Monumento a Sandro Pertini

Author: Aldo Rossi, with Morris Adjmi and Francesco Saverio Fera
Title: Monument to Sandro Pertini
Date: 1988-1990
Location: piazza Croce Rossa, Milan

Above: Aldo Rossi, with Morris Adjimi and Francesco Saverio Fera, Monument to Sandro Pertini, 1988 – 1990, piazza Croce Rossa, Milan, photo by Marco Introini, © Eredi Aldo Rossi, courtesy Fondazione Aldo Rossi.

A cube/staircase of eight meters on each side, covered with marble modules measuring 50 x 25 x 25 cm, houses a staircase culminating in a belvedere. On the back, a triangular opening marked by a thick bronze frame let the water flow into a basin situated below. To complete the arrangement of the square, designed by Rossi himself, two marble plaques flush with the floor bear the inscription: METROPOLITANA MILANESE / ALLA CITTÀ MCMXC.

The fountain-monument to Sandro Pertini, President of the Republic from 1978 to 1985, is located between via Manzoni and via dei Giardini, in front of via Montenapoleone. Commissioned by the Municipality of Milan and built by Metropolitana Milanese (Milanese Underground) on direct assignment to Aldo Rossi, it was inaugurated on May 1st 1990, with a commemoration by the President Francesco Cossiga. As often happens, the initial reactions of part of the public opinion were heated and sometimes negative. Despite this, the center of Milan boasts today a landmark by one of the most influential Italian architects of the second half of the twentieth century, Pritzker Laureate in 1990 and internationally known.

The work has also acquired, as was the designer’s intention, a function of meeting point, beyond its nature as a memorial. The cube-shape design is a reference to the unrealized project for a Monument to the Resistance, conceived by Rossi in 1962 in Cuneo, but what was then a closed and hermetic shrine, in piazzetta Croce Rossa opens up to citizenship and its flow, more or less quiet or lively. One can stop to sit on the steps to read a book, to eat something, to capture one’s own image against the beautiful marble background, posting it to social networks or sending it to friends. The blocks in Candoglia marble are clearly linked to the history of the city, as a clear reference to the marble used for the Milan Cathedral.