Stephanie Ong

Milan's Library of Trees is finally open

The city’s long-awaited urban green space has finally opened, making it the third largest in central Milan. Sitting at the foot of the Bosco Verticale and shimmering skyscrapers, the poetically named Biblioteca degli Alberi (literally the ‘Library of Trees’) is the latest addition to the Porta Nuova district, an area fast-gaining a reputation for innovation and sustainable living.

Biblioteca degli Alberi. Photo by: Andrea Cherchi

Designed by Dutch studio Inside Out/Petra Blaisse, the Biblioteca degli Alberi was conceived in 2003 as a new genre of public park. Not only does it contain a rich library of plant life (hence the name) with over 135,000 plants that include 100 different species and 500 trees, its layout is entirely unique. It features a geometric design of interlacing paths (strewn with botanically themed phrases), irregularly shaped fields and clusters of circular forests that form green ‘rooms’, areas for play, contemplation and events.

Aerial view of the Biblioteca degli Alberi in Milan. Photo by: Andrea Cherchi

It’s also a park without borders. Instead of gates a network of bike and pedestrian paths (5km and 170,000 sq m respectively) seamlessly link to transport hubs and bustling public spaces such as piazzas Gae Aulenti and Regione Lombardia, creating the largest pedestrian area in the city.

People enjoying the new park in Milan’s Bosco Verticale. Photo by: Andrea Cherchi

The inauguration of the park is the final piece in the massive redevelopment project that has transformed and reinvigorated the Porta Nuova area. As Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala has said ‘With the completion of Biblioteca degli Alberi the old Varesine area definitively makes way for Porta Nuova which has become, thanks to an ambitious and winning project, an urban transformation model of world-class quality.’

While the park is still in its early stages with burgeoning young shrubs and slender trees, it’s already captivating locals, particularly those with young families.