There is a beautiful, peaceful place in Milan that combines conviviality with tranquillity, nature with work and restoration with contemporary needs: Cascina Cuccagna brings the country to Italy’s industrial capital.
Cascina Cuccagna, a farmhouse that catches you by surprise –it’s in the centre of Milan just as you walk down to Porta Romana. You wouldn’t think there could be a whole space there that shelters green areas, upholds the belief in local ingredients, and improves the quality of life in the city. Cascina Cuccagna, the most central of the 60 Cascinas of Milan, does all this. A ‘Cascina’ is the traditional Italian communal farmhouse, where families would work, live and eat together, usually constructed of living quarters surrounding a courtyard, ‘Cuccagna’ means roughly ‘treats’ or ‘goodies’.
This is the basis of what we find in Porta Romana, indeed you could just as easily call it Project Cuccagna because it’s a work in progress. Like most dreams and ambitious projects, it needs money, to improve service, to preserve the area but also to make practical use of the 66 rooms in a total of 2000 square metres and a green area of 1500 square metres.
The Cascina is held under the regional board of the ministry of cultural heritage and environmental conservation and its origin traces back to 1695. Back then it was inhabited by Fatebenefratelli Priests that would cultivate medicinal herbs. The name ‘Cuccagna’ came from a nearby farmhouse that has since been demolished. By 1980 what is today Cascina Cuccagna was owned by the State which declared it unfit for use.
It was only later, thanks to various unions and clubs that a project of restoration was carried out. The work is on-going today, to provide a multifunctional, collective space for the urban community. The restoration is of respectful of the building’s history, but includes also the implementation of new technology that can be framed within sustainability.
Cascina Cuccagna wants to become a meeting point between generations and cultures so to create a landmark to which citizens can refer to whenever they need space and quality time. While being this, it brings value to the countryside jobs and products (like local ingredients), educating the urban society to them through three main areas: Environment and food science, Culture and Territory, Cohesion and Integration.
An on-going laboratory of ideas, so far Cascina Cuccagna has achieved many things:
Ciclofficina – a workshop teaching bicycle repair, an open space that lives thanks to the work of volunteers.
Giardino – a vegetable garden and protects the old and often forgotten varieties.
Campagna Amica – a store that sells only local produce, chosen because of their low impact on the environment, with “transparent” prices.
Un Posto a Milano, Cucina e Bar in Cascina Cuccagna – a restaurant that serves only recipes made with the best seasonal products. Bread, pasta and desserts are all handmade, flours and oils are organic and most of the dishes are vegetarian and gluten-free.
via Cuccagna 2/4, ang. via Muratori
Tel. 0039 0254118733