Milan: made in italy style lifestyle
They say it’s boring, grey and quiet. But they couldn’t be further from the truth. Milan, the capital of Lombardy, has other values. It is not Rome, it is not Florence and much less Naples or Sicily. Among its palazzos, its towers, parks and villas, there is an underlying calm through the centuries, which is only disrupted – significantly – by the creative momentum that has led the world’s leading architects, designers and stylists to make it the city of design, fashion and gastronomy. Milan is not about run-of-the-mill picture-perfect snapshots. But it wins over visitors with its beauty and its class.
Here are 20 reasons to visit and love it. It was difficult to stick to just 20. There are many more hiding behind its complex personality.
1-IL DUOMO. Milan Cathedral. The world’s fourth largest. Built in 1386. It is the city’s beating heart. Almost 100 gargoyles tell their story from above. La Madonnina protects the city from 110 metres up. In its Piazza, the large statue of Vittorio Emanuele watches over the flight of the pigeons and the comings and goings of Milan locals and visitors.
2-GALLERIA VITTORIO EMANUELE. Built at the end of the nineteenth century, it was one of the world’s first shopping centres. It has 4 floors and 4 exits. Each of them leads onto a major monument: Teatro alla Scala, Palazzo Reale, Museo del Novecento and the Cathedral. Inside there are fashion shops, bars, cafés and hotels, such as the very cool TOWN HOUSE GALLERY and the restaurant CRACCO.
3-CASTELLO SFORZESCO. A fourteenth century fortress that reflects the eternal strength of this city. It is located in Parco Sempione and is currently the headquarters of the Museum of Ancient Art. It also houses wonderful art collections, with works by Tizziano, Tintoretto and the last Michelangelo, Pietà Rondanini.
4-THE NAVIGLI DISTRICT. A marvel of naval engineering. Its two channels: Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese, once offering access through to Lake Como. This is currently the fashion area for young people, who meet at its terraces and restaurants. The last Sunday of each month in Navigli is home to the open-air Antiquities Market.
5-TEATRO ALLA SCALA. Another of Milan’s cultural symbols and an important shrine to music. Its opera seasons are considered the most important in the world. The building is beautifully serene, timeless and eloquent in its details.
6-FONDAZIONE PRADA. Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, have done much for their city and for Italy. And not only with their fashion brand. The Fondazione, which is named after the designer, promotes fashion, photography, architecture and painting collections. It has been moved south of the city, with a new space designed by Rem Koolhas, a founder of the OMA studio. You must visit the LUCE bar, inspired by the universe of Wes Anderson, and, if possible, its restaurant TORRE. The rooftop swimming pool and panoramic views leave everyone speechless.
7-THE BRERA DISTRICT. Now we’re in the historic, medieval area. Its old palaces are now interspersed with bars and bohemian shops. We recommend a visit to its wonderful BOTANIC GARDEN, a leafy oasis in a city of stone.
8-CITY CEMETERY. A more unusual visit for culture vultures. Here you can visit the tombs of many famous figures from Italian society. For example, Verdi, one of the most visited tombs.
9-MUSEO DELLA TRIENALE. Beautiful architecture from the 30s. It is home to a permanent collection of significant objects from contemporary Italian design.
10-TRAMS AND BICYCLES. Milanese people love to ride their trams and travel around their city, a typical Sunday outing. Younger people use bicycles a lot, unlike other Italian cities, which have been “colonised” by cars and “motorini“.
11-MONTENAPOLEONE AND VIA DELLA SPIGA. Two streets replete with luxury. A succession of boutiques, cafés, designer shops and some must-visit locations. We recommend visiting 10 CORSO COMO, founded in 1991 by Carla Sozzani, sister of the legendary director of Vogue Italia Franca Sozzani. It has, in addition to the best fashion brands, a library, an exhibition room and… a secret hotel with 3 rooms!
12-LA RINASCENTE SHOPPING CENTRE. Large historic buildings that dominate the city. Visiting its rooftop terrace and enjoying the best lasagna in Milan at the restaurant OBICA, with views of the Cathedral, is a pleasure within everyone’s reach.
13-ART. In Milan, you must search, enter and marvel. In its palaces, there are endless possibilities to discover Art with a capital A. We suggest (and we’re keeping it brief):
- MUSEO DEL NOVECENTO. Excellent contemporary art and inside, the delicious GIACOMO restaurant.
- THE LAST SUPPER BY LEONARDO DA VINCI. The artist’s magnum opus, exhibited inside the very beautiful church SANTA MARÍA DELLE GRAZIE. This piece, one of the foremost examples of universal art, conceals one of the most secret and controversial stories in the world (one of the diners is said to be a woman, specifically Mary Magdalene. A theory by those who believe Jesus was married to Magdalene and started the royal bloodline). For those who don’t agree, it merely offers the allure of a magnificent picture in a wonderful environment.
- FONDAZIONE ARNALDO POMODORO. Hub and discussion on the great figures of the artistic avant-garde movement. Excellent exhibitions by contemporary authors.
- PINACOTECA DI BRERA. This was the first museum in Milan, dating back to the end of 700. Already in Napoleon’s time, it housed a collection with the best artists of the time. It currently has one of the most foremost collections of classical art in Italy.
- PINACOTECA AND BIBLIOTECA AMBROSIANA. Founded in 1618 by Federico Borromeo. The palazzo is simple and beautiful. Inside, classical works of art and a library with early volumes on art history. One of its most outstanding works is one by Raphael entitled “The School of Athens” and an early piece with Petrarch’s Virgil.
14-SWEETS, CAKES AND...COFFEE. There is a lot to choose from, but we like SAN ́T AMBROEUS pastry shop, the wonderful and eternal panettone at SISSI and the COVA coffee shop, perhaps the best in Milan.
15-MILAN AT NIGHT. Although many premises are temporarily closed due to the pandemic, music and laughter will be heard again. They say Milan goes to bed early. That’s not true. There’s a lot going on at night, but you need to seek it out. We recommend:
- A drink at GATTOPARDO, located in an old abandoned church.
- The Baroque-style LE BANQUE is a former two-storey bank transformed into a shrine to commercial music.
- ALCATRAZ is a bit of a rogue but with boho chic style, a good atmosphere and great drinks.
- PLASTIC has been the city’s cool spot since the 80s.
16-VILLA NECCHI CAMPIGLIO. Built in the 30s by the architect Pietro Portalupi for a leading family from the industrial bourgeoisie, its rooms house furniture and paintings that can be admired in addition to its charming gardens and swimming pool. But its fame came with the film “I Am Love”, by Luca Guadagnino (director of “Call Me By Your Name”). An absolute must.
17-NEW ARCHITECTURE. It is a city of great architects, always evolving. This includes the PORTA NUOVA project, a laboratory and a venue for restructuring part of the city, supervised by the best architectural studios in the world. The Unicredit Tower, the Vertical Forest designed by Boeri Studio, the BibliotecadegliAlberi or the Casa della Memoria, are worth noting, just to mention some of the projects that make Milan a city that seeks new cutting-edge urban opportunities.
18-SAN SIRO. The cathedral of Italian football. There are no half measures in the stadium which is home to two local teams, because both Inter and Milan experience the glory (and sometimes the boos) of the Milanese.
19-COMER EN MILAN. EATING OUT IN MILAN. Given that it is a highly gastronomic city, it is almost impossible to condense its offer down into a few lines. We suggest:
- CERESIO 7. By the brothers who created the D ́Squared fashion label. This restaurant is in the palazzo which was previously the National Electricity Agency. It is in the new Milan skyline and its chef, Elio Sirini, is one of the city’s gastronomic leaders.
- RADETZKY. The best Sunday brunch in Milan.
- LA CANTINA DELLA VETRA. Near Navigli, its Milanese menu has long attracted locals and visitors alike.
- ARMANI NOBU MILANO. Restaurant from the famous chain that is doubly appealing because it is a space designed by the genius of fashion, design and life that is GIORGIO ARMANI.
- BLANCO. It owes its name to the colour of its interiors: white and wood. A bit like a beach bar in Ibiza in the heart of a city of palazzos and offices. Ideal for an aperitif and also good cocktails.
- SETA. Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental (MO) Hotel. Pure luxury and the place to meet.
- FIORAIO BIANCHI. A Parisian bistro in the heart of Milan. Specifically in Brera. And yes, it has a very beautiful flower shop so you can go home with an exquisitely presented bouquet.
- MARTINI BAR. DOLCE & GABBANA BAR & RESTAURANT. In a mansion, a meeting place for many beautiful people from the world of fashion or business.
- BICE. A historic restaurant in the fashion district. For people who want to eat well in a place where they can talk and eat in a leisurely fashion.
- TRUSSARDI RESTAURANT. Located in the Teatro della Scala, plus the very nice Café Trussardi. They owe their name, their design and their fame to the Trussardi family, fashion icons that remain true – also in this establishment – to Italian elegance.
- JOIA. The vegetarian restaurant by Pietro Leeman is a must-visit in the city. A green and healthy world for everyone, because its dishes are perfect. It is in Porta Venezia.
20-SLEEPING IN MILAN. The city is home to many excellent hotels. The classics have been joined by the most modern, which embrace the world of fashion and design. We suggest:
- Hotel BULGARI Milano. As elegant as the brand that supports it. Well-kept rooms and a delightful garden.
- FOUR SEASONS. A classic. On Via Gesù, a pilgrimage for the best shops, the trendiest people and many live designers. Its cocktails are legendary.
- PRINCIPE DI SAVOIA. The hotel that has defined Milan’s good taste for years. A mansion in Piazza della Repubblica, which is the place to meet for visitors with the highest standards. Its restaurant, ACANTO, and its bar, PRINCIPE, are full of many interesting stories. Defined and defining luxury.
- PARK HYATT. It is currently, possibly, the most luxurious hotel in Milan. Its location in the historic centre is a beautiful building that overlooks the best monuments. Notable is the interior design of its lounges and rooms, its Sisley branded spa and its two gourmet restaurants: the Michelin-starred VUN by Andrea Aprea and LA CUPOLA make Park Hyatt a unique experience.
- CHATEAUX MONFORT. A lovely Relais & Châteaux hotel with an excellent location, its lounges and rooms with a typical French flavour.
- MANDARIN MILAN (MO). Located in an elegant eighteenth century mansion, with the seal of the MO brand and the oriental touch that translates into impeccable service and exquisite attention to detail. We love its terrace, where enjoying a drink becomes a fashion show.
- HOTEL ARMANI. For those who think that being 50 metres from Via Montenapoleone is an incentive. And also for those who admire Giorgio Armani’s styling, which he has designed down to the final detail of the hotel that bears his name.
AND TO FINISH, AN IMPORTANT ADDRESS.
The new PORCELANOSA Group store in Milan will be the place to be for architects, designers and anyone who wants to have their home or office equipped with the most avant-garde, beautiful and sustainable materials on the international market.