After you turn the corner on via Serbelloni, it seems like you’ve entered a different world. Not in just any other world, though. Depending on how you look at it, it could be a pool of water in South Africa, a swamp in Sardinia, a zoo, or… a game of cricket with the Queen of Hearts! And, just like Alice in Wonderland, we peek behind the majestic Villa Invernizzi’s fance and stare with our mouths wide-open at the spectacle: a garden with a group of beautiful pink flamingos. They stroll blissfully, taking pleasure in their stride, they flap, they start skirmishes with their beaks, or they sleep, contentedly, balanced on one leg. They are like a mirage that leaves us astonished as we observe them, feeling like first-time birdwatchers.
Villa Invernizzi is located between corso Venezia and via Cappuccini. Here, Cavalier Invernizzi – the father of Mio cheese – once lived, and it has now been converted into a foundation. A dozen of these rare birds, all born in captivity from ancestors imported from Chile and Africa, live here. They live a long time. Some of them have reached 25 years of age. They are social animals that love to be together, but at the same time, they are shy and reserved… a bit like the personality of the average resident of Milan.
The first time that I saw them, a suitor brought me to them on a Vespa to try to make an impression. He had already understood that animals are one of my weak spots. The last time, on the other hand, I brought my adopted niece, Cecilia. She asked me a good question. “But Auntie, why do they stay here? Why don’t they fly away?” Just like so many questions that children have, I didn’t know how to answer at first. Then it came to me. “No. Looks like they like it here.”