Lambrate and Ortica still have wide green areas today because of their proximity to the Lambro river and the existence of farmsteads, mills and cultivated fields.
The area’s green heart is definitely Lambro Park, named after the river that flows through it. Opened in 1936 and based on a design by architect Enrico Casiraghi, Lambro Park is one of the largest green areas in Milan. Its 773,000 square metres abound with numerous plant species, historic farmhouses and tree-lined avenues.
The design of the park, inspired by the Lombardy landscape, features flat and hilly areas, irrigation ditches and woods. Unfortunately, few traces of the original layout are visible now, because much of the original vegetation was used as firewood during the dark years of World War II, and postwar replanting adopted other criteria.
The park features children’s areas, football pitches and various sports areas. One of them has become quite famous: the 400-square metre concrete skateboard track built in 2002.
The skatepark, featuring “hips”, i.e. islets with different heights, is a magnet for large numbers of both experienced and novice skaters.
The San Faustino Shared Garden lies midway between Lambrate and Ortica.
The land, owned by the State University of Milan, was loaned to the municipality of Milan in 2016. Several portions of it were then assigned to Milanese non-profit organisations, including the social cooperatives Cascina Biblioteca, Il Melograno Onlus and the cultural association Il Mondo Creativo.
Each organisation undertakes to look after its part of the garden and, above all, to carry out projects that originate within the garden, thus making it a place of care and education where people come together.
One of many noteworthy projects developed in the Garden is the Green Age – Green Space for Active Living. It was launched by the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of the University of Milan, which designed and built a “restorative garden” and then studied its effects on the residents of the “RSA Anni Azzurri” retirement homes sited next to the shared garden.
Another recently developed green area with great potential is the Lambretta Park (formerly Parco dell’Acqua or Maserati Park).
It is found in the area of Lambrate now known as Rubattino, on the eastern fringes of Milan.
The Lambretta Park includes Piazza Vigili del Fuoco, with its fountain designed by architect Caccia Dominioni, and the “avenue of plane trees” that runs between the new residential blocks, eventually passing under the Tangenziale Est (Eastern ring road).
The Lambretta Park’s current 110,000 square metres are continuously being upgraded with the installation of playgrounds, cycle paths and sports fields.
In earlier times, the easternmost edge of the park included part of the Innocenti-Maserati industrial plant. It is now bisected by the Tangenziale ring road.
The markedly suburban landscape of this area has been transformed by Andreas Kipar and Giovanni Sala’s installation of a stretch of water between the highway support pillars.
The stimulating, provocative work of street artists like Pao and Irwin have changed the public perception of this location, making it attractive for events and even fashion shows.