DESTINATION FOCUS • July 2019
Between its niche bistros, small ateliers and quaint, quieter districts, there’s so much more to Italy’s glamour capital than first meets the eye. Italian writer Silvia Marchetti reveals the reasons to book now
Milan dares to mix Italy’s culinary tradition with sublime concoctions. So alongside typical risotto allo zafferano (saffron risotto) and cottoletta alla milanese (veal steak fried in bread crumbs), be prepared for great seafood. In fact, Milan is Italy’s top fish cuisine stage. If you’d like a taste of it, with a twist, try Bianca’s tempura shrimps with ginger sauce, grilled calamari in coconut milk, and salmon cooked with oranges and lemons. Meanwhile, at Restaurant Cinc, a rice pie with a cinnamon and Parmesan topping awaits.
Aperitivo (evening drinks time) often turns into a snacky pre-dinner feast and is an important part of any Italian’s day. The Milanese are literally pazzo (crazy) for Armani Bamboo Bar, and not because it’s Armani branded. The panoramic rooftop lounge bar has sleek onyx and black marble retro-illuminated floors surrounded by a cage-like, metal-and-glass structure. Cocktails revisit iconic Italian ingredients in the form of the Balsamic Martini with gin and white balsamic vinegar. Milan’s thermal baths, enclosed in Renaissance stone walls, offer sunset drinks inside open-air Jacuzzis. Another cool spot is Ceresio 7 with its stunning pool-bar restaurant featuring tropical-looking cabanas.
A visit to the Duomo Di Milano is a must, but remember to descend into its depths for a mesmerising experience through a maze of tunnels and crumbling ruins. In the evenings, party animals meet on boats on the Navigli district’s canals, but there are also secret city corners you shouldn’t miss. The Silent Quadrilateral neighbourhood is a niche place to explore on guided tours, with mosaics, scary statues, secret gardens swarming with flamingos and quirky architecture that includes a huge, ear-shaped doorbell and a mansion looking like a castle and space shuttle hybrid.
Sightseeing and shopping can be tiring. There is no better way to restore energy than spending the night in one of the elegant historical properties that are now sophisticated hotels, reflecting Milan’s aristocratic soul. Palazzo Parigi (from €400) overlooks the Duomo and is a sort of museum with art masterpieces, frescoes and white columns decorating the deluxe suites and apartments. Hotel Château Monfort, on the other hand, is a Liberty-style villa with a dreamy, fairytale-like decor that’s well worth the stay (from €200).
Don’t linger too long in the ‘fashion quadrangle’, where famous designer labels show off their creations, because Milan has many family-run ateliers – experts in tailoring clothes using highest-quality fabrics – that warrant your undivided attention. N. H Sartoria is a temple of gentlemen’s garments where even ties and shirt cuffs are customised. Atelier Bergnach is ideal for ladies who love skirts – you’ll find whirling, tube, godet and asymmetric varieties, complete with silver lines and flower motifs.
From 1 September 2019 British Airways will launch six flights per week from Gatwick to Milan Bergamo. To find out more, click here