Design week aside, Milan is such a vibrant and inspiring place to visit at any time of year, and particularly for those passionate about interiors, fashion and design.
This is by no means an exhaustive list… but a small snapshot of favourite spots discovered (and frequented!) during my recent trip!
Room Mate Giulia
You know those places you keep seeing on Instagram for like, 2 years… and then when you *finally* get to visit in person, you’re sort of desperately hoping that they really are as good as all the hype? When, I’m here to report that Room Mate Giulia totally lives up to expectation. This colourful, cheerful and spectacularly stylish boutique hotel in the heart of Milan, designed by the amazing Spanish designer, Patricia Urquiola truly is design hotel heaven. Highly recommend!
Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
No visit to Milan is complete without the breathtaking presence of the city’s main cathedral, the Duomo. It’s definitely worth getting up early to capture its impressive scale and detail, without the crowds and hustlers.
Just next door, you’ll fine the Galleria Vittorio Emaniele II – Italy’s oldest shopping arcade, named after the first king of Italy. Designed in 1861, this spectacularly grand shopping destination offers high end stores, and a number of charming (if slightly overpriced) old fashioned Milanese-style bars and cafes. Look out for the Rizzoli bookshop, and have a coffee and cake at historic Milanese pastry shop, Pasticceria Marchesi.
CasaBASE is a super cool concept space in the Tortona area. It’s a versatile creative events venue with an event changing program of events, which also offers unique accommodation, from ‘hostel style’ rooms with bunk beds, to private rooms just like a boutique hotel.
In a word, WOW. The Fondazione Prada is a mind-blowing arts precinct housed within a former gin distillery complex on the Southern outskirts of central Milan. Co-chaired by Miuccia Prada, this arts venue has all the hallmarks of a cultural institution unlimited by state funding, corporate partnerships or constraints of any sort! Just this month the precinct opened their spectacular final building – ‘Torre’ – a 60 metre tower designed by Rem Koolhaas with Chris Van Duijn and Federico Pompignoli of OMA.
Inspired by the cult Taschen title, ‘Entryways of Milan’, we joined interior designer David Flack on a self-guided tour of some of Milan’s most impressive ‘incidental’ interiors, such as building foyers and entryways. (Granted, many were sadly only viewable through a security door – but that didn’t stop us trying!)
Our Italian photographer (and accidental translator / tour guide!) Angelita Bonetti took us to this authentic Milanese eatery for lunch on a busy shoot day. Osteria Delbinari is one of Milan’s oldest restaurants. Visit for seriously good pasta, and old school Milanese atmosphere – leather tub chairs, marble-topped tables, and handpainted wall frescoes.
Obicà is a ‘mozzarella bar’ and pizzeria, specialising in authentic buffalo Mozzarella DOP. Headed up by Italy’s answer to Gordon Ramsey (!), TV chef Alessandro Borghese, Obicà now has 25 restaurants all over the world.
It’s actually quite good, though. We enjoyed a delicious lunch on the terrace of the Obicà on the 7th floor of Rinascente department store, in Piazza Duomo, which offers an incredible birds eye view over the Duomo.