My City – Milan
Carlo Traglio, president and CEO of Italian jewellery brand Vhernier, tells us of his Milan must-dos
For visitors to Milan, there are three hotels in the centre of the Quadrilatero d’Oro shopping area that I would recommend: Four Seasons Hotel Milan for its unique atmosphere and 15th-century cloister; the recently refurbished Grand Hotel et de Milan for its traditional décor, history and famous guests like composer Giuseppe Verdi, who stayed at the hotel for several years; and the elegant and relaxed Hotel Manzoni.
For a cultural fix, visit the Cloister of Santa Maria delle Grazie to see Il Cenacolo (The Last Supper) by Leonardo da Vinci; I spent hours captivated by this work by one of the greatest Renaissance artists. Pinacoteca di Brera displays works by major Italian artists from the 13th to the 20th centuries, including Andrea Mantegna’s Lamentation over the Dead Christ, a source of inspiration for many painters after him. Another top spot is the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, a ‘house museum’ opened in 1881 that was once a private residence and collection.
For modern and contemporary art, stop by the Museo del Novecento in the Palazzo dell’Arengario, and don’t miss the Milan Expo, which runs until October 31. Art and design fans should also visit Triennale, the most extraordinary museum of art and design, and stroll along Via Solferino in the Brera district, which has many small shops filled with furniture, art and crafts. Villa Necchi Campiglio, meanwhile, is a treasure of art and architecture where you can see the evolution from Art Deco to rationalist architectural styles. The beautifully-preserved villa belongs to the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano), a private foundation that restores and manages historic houses and castles.
Milan is, of course, one of the world’s great fashion capitals and the city’s best luxury boutiques are found in Quadrilatero d’Oro, a square formed by Via Montenapoleone (where you’ll find the flagship Vhernier boutique at number 21), Via Sant’Andrea, Via Monzani and Via della Spiga.
For the best fine-dining, make reservations at Baretto al Baglioni at the Carlton Hotel Baglioni and La Veranda at the Four Seasons (dining in the cloister feels like you’re immersed in a romantic Italian garden). Bice on Via Borgospesso has retro furniture and excellent Milanese food, while Ristorante Solferino, known as Il Solferino, is another top choice for typical Milanese food. For lunch on the run, stop by Conti Cafè Milano in Via Montenapoleone or Il Salumaio in Via Santo Spirito, the latter serving good food in a neo-Renaissance courtyard. A dish you must try in Milan is Risotto alla Milanese (saffron-infused risotto) with Cotoletta (Milanese veal cutlet) or Ossobuco (veal shanks).
Raise a glass at Il Camparino in Piazza Duomo, the traditional cocktail bar of Milan, and Radetzky for its buzzy and crowded atmosphere. Most people don’t know this about Milan but there is still a system of canals and waterways called Navigli, recently restored, which were designed by Leonardo da Vinci. The district is also home to cosy restaurants and small markets with antiques and other curiosities and is especially nice in the evening.
Finally, don’t leave without experiencing a sumptuous Sunday brunch buffet at Peck, the most extraordinary Italian food emporium near the Duomo, where chef Matteo Vigotti proposes exciting new gourmet dishes.