Have you ever thought about visiting Milan? People often rave about Florence, Rome or the Amalfi Coast when talking about their Italian experience, which are not to be discounted, but I am thrilled to share my list of hot spots after living in the Porta Genova neighborhood, 2 summers ago while staying with a Milanese family.
Milan earns its title as the fashion capital of the world. Everyone living in this city sets the standards high with their dress and sophistication. For example, you would never see anyone in sweat pants at the supermarket, or anywhere in public for that matter! In Milan, everywhere you go people walk around to see and be seen.
This cosmopolitan city is full possibilities. It is the home of modern design and business at the center of the industrial triangle which contributes to the majority of the Italian economy.
Milan is a small city that feels like a very large one, and is the only place I have ever lived comparable to New York. The people are very attentive, cultured and the city shows itself off with incredible architecture, what’s not to love!?
I have highlighted my favorite places to see along with how to get around and really take in the city the way the Italians do. As a true Milanese would say “fare la bella figura” or make a good impression.
You will feel the history of this fashion capital when walking into the first department store in Italy. The top floor of the building is filled with restaurants that have a beautiful view of the city and this is the prime location to pick up authentic gifts to bring home.
This artsy neighborhood is tucked away just north of the Duomo. Strolling the cobblestone streets in the evening while hopping around street side bars and restaurants you will feel like a local. The area is also home to my favorite authentic restaurant, Nabucco, which makes the famous Milanese saffron risotto. The staff got to know my friends and I by name, this is one special spot!
Not in any other city will you find aperitivo like in Milan. The city is known for this chic, social dining experience. One hot spot where you will surely come across the most fashionable locals is Yguana. This spot near Porto Tincinese is packed around 18:30, which is the ideal time to mingle with the trendy scene.
Here you will roam up and down the “two rivers” and find some of the best nightlight and dance spots as the canals glow in the evening, it is quite the sight!
Other than housing a massive medieval castle, this park is very similar to Central Park and lies at the heart of the city. Pathways, ponds, arches and gardens give character to a beautiful park which is also filled with a few bumping clubs in the evening like Just Cavalli, or Old Fashioned, where you will find the most lively young, but chic scene.
*A note on the nightlife: the “college” bar scene would be impossible to find in Milan. Everyone’s idea of going out here is having a table at the clubs, or a wristband as you mingle with the crowd in Armani and sky high heels.
Let this awe inspiring architecture overwhelm you, if you are covered, go inside and take it all in.
Shopping on Corso di Porta Ticinese
Corso Como is famous for the designer stores and high end shopping, but in the Tincinese area you will find more variety and local boutiques which will be tough to resist.
The metro is very efficient and there is a stop to take you everywhere. The trams also run throughout the city which may require a little more patience but getting around in Milan is a breeze! There is even an express train to take you directly to and from the airport.
Woodstock 3 Porto Genova
So, we have to talk about the pizza! Each city tells a different story with their pies, but the specialties here would be impossible to forget. Delizioso!
Milano Centrale is a massive architectural wonder that makes you wish train travel had more of a presence in the U.S. At the station you will observe the glamour of ordering a cappuccino and cornetto as people stand at the bars before hopping on the train to anywhere from Germany to Lake Como. Some easy weekend trips outside of Milan are Torino, Verona, Cinque Terre or Lugano and St. Moritz Switzerland.
If you are still not convinced or want to know more about this incredible city, dimmi! "Ask me!"
The blogosphere today is an overwhelming stream of beautiful photos and colorful cupcakes on Instagram. It can take time to find bloggers who you will relate to the most. That being said, I am sharing my favorite pages for every week’s recipe, fashion and lifestyle inspiration.
This blog makes every girl proud to be a woman in America. Lindsey Saletta (@gingerlcs) wrote a beautiful piece recently on how people should value the luxury of less material life.
She says “Luxury is any jolt of beauty or wonder that reminds us to love the life we’re living…beauty must be sought out; one must make the conscious choice to discover quality and to enjoy it.” Check it out!
I love their diverse recipes and the list of restaurant recommendations for cities across the globe is superb!
Sequins and Stripes
This Chicago native has amazing style, and when she posts the perfect recipes for traditional Italian dishes, following this page just couldn’t get any better!
The Preppy Hostess
This blog will make you want to entertain. Her photos are stunning and she thinks of recipes to bring to every occasion that everyone at the party will be talking about.
Living in Brooklyn has inspired me to dress without boundaries and appreciate that style is always evergreen. Brooklyn Blonde offers fashion inspiration with her “urban chic” looks.
Visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art is, in my opinion, the most ideal place for any city girl looking for a way to spend a Saturday afternoon when no other plans occupy your datebook.
I decided to embrace the spontaneity of this day and expose myself to a collection of world culture housed in this historic structure. Weekends are for experiences that break you out of your scheduled 9-5 routine. Not to mention, only $1 is required to enter!
As I walked up the grand entrance to the museum, I took in the crowds of tourists and noticed a sign announcing the opening of the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist art exhibit, ironically opening on the exact birthday of the master himself, Mr. Pablo Picasso.
Many women have Mr. Lauder to thank for building a legendary line of cosmetics and skincare, although most do not know he is one of the world’s most important curators of art.
An eclectic crowd of young and old filed into the exhibit to observe the works collected from the most influential art movement of the 20th century. It is amazing that this American business man has focused the past 40 years of his life collecting 78 of the best examples of Cubist art. I admire Lauder’s goal to connect Americans to the power of art and the potential for famous works to inspire society. Guests took their time walking through with their headsets, and I watched every face that squinted trying to read each wall plaque hoping to learn more about the artistic excellence of the collection.
After analyzing the Cubist paintings, I learned that artists like Picasso placed the highest value on establishing new perspectives from which one looks at a piece of art. These thought leaders wanted to challenge existing masterpieces which displayed a more realistic interpretation of space and form.
Just as I was breaking away from my daily routine in the city, the cubist artwork inspired me to think about our ability to observe the world around us every day from someone else’s eyes and not to let yourself disconnect yourself from the earth by being led by your own ego.
Another interesting take away from the exhibit was learning about how Picasso worked with other artists of his time to share the style of their work. By 1909 Braque and Picasso had become besties as they worked side by side in their Paris studios, they made matching works with similar themes but tried to depict a unique perspective for each artist’s varied use of line, color, and form. See below three paintings titled "Bottle of Rum" by Picasso (left) Leger (center) and Braque (right).
Picasso’s inspiration from African tribal masques is evident in some of his more famous piece including "Woman in an Armchair (Eva)" and "Les Demoiselles d' Avignon." The artist’s combination of cultural symbols from the past only make his art more symbolic as he infuses historic and modern elements to inspire the viewer.
The Cubist art revolution brought a democratic approach to people’s consumption of art as people were now free to challenge the idea that art served the same purpose for every individual, and only incorporated one defined message.
I left the museum and sat down for a glass of red wine that night to say “salut!” to Picasso, and cheers to an enriching afternoon. We can all remember that only you have the ability to change the way you see the world. Your point of view is a beautiful thing, don’t let the world define you, allow yourself to define the world.
City girl, traveler, foodie and film fanatic sharing stories on every day, attainable luxury. Passionate about speaking Italian, exploring, cooking, and crafting.