Place yourself in Milano’s city center on a blue-sky day, preferably in Brera, the Quad’oro, Corso Venezia, Magenta, or around Parco Sempione, where the streets are lined with magnificent trees and palazzi are dripping with vines and flowers, and you will likely agree that it is as sublime as colorful Rome, its architecture as magnificent as elegant Paris, its people incomparably chic, and its hotels as stylish and impressive as any other urban center of design in the world. Milano is more than its industrial past and its fashionable reputation; it is a ‘right now’ city, a city with energy, respira, and forward-thinking inhabitants. It is also idyllically located for weekends at the coast (more than one, actually), the lakes, the mountains, or a quick plane ride to a cuisine and a language of a different nation. During the summer week, however, the Milanese are in high spirits, delighted to sport bright summer colors (or otherwise lighter shades of blue for the men), and eager to spend long nights on rooftops and catching a breeze on the back of a moto. Summer in Milano is as sexy as summer in New York. Here are a few ideas for how to approach a mid-week July like a Milanese.
Check In At:
The Bulgari Hotel had me at Buongiorno. That’s the name of one of the choices on their beautiful breakfast menu, whose praises I am now singing to anyone who will listen. The sleek property, adorned in black marble, floor to ceiling glass overlooking the private garden famous for cocktail hour and dining al fresco, and the sumptuous suites with deep, black marble soaking tubs, has been a hit with fashionable travelers and locals alike since its inception. Service is beyond exceptional; the team is expertly trained and does everything with a smile and a genuine sense of loyalty and dedication.
The tucked away location on Via Privata Fratelli Gabba is an added bonus, but in just two minutes you can find yourself at the new Marchesi for your morning caffe. While I am shamelessly addicted to the breakfast (the granola is made with maple syrup, the Greek yogurt is divine, and there is a never-ending selection of seasonal fruit. Plus the pastries might have actually been made in Paris that morning; a quality difficult to come by in Italy), the lunch and dinner is equally divine. Order a few of the small plates and share with a friend; you will find it difficult to come across a more enjoyable meal in Milan. Last but not least, if you have been out and about in the city heat, book an appointment at the intimate spa and slip into the pool for a pre-aperitivo refreshment.
Go for a swim at:
The minimalist Armani Hotel is one of the only urban properties with a fitness center and spa above ground. Treat yourself to an ‘ahh’ moment on the spacious, luminous 8th floor, where even on winter days you can enjoy a ‘cozy’ mountain view of the not-so-distant Italian Alps. Its sleek, modern design is in stark contrast to Milano’s ornate and opulent architecture.
Take your working-lunch in style at:
For a weekday lunch surrounded by light-blue-suited Milanese, reserve a table at refined Ristorante La Brisa on Corsa Magenta. The white-pebbled garden is one of the loveliest in Milano. Afterwards you can browse coffee table books at Taschen across the street, or stroll along the main road and pop into the many shops and cafes. A mid-afternoon caffe at the original Pasticceria Marchese is a must. Cozy up to the dark wood bar and rub shoulders with the chic Milanese in one of the city’s smartest zones.
If you find yourself closer to the Duomo, slide into a booth at Langosteria Cafe and enjoy some of the city’s best fish. Quattro Mori on Largo Maria Callas has another beloved green garden in the city center and appropriately chic interior rooms. I personally adore the bright green, grassy backsplash at the caffe bar.
Stroll leisurely and treat yourself to a gift or two on:
Via Solferino begins at the end of Brera’s photogenic Via Madoninna. This is a decidedly more ‘local’ shopping street where you will see moms and daughters popping in and out of boutiques. Of course, the stone-laid streets of Brera offer a lively shopping area, and if you are devoted solely to the international premier brands, wander back towards the Quad’Oro.