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A Sign of Changing Cultural Times in Milan

Chinese post office advert Milan

I saw this advert on a post office window in Milan, Italy, and thought it reflected how times are changing in Italy.

The Chinese are now running all manner of businesses in Italy. In the Via Paolo Sarpi area of Milan, there are Chinese run electronics stores, electronics repair stores, jewellers, supermarkets, cake shops. wholesale and retail fashion stores, selling everything from shoes clothes and accessories for both adults and children. The Chinese ecosystem is extensive and growing.

Chinese post office advert Milan
Chinese post office advert Milan

Then there are the ubiquitous Chinese restaurants. There’s even a tie up between a long established Italian butchers and a new Chinese dumpling store. The Chinese make the dumplings and the filling comes from the butchers. Note that dumplings are ravioli here in Italy. Judging from the queues outside the dumpling kiosk – it’s not a traditional store – this Chinese-Italian culinary cooperation is working.

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Move away from Milan’s Chinese quarter – which has been around for over 100 years – the first Chinese came to Milan to work on the 1906 Expo – and you’ll find Chinese run coffee bars as well as electronics repair stores and restaurants.

The Chinese presence in Milan began in the early 2000s but the expansion is continuing today. That the local post office is showing ads in Chinese shouldn’t come of much of a surprise.

Curiously, while Italy’s nationalists rail against kebab and other ethic food outlets, they don’t complain about Chinese the ever increasing presence of Chinese rune retail and food outlets. Very odd. Italy tax men have been scratching their heads wondering what the Chinese do with all the cash they earn. Not all of it enters Italy’s tax system by all accounts.

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