Maggiolina, then and now: a history of this district of Milan


To explore what remains in the neighbourhood and what has disappeared, we must begin with the Cascina Maggiolina farmstead, which once stood on the Seveso river and was demolished in 1920. It is from this building that the area probably takes its name.

The transformation of Villa Mirabello


We continue with Villa Mirabello, a historic fifteenth-century farmstead that belonged to illustrious families of the times, with ties to the Sforza.

It later housed a centre offering employment and support to individuals blinded at war and a location for professional and creative study, but always maintaining its marvellous internal courtyard and gardens.



Milan’s igloo and mushroom-shaped houses to combat the post-war housing emergency


Finally, we arrive at the post-war housing projects. Maggiolina has always had an air of experimentation.

After the Second World War, other Milanese neighbourhoods responded to the housing emergency—with many families displaced by bombing campaigns—by building the noted “case minime”. These single-family two-storey terraces were designed by the Municipal Technical Office and architect Arrigo Arrighetti. The “case minime” solution featured a living area on the ground floor, with entrance, a small kitchen, bathroom, living room and rear garden, along with two bedrooms on the first floor.

Maggiolina, on the other hand, took a more imaginative approach. Here, solutions to the housing crisis of the ‘50s had a fairytale and sometimes almost dreamlike quality: one solution was the igloo houses, some of which still remain, while another involved mushroom-shaped houses, unfortunately demolished in the ‘60s.

What were these mushroom houses like? The “stem” formed by the ground floor was narrower, while the first-floor “cap” was slightly wider. It seems that engineer Mario Cavallè drew inspiration from Amanita Muscaria, one of the most eye-catching psychoactive woodland species.


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