An exclusive interview, where designers Maria and Lucrezia Buccellati share all their secret addresses of Milan, in a very “Milanese” Milan city guide.
When to visit Milan?
The best period to go is definitely spring, till late June. Summer is too hot and the city gets empty because everybody is on holiday, it looks like a ghost city. I also love Milan during the four fashion weeks (September – January – February – June) because the city becomes very international: it’s really the place to be during that time. Or even during the Salone del Mobile, when there are plenty of events in the city.
Why to visit Milan?
Milan is not a city to visit but a city to live. Even if you are here for a few days you don’t have to do the tour de force of churches, museums and so on, but you need to take it slow and have long walks through the narrow streets of the city center or relax in one of Brera’s many cafes. Another reason to come is the Expo 2015 that will attract many international visitors.
What someone should definitely see when visiting Milano?
Milan’s Cathedral (Duomo, 20100, Milano)
There is always a lot of people but to go up the roof and watch the city from there is really stunning.
Castello Sforzesco (Piazza Castello, 20100, Milano)
When you get in, it looks like you are time travelling. The museum inside is full of marvelous art pieces and I usually go there to get inspiration for my jewel drawings (the Buccellati golden sun on the world’s most expensive I-phone cover came from a decoration here).
Museo del Novecento (Palazzo dell’Arengario, Via Marconi 1, 20100 Milano)
The museum itself has an impressive architecture and inside you can admire art pieces that give you a perfect idea of the Italian XX century’s art history. The view on the Dome from here is fantastic, and the restaurant of the museum is one of the best in the city (Giacomo Arengario). would say a #luchwithaview.
Fondazione Prada (Largo Isarco 2, 20135, Milano)
It has just been launched and worth to go just for it’s cutting edge architecture (designed by Rem Koolhas). This place will become an icon in the city shortly. The café inside is really charming.
Navigli (South Milan Area)
It’s a very typical neighborhood with water channels and many bars and cafes where you can enjoy a drink or a glass of wine.
What would you suggest to do to someone that wants to feel like a real “Milanese”?
Go to Brera to have aperitivo(Via Fiori Chiari and surroundings)
Every authentic “Milanese” goes to Brera for the aperitivo time and sits in one of the old style cafes. This area is entirely pedestrian so it’s a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city.
Shopping in the Quadrilatero (Via Montenapoleone)
Whoever comes to Milan has to have a walk in the shopping district of Quadrilatero (means ‘squared area’). Here there are all the most important Italian brands boutiques. If you don’t feel like buying, at least go to make window (and people) watching.
One day on Como Lake (Cernobbio)
The Lake of Como is so picturesque with the mountains all around with many ancient and stunning villas all over. If somebody is staying in Milan during spring or summer, he must take a day off from the city and go there. We usually go for lunch in Villa d’Este Hotel and after lunch we enjoy a walk or we go to have a tour of the lake on a friend’s boat. And if you don’t have a friend with a boat, you can always rent it.
Where would you suggest to stay?
3 rooms 10 Corso Como (Corso Como, 10)
Only three rooms: very cozy and very cool. The owner is Carla Sozzani (sister of Vogue Italy’s editor). You might book early because it’s always fully booked. (double room from 350€)
Park Hyatt (Via Tommaso Grossi, )
We usually make our guests and clients sleep here. Good service and good restaurant. The position is perfect because it’s just few minutes walking from all the attractions of the city center. (double room from 600€)
Straff Hotel (Via San Raffaele, 3)
This design hotel is always fully booked during fashion weeks. The hotel has a bar that’s a fashionable spot for an aperitivo. (double room from 220€)
7 stars (Via Silvio Pellico, 8)
The hotel is inside Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery that’s one of the most stunning building in the city. Every room has a huge living room and a 24/7 butler. So it’s 7 stars in the name and in facts. (double room from 500€)
Bulgari Hotel (Via Privata Fratelli Gabba, 7B)
The hotel is famous and touristic but we want to suggest it because it’s gorgeous and it has the best spa ever. It has a huge garden, very hard to find in the city center. It’s a pleasant spot also for a drink in the garden. (double room from 715€)
Where do you go to have…?
Rooftop restaurant Triennale (Viale Alemagna Emilio, 6, tel. 02 3664 4340)
Newly opened, this restaurant is on a rooftop terrace overlooking the green Sempione park and the new Porta Nuova area skyline. Lovely place for Sunday brunch. International cousine.
Latteria (Via S. Marco, 2 tel. 02 659 7653)
It’s like being home in this small restaurant. Maria, the owner, welcomes all the clients in a very familiar way. The food is genuine and good, and the restaurant is excellently located in Brera. Very Italian mood.
Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone (Via Santo Spirito, 10 tel. 02 784650)
Perfect to relax for an hour while doing shopping in the Quadrilatero. The restaurant is located in a 500 years old courtyard of a museum. Italian menu with fish and meat.
Temakinho (Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi 59 – online reservation)
Japanese-Brazilian fusion restaurant. Very trendy and located in a neighborhood where soccer players and tv soubrettes go often. The sushi is very good.
Ceresio 7 (via Ceresio, 7, tel. 02 310 392 21)
It’s a Milanese version of Bagatelle. You eat (or just drink) around the pool and after lunch the music starts. Young and funny place. Bring a bathing suit because it’s hard not to end up in the pool.
Bulgari hotel (Via Privata Fratelli Gabba, 7B)
All you can eat brunch with a great choice of everything you could imagine. The elegant garden where you eat is great.
Radetzky Bar (Corso Garibaldi, 105, tel. 02 657 2645)
Milanese people usually come here for brunch (or even for lunch) when it’s sunny. Indeed the tables on the square are very sun lighted all year long, so you can eat outside even in the winter. The cotoletta is considered one of the best in town. Place to watch and to be watched.
Gong (Concordia, 8, tel. 02 7602 3873)
Chinese-fusion restaurant just opened and already very fashionable. It’s hard to find a table even on Monday so book in advance.
Pacifico (Via della Moscova, 2, tel. 02 87244737)
This fusion restaurant (Chinese and Peruvian cuisine) has everything, or almost everything, made with raw fish. Very good dim sum. At this moment is probably the trendiest place in the city.
Nobu (Via Gastone Pisoni, 1, tel. 02 6231 2645)
Japanese restaurant located inside the Armani Hotel. It’s an institution in Milan. The restaurant has a smoking area (where is harder to find a table). Nice atmosphere on Wednesday and Thursday.
Carlo e Camilla Segheria (via 20141, Via Giuseppe Meda, 24, tel. 02 837 3963)
A la page version of famous chef Carlo Cracco restaurants. Italian cuisine with natural flavours and unusual combinations. There is only one big table where you eat with other clients. Need a reservation.
Alla collina pistoiese (Via Amedei, 1, tel. 02 8645 1085)
Italian trattoria with great Italian cuisine. I’ts like eating at home for us.
Giacomo Bistrot (Via Pasquale Sottocorno, 6, tel. 02 7602 2653)
When you enter it might look more to be in Paris than in Milan. Great food and nice people.
Le Specialità (Via Pietro Calvi, 29, 20129)
Best pizza in Milan and maybe in the world. The most expansive too. They have two kitchens, one regular and one for celiac people, so pizza for everybody!
Fingers (Gerolamo Emiliani 2, Milano, tel. 606544)
Definitely the best sushi of Milan.
Where do you go for a coffee or tea with friends?
Sant’Ambroeus (Corso Giacomo Matteotti, 7, tel. 02 7600 0540)
Great patisserie and kind service. It’s the place where real Milanese people buy Panettone (typical Italian Christmas cake).
Cova (Monte Napoleone, 8, tel. 02 7600 5599)
One of the oldest patisserie in the city. It’s located in the shopping districts of Via Montenapoleone so it’s perfect for a short stop during shopping time. The sweets will make you faint.
Marchesi (via Santa Maria alla Porta 11a – via Montenapoleone 9, 20121, Milano)
Historic café renowned for its chocolate creations. The original venue is in Santa Maria all a Porta 11a; recently a branch has been opened in via Montenapoleone.
Where do you go to have fun?
Bamboo bar (Via Alessandro Manzoni 31, tel. 02 88838888)
Top floor lounge at the Armani Hotel. Very quiet and fascinating. The view on the Dome’s spiers is fantastic.
Mag cafe (Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 43, tel. 02 4548 9460)
Good drinks and dark atmosphere. The perfect place for a date. After drinks have a romantic stroll on the channels in front of the bar.
Nombra de vin (Via S. Marco, 2, tel. 02 659 9650)
One of the most important wine bars in Italy (the wine list looks more like an encyclopedia than a menu). Drinks are very good. The best day to come over is Thursday when the place becomes a sort of club with music and people dancing on tables.
Jamaica (Via Brera, 32, tel. 02 876723)
This bar is more than 100 years old. In the past artists and writers used to sit at its tables. Very old styled. In the week end is the place to be for young people.
Plastic (Via Gargano 15)
Probably it’s the coolest club at the moment. Underground and alternative atmosphere. LGBT nights. No tables, but the best part is the privèe room, where you can get in just after a severe face control. Sunday night is the best, even if it’s very hard to get in.
L’ècurie (Via Ponte Vetero, tel. 334 823 9800)
Karaoke bar with loud music where you sing and dance till late night. At the first floor there is a more quiet room where to chat and have a drink.
Where do you shop?
Gio Moretti (Della Spiga, tel. 02 7600 3186)
Multi-brand shop where you find high end brands. Place where people from Milan really go shopping.
Antonia (Via Cusani, 5, tel. 02 8699 8340)
Very young multi-brand shop. Very fashionable at the moment.
Rossana Orlandi (Matteo Bandello 14/16)
Design objects and furniture for the house.
Buccellati (Via Monte Napoleone, 23, tel. 02 795059)
High jewelry with an Italian heritage design tradition.
Tearose (Via Croce Rossa, 2, tel. 02 8699 8767)
You’ll find chic clothes, accessories and objects between huge flowers bouquet (on sale as well).
Cambiaghi (Via Borgonuovo, 14, tel. 02 7862 1770)
Hats and leather goods with a grand Italian heritage and a contemporary touch.
Corso Como 10 (Como, 10, tel. 02 2900 2674)
Concept store where you can find everything. It looks more to be in an art gallery than in a shop. From clothes, to furniture, to objects and accessories. There is also a good restaurant, a bar and an art gallery.
Gianvito Rossi (Via Santo Spirito 7)
Best shoes ever. You don’t find it anywhere but here.
Antognoli (Via Pasquale Paoli 1, tel. )
This shop is a Mecca for the emerging designers clothes shopping. And all those who are on sale here, will really emerge usually.
Milan City Guide: please tell us a secret place you want unveil to our readers?
Caminadella dolci (Via Caminadella, 23, tel. 02 7202 1136)
Our secret place is close to Sant’Ambrogio church. This patisserie is located in a very romantic courtyard. You need to ring the bell and when the doors open you are inside a delicatessen paradise. All the sweets are homemade and the almonds and pears cake is wonderfully delicious!
What to pack when coming to Milan?
First high heels shoesbecause the city’s mood is quite elegant, then Italian-English dictionary not everybody speaks a good English and an umbrella the weather is really unpredictable.
Thanks Maria and Lucrezia for the tips.
Interview by Federico Sigali
Pictures by Federico Sigali