The locals’ guide to Milan

Chic restaurants, edgy boutiques and striking art and design – our three insiders reveal how best to explore Italy’s fashion-forward metropolis 

 

Rare finds

It’s not all haute fashion in Milan. Jewellery designer and vintage lover Madina Visconti (madinavisconti.com) shares her go-to list of eclectic gems 

 

Cavalli e Nastri

This vintage clothing store, which is located in my neighbourhood, is the best place to go for retro-clothing lovers like me. It’s where I’ve found all my favourite must-haves, like long vintage skirts to mix and match with other pieces. I also recently picked up a beautiful green and purple printed dress there for a wedding. Via Gian Giacomo Mora 12, cavallienastri.com

Arjumand

This is a lovely little store next door to my atelier. It has wonderful textiles and wallpapers all made by the owner, Idarica Gazzoni. I bought two huge straw chandeliers for my kitchen and many different fabrics for my apartment. My favourite one is the ‘animalier’ print. Via Santa Marta 8/b, arjumandsworld.com

Six Gallery

This is a super cool new furniture gallery owned by designers Fanny and David. I spend a lot of my spare time there. Apart from the amazing gallery, they have a little bistro and a flower market. Via Scaldasole 7, six-gallery.com

Mercatino Penelope

This store is dedicated to vintage design. I’ve bought two pink-satin armchairs and a 1970s turquoise opaline table lamp there. Each time I visit I am surprised, as they never have the same things. Via M. Melloni 6, mercatinopenelope.it

Gum

I love getting my hair styled at this place. You can literally make yourself at home, as it is styled as a real vintage home. Plus, they offer you a glass of red or white and are always happy to have a chat. C.so Italia 46, gumsalon.com

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Fioraio Bianchi Cafe

La Bella Vita

Must-dos for outdoor space designer Derek Castiglioni (@derekcastiglioni) include  historical sights,  exhibitions and secret gardens

 

A morning walk: Start the day with coffee at Fioraio Bianchi Caffè (Via Montebello 7, fioraiobianchicaffe.it). Be seated among the flowers and plants and enjoy the bohemian atmosphere. From here, you can tour the alleyways of Brera: a well-known artists’ neighbourhood home to design boutiques, art galleries and wonderful old buildings. Don’t miss a visit to Pinacoteca di Brera (Via Brera 28, pinacotecabrera.org) where you can see famous artworks by Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, Caravaggio and many more. Stop for a rest in Orto Botanico di Brera, located behind the Pinacoteca – this little botanic garden paradise has a charming vibe.

Lunch with a view: One of my favourite places for lunch is Terrazza Triennale on the rooftop of La Triennale di Milano museum (Palazzo della Triennale, Viale Alemagna 6, triennale.org). It has a breathtaking view of Parco Sempione and the Porta Nuova district – a very strategic location that is an example of how the city is changing without losing tradition. After lunch, you can discover the museum.

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Funky Table

Grand designs: Spazio Rossana Orlandi (Via Matteo Bandello 14/16, rossanaorlandi.com) is a lovely gallery and retail store curated by Rossana Orlandi, who presents established designers and new or emerging talents. Next, head to Nilufar Depot (Viale Vincenzo Lancetti 34, nilufar.com) for design-focused gallery pieces. Afterwards, try Funky Table (Via Santa Marta 19, funkytable.it) for lovely table setting pieces. It’s located in the 5VIE district, which is well-known for eclectic boutiques (5vie.it).

Dining out: For an apéritif, my favourite place is Bar Basso (Via Plinio 39, barbasso.com), which is popular with creatives and fashionistas. Another place to be is Ceresio 7 (Via Ceresio 7, ceresio7.com), where you can sip poolside at sunset. For dinner, try Restaurant Torre at Fondazione Prada, designed by Rem Koolhaas with Chris van Duijn and Federico Pompignoli (Via Lorenzini 14, fondazioneprada.org) – my advice is to go early to visit the exhibitions before dinner. If you prefer typical Milanese cuisine, Antica Osteria Stendhal (Via Ancona 1, osteriastendhal.it) serves the best risotto with ossobuco in the city.

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Ristorante Gong

Delicious destinations

Chef Alessandro Buffolino (@alessandrobuffolino) of Acanto Restaurant at Hotel Principe di Savoia shares a tempting  gourmet itinerary 

 

RISTORANTE GONG
Corso Concordia 8, gongmilano.it
I have known the chef, Kesuke, for 15 years now. The cuisine served is Chinese and you can dine on unique dishes and flavours. My favourite is the smoked amberjack.

RISTORANTE BERTON
Via Mike Bongiorno 13, ristoranteberton.com
Andrea Berton is one of the most important Italian chefs. His “tutto brodo” tasting menu is the reason to go at least once for dinner at his restaurant. It’s my favourite place for birthday celebrations.

1930
Facebook.com/1930milano

This is a secret bar, which is really difficult to find unless you know the right people. I found out about it through word of mouth and you can only access it by saying a secret code word. With its speakeasy décor, it is the ideal place to relax with a good cigar.

LA GRIGLIA DI VARRONE
Via Alessio di Tocqueville 7, grigliavarrone.com
This is a typical Tuscan restaurant serving the best meat, grilled live in front of guests in the dining room. The décor is sleek with dark tones and great lighting.

ACANTO RESTAURANT
Hotel Principe di Savoia, Piazza della Repubblica 17, dorchestercollection.com
Maybe I’m biased, but Acanto has the best Sunday brunch in Milan, with live music, and excellent service and food. Try my signature dish, “pacchero cacio e pepe con ricordo dell’ossobuco”. 

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