What every Erasmus student in Milan should know

“There are cities of evident beauty that give themselves to everyone, and other secret cities that love to be discovered. Milan belongs to this species … ”

Thus spoke the Milanese poet Carlo Castellaneta of his beloved city. One can only agree with him. Milan is fascinating and seductive, but it can also be very mysterious and discreet in all its romantic facets. Here you have a couple of stories about the Milanese universities.


# 1 Cattolica: the base of the Milanese Resistance

During the Second World War, the University hosted the Volunteer Corps of Freedom. It was a partisan coordination structure and a clandestine expatriation center of the Capuchin Father Carlo da Milano. Its scope was to convey persecuted politicians or war prisoners across the Alps.

Ezio Franchescini and Concetto Marchesi were both professors at the University. They founded the Frama Group, a name born from the union of the first letters of the two surnames. Due to the numerous German searches, Marchesi was forced to burn the secret documents in advance. But Franceschini collected everything and buried it in a metal box under the of skeletons of the eighteenth-century plague victims. Only Marisa Scolari, secretary of the founder of Cattolica, Father Agostino Gemelli, attended the burial to witness its location.

What happened to the box? Unearthed only at the end of the war, it perfectly preserves its content. Later it will be published, thus becoming material of historical importance.

#2 Bocconi: a war and a President of the Republic in its history

1896. Battle of Adua. In one of the greatest defeats of the Royal Army of Italy, there are more than 6,000 Italian victims. Among these Luigi Bocconi. His father Ferdinando will name the University in memory of his name. The aim is to create a Higher School of Commerce to be placed side by side with the Politecnico di Milano. This is to “provide engineers with a solid commercial base and socially promote accountants through a university degree. ”

But that is not all. Respectively Director and President of Bocconi, Luigi Einaudi will be elected first Head of State, while Giovanni Spadolini President of the Council of Ministers. Who knows that Bocconi will not bring the same luck to students as well. Perhaps this is why the legend says that the three buildings in the Via Röntgen headquarters have a particular structure forming the wording “30L”. It means “30 cum laude”. 

#3 Conservatory: to make music you have to read

In which city is the largest Italian library for historical and scientific research in the music field located? In Milan, of course. Its the Library of the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory, founded in 1808. It has about 30,000 volumes of a musical nature, 50,000 manuscripts and about 400 titles of musical periodicals.

In 2007 the Digital Library of the Milan Conservatory was also born to preserve the rich cultural heritage it possess in computerized form. Good luck to those who have to scan all that material …

#4 State University: from infants to college students

Luigi Mangiagalli had it all. Obstetrician, academic, senator of the Kingdom of Italy. Then mayor of Milan, philanthropist, rector of the State University. He was the promoter of UniMi, a project he had been working on for some time. He will assume the highest position in it.
Thanks to his work in the medical and university fields, the Polyclinic in Via della Commenda will be named after him. And also a street, now home to the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of his State University. Nice to think that this way he can always be next to his students.

#5 IED: Fresh air from the former slaughterhouse

The very latest news regarding the IED? It’s about their project for the new international campus of 30,000 square meters. In the northern area of ​​the former Porta Vittoria slaughterhouse, this project is now approved. It will host 4,500 students and a 400-seat student residence. All this is part of the redevelopment plan of the disused area. It will host the new Aria district, characterized by sustainability, social housing and numerous green spaces.

#6 Politecnico: the speed records of drones and autonomous driving

World record for the boys of the PoliMOVE Team, a team of self-driving cars. Coming to beat their own record achieved in 2021, they were able to whiz the racing car at about 280 km / h. This is the top speed never reached before by a vehicle of the category within an oval circuit. But it doesn’t end here.

In fact, the checkered flag for the PoliMi is waving in the first and second edition of the “Leonardo Drone Contest”, held respectively in 2020 and 2021 and aimed at the development of AI in unmanned systems.
Let’s hope we never have to be chased by engineers from the Milanese University …

#7 Each university has its own curiosities and superstitions

Whether the Milanese are superstitious or not, certainly his university students are. At Cattolica it is “forbidden” to cross courtyards with a straight line or to pass through the stairway with columns on the sides. In the same way at Bocconi there is the saying “whoever passes among the lions, does not graduate from Bocconi”. The rhyme is missing, but the reference is to the feline statues placed at the entrance of the historic site.

At the State University, accessing the courtyard of Filarete changes according to different superstitions. For some it is “forbidden” to go through the central door, whereas for others through the lateral ones. Any advice not to make mistakes? Do not pass through the courtyard of Filarete, just change your way.

However, students from other universities do not feel safe. Never access the Terrace of the Duomo, or you will fail in obtaining the degree. Certainly, there will be another opportunities to take selfies with a beautiful view.


Original article by CARLO VITTORIO MATRONE