Known for its shopping and bars, the area between Brera and Porta Garibaldi train station contains many Milanese icons that showcase the city's glamorous past and hopefully bright future.
The pedestrianised Corso Como was incredibly popular in the 1980s during Milan’s economic boom times, when models and designers mingled at parties on this street. Here you will find relics from these halcyon days like the iconic and beautiful 10 Corso Como. But beware, as some drinking destinations, decked out in plastic and neon lights, are not such great reminders of that decade. The nearby streets, including Via Solferino and Corso Garibaldi, offer beautiful spots for eating, shopping and relaxing.
The thoughtfully designed new Porta Nuova business district, a 290,000 square metre urban redevelopment programme, has opened up the northern part of central Milan creating new pedestrian zones, cycle paths and a public park. It is crowned by the imposing silhouette of the Unicredit Building, currently the tallest in the city with a spire reaching 231 metres. A little statue of the Virgin Mary sits on top of the spire following the Milanese tradition that no building should ever be higher than the Madonnina atop the Duomo.
Unicredit building at Porta Nuova
The complex includes interesting details like ‘Egg’, an artwork by Alberto Garutti comprising of a curved shaft through the lower floors linked by vertical brass pipes with openings on two different levels to allow people to communicate without being seen. The piazza also provides a great view of the much-awarded Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest), one of Milan’s most unique sights. The recently built complex consists of two residential buildings, where each flat has a terrace with a tree and bushes.
More buildings are being developed in this area for Expo like the curved wooden Unicredit Pavilion will play host to exhibitions, events, conferences and performances.
Alberto Garutti's 'The Ear' at Porta Nuova, photo by Eugenio Intini
This area is home to 10 Corso Como, perhaps the most famous design shop in Italy. Hidden from the main street and centred around a peaceful green courtyard, this labyrinth of aesthetically-oriented goods is a mecca for fashion or design lovers. Founded as a gallery space in the late 1980s by former magazine editor Carla Sozzani, the iconic 10 Corso Como has grown to become a bookstore, fashion and design store, roof garden, hotel and café.
Corso Como 10
Other hotspots include Eral 55, a menswear shop selling Italian tailoring, Japanese sportswear, Americana staples and vintage shoes, 120% Lino, located in a beautifully restored printing office selling high quality linen, cashmere and silk, and Boule de Neige selling a selection of men’s and women’s designer brands in three sophisticated design spaces.
And with limited space and soaring rents in Milan’s central Quadrilatero district, Porta Nuova is fast becoming an alternate luxury hotspot, having already welcomed brands such as Christian Louboutin, Replay, Costume National, Maison Martin Margiela and DSquared2.
Eating and drinking
To sample the true Milanese café experience you really must visit one of Princi’s stores. Serving up excellent coffee, pastries, lunches and aperitivo in modern sophisticated surroundings, these two stores are justifiably always busy.
Princi, photo by Eugenio Intini
The Eataly flagship store opened with great success last year and is now frequented by locals and visitors alike. The 4-floor food emporium is located in a former theatre and brings together a wide selection of Italian food, 19 restaurants (one of them starred) as well as live music performances under one roof.
Ceresio 7:Admire the stunning city view at this restaurant and cocktail bar which boasts not one but two rooftop swimming pools. Located on the roof of Dsquared2 Ceresio 7 is wonderfully elegant and wonderfully Milanese.
Radetzky:A great spot to sit with a glass of something and watch the world go by on a warm summer’s evening. Radetzky offers light meals including a scrambled eggs brunch for those craving a hearty breakfast after a night’s partying.
If you’re looking for something hot spicy and healthy then head to Zazà Ramen. Noodles are handmade every day here in the workshop just downstairs from the dining room, outfitted with counter seatings, bar stools and tables. Made-from-scratch beef, fish and vegetable broths, as well as shoyu, shio and miso base, are just the start of this simple yet satisfying speciality combining noodles, soup and toppings of your choice.
This chic bar serves up excellent speakeasy style cocktails and arguably some of the best pizzas in Milan. Grab a spot by the bar whilst the elegant barmen work their magic and you can observe the fashion pack in their element.
Dry Cocktails & Pizza ©Santi Caleca
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