As a perfect stranger in Milan, I often google a word Milan. Just to see if I maybe missed something in the city that never stops. So once I came across a Milan out of the norm, different from the “usual”. A contrary version of Milan.

What differentiates this Milan from the “normal” one?

Milan is a city with so many souls, yet until a few years ago people would refer to it using the same attitude – it’s the winning city, trendy, a bit too serious. I started writing about this city in a different way. I started searching for a Milan that would be taken a bit less seriously, a sentimental one, ironic, funny and imperfect. And I found a Milan that is a bit more empathetic.

Where did this idea come from?

The idea was born six years ago. I’ve lived in Milan for 15 years and although I felt good here I wasn’t able to find a real bond. It’s a story with a happy ending, because it’s not just that I succeeded in finding the bond, but along the line I also discovered an even better city that I was hoping to find.

What was the normal Milan lacking, so that you felt the need to create all of that backwards?

Over the years the story of Milan became sort of plural. I also believe it was not only about my need to shed light on all these different aspects. In the end, the Milanese also started loving it more.

What are the events in reverse?

One of the first ‘’contrary’’ events that I organized was “Onalim meets Milan’s bloggers.” I organized a few meetings on Open library, where I invited the bloggers with a different point of view from mine. What I always tried to show is that no matter how much different are all these many souls of Milan, they can have a dialogue with one another. I invited Il milanese imbruttito, I hate Milan, Squadrati and Noura Tafeche. Then there is the Tombola Onalim, a tombola which instead of numbers has places and typical things of the city. I do it by myself every year, because in Milan “typical things” change every year. And even a literary contest called “The lost piano” was born out of a true story. I once read that in the office of Milan’s lost items a piano was found once, and so I asked the Milanese to imagine a story this piano had. Many stories arrived in a week, many of them were so beautiful. The winning story was read during The Piano City manifestation.

If you asked yourself with whom I am talking to, here she is: Isabella Musacchia.

Who are the people who work for this project?

On the blog, mainly me. Every so often my friend Karmen writes the recipes, although the recipes are an excuse to tell the stories of different families and friendships. Also, before the summer I launched the initiative “Tell me about your neighborhood” and asked the Milanese to narrate a story about the area where they live; I myself published a lot of stories so far. But Onalim a year is also a cultural association that I created with Dario Castagnetti and Simone Abbottoni.

What’s the thing you accomplished so far that gave you the most satisfaction?

There is one thing in particular, perhaps the fact that after five years we’re still here, more enthusiastic than ever.

What are your goals for 2017?

A few days ago Palermo on the contrary was born. We are a group of Palermo guys, and almost all of us live in Palermo. With contrary Palermo we want to narrate a story about the city in a new way. We speak to the people of Palermo in order to encourage a change that has already taken place, but also to those who don’t live in Palermo but have an idea of the city that doesn’t do the city a justice. I would like to make Milan and Palermo communicate in a new way. That’s what I’d like to happen in 2017.

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