New, sumptuous, welcoming, cosmopolitan and clean. In occasion of the turn of the century, Tony Blair had managed to leave a millenary legacy by inaugurating a footbridge, later to be closed again for its lack of statics. After being fixed, the bridge had been reopened becoming one of the major attractions in the capital. Slowly walking across it can be quite exciting, as one can feel the Thames vibrating and its waters sloshing against the boats while the city looks away, unaffected. From the catwalk of the Millennium Bridge old and new architectures blend in a fascinating way. The Tower Bridge overlooks the river from a distance. On the one side of it is the Bankside: Tate Modern, the appendix for contemporary art of Tate Britain, a suggestive operation of industrial archaeology revised, the austere and gigantic building with a long chimney, was first a power plant, and now hosts areas with large paintings and sculptures by artists such as Mondrian, Hockey, Picasso, and offers an awesome view from the terraces of the building; the old Globe Theatre, the building which revisits the Shakespeare era, by organizing representations in broad daylight as it was then that the audience, was aimed at those who stood, that is the mob, whereas the lodges were reserved to the most affluent families. On the other side of the city: among the architecture that stands out the most we have the recent Gurky, a rather unique skyscraper in the architectural form of a cucumber and, of course, the monumental church of Saint Paul which the architect Christopher Wren conceived after a fire in 1666 with the idea to make this place the perfect combination of classic, as it is the Hellenic facade, and Baroque style, as in the decorations inside the dome. No less fascinating – and particularly suitable for small children – is the British Airways London Eye, the Ferris wheel from which to enjoy breath-taking skyline and which is located on the Westminster Bridge. Then, ideal for a Sunday stroll, Spitalfields is a craft market that can be reached by moving to Liverpool station, passing through the famous Huguenot Quarter. It’s surprising how the streets are so clean, clean and composed, unlike what happens in the U.S. for example. Perhaps this could be the result of a sense of vaguely Victorian prudery, when even table legs had to hide under long tablecloths; now it is still rare for people to consume foods on the street. Meals are one of those things that call for discretion and privacy, like the ritual of afternoon tea – which no Englishman will do without.
Written by Cinzia Pierantonelli
Translated by Rocco Massarelli