As a Milanese you get used to hearing people - especially other Italians - talking about how ugly your city is. It's a cliché that dates back to the 16th century which goes hand in glove with another stereotype, that Milan is a city you have to discover. "Bela de denter, pei padroni e brutta de foera, per i mincioni", a dialect saying which means "beautiful on the inside for its owners and ugly on the outside for the fools". As a matter of fact, Milan is a city where you won’t find the classical magnificence of Rome or the Renaissance composure of Florence. In Milan, you have to look behind the harsh façades and the closed doors to find the signs of history and the city’s charm.

With this in mind, you can understand how pleased I am about the forthcoming publication of a new book by Berlin photographer Karl Kolbitz (published by Taschen) comprising shots of 144 of Milan's entrance halls. It is a compilation of photographs that really captures the soul of the city and shows its splendour through the magnificent designs conceived, from the 1920s to the 1970s, by architects such as Giovanni Muzio, Gio Ponti, Piero Portaluppi, and Luigi Caccia Dominioni.

As you browse through the pages you appreciate the grandeur of Milanese modernism as expressed through a wide variety of brilliant solutions and in the wealth of detail, such as the colours and interplay of stone, the minimalist geometry of the murals, the use of vegetation, and the choice of door handles and handrails. You can use the book both as a guide to (re)discover the city, and as an in-depth analysis to learn about the art historical and social implications of the entrances.

Your first opportunity to enjoy the images in the book is very soon: on April 5th during Salone del Mobile at the Taschen store. In Milan, of course.