offer records, jewelry, clothes, typical Italian t-shirts and bootleg cds. Who doesn’t want to wait until Saturday can also buy his rocker-stuff at the “Crabby Kids” at the Ciso di Porta Ticinese. If you want to eat a little snack you can visit one of the bars, which are like a mix of a café and a snack bar. By day older people meet there to play cards and have a Campari or Prosecco, while younger people come when it’s getting dark. Who needs cooling should have a real Italian ice cream that tastes very good here. For the bigger hunger there are many restaurants all over the town, so you can ignore big American fast food-places: for about 15 euros, including the drink, you can get everything you like.
In the evening metalers can visit the “Midnight Pub” at the Via Altaguardia. Other pubs, like the “Rainbow Club” or the Transilvania Live” are now only open at the weekend. This changes sometimes, so you should call if you want to visit one of these clubs. “We grew up here in the “Midnight Pub” Andrea remembers. “Cristina worked here and later Marco did. I was the DJ, and we often come here as guests.” The Pub has different kinds of music every day, Dark Wave and Gothic (Monday), Power Metal (Wednesday), Rock and metal at the weekend. The prices are ok, general you get half a litre beer for about 5 euros in Milan. But the insiders know how to save money: “After a funny evening we mostly go to one of our apartments and cook Pasta”, the vocalist explains the local usage. Who doesn’t know somebody who lives here (or didn’t meet one) can also get sandwiches in a bar or stop at one of the snack-vehicles that are driving around til 6 am, because nobody goes to bed before the sun rises.

Even though Milan is no European metal-capital, it offers a lot for the fans: if you’re on a short trip or a longer vacation, Milano has enough clubs, museums, and sights to entertain a visitor for days. With a one day ticket of the public transport you can get to all the places easily and cheap. Good food, the nice flair and climate in springtime and fall make you want to spend your holiday here.