Mention Milan and many will think fashion. The people there are known for their chic sense of style and quite rightly too. The Italian city is home to some of the best fashion houses in the world, and the streets are lined with boutiques loved by fashion–savvy tourists.
But there’s a lot more to Milan than window shopping at the ludicrously expensive Quadrilatero della Moda or visiting the Via Manzoni’s Armani superstore.
If you’re heading to Milan this year, many historical attractions have been renewed for the 2015 World Expo. Yet after you’ve enjoyed the view of the city from the Duomo roof, seen Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, and even spun on the Bull’s Balls at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, you might wonder what to do next. Here are some suggestions:
Superlative cappuccino at Pasticceria Marchesi
Enjoy a real Italian cappuccino at one of Milan’s oldest cafés. This patisserie was first opened in 1824 and still serves traditionally prepared desserts. Not to be missed during your stay, especially if you’re intrigued by Prada’s recent investment into the establishment.
Via Santa Maria alla Porta, 11 corner Corso Magenta
Vintage shopping at Cavalli e Nastri
If you have some extra cash to spend on shopping, don’t go to Via Monte Napoleone or any of the streets in the aptly named Golden Rectangle, where a dress or handbag might cost the same as a small car. Instead, head off to the vintage emporium Cavalli e Nastri. Located in the Brera District amongst a selection of art galleries, the store has been open since 2001. The unique selection of hand-picked womens’ and menswear – dating from 1920s to the present day – is spread over three locations, and is a wonderful insight into the history of Italian fashion.
Via Brera 2, Via Gian Giacomo Mora 12 and Via Gian Giacomo Mora 3
Private art collection at Boschi Di Stefano Museum
This remarkable museum contains an extraordinary private collection of Italian art from the 20th century, including paintings, sculptures and fine furniture. Once inhabited by married couple Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano, this museum has been open to the public since 2003. The couple collected over 2,000 artworks originating from the first decade of the 20th century to the end of the 1960s, with 300 of these fine-quality pieces showcased in the museum today.
Via Giorgio Jan, 15
Dinner in the Navigli district
If you go to Milan, you ought to eat these two things: risotto and veal alla Milanese. You can have them both at Taglio, a casual restaurant in the Navigli district. Opened in 2013, this place also has a convenience store. From a variety of fresh produce, choose Italy’s traditional olive oil as a gift to someone back home: some say it’s the key to why Italians live so long.
Via Vigevano, 10
Aperitivo time at Bar Basso
You can stay in the Navigli area for aperitivo- ‘happy hour’- to enjoy famous Italian spritz. It’s a prosecco mixed with a dash of bitter liqueur such as Aperol or Campari which is loved by locals and tourists alike. However, the bar that has been known as a true temple of aperitif for over 80 years is Bar Basso. It’s renowned not only by the Milanese but also by international designers and artists. Bar Basso’s cocktail list includes more than 500 drinks, starting from the classic Martini to Rossini (prosecco with pureed strawberries). While here, don’t forget to order its signature cocktail, Negroni Sbagliato made with sparkling white wine instead of gin.
Via Plinio, 39
Featured image Flickr: Juan Seguí Moreno