Andrea Capaldi, Paolo Aniello - mare culturale urbano

Cascina Torrette di Trenno is a Seventeenth Century farmhouse immersed in the urban fabric of Milan, a historic building that, in spite of the city growing outside its brick walls, has maintained the original agricultural and rural identity. Today, this old farmhouse is home to a new reality but is still deeply linked to the territory and the shared labour values: the mare (the sea), a place that was not in Milan. Andrea and Paolo, along with Benedetto Sicca, are the founders of Mare Culturale Urbano (Urban Cultural Sea) and both come from the world of theatre. 

Andrea Capaldi, Paolo Aniello - mare culturale urbano
Andrea comes from Naples but he has always been tightly connected to Milan.
 
During each transition of my life, things in Milan have insanely fascinated me: the "long trams" at the age of four, the four-storey record shops when I was ten, the trendy nightlife at eighteen when I moved to study at the Bocconi University. Then at some point, I was captured by the theatre. My life changed after assisting a performance by Antonio Latella: I felt that what was taking place inside me at that time was what I wanted to give to people. I wanted this to be my job.
 
Years after that moment, during a residency at the Teatro Due in Parma with Balletto Civile, Andrea began to ponder on the idea of something that perhaps was still missing in Italy.
 
I wanted to create a place that was a “home” to the artists, where they could find a dynamic, lively, friendly and functional atmosphere: a place where artists and ordinary people could exchange and share. I spoke to Benedetto Sicca, a childhood friend and a reference point, and Michela Lucenti, artistic director of Balletto Civile. Thus, Michela put me in contact with Paolo Aniello. 
 
Paolo has worked in the theatre for twenty-five years, never on stage but always as a project manager and artistic curator and was director of the Teatro Stabile di Innovazione in Udine.
 
I met Andrea in 2013, on our first meeting we started to think about the idea to which new elements and considerations were added and that have led to the fundamental characteristics of the mare project over time: a multidisciplinary place where artists could share and where people could meet. Everything revolved around a question: What does "home" mean? Also, how do you build a “home” without the support of Rockefeller?
Ready, steady, go: there are two fundamental decisions that deeply characterise the sea in the years to come.
The first, courageous decision is to actualise the project based on one’s own strengths and skills, without waiting for the assistance of "mother Municipality" or "mother Region" or "mother State" but focusing exclusively on the our own resources.
 
We have chosen a difficult, windy road, and we have studied a lot continuing, even today, to throw our dreams into the project. It is also possible this way! What we have obtained is surely an original result made up of many parts interacting together. With a good integration between all the activities, we have had the confirmation that the resources to invest on what are non-profit initiatives emerge, as well as being possible to involve and provide jobs for many people.
 
Another key issue is the choice of Milan as the seat of the project: because it is a reactive, economically lively city; in recent years there have been many situations, a new generation of spaces related to culture like Base, Santeria, Elita...
 
If in the past, the old cultural institutions often lived in competitive environments, at this time we are living a situation in which we communicate a lot among one another, we try to network and collaborate in a concrete way with working meetings for new projects for the city.
 
Thus, the search began in Milan for a suitable place for the mare project: a "virgin place" in social and cultural terms, not in the centre of the city.
 
We discovered a new valorisation policy for the spaces initiated by the City. We visited the sheds and abandoned buildings made available and after seeing via Novara 75, we decided that it was the one! We participated in the call for bids and we won.
 
After finding the seat for the "house" in via Novara 75, the mare project met a new social housing reality recently born nearby and involved in the restructuring of Cascina Torrette di Trenno. The scope is to fill this historic building with cultural and social content. An intense period of work began, two years during which the farmhouse became the “urban cultural sea” spot to root the values of sharing and cultural and artistic innovation into the territory and neighbourhood that would later become the via Novara 75 “home” project.
 
We are carrying out a concrete and lasting project based greatly on human relations. Time was necessary to know one another but, when we opened the farmhouse for the first time, we were thrilled to see local residents explain our activities to the visitors as if they were speaking of their own home...  and such a result is achieved, not in three months, but after much more experience, never giving up a second, with marvellous obstinacy, a constant presence and an unrelenting building of trust.
 
People in Milano is the story of small and large urban cultural ferment realities through the direct experience of the individual players, people who are became part of this by transforming their experience into a small piece of human heritage shared by everyone. People in Milano is a project by Elce, Valentina Di Francesco and Stefano Frattini.
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