DISCOVER MILAN | OUR GUIDE TO THE ITALIAN STYLE CAPITAL
As the fashion crowd takes over the Italian style capital, discover the secret spots around the city that are always on our hit list.
SLEEP: Hotel Principe di Savoia
A reassuring gust of old-fashioned opulence greets one on entering this grand hotel which dominates piazza della Repubblica. Guests would be advised to leave any modern design obsessions at the door: here the watchword is traditional luxury, with acres of marble, elegant furnishings and excellent service. Opened in 1927, this historic hotel with an imposing neoclassical façade boasts rooms with fin de siècle furnishings and hand-painted frescoes. The spacious bathrooms have marble bathtubs, showers adorned with glass mosaics and complementary Acqua di Parma toiletries. The four Imperial Suites have large living areas and bathrooms with steam room, chromotherapy systems and massaging showers. The Presidential Suite has three bedrooms, a living room and a private swimming pool.
The hotel houses one of the city’s best gyms where each machine has its own mini-TV, headphones, fast track control and joystick. The spectacular heated swimming pool has views over the city, and there are also a whirlpool tub, sauna and steam room.
The hotel’s bar is a longstanding favourite among celebrities and locals alike, with a sculpted crystal bar and back-lit mirrored wall while Acanto Restaurant serves Italian cuisine in a refined setting; the restaurant veranda overlooks a garden adorned with an 18th-century fountain.
The hotel is a five-minute walk from Stazione Centrale. The artistic district of Brera, home to bars and restaurants, is within walking distance, as is the Quadrilatero d’Oro, the city’s exclusive shopping district.
EAT: Carlo e Camilla in Segheria
A defunct 1930s sawmill has been transformed into an industrial-style restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco and art director Tanja Solci, who crafted its pared-back interiors. Carlo e Camilla’s exposed pillars, raw ceilings and brick walls contrast with pieces by Ron Arad and Ross Lovegrove, vintage chandeliers and a cross-shaped table designed for communal dining. Cracco’s team serves up seasonal Italian fare from the kitchen as well as off-menu daily dishes. The mood is cool, and there is just as much reason to come for an excellent aperetif or dopocena as there is for the delicious dinners.
DRINK: The Botanical Club
Gin lovers should be sure to add the Botanical Club to their list of must-visit destinations in Milan. The first Italian small batch gin distillery to open in the city, the Botanical Club is a sleek and inviting place to spend an afternoon or evening. The interior is beautiful, with rich plants, warm touches of wood and marble. Showcasing style and substance, the impressive cocktail bar offers signature recipes and twists on classic drinks, with spirits from its own distillery.
VISIT: Triennale di Milano
Founded in 2007, Italy’s first permanent design museum is located in the building that hosts the city’s design show every three years. Its rotating programme of exhibitions includes art and photography as well as product, furniture and graphic design from around the world. There is a cool café at the back, with tables outside in summer. If you visit before March 25th, don’t miss the ‘RICK OWENS SUBHUMAN INHUMAN SUPERHUMAN’ exhibition featuring a selection of more than 100 garments, objects, accessories, furniture and runway videos displayed and connected through a spectacular site-specific installation created by the designer for the occasion.
VISIT: The Duomo
Milan’s magnificent gothic cathedral dominates both the great piazza on which it is located and the city of which it has long been the centre. Its imposing interior contains some magnificent treasures but, for a truly breathtaking experience, climb the 150 steps (or take the lift) to the roof. Here, visitors can admire some of the 3,600 statues and 135 spires, many carved from pink Candoglia marble – and get a closer view of the famous gilded copper ‘Madonnina’ atop the tallest spike. On a fine day, the view stretches far beyond the city to the snow-capped Alps.
BONUS: Hop on (and have dinner) on a tram
Synonymous with the city and a piece of living history, Milan’s original yellow and orange 1920s and 1950s trams have varnished wooden seats and iconic fluted glass lampshades. Today, the city’s rolling stock also includes 1970s models and the new-fangled, dark green ‘caterpillars’ – but for a taste of the original version, hop aboard the number 1, taking in some of Milan’s most symbolic monuments as you go. Alternatively, book an evening ride on ATMosfera, a vintage tram serving up dinner with wine, run by the ATM transport authority.
Book a table: http://www.atm.it/
WHAT TO WEAR IN MILAN IN FEBRUARY