Fashion, food, finance and all-round fabulousness
A long-layover in Milan and what to know what to do? Here’s my guide to an entirely art-themed 36 hours in Italy’s most dynamic city.
Morning of Modern Milan
First stop is he Villa Necchi Campiglio, a time piece of Milan of the 1930s. Named for socialite sisters Gigina and Nedda Necchi and Gigina’s husband, Angelo Campiglio, the Villa Necchi Campiglio was the centre and centrepiece of Milan’s mid-twentieth century social scene. In 2000, Gigina bequeathed the property to FAI, Italy’s national trust, which opened the villa as a museum in 2008.
Designed by Piero Portaluppi, Italy’s top rationalist architect with a flair for sleek lines and functional sensibilities, Villa Necchi is mid-modern innovation with its custom and built in details, as well as ornament. Wondering why the Villa Necchi Campiglio looks familiar? The iconic home was setting for the 2009 Italian movie I Am Love, starring Tilda Swinton.
You’ve built up an appetite, so don’t lunch forget to grab a table the villa’s solarium now restaurant, with a menu Milanese faves including a green risotto and traditional veal cutlets.
Afternoon of Contemporary Art
Setp into contemporary art at Fondazione Prada, Miuccia Prada’s art collection. Its 2015 the collection got a Rem Koolhaas/OMA reboot and relocated to Largo Isarco, 205,000-square-foot compound entirely devoted to contemporary art. The space is a work of art from its golden haunted house and permanent collection to its amazing temporary shows.
After visiting, stop at Bar Luce, the Art Deco–inspired bar designed by director Wes Anderson. The sandwiches are divine and supposedly made by Miuccia’s go-to paninoteca. Negroni your way through the end of the day and then head to tower, and by that I mean the Ristorante Torre, the Fondazione’s tower restaurant.
I’ve never dined at Torre, I’ve only taken a peek inside and I love the view. The illuminated cityscape of Milan sprawls away beyond its floor to ceiling windows, and the views inside are equally good with art work including custom wall-hung plates and midcentury design pieces like Tulip tables, and executive chairs by Eero Saarinen.
Morning of Fashion
I like to build up an appetite with a stroll through the historic Giardini Pubblici, established 1784 and considered the oldest city park in Milan, and then I’ll head to spot at Pasticceria Marchesi, the posh cafe on via Montenapoleone in Milan’s Fashion Quadrilateral, for a pastry.
Marchesi is a scene, whether its line up of incredibly fashionable patrons or its line up of delective confections, traditional pralines and savoury treats. Once sated, walk around Milan’s Fashion Quadrilateral. Via Montenapoleone and its side streets is an haute couture oasis of the world’s most beautiful boutiques representing the best fashion houses.
All designers all know that contemporary style comes from centuries of culture. Catch up on Milan’s history at the Galleria Arte Moderna, a late 18th century villa whose Baroque trappings are the backdrop to an enviable collection of Italian and European artwork from the 18th to the 20th century. Balla, Boccioni, Canova and Segantini, which sit side by side with Van Gogh, Manet, Cezanne and Gaugin.
Across the cortile is LuBar, GAM’s garden cafe for creative Sicilian street food in a whimsical fin-de-siècle setting. Or else, backtrack to Bar Basso, a cult classic popular with the fashion and design crowd, known for introducing the world to “aperitivi” hour and its own take on the negroni.
Lately Milan has so many options for contemporary art, but this time, let’s go to the future at Pirelli Hangar Biccoca. This spot is insane- 100,000 square feet of exhibition space, the huge warehouse was part of the former Pirelli tire factory and how it showcases contemporary exhibitions. I once lost myself in a beautiful Anselm Keifer exhibition .Note to self: there are Guides are on hand to help you navigate around the vast complex.
Stick around for aperitivo at Iuta Bistrot, Hangar Bicohcca’s onsite gourmet restaurant. The very artsy congregate here aptly-mixed cocktails and dinner. The vegetable-focused menu has delicious vegan options.
Where to Stay
In this list of where to stay, my focus is design and art. Not economics.
Hotel Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte, an art-focused crossroads, from Milan’s illustrious Baroque to its contemporary cultural kingpin vibe.
Vico Milano, an incredible stylish townhouse/slash apartment. Its seven rooms and suites are filled with design furniture and contemporary art. Near Porta Genova- this is best location for Fondazione Prada.
Portrait Milan, Lungarno (ahem Ferragamo) Collection’s latest luxury opening is a 73-room hotel in a former seminary. The Corso Venezia location is my all-around favorite.