In this bellissimo quartiere of central Milan, each cobbled road is a photo-op. For the most part, cars are not allowed, leaving the mix of wide and narrow vie to the chic Milanese who live, work, shop, eat, and play in this lively, historic neighborhood. Restaurants are situated one right after another, all competing for passersby with tempting outdoor tables. At night, these ‘restaurant rows’ are packed with aperitivi-seeking Milanese. The city is incredibly social; when the sun begins to set on the golden buildings, Brera brims with locals who enjoy the night. They like to be out, surrounded by friends and soon-to-be-friends, glass in one hand, wild gestures simulated in the other. Their conversations are without gaps; it’s all rapid-fire speech and laughter. As we walk by, careful not to twist an ankle on the cobbles while simultaneously taking care not to get run over in the center bike line, we take mental notes of their effortless style so that we may attempt to emulate their flair and urbanity. From the hair to the jewelry to the shoes, the Milanese do not dare step foot outside of their palazzi sans modus operandi. That is to say, you will not find them tromping around these cobblestones in lululemmons and running sneakers.
Beyond nightlife, Brera is one of those very special neighborhoods that offers everything in one: beautiful boutiques with Italian merchandise not found elsewhere, tea shops meant for lingering breakfasts and afternoons with a friend, art galleries galore, historic buildings and captivating architecture, a university, a library, and bohemian-like vintage shops. Walk slowly down the poetically curved Via Madonnina, and you will get a sense of the neighborhood as it was in the 18th century, lined with workshops and manufacturers. Let your eyes gaze upwards at the ornamental buildings- the arches, wrought iron balconies, decorated cornices, and the vivid colors. Stock up on Italian cashmere and wander into an art gallery or two.
Manee: Unique footwear
Barbara di Davide: Cashmere sweaters and well-priced leather bags designed and sold by Barbara, one of the sweetest and most classy shop-owners in all of Milan
Lunaria Cashmere: Luxurious cashmere sweaters and scarves