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Via della Spiga, Milan © Amici di Via della Spiga Via della Spiga, Milan © Amici di Via della Spiga

San Babila & Quadrilatero, Milan: a guide

From furniture to fashion, a district that expresses the best of design creativity

In Milan, the streets just south of San Babila are home to some of the finest furniture and design stores in the city, and during the Furniture Show week they are even livelier than usual, with extra exhibits and presentations. On the other side, Corso Matteotti and Corso Venezia form two sides of the so-called Quadrilatero, where fashion, watch and jewellery brands fight for boutique space above all in Via Montenapoleone, the sixth most expensive street in the world for retail property. The boutiques themselves are carefully-staged experiences, with interiors revealing the hand of designers of the calibre of Zaha Hadid.

Related: Quadrilatero d'Oro, Milan: a guide


bulgariBulagari boutique on Via Montenapoleone

Bulgari’s Milan boutique was opened in the lovely courtyard on Via Montenapoleone in 2006, a worthy counterpart to its boutique in Rome famous above all for its long relationship with Elizabeth Taylor (her husband Richard Burton said “The only word Liz knows in Italian is Bulgari”). Superb jewellery and fine watches that continue to surprise the industry for their superb design and engineering. www.bulgari.it

Armani/Manzoni 31

Armani-PrivÇ-Milano by-Gionata-XerraArmani © Gionata Xerra

The building dating to 1937 presents the entire Armani world, and you could spend hours here moving from the seventh-floor hotel to the Emporio Armani Caffé for coffee or brunch, Armani/Nobu for sushi, and all the Armani fashion universe, including flowers and chocolates. www.armani.com

Related: Milan nightlife: a guide

Stuart Weitzman


This is a store that receives visits from architecture and design students as well as from fashionistas enamoured with Stuart Weitzman’s stylish heels. Zaha Hadid’s interior design features her trademark organic, curving shelves that provide a beautiful stage on which to present the products. www.stuartweitzman.com

Related: San Babila, Milan: a guide

12 The Brian&Barry Building/San Babila

The-BrianBarry-Building-Sanbabila esterno-palazzo-3The Brian&Barry Building

This building to one side of Piazza San Babila starts with a cool café and design store on the ground floor, and then you move up through 12 floors of fashion, beauty, watches, jewellery, home products, food and wine. Whatever your preferences you’ll find something interesting, and the dining venues provide the high-quality fuel you need to keep going. thebrianebarrybuilding.it

Bagatti Valsecchi Museum

rossaBagatti Valsecchi Museum

Art connoisseurs will love this house-museum, originating from the passion for collection of the Bagatti Valsecchi brothers who amassed many quality art pieces but also commissioned copies or pastiches to complete their decorative scheme. The fun comes from trying to distinguish the original artworks from the 19th century additions. In addition to artworks by the likes of Bellini and Zenale, there are sculptures, clocks, furniture items, musical instruments, scientific objects, ceramics, weapons, armour and much more. Open 1pm-5.45pm, closed on Mondays. www.museobagattivalsecchi.org

Poldi Pezzoli Museum

Salone-affrescoPoldi Pezzoli Museum

This is one of the few museums to be open on Mondays, and it is based on a collection gathered by Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli in the late 19th century. Highlights include the profile of a noblewoman by Pollaiolo; other artists represented are Piero della Francesca, Giovanni Bellini, Botticelli, Canaletto and more. Open 10am-6pm, closed on Tuesdays. www.museopoldipezzoli.it


12274529 925724304179458 4439316346334298636 nL'Arabesque © Facebook

Slightly off the beaten track, L’Arabesque blends together a stylish boutique with a glittering vintage clothes store, a design gallery showcasing unique design pieces of furniture from the 1950s and ‘60s, an elegant café and a library with hard to find out-of-print books on fashion, interior design, art and cinema. www.larabesque.net


Pasticceria-Marchesi-2Marchesi Pasticceria

Marchesi is one of Milan’s historic pastry-shops and cafés, founded almost 200 years ago on Corso Magenta where it still exists. The brand was recently purchased by Prada, but it is still run by the Marchesi family. The new location on Via Montenapoleone is a triumph of marble, cherry wood and glass, displaying delectable pastries, chocolates, croissants and much more. If you like this, you’ll love the original in Via Santa Maria alla Porta 11A, on Corso Magenta. www.pasticceriamarchesi.it

Chic & Go

8 paninoARAGOSTAChic & Go

On Milan’s most celebrated shopping street, Chic & Go sells high fashion sandwiches and filled rolls, made using artisanal bread, and finest ingredients such as Loch Duart Scottish salmon, a rare type of mortadella, Angus tartare, lobster, DOP buffalo mozzarella and much more. These super-panini are accompanied by natural fruit juices, artisanal beer and desserts. Open every day 10am-8pm, and they can also deliver. www.chic-and-go.com

1 Bulgari
2 Armani/Manzoni 31
3 Stuart Weitzman
4 12 The Brian&Barry Building/San Babila
5 Bagatti Valsecchi Museum
6 Poldi Pezzoli Museum
7 L'Arabesque
8 Marchesi
9 Chic & Go