Anonymous Spire

Guglia all’Anonimato (Guglia dei Milanesi)
It is the first of the spires dedicated to the Milanese, and seems to open the procession of those preceding it. It has no attribute: it is neither a saint, martyr, soldier, prelate, prince or other. The statue is a proud young man with a sculptured body in an erect pose, looking upwards. His left arm is raised, and he seems to be holding something in his hand: a spear? A torch? His hair, ruffled by the wind, evokes the reverberation of a flame. Maybe he was a torch-bearer, a trailblazer for the Milanese spires? It’s not easy to say. “Only this is what we can tell you today, / that which we are not, that which we do not want”. These are the opening verses of a collection of poems entitled Cuttlefish Bones, written by Eugenio Montale during a stay in Milan, where he died in 1981. The state funeral was held in the Cathedral, presided over by another great figure who made Milan his home, Carlo Maria Martini. All we can say about this statue is that the spire is dedicated to those who have left no name or trace, who have lost their way in the swollen river of memory. To all the Milanese who have left only a shadow of their activity, silent but decisive in History. It represents those who hold their hands joined in silence, those who nurture a silent fire in their hearts, which burns slowly, who illuminate the darkness, who are a light seen from far off, a beacon for the pilgrim. We are all anonymous until our names are pronounced. This statue represents every Milanese who works silently in history, heralding a new light.