A dome amidst the tall grass between the beach and a cycle path – this is all that remains today of Woodpecker , the historic Milano Marittima discotheque designed by the architect Filippo Monti at the end of the 1960s.
It all started in 1952 with Aurelio De Maria, a young man with a strong entrepreneurial spirit who decided to create a nightclub that was up to the standards of the Adriatic Coast at the time, and thus the Woodpecker was born, an élite place with tremendous prestige and much loved by young people at the heart of it.
In 1966 the owner decided to move the club to the outskirts of Milano Marittima on the Adriatic, in a remote area in the middle of fields, nature and picturesque little ponds: “I was coming back from Ravenna and near Milano Marittima, I noticed some little ponds. I said to myself that the new Woodpecker could be built there on the water. Silvano Collina gave me the details of the Faenza architect Filippo Monti who created a model based on my revolutionary ideas ”
So the owner put himself in the hands of the famous architect, who tells how the design for the new club started almost as a joke: “…let’s create a circle, we’ll surround it with water and then we’ll put in some crocodiles” !
So they dug out a crater surrounded by a sort of little hill: a ring with a platform inside clad in yellow Siena marble, completely surrounded by little interconnecting circular lakes. Everything was dominated by a distinctive large fiberglass dome, modeled on that designed by Brunelleschi in Florence. The dome was a sort of ribbed fiberglass shell like an umbrella divided into different segments which was made possible thanks to the presence of iron tubes over which an aluminium cover was stretched. The structure was divided into huge scythe-shaped sections made by a firm that produced racing boats.
This construction required an immense effort, since it was an entirely experimental structure and totally avant-garde for the 1960s.
When it opened again in 1968 it was a success once more but it didn’t last long because in the early 1970s a large fire destroyed part of the structure and it never opened again.
Since then the cupola still stands, perfect as ever, set amidst the reed canes and the vegetation, also as perfect as ever.