NINA ZILLI
Milanese from Piacenza, 35 years old, singer

THE SATURDAY (RASTA) NIGHT FEVER GOOD OLD DAYS

by ANDREA SCARPA - Photo by ANDREA COLZANI

I have been a Milanese for many many years. Since 2000, when I came here to study at the University. After living in America I came back. It’s good to be
home. The first impact was wonderful, Milan looked very familiar.

PIACENZA-MILANO-BOLOGNA

Piacenza doesn’t offer much to teenagers, and so my best friend and I used to spend our Saturday nights in Bologna and in Milan. Seen from Piacenza Milan symbolized opportunities and diversity, finally.

NINA THE RASTA

I used to have dreadlocks and people used to look at me sideways saying things like ‘Hey you, what’s up with that Bob Marley hair!?’. Milan was our goal. As soon as some friends got their driving license we started going to Milan. We used to go to concerts at the Rolling Stones, the Leoncavallo, the Surfer’s Den, an average bar where surf music was played.

YOUNG AND COUCH POTATOES

Living in Milan as a young student was wonderful. There was so much choice. Moving to Milan coincided with taking a place with my best friend. That was great. She studied at Brera, she also was an artistic type, she liked music a lot… Eventually, every once in a while, we enjoyed staying home as couch potatoes…

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT MILAN

What’s good about Milan is that being a business city, like Turin, there are many different types of people. People from all over the country move to Milan. Therefore the Milanese is a varied fellow…

I owe Milan a lot, everything in fact. I started in Piacenza. When I played my first concert, together with some friends, I was 12 years old… Then slowly, little by little… Here in Milan is where I signed my first record deal, when I was 17. I still remember my first appointment: I arrived with the guitarist of my band, called Chiara e gli Scuri, and my best friend. They waited in the car while, alone and fresh-faced, I went to the Sony Music offices.

UE’ KAZZOFIGA (SLANG EXPRESSION)

I became a Milanese when I started saying ‘Uè, kazzofiga…’ all the time.

NINA RECKLESS DRIVER

I’ve always driven like a Milanese because of my mother who is a reckless driver. If she is stuck in traffic she gets on my nerves, she keeps overtaking everybody.

THE GOOD LOOKING ONES AND THE PUNKS

I recently read an article in La Repubblica where the journalist divided Milan up into areas and for each one of them gave a description of the typical inhabitant… In this moment we are in the Milan of the good looking ones, here at the Arco della Pace. The Colonne di San Lorenzo used to be punk and rock’n’roll, but now it has been reorganized.

SWAPING PLACE

I enjoy living in Milan because I know I have my safety valve, a more relaxed place, just a few minutes away. And so no, I wouldn’t swap… I’m happy with what I have.

THE ARTISTIC SCENARIO

As music is concerned, the last ditch of effort was in the 90s. The Casino Royal, for example. In Milan there was great artistic excitement. Now Milan is suffering, both musically and artistically.

THE MARBLE DOG AND ITS PARK

When I was at University I lived by the Naviglio. For 5 years I took my dog Oreste for walks, an incredible white bulldog. He was fun, he read the great Russian authors and smoked his pipe, he didn’t like going out when it was sunny nor when it rained, I basically had a marble dog. A couch dog. The only park where he liked going was the Parco Argelati.

MILAN WALKS

If you want to go for an artistic walk you should go through Brera’s alleys. From there you get to Sempione and stop at the Triennale. Whereas if you want to go for a fashion walk, and us girls always like that, you should go through the classic Via Montenapoleone, Via della Sfiga (slang for ‘bad luck’) as I call it… Via della Spiga.

THE SHOPPING STREET

Definitely Corso di Porta Ticinese where you can find vinyl record shops, clothes, gadgets… I used to look for them when I was little since at home we didn’t have any. The shop Lo Specchio di Alice had the vintage jackets from the 70s. It must still be there…

MILAN’S BAD SIDE

The gray sky, I call it ‘gray Milan’, like the Smoke Over London. The chaos, the rush, impatient people. As it is a big city, many people are worn out in Milan.