An amazing “ROMEO and JULIET” at Piccolo Teatro Strehler, Milan

By Cesare Zucca
Stage photos by Masiar Pasquali

What if Romeo and Juliet were two teenagers of today?
There are over forty film versions of Romeo and Juliet, with the first in 1900.
The 1936 version was one of Hollywood’s most important classics. Irving Thalberg spared no expense, and cast his wife, Norma Shearer, in the lead role. The film West Side Story, inspired by Romeo and Juliet with music by Leonard Bernstein, won 10 Oscars.
In 1968 Franco Zeffirelli directed the film which won two Oscars.
Abel Ferrara made his film “China Girl” stages the Shakespeare’s tragedy. in New York, making a noir reinterpretation of the story, played by an Italian pizza chef and the sister of a Chinese mafia boss.
The 1996 film Romeo + Juliet by William Shakespeare, directed by Baz Luhrmann, gave a turnaround. Despite the contemporary setting (it takes place in Verona Beach, between gangsters and neon lights, starring  Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.

The greatest love story ever told needed an exceptional narrator and it found him in one of the greatest, creative and innovative Italian directors and screenwriters: Mario Martone to whom we owe  the direction of “Qui rido io”, “Nostalgia”, “The mayor of the Sanità district”, “Il Giovane Favoloso” , “Capri-Revolution” “We believed” “Death of a Neapolitan mathematician”
His movies have been awarded with the most prstigious prices, such as Nastro d’Argento , Venice  Film Festival Coppa Volpi, and the David of Donatello (the Italian Oscar
) as well as his memorable “cinematic” directions of major operas including “La Traviata”, “La Boheme”, “The Barber of Seville”

The spectacular staging of “La Traviata”

Martone, is one without a doubt, one of the greatest and most innovative Italian minds, both in ciinema, theater and opera, never afraid of challenging classics masterpieces.
For his first time directing a play at the Piccolo Teatro Strehler in Milano , Martone

At the heart of the text is love, as sudden and intense as it can be between two adolescents, and rendered even stronger by adversity, with a driving urge to cancel any obstacle that stands in its way. It is a fable, with all the trimmings – magic potions, the trials of the two lovers, exile, the main character’s allies and enemies, the arranged marriage, duels but without the happy ending.
More than four centuries later, the themes of the work are significantly central to our daily lives: “We present a world ruled by senseless conflict, in which the very meaning of existence appears to lie in conflict – explains Martone -. A plague that renders the delivery of a letter impossible, while people continue to party. An innocent and rebellious love that suddenly emerges to escape all of this. A love illuminated exclusively by the light of the moon and of the dawn, with only the birds to witness it. Nature, ever present, awaiting a change that will never come”.
For his version of this extremely popular work that has been revisited for the theatre, cinema, opera and ballet, Martone has chosen a company of young actors accompanied by a number of theatrical professionals.


It’s  a contemporary story  of  a sudden love,, a story of two teenagers, made even stronger by adversity, eager only to break down any obstacle to its own realisation..
The scenography  is a sort of tree that crosses the stage and on which the actors move, suspended as if on the branches of a forest, while the ground takes us to an urban suburb, perfect scenario for the fightings between metropolitan gangs.






The encounter of two worlds and two generations
The underground one of a suburb frequented by hooligans and bitter enemy gangs ready to sneer in the duel while on the raised floor, well defended by the mighty branches of a gigantic tree, there is a world populated by rich families, parties, music and smiles.
It is strange to see how finally the world above reaches the world below; just the corpse of Juliet that flies from the upper world to the one below underlining a fall of her towards a hell where she, instead of finding peace and reuniting with her beloved Romeo, she will instead find tragedy
I would like to anticipate a particularly unexpected moment during the preparations for the presumed wedding between Juliet and Paris of the presumed wedding where the band with a pure Roman accent discusses the pay and, encouraged tio play the popular cheesy  song “Felicità” (happiness).
The cast
30 actors from different generations: two very young protagonists: Francesco Gheghi as Romeo and Anita Serafini as Juliet, Alessandro Bay Rossi, as a great Mercuzio, the flamboyant Licia Lanera as Juliet’s aunt (Licia Lanera). the icy mother Capuleti Lucrezia Guidone, (Gabriele Benedetti), a clumsy Padre Lorenzo, and a remarkable  Father Capuleti (Michele Di Mauro) as Capuleti Father

And this alternation of dramatic moments to lines deliberately light and provocative jokes, First of all those of Juliet’s longtime baby sitter who in Martone’s version has become the Aunt Angelica

Founded on 14 May 1947 by Giorgio Strehler, Paolo Grassi and Nina Vinchi, the Piccolo Teatro di Milano was the first public Italian repertory theatre to be established and is the most important both in Italy and abroad.
The Piccolo manages three auditoriums: the original location renamed Piccolo Teatro Grassi, the Teatro Studio experimental space that also houses the School of Theatre and finally the main theatre with 968 seats, which was inaugurated in 1998 and which bears the name of Piccolo Teatro Strehler. In more than seventy years of activity, the Piccolo has produced approximately 400 shows, half of which were directed by the great Director Giorgio Strehler,

Today’s Romeo and Julie: Anita and Francesco

How to describe this extraordinary play?
A senseless hatred, a young and rebellious love witnessed only by nature, an epidemic that follows unclear rules; this reading by Mario Martone highlights a number of surprising points of contact between Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and our present.

The Cast

Last night was the last performance at Piccolo of Martonei’s Romeo and Juliet and I really hope that this excellent piece of art would return not only to the Piccolo’s stage but would travel to enchant many other Italian and foreign theatres,
Want to know the reason?
Because is a story that speaks to everybody, excites,
amaze and conquers from the moment of the first lovers encounter, to the hidden marriage to the tragic end.
And above all that, it still makes us dream

Mario Martone tra i suoi giovani attori Francesco Gheghi (Romeo) e Anita Serafini (Giuietta)

Piccolo Teatro Strehler

CESARE ZUCCA Travel, food & lifestyle.
Milanese by birth, Cesare lives between New York, Milan and the rest of the world where he photographs and writes about cities, cultures,, entertainment. He likes to discover both traditional and innovative gastronomic delights among meeting and interviewing top chefs from all over the world, ‘steals’ their recipes in a ”
non touristy tourist ” style 




Bosch’s dreams, visions, creatures at Palazzo Reale, Milan

(english version followed by italian version)
Bosch’s dreams, visions, creatures at Palazzo Reale, Milan  

Jheronimus Bosch (1453 -1516)
His worldwide known language, made of dreamlike visions and peculiar worlds, fires, monstrous creatures, and fantastic figures., images of nocturnal fires and scenes of witchcraft, Magic and dreaming, with their unpredictable nature,  The so-called ‘world of grotesques’ is the other side of the same coin when speaking of the fantastic in Bosch. establishing interest in “monstrosities” and the “grotesque”, At that time, however, Renaissance classicism dominated in Italy. But it is precisely here that the fantastic and dreamlike language of Bosch and his followers, the protagonists of “another Renaissance”
The exhibition itinerary encompasses a hundred works of art including
Bosch’s most challenging masterpieces:The Garden of Delights, featured in the exhibition in the dual version of a coeval painting and a tapestry, You will discover celebrated masterpieces traditionally attributed to the Master, and works i by other Flemish, Italian, and Spanish masters, inspired by the Master’s subjects, which had never before been displayed together in a single exhibition

The Garden of Delights

The visitor is taken to  “other” Renaissance,where Bosch influenced great artists such as Titian, Raphael, El Greco and many others, such as  Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Bosch’s most important follower) who stands out and is featured in the exhibition with a dozen engravings inspired by his compositions
such as  Marcantonio Raimondi’s or Agostino Veneziano’s Stregozzo, Albrecht Dürer ‘s Sea, Monster, Aldo Manuzio’s literary-editorial masterpiece, Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, and, finally, the Allegory of human lifeby Giorgio Ghisi.


You will find  paintings, sculptures, tapestries, engravings, bronzes, and ancient volumes, including some 30 rare, bizarre, and precious objects from wunderkammerns.


Another important loan, the result of an exchange with the city of Bruges, is the Master’s monumental work from the Groeningemuseum in Bruges, the Triptych of the Last Judgment,
The itinerary ends with anaudio-visualwork,Tríptiko. A vision inspired by Hieronymus Bosch, a journey through the Flemish painter’s dream world, n immersive, evocative, and bewitching narrative.

The exhibition “Bosch and Another Renaissance”  is the amazing result of a five-year research and it is promoted by the Municipality of Milan – Culture, Palazzo Reale and Castello Sforzesco,
Palazzo Reale, Milan, till March 12th, 2023,






Cesare Zucca
Milanese by birth, lives between New York, Milan and the rest of the world. Cesare photographs and writes about cities, cultures, lifestyles and either traditional or innovative gastronomic delights. Cesare meets and interview top chefs from all over the world, ‘steals’ their recipes in a ” non touristy tourist ” style.

Italian version

I sogni, le visioni, le creature di Bosch a Palazzo Reale, Milano

Jheronimus Bosch (1453 -1516),
Il suo linguaggio conosciuto in tutto il mondo, fatto di magia e sogno, visioni oniriche e mondi peculiari, fuochi notturni, creature mostruose, igure fantastiche e scene di stregoneria dalla natura imprevedibile, in un ammaliante incantesimo “mostruoso” e i“grottesco”,

A quel tempo, tuttavia, il classicismo rinascimentale dominava in Italia. Ma è proprio qui che il linguaggio fantastico e onirico di Bosch e dei suoi seguaci, protagonisti di “un altro Rinascimento” trova spazio e incanta.

Il percorso espositivo comprende un centinaio di opere d’arte tra cui i capolavori più impegnativi di Bosch: Il giardino delle delizie ,presentato in mostra nella doppia versione di un dipinto coevo e di un arazzo

The Garden of Delights

. Scoprirete celebri capolavori tradizionalmente attribuiti a Bosch oltre a opere di altri maestri fiamminghi, italiani e spagnoli, ispirati ai soggetti del Maestro, che non erano mai stati esposti insieme in un’unica mostra.


Tra dipinti, sculture, arazzi, incisioni, bronzi e volumi antichi, tra cui circa 30 oggetti rari, bizzarri e preziosi delle <em>wunderkammern,</em> il visitatore viene trasportato in un “altro” Rinascimento dove Bosch influenzò grandi artisti come Tiziano, Raffaello, El Greco, Pieter Bruegel il Vecchio (il più importante seguace di Bosch) che spicca ed è presente in mostra con un decine di incisioni ispirate alle sue composizioni.

Lo Stregozzo di Marcantonio Raimondi, Il Mostro marino di Albrecht Dürer, il capolavoro letterario-editoriale di Aldo Manuzio, l’Hypnerotomachia Poliphili di Francesco Colonna e, infine, l’Allegoria della vita umana di Giorgio Ghisi.

Altro importante prestito, frutto di uno scambio con la città di Bruges, è l’opera monumentale del Maestro proveniente dal Groeningemuseum di Bruges, il Trittico del Giudizio Universale

Il percorso si conclude con un’opera audiovisiva, Tríptiko. Una visione ispirata a Hieronymus Bosch, un viaggio nel mondo onirico del pittore fiammingo, una narrazione coinvolgente, evocativa e ammaliante.

La mostra Bosch e un altro Rinascimento è il sorprendente risultato di una ricerca durata cinque anni ed è promossa dal Comune di Milano – Cultura, Palazzo Reale e Castello Sforzesco,


Palazzo Reale, Milano, fino al 12 marzo 2023,

CESARE ZUCCA Travel, food & lifestyle.
Milanese di nascita, vive tra New York, Milano e il resto del mondo.  Cesare fotografa e racconta città, culture, stili di vita e delizie gastronomiche sia tradizionali che innovative. Incontra e intervista top chefs di tutto il mondo, ‘ruba’ le loro ricette e vi racconta tutto in stile ‘Turista non Turista




On 28 August, 5 and 11 September 2019 at the MIC – Interactive Cinema Museum of Milan, Fondazione Cineteca Italiana presents LET’S DANCE, three special appointments with CineBalli on the MIC terrace to dance non-stop with live entertainment!
While the images of the films follow one another on the screen of the MIC Terrace, during the dance scenes the spectators will be invited to take part in dance challenges with the prize for the wildest movie gadgets and free tickets for subsequent screenings.
This program starts on Wednesday, August 28 at 8.30 pm, with a montage of the most famous dance sequences, from the perfume of a woman, to Mamma mia’s group dances, through the wonderful pieces of Moulin Rouge and many others, to satisfy all musical tastes.
It continues, Thursday 5 September at 8.30 pm, with Dirty Dancing (1987), a timeless love story that has made entire generations dream and that has as its protagonists the charming Johnny and the shy Baby.
To conclude the calendar, Wednesday, September 11th again at 8.30pm, the masterpiece La La Land (2016) by Damien Chazelle, a modern version of the classic love story set in Hollywood, made more intense by spectacular numbers of singing and dancing.
Viale Fulvio Testi 121, 20162, Milano – MM5 Bicocca
T 0287242114 / /


Milan: where a real newyorker can get a bite of NY ?

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 09.52.40New York e Milano.
Conosco bene queste due città e ritengo che una cosa le accomuni: lo stress.
Quindi andare in una palestra è meta d’obbligo sia per rilassare la mente che per beneficiare il fisico. Trovo che a Milano la piu’ newyorkese sia GetFIT ( newyorker a GetFIT Express Foto© Cesare Zucca JPG copy
un network di palestre con 12 sedi, da quelle di Vico, Piacenza e Ravizza, perfettamente attrezzate, ricche di piscine, saune e steamrooms, fino a quelle ‘express’ come Galvani, ideale per un workout ‘mordi e fuggi’, stile ‘broker di Wall Street’.
Prerogativa di GetFIT sono le numerose classi LesMillsUna classe LesMills Foto©GetFIT copy studiate per allenare la forza, sviluppare agilità e bruciare grasso. Prevedono allenamenti yoga, tai chi e pilates, con esercizi che aumentano flessibilità, lasciando una sensazione di equilibrio, calma, armonia e benessere generale.Allenamento da GetFIT Foto© Cesare Zucca  copyUn vero newyorkese non rinuncia al bagel, panino-ciambella di tradizione ebraica. È coperto da cereali, noci, semi di sesamo o papavero e tradizionalmente farcito con salmone affumicato, crema di formaggio, pomodoro, capperi e cipolla.
Ottimi quelli di California Bakery (Via Larga 19), Bagel Company (Piazza XXIV Maggio 1/8), Vintage Bakery (Viale Stelvio 39) e del minuscolo Ofelé (Via Savona 2).
Non a caso si chiama Big Apple, l’hamburger più classico (carne di manzo, pomodoro, cetriolo, insalata e bacon) servito da New York Meneghina (Via Melchiorre Gioia, 35) New York Meneghina Foto©Cesare Zucca copyristorante-loft dove un enorme graffiti unisce Lady Liberty alla Madonnina. Il menu è l’ incontro di due culture diverse, la tradizione americana e la creatività italiana, come il Burger Parmigiana, con tataki di melanzane e grana padano. Delicious!Burger Parmigiana di New York Meneghina  Foto© Cesare Zucca jpg copyCosa più NY di un NY cheesecake? Da Vanilla Bakery (Via San Siro 2), Biancolatte (Via
Turati 30), Viole di Liquirizia (Via Madonnina 10) e That’s Bakery (V. Vigevano 41). A NY il drink per antonomasia è il cosmopolitan. A Milano Sushi B (Via Fiori Chiari 1A) lo prepara con gin, limone, triple sec, melograno e fumo al lemongrass. Altro classico è il Moscow mule nato nel 1941 al Chatham Hotel di New York, a base di vodka, ginger beer e succo di lime e riproposto al Moscow mule (Via Teodosio 60)
Serata al cinema? Purtroppo anche a Milano sussite la pessima consuetudine di doppiare i film. Nessun americano vuole ascoltare Meryl Streep con la voce di un’altra!Meryl-Streep-agli-OscarPer fortuna la catena UCI e la rassegna Sound&Motion proiettano versioni originali sottotitolate in italiano.
Cosa manca?
Ma certo, il mitico fried chicken! Corey McCathern, nativo del Kentucky e trapiantato a New York, ha aperto il coloratissimo Corey’s Soul Chicken (Via Paolo Sarpi 53),Fried chicken di Corey McCathern Foto©Cesare Zucca jpg copy dove cucina le ricette della nonna, come la potato salad, gli immancabili fagioli in salsa barbeque, la crostata alla zucca pumpkin pie e, naturalmente, il suo famoso pollo
fritto, vero trionfo di sapore e croccantezza.