Zona Tortona, Milan: a guide Fuorisalone 2014: Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Zona Tortona, Milan: a guide

This former industrial area is now one of the coolest spots in the city.

Young designers, models and other beautiful people are to be found over the graffiti-covered bridge from Porta Genova in the uber cool Zona Tortona. Once a working class tangle of tenements and factories, this area has now become arguably the most dynamic destination in the city. Home to many creative companies, independent boutiques and alternative venues Zona Tortona is a refreshing change from other more classic, conformist parts of the city.

Centred around the streets of Via Tortona and Via Savona this area is where the young Milanese experiment in fashion, design and food. Expect hip cafes, sophisticated eateries in airy settings and small designer boutiques or temporary stores offering one of a kind pieces. Zona Tortona is where the cool kids are, so don your brogues, ditch your socks, roll up your trousers, ruffle up your hair and get ready to channel your inner hipster.

Design Library Francesca ViganoDesign Library, photo by Francesca Vigano

Design and fashion destination

Via Tortona was just a sleepy, warehouse-filled neighbourhood southwest of Milan’s centre, when Italian Vogue art director Flavio Lucchini and photographer Fabrizio Ferri opened their ground-breaking photography studio there in 1983, naming it Superstudio. At the time, people thought they were crazy, but the design and fashion worlds followed where they led. Zona Tortona is now regarded as the design centre of Milan and plays host to many events during Milan's design week.

Related: 10 things we loved at Milan Design Week 2015

The Design Library on Via Savona was the first of its kind in Italy dedicated solely to design and houses back issues of design bibles Domus, Abitare and Ottagono, Phaidon design monographs, company catalogues and more. Every Thursday, in the light and airy building, speaker events take place showcasing Italian as well as international designers. The Library also includes a modern cafe serving light lunches, snacks and brunch.

Armani SilosArmani Silos

Zona Tortona is also home to the Armani headquarters which are located in a discreet building just off Via Tortona. In May 2015 the long awaited Armani Silos museum was opened to the public with great fanfare and a dazzling array of celebrities. The elegant museum showcases Armani's work and includes items from his collections that span the entire 40 years that he has been in business. 

God Save the FoodGod Save the Food

Eating, drinking and shopping highlights

God Save the Food: Enjoy a long lazy brunch with eggs benedict and fresh juices in this popular international warehouse style space. Expect to see beautiful people here, but don’t be intimidated, the atmosphere is laid back and the service is good. www.godsavethefood.it


Alfresco: A new addition to the area, this former warehouse-turned-restaurant boasts a wonderful outdoor garden where you can enjoy the modern Italian dishes from Japanese Chef Kokichi Takahashi. www.alfrescomilano.it

Da-Noi-In-terraceDa Noi In

Da Noi In: Located in the elegant and sophisticated Hotel Magna Pars Suites Milano, Da Noi In Restaurant offers Italian food served up in contemporary ways by accomplished Executive Chef Fulvio Siccardi. Enjoy a pre or post dinner drink in the charming garden outside on in the adjoining Liquidambar. www.magnapars-suitesmilano.it


Soho: Hidden away from the street this restaurant delivers modern Italian fish dishes in stunning surroundings with an internal garden. www.sohoristorante.it


Nonostante Marras: This former workshop is home to the beautiful and original concept store by Sardinian designer Antonio Marras. Browse cutting edge fashion in spellbinding surroundings with Sardinian ceramics, fairy lights, hanging lamps, bookcases and more. www.nonostantemarras.it

Casello GialloCasello Giallo

Casello Giallo: The name translates as ‘yellow toll booth’ and guests will feel like they are literally sitting on the train tracks in this secret spot surrounded by lush greenery in Tortona. The garden will be extra green in August this year as the owners have offered to take care of Milan residents plants whilst they are away on holidays. Open Monday to Sunday, 6pm-2am, www.casellogiallo.com

1 Casello Giallo
2 Armani Silos
3 Design Library
4 Superstudio Più: Via Tortona 27
5 God Save the Food
6 Alfresco
7 Da Noi In
8 Soho Ristorante
9 Nonostante Marras

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