It was in September of 1158 when the emperor Federico II of Swabia, called “Il Barbarossa”, set the first out of his two victorious sieges of Milano. In the common thought this is still seen as a struggle of the Town against the entire Roman-German Empire, but the Milanese were very gallant, but not crazy; their problem come from the towns next to them, Lodi, Pavia, Como, Crema, etc, which – the Milanese said – crippled and harassed their trade. The Barbarossa just come to restore the unity of northern Italy under Empire’s authority. “Barbarossa” meant by red beard; he was blonde-reddish, in facts, and in the Italian traditions the red haired people were thought false and untrustworthy; the nickname was used in derogatory way.
Milano surrendered in one month, but it wasn’t cowardice; just there was no point to fight for questions which could have been better set by amicable agreements. The Emperor imposed levies and took away 300 hostages from the wealthier families, but soon Milano ceased to pay those levies without any of the hostages being injured.
Nine years later, however, the clash sprang up again, and this time with much more bloody outcome. All the tower of the Town were destroyed; the boundary wall was pulled down (therefore it became difficult to defend from future onslaughts even by the neighbours), and many citizens were deported for ever in Germany.
The Milano’s recovery had to come in 1176 at the Battle of Legnano; the Emperor, defeated and wounded, had to fight his way to Pavia, and only thence to Germany.
But soon both the contestants come again back to talk each other, and in 1180 the Emperor choose the church of Sant’Ambrogio in Milano to baptize his son Enrico; and Milano, whose hearth was – and still is – as great as the entire town, welcomed and hugged he and his entire family.
The Città di Milano Team Tourney is the most important in Italy and one of the majors in Europe because of the number and strength of participants. It’s held every year at the end of the week that contains December 7th, the day of Sant’Ambrogio, who was archbishop of Milano in the fourth century a.C. and today is the patron of the city. Had The Barbarossa been playing bridge, would have enjoyed it very much.
The 2014 edition will start on Saturday 6th at 14:00 and will end in the afternoon of Monday 8th, which in Italy is a religious feast. The venue is the NH Centro Congressi MilanoFiori.
The first edition of the Città di Milano was in 1970, with fifty teams, but soon came in the great champions: Torino won the 1972 edition with Pellegrin, Fiz, Garozzo, Belladonna, Garabello, Pittalà, De Martini. In the last seven editions the Team Lavazza and the Polish Team won twice; Catania and Angelini won once; the 2013’s was won by the Bulgarians of K1: Julian Stefanov (playing captain), Deyan Spasa, Ivan Nanev, Rosen Gunev, Diana Damianova, Viktor Aronov.
Paolo Enrico Garrisi