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Land Sports

I never excelled in this area, probably also due to my relatively small feet for my height - it seems inherited from my Russian great grandfather Leonida.


Fellow Milanese residents, may I recommend the cycle path along the Martesana canal, starting at via M. Gioia and ending at the Adda river, as the ideal route for a quiet and relaxing ride free of traffic interference, except for the occasional and usually harmless pedestrian.

The Martesana in April, and my faithful Umberto Dei bicycle parked in one of my usual places for a breather (a refreshing drink of water, and a relaxing cigarette).



Playing soccer for reacreation was a must for Italian kids. We practised it in a nearby field, left abandoned after WWII bombings.

Our 'pitch' had an irregular trapeze shape, cause of heated discussions over which team should occupy initially its narrow and unfavourable side .


The shape of the same rough pitch was however ideal as a diamond, and was used briefly in that capacity after one of our friends received from his USA-residing uncle a baseball bat, glove and ball.

The experience was halted by our parents, worried by seeing us returnig home full of bruises: in our ignorance of the rules, we thought that a runner would be 'out' when hit by the ball thrown at him .


Little car traffic in the 1950s permitted us to use our quiet streets for roller skating, as well as for hockey matches using trimmed tree branches as bats and a tennis ball as puck.

I also skated on ice occasionally at our Palazzo del Ghiaccio in my teen years, and lastly in 1971 in London and in 1975 at Aprica, a mountain resort where I had rented an apartment for a few years.


Praticed since my teen years until 1983, when both my regular partners quit for physical problems.


In 1963 this typically American sport arrived in Milan, with a number of bowling alleys opening: Bowling Loreto, Bowling dei Fiori, Bowling Corvetto.

In 1964 I participated in the latter's Torneo dei Campioni (Champions' Tournament), placing myself 23nd among 49 competitors.


P.G. Wodehouse's novels made me interested in this highly asymmetrical sport. In 1966 I tried it out - with no formal tuition - on the 9-hole hill links at Alpino, overlooking Stresa on Lake Magggiore.

2-3 very sobering rounds with double-digit scores discouraged any further attempts.


I started rather late at 22, taking lessons at Macugnaga in 1965, and continued practising it until 1992, including two summer sessions on the Marmolada glacier (photo).

In April 1977 I was caught in a heavy, unseasonable snowstorm while going downhill on the slopes of Macugnaga's Monte Moro - I could barely see a little farther than my ski tips. This made me understand how even blind people could manage some skiing, guided not by their absent sight but by touch, i.e. by perceiving terrain variations through their skis.

Horse Riding

I started in 1966 at Associazione Ippica Verbano (A.I.V) in Fondotoce and continued until 1969 - stopping after getting married and no longer visiting the Lake Maggiore area as often as before.


In the third photo I am on the horse of a fellow member, who had asked me to ride it in an internal obstacle jumping event. I was awarded a medal for my effort :

This is a horse I would have been indeed hard put to mount :

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