St Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan is depicted with either a scourge or a honeycomb in his hand: impetus and ambrosian sweetness for a man – a layman, not even a baptised one – who was elected bishop by popular acclamation . Being bishop also meant being “mayor” because Ambrose ruled the city for the next 23 years.
Come to think of it, scourges and bees are most apt symbols for representing the spirit of the Milanese: always at pains to achieve an ideal of perfection, and as proverbially busy as those noblest of insects…
It’s no coincidence that of all Italian cities, Milan is the one that’s always the busiest redesigning itself over and over again – which may be why it’s celebrated all over the world as the capital of design. And that’s why our tribute to St Ambrose is the outline of Milan Cathedral – not drawn, but built with pencils!