101 GuidescityTravel

milan guide

by Grace Bonney

[image via national geographic]

today’s city guide comes from artist paola serrao. her guide to the fashionable city of milan makes me want to hop on a plane and enjoy the beautiful museums and shopping the city has to offer. planning a trip? paola has included places to stay, as well as restaurants, concept shops, design fairs, boutiques and great bookstores. thanks to paola for her wonderful guide!

as always, if you have a favorite spot that’s missing, please feel free to add it in the comment section below.

CLICK HERE for the full milan guide after the jump…


Triennale: it’s a must for all design-addicted. The best venue if you want to see an exhibition on interior design or architecture. Have a coffee at the Design Cafe’ where every table and chair is a piece of contemporary furniture. 6 Alemagna street.

Brera Art Gallery is located in an ancient convent and houses paintings of artists like Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian, as well as, international artists such as Rembrandt and Van Dyck. On weekday mornings (from 9 am to 12 am) the museum opens also the botanical gardens: a relaxing stop between secular trees, in downtown Milan. 28, Brera street.

Antonio Mazzotta Foundation is a private foundation with the purpose of promoting modern and contemporary art exhibitions. The Foundation is at 50, Foro Buonaparte, in a late
19th-century building.

Da Vinci’s Last Supper – the visit to Leonardo’s greatest wall painting is an experience you shouldn’t miss. The painting covers the back wall of the dining hall at Santa Maria delle Grazie, one of the most striking monuments of Lombard renaissance. Visitors have to book about a week in advance. 2, Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie


Fabriano Boutique is a luxury stationer’s. All products are made in Italy from Italian raw materials. I love Bouquet notebooks: seven notebooks in seven different types of high quality paper, tied together. 17, Ponte Vetero street.

A must if you like paper as media is Pasini. In 3 Tibaldi street you can find cardboard frames, paper, prints of popular subjects, wallpaper and bookbinding paper.

Vigano‘ sells three cuts beads, bugles, rocailles, all kind of glass, wood plastic stones and accessories for fashion embroidering or handworks. 39, Paolo da Cannobbio
street. If you want something ready to wear go to the other shop under the Vittorio Emanuele gallery, there vigano’ expose the best jewelery of italian handicraft


Spazio 900 sells or rent objects from ’50’s, ’60’s, ’70’s and ’80’s, out of production, end of series, or used: Knoll, M. Miller, Poltronara, Cassina, Artemide, Stilnovo, Flos and Arteluce; often you may come upon with pieces that cannot be found ’cause outside production. 51, Campania street.

Spazio Rossana Orlandi is a fascinating gallery shop that offers a constantly changing stock of contemporary design objects. This place become famous for the mix of vintage and experimental pieces. 14, Matteo Bandello street.

Spazio Bisazza is for decor lovers! Forget traditional mosaic, Bisazza provide a broad range of design that run from trompe-l’oeil fire place toWarhol inspired flowers. New collections are presented in the showroom as a succession of living environments, completed by furnishings. 2, Senato street.

1380 Design store- Full of chairs and furniture. Inside the space is a laboratory for restoration and restyling, where it is possible to have personalized, the items purchased. 1380 often hosts exhibitions of design and contemporary art. 7, Enrico Annibale Butti street.

Kartell specializes in molded furniture and is an icon of the made in Italy. Just few kilometers outside Milan, in a city called Noviglio, you can also visit Kartell museum, located inside Kartell factory. There you can also find some discounted items. Shop: Turati street @ Porta street. Museum and factory: 3, Delle Industrie street – Noviglio –


Libri e caffè has been the first bookstore in Milan where I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of reading sitting in an armchair surrounded by coffee’s aroma and background music. This bookshop is mainly focused on rare volumes and little know pubblishing houses. 1, Pietro Maestri street.

Design Library is a bookshop entirely dedicated to Italian design. Located in the Tortona area and designed by James Irvine. 11, Savona street.

L’Archivolto: specializes in architecture books, town planning, landscaping, design, decorative arts and local history. 2, Marsala street.

Milano Libri is my favourite bookstore. I spent hours and hours on the couch at the second floor dedicated to interior design, fashion an graphic. 2, Verdi street.

Books Import is specialized on illustrated books. The last friday of every month, books import, organize a cocktail between books: read and drink. 11, Achille Maiocchi street.

Hoepli – this bookshop is a monument to reading, for sure the largest bookshop in Milan. They mostly sell italian books but have a great selection of art, graphic and design books all in english. 5, Hoepli street.


10 Corso Como – it’s a must see store. It sells design books, Cds and must have fashion items of the season. This concept store includes also a photography- design gallery and a restaurant. 10 Corso Como remind me Colette in Paris, but more like an oriental bazaar. 10, Corso Como.

Habit Culti – When I visit this shop I get immediatly a calming and restful sensation. Habit Culti sells fragrances, clothing and anything related to the house and the person.
At the sub basement level the SPA offers massage treatments. 5, Angelo Mauri street.

High Tech – is an amazing store. I love to go there for the experience. High Tech sells furniture, homeware and stationary from all over the world. A special shuttle bus takes you from High Tech to the other megastore called Cargo where you’ll find international furnishing and home accessories. 12, Piazza XXV Aprile.

Love Therapy represents a little piece of the famous Fiorucci shop that was closed on 2003. Also if it is a tiny shop still worth a trip for the windows full of fun and fantasy. 1, Galleria Passarella


Pescheria da Claudio – It used to be a fishmonger’s shop but between 7 and 9 pm, you can sip white wine and eat fresh sashimi of swordfish, tuna and shrimp, delivered daily from the coast. 16, Ponte Vetero street.

Pasticceria Taveggia makes the best cappuccino and espresso in town, sip it while tasting their hand made brioches and pastries. 2, Visconti di Modrone street.

Shambala is housed in a renovated farmhouse with a beautiful garden that brings an asian atmosphere to Milan. Its only problem is that it is difficult to reach without a car.
The food is a mix of Vietnamese and Thai dishes. 337, Ripamonti street. –
http://www.shambalamilano.it/ –

Latteria Cucina Vegetariana is a crowded little milk and cheese shop turned into a vegetarian restaurant. Meals are amazing and the menu is huge. If you travelling alone
you can expect to share your table with other people. 6, Unione street.

Luini is a tiny bakery specialized in “panzerotti”, basically a dough filled with mozzerella and tomato, then fried. At Luini you can also find different sorts of bread and cakes. The place gets packed at lunchtime, so come early or be prepared. 16, Santa Radegonda street.

Giulio Pane e Ojo, offers Roman cuisine in a friendly and informal setting. Sit around small wooden tables you can taste traditional dishes such as spaghetti all’amatriciana and abbacchio. Reservation is absolutely recommended. 10, Muratori street.

Sant’Ambroseus is a classic cake-shop and tearoom. They have a great offer of cakes so beautiful to be considered pieces of art. I love their windows during Christmas time. 7, Corso Matteotti.

Peck is a delicatessen emporium over 3 floors, an institution for cheeses, hams and wines. On the last floor the tea room is an useful place where stop to take a rest. 9, Spadari street


Brera Antique Open Air Market is held every third sunday of each month in Brera district, just one block from Brera Art Gallery. This market selling books, antiques furniture,
lamps and prints. Once you’ve done enjoy a walk around this area. Fiori Chiari street.

Naviglio antique open air market is held the last sunday of each month except for july and august. There’s a bit of everything: antique toys, paintings, books, postcards and, if you’re lucky, some interesting pieces of italian design. Alzaia Naviglio Grande

The International Furniture fair known as design week is held in April. During that week the city celebrate contemporary design with furniture exhibitions, cocktail parties and chic soirees. Do not lose Satellite exhibition the show of upcoming design talents. 28, Strada Statale del Sempione -Rho


3Rooms are three luxury apartments located in 10 Corso Como shopping complex, overlooking the delightful courtyard. Each apartment has its own collection of iconic 20th century design pieces, all available to buy. Hotel services are minimal but room service and breakfast are guaranteed by the cafe’ downstairs. 10, Corso Como.

Bulgari – I never get the chance to stay in the hotel, but I spent some afternoons in the private garden: an unexpected oasis of exclusive tranquility, wonderfully located close to Milan’s botanical garden and near the fashion district. 7, Fratelli Gabba street.

Suggested For You


  • I have to mention the Senegali fair, that happens every Saturday morning and afternoon near Naviglio Grande. Just stop on the Porta Genova station on Green line and go to the right…the fair is on a parking lot. There are clothes, vinils, old glasses and all kinds of collector’s artifacts! And everything is very cheap. :)

  • I looked at the top photo and thought, hey, I’ve been there! I don’t have anything to add…I just wanted to reminisce. The hot chocolate is amazing. More like thick melted chocolate, than like the watered down type we have in the states.

  • Best Restaurant in Milan:

    Trattoria Milanese
    Via S. Marta, 11
    20123 Milano, Italy
    02 86451991‎

    Also, I agree on booking the “Last Supper” in advance.. very very important!

  • hotel speronari on via speronari…

    right in the city centre, affordable, and above a foccaciaria so your room always smells like you’ve been cooking all day!

  • Oh, where were you a few months ago?! I would have loved a Milano design guide like this for our honeymoon. Fortunately, everything and everyone in Milano is worth seeing.

  • I’m just blown away by the amazing and beautiful architecture. The sense of details on the buildings back then is amazing. I wish they would still build buildings in this style.

  • I lived in Italy for 15 years, 8 of which in Milan and I am married to a Milanese. Milan’s beauty doesn’t show off as in Florence, Rome or Venice, all is kept inside, but the city has lots to offer. There is great vintage design, antiques and vintage clothing shops in the neighborhood best know as I Navigli. With a 5mns. walk from there is another cool area –which for my taste was better before the big fashion names as Armani took over the place — known as Porta Ticinese, that has great shops. I know this is supposed to be all about design, but we are talking about Milan, one of the world fashion capitals, so right there in Ripa di Porta Ticinese, there is this little vintage clothing shop that is so full of stuff is scary, but the two young owners have great pieces. (All big fashion names always do a stop there while researching). Also at the far end of the same street you can find, Rita, a small bar/eatery that has the best cocktails in the city. L’apperitivo is a must in Milan, so don’t miss the Sunday afternoon apperitivo at the Enoteca of Via Paolo Sarpi in the Chinese part of town. For great art venues visit the Fondazione Prada in via Spartaco. For GREAT gelato go to Il Piccolo Negozio di Gelati in Alzaia Naviglio Pavese.

  • Paula did a great job,I agree with every single place she chose.
    I would just like to add some of my favorite places:

    Princi -fresh bread ,focaccia or pizza -when you need just quick break from shopping

    Obika-mozzarella bar-exquisite fresh mozzarella combined with handmade jams ,Tuscan prosciutto and a glass of good wine

    Museum-Pinacoteca Ambrosiana-unlike other famous galleries,this museum is small but rarely crowd.I always enjoy to see Botticelli or Leonardo paintings in that beautiful silence.
    As Sol said , we are speaking about Milan,so if you are looking for some original clothes made by young designers take a look at DocksDora
    for a great vintage piece from Moschino,Gucci or Hermes see Cavalli e Nastri boutique

  • Giulio Pane e Ojo – If you are in Milan you MUST eat here!!! My boyfriend and I were late getting back from Lake Como and the restaurant called us to tell we still had a reservation. Tired and worn out we made our way. When we arrived the place was alive and bustling with waiters and Italians drinking and feasting. Since we had never been to the place before and being very late – The waiter suggested that he pick out our pasta and wine….. Absolute PERFECTION!!! My mouth waters as I write this and we were in Milan over 2 years ago!! The ambiance and food and wine were superb! You must go!

  • hey there! i was wondering if you know of any good vintage /thrift/2nd hand shops that would be worth the visit, would be going to milan in a couple of days! : )

  • The Mecca of the shoes-addicted and more.

    “La vetrina di Beryl”
    Via Statuto, 4 Milano

    For breakfast or afternoon snack
    Via Saffi, 7 Milano

    Tobacco shop, bakery, restaurant, bistrot in the same street. http://www.giacomomilano.com/

    The best bedding and tablecloth
    Via Palermo, 1 Milano

    I suggest to visit Milan during the design week in april, the best time to know the real citylife.

    or the new event of design in october “DDAY” this year for the first time.

    Enjoy my beloved city!

  • I will be in Milan for christmas.
    Do you now any speacial art bazaar for choosing antique and old gifts?

  • For a quick espresso, cappucino, etc. in a nice atmosphere (formal but sincere and friendly, if you’re lucky including small dogs vacuuming crumbs at your feet), Bastianello, near San Babila.

  • Don’t miss San Maurizio church, please… Via Bernardino Luini, 2. And if you want to eat with low prices and the best wiew “inside Milan” you have to go in Spizzico, second level (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele). It’s a fast food (nothing special) where you can seet down and see piazza Duomo or directly inside Gallery. Mc Donald in Piazza Mercanti or in Piazza Cordusio are good points of wiew, as well. Visit also Triennale Bovisa, inside an industrial part of the city: interesting exibitions and a good design library.

  • Could somebody suggest me the most trendy coktail and dancing places (age 30/40) ;o))
    thank you!!!

  • for isabel: there are a lot of place trendy in milan.
    “hollywood” it’s the most famous for dancing,”Just cavalli” as well.
    a good place and not chich like holliwood is “400” in Campanizzo street, it have a good garden and restaurant too.for cocktail you can go corso sempione street,or corso Como full of place for trendy cocktail.
    anyway look this site, it’s all in italian but it’s night city guide where you can find all you want:http://milano.zero.eu/

  • I went to Italy a few years ago, but I didn’t have the chance to go to Milano ( I know, terrible!) I’m planning on visiting this year and this guide will be very helpful. I’m dying to go to the Luini bakery, yummy!

  • could someone recomend a trendy but not too expensive hotel/b&b for three women in some cool trendy neighborhood not to far from design shops and the duomo.

  • Watch out for stores closing on Sundays and Monday mornings. Most places don’t open until 3pm on Monday if at all.

    Paper Store in Milan:

    Carteria Tassotti
    Corso Garibaldi, 54
    20121 Milano
    10-14, 15-19 Tues-Sat

  • Am lucky enough to be in milan quite often. Be sure to visit Skitsch and Spazio Pontaccio for grt design stuff for the house ! 10 Corso como, Spazio Rossana Orlandi and Hitech are also my favourites.
    Citta Del :A small but nice toy store for all u parents ! At Via canonica 85..near the duomo- behind the geox showroom(kind of)
    The best chocolate filled pastries and scones at Callegaro, via solferino. A trip to milan without this one is incomplete ! Dinner is grt at Rangoli..
    SPIB is a bit out of the way but has one of the best pizzas in town.
    Staying at Hotel Berna is like staying at home… Grt service, cozy, near the central stn and best of all the breakfast… mascarpone cheese, tortes, chocolates and make ur own juice thing. The aroma of freshly baked bread fills the hotel..
    Hot Chocolate by the cafes lined up opp the the Duomo !
    No fast food at Milan please !!Ever heard of the slow-food movement ?!
    Love Milano ! Ciao

  • Milan it the heart of design , where ever you turn you will trip in an atelier, boutique concept shop- but most of all just walking the streets you will be inspired, and the love for craftsmanship is unriveled
    I am honored to be able to live near by – Milan deserves to be the design capital
    I try and get ispisration from everything around me