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Today's postcard
In audio
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Julian Keane reports from Milan
"Berlusconi-owned channels dominate the small screen"
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Tuesday, 8 May, 2001, 05:19 GMT 06:19 UK
Postcard from Milan
Milan 8 May South Tyrol 7 May Rome 11 May Rome 12 May Rome 14 May Messina 9 May Palermo 10 May

8 May

Walk in the centre of Milan, and you're left in no doubt that this is the prosperous north. Temptation on every street corner. Designer clothes, fine art... a shopaholic's paradise.

The duomo:Tourist magnet
The duomo:Tourist magnet
And when your credit card begs "Please, no more!", there's enough to satisfy even the most voracious of culture vultures.

Most would agree that one of the jewels in Milan's crown is the Duomo. Steeped in history, a real magnet for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who flock to the city, year in, year out, good weather or bad.

As is fitting for a monument that's the centre of so much attraction, the Duomo is right at the heart of the city centre. And yet, just a tramway ride away and within site of the suburbs, you'll find another monument to Milan's glory.

Off the beaten track perhaps for the foreign tourists, but still managing to match the Duomo's pulling power, is the San Siro - not just a football stadium but an emblem of city rivalry, of a city torn in two between the blue and black of Inter and the red and black of AC. In Milan, you're either one or the other - there is no other choice.

A few tifosi are gathered in front of the San Siro's main entrance. As the country prepares to decide its future political path, these AC Milan supporters also wonder what that future will be made of, hoping perhaps that a Berlusconi victory will be a sign of better things to come. Not in the economy, but on the football field.

The Forza Italia leader owns the club. As he scaled the heights of business and politics, so AC Milan conquered Italy and Europe.

But Milan's fortunes have dipped of late. The tifosi complain: Silvio's turned his back on us, now that we're struggling, he doesn't want to know! But it doesn't matter, they say - politicians, even when they're club presidents, come and go; win or lose, we'll always be here.

It took a good few hundred years to build the Duomo, a fraction of that time to raise the San Siro. Both now stand together as symbols of Milan's history, past, present and future.

You can listen to Julian Keane's reports from Italy every day on the BBC World Service's news and current affairs programme, The World Today - the European edition runs from 0400 to 0600 GMT.

Click here for The World Today webpage.

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02 Feb 01 | Europe
Timeline: Italy
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