“Milan is the metropolis that moves, in perfect and dynamic balance, between history and modernity,” says Melania Dalla Costa. Shielding her eyes from the glare of the sun, she looks out of her window at the curved top of Bocconi University in the Navigli area of the city. “It is full of beauty,” she muses, before stepping out of her Maserati Grecale to explore the scene around her.
Dalla Costa, an Italian-French actor, writer, producer and activist, has chosen the university, with its vast, sweeping design, as her first port of call to showcase her city. She is visiting four Milan locations in Maserati’s new Grecale SUV, exploring both the city and the vehicle that make every day exceptional. While the Grecale is available in three versions: GT, Modena and Trofeo, Dalla Costa drives the Modena, with its four-cylinder hybrid engine. The car has an iridescent grey hue, grigio cangiante as the Italian brand calls it, inspired by the freshness of summer light. Its sheen reflects the Milanese locations Dalla Costa loves to explore, the resplendent architecture mirrored in the vehicle making the ride truly exquisite.
Opened in 2019, Bocconi University was designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA Studio. The combined effect of the transparent design of the buildings and the 17,000 square metres of greenery open to the public, present a new and organic urban campus for the students, as well as the community around it. “The Bocconi University is renowned and recognised worldwide for its history and prestige,” says Dalla Costa, explaining that she loves driving to a place that represents great ideas and progress not only inside its walls—but outside too.
“I come from a tiny mountain village called Enego,” shares Dalla Costa. To her, Milan represents a “city of possibilities. It can change the fate of a person—and it did with me”. With her striking eyes and keen sense of humour and style, Dalla Costa is an immediately-recognisable figure in Italian culture. Known for her multiple award-winning films as well as her powerful testimonial for the 2019 United Nations campaign against violence towards women, she has worked to inspire everyone around her.
In contemplating her past and discussing her achievements, Dalla Costa senses a need every Milanese knows well: the call of the mid-morning ristretto. No location in Milan is more perfect for an espresso than Corso Genova’s Pasticceria Cucchi, especially if a decadent dolce is required as an accompaniment. Dalla Costa heads there eagerly.
Gliding into the peaceful square which houses the patisserie in her Maserati Grecale, Dalla Costa parks, then chooses one of her favourite tables out front. 80 years have passed since the Milanese jet set were welcomed into the Pasticceria Cucchi, making it a symbol of cosmopolitan chic in the city. 15 years ago, the eatery was declared a “historical locale” of Italy.
Dalla Costa enjoys a lemon tart with delicate Italian meringue, chatting to the waiter in swift dialect. “Milan is a very fast city, but you have to be very careful because of the traffic,” she says, sipping her coffee. She adds that she would recommend the Grecale to others—especially women—as it is “a beautiful, stable car that embraces innovation, with overwhelming performance. It is a safe and chic car.”
Our next stop is the Teatro degli Arcimboldi for a meeting; Dalla Costa grabs the Maserati’s key and dashes across the street. We head to the theatre, the work of the famous architect Vittorio Gregotti, from Novara, in collaboration with Mario Botta and Elisabetta Fabbri. The playhouse, which takes its name from a villa belonging to the Arcimboldi family, is an arresting structure and evokes Dalla Costa’s theatre training in both Milan and Rome.
Leaning against the plush rear seats of the Maserati Grecale, Dalla Costa reads her script, displaying a dedication to her craft that has ultimately led critics to crown her as a star of Italian cinema. Satisfied with her lines, she heads into the theatre with a coat slung over her shoulders and a bold, chartreuse slip underneath.
Elegant design ties this story together—found in Dalla Costa’s wardrobe, the structures in Milan she has chosen to highlight and, of course, the sculptural beauty of the Grecale. At dusk, Dalla Costa drives to the Piazza Adriano Olivetti, a “place of social and cultural gathering that quickly entered the heart of the city”. The light is low, falling gently over the rooftops and trees of Milan.
As she steps out of the car, Dalla Costa points at a permanent installation, which reads “Tu Sei Futura” (You Are Future). “It always makes me think,” she says. “Every time I see it, it gives me a lot of strength and desire to fight for a better world and realise my dreams.” For Dalla Costa, Milan offers the past, present and future. Exploring her city in Maserati’s Grecale—a vehicle that makes the everyday exceptional—she embodies a truly Italian individuality.
Find out more about the Maserati Grecale at maserati.com.