Flavours of the Mediterranean and history
Francesco + Valerio Sità
DESIGN TALE STUDIO
There aren’t many places like this, just ten metres from the park of Castello Sforzesco and twenty from the Arco della Pace. We are in one of the most significant and enjoyable areas of Milan, which for the last twenty years has been the scene for a cultivated nightlife, capable of enjoying an aperitif or dinner in the open air.
The Persè is a small restaurant with a single, welcoming room serving just thirty covers with all the attention the client deserves. In the summer, ten other covers are served outdoors, facing onto a street without traffic and the park.
While you wait for your first course to arrive, you can admire the tall trees and the marble of the Arco della Pace, and run over its history, and its ironies, in your mind.
The project, originally by Luigi Cagnola, dates back to 1806 and provided for the construction of a triumphal arch in stone and marble to welcome Napoleon into the city with all the honours due his rank. But Bonaparte’s triumph didn’t last long, and the fall of the Realm of Italy interrupted work on the Arch, which was resumed – first of its ironies – by the very enemy over which the Emperor was supposed to have triumphed. In 1826 the work was resumed by the Florentine Emperor Francesco D’Asburgo-Lorena, the first double emperor in world history (he was both Francesco II, Emperor of the Romans, and Francesco I, Emperor of Austria), who dedicated it to the European peace of 1815. The Arco della Pace was finally inaugurated in 1838 by his son Ferdinando I and, contrary to what Hemingway declared in A Moveable Feast, not only is not aligned with the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but – history’s second little joke – the horses pulling the carriage of peace were modified by the Habsburgs to make sport of the French by turning them round 180 degrees so that their rears faced France. The third irony of history emerged just 21 years later when Napoleon III and Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy, having defeated the Austrians, made their triumphant entrance into Milan – under the Arco!
Well, let’s leave history to history – dinner is now served with all the skill and attention to detail the two young people who run the place can give it: Valerio Sità, 27 years old, who worked as sommelier at Sadler for 3 years, is head waiter, while Marco Badalucci, from Procida, 38 years old, is the chef, having previously worked three years under Alaimo at the Calandre, Padua and as chef at the Cristallo Hotel Spa & Golf, Cortina. The menu, which changes every 45 days, reinterprets the flavours of the Mediterranean in a modern key. The dishes include fresh pasta tortelli filled with potatoes, herrings on a broccoli cream, pastry of bass and foie gras, fried provoletta with puntarelle, paccheri filled with ragù and balsamella, asparagus and liquorice risotto, squid on a bed of mashed chickpeas with turnip tops and cream of coffee, hazelnut cream pastries, and figs fried with rosemary.
The dimmable lights, candles on the tables and graphic flooring from the Frame collection (designed for DesignTaleStudio by Studio FM and selected for ADI Design Index 2013 and selected by the owners in colours running from white to cream, hazelnut, dove grey and grey), make for a warm welcoming atmosphere – some say it reminds them of a New York bar. Compared with the Arco, it’s quite another story!
DesignTaleStudio, Frame Carpet
Carpet (white, brown, taupe, gray)
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,2%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): PEI V
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥35 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant