PONTI VERSO IL PASSATO: LA SFIDA DELLA TUTELA DEI NEGOZI STORICI NELLA GLOBAL CITY DI MILANO
The transformation of the retail distribution network, which has been rendered even more rapid by globalisation and free-market policies, has sparked a heated debate in Italy as elsewhere regarding the need to introduce specific forms of protection for historic shops, which «tell the story» of places, their culture and traditions. The creation of registers of historic shops by regional and local government authorities shows how keenly the issue of protecting these enterprises, which may be considered tantamount to cultural heritage, is felt. The paper analyses the case of Milan, where in 2004 a register of historic shops was set up as part of a broader policy to support «traditional retail» undertaken by the Lombardy Region. Surprisingly, in a global city such as Milan, which is extremely open to change, a dense network of historic shops survives. However, it is not easy to find the right balance between the desire to preserve memories of the past and the inevitable transformation of retail trade.