An insider's guide to Milan
Bacaro del Sambuco
Via MonteNapoleone, 20121 Milano
My ideal lunch break is at the Bacaro del Sambuco, in via MonteNapoleone; time has stopped in this beautiful little courtyard garden with tables; the cuisine is exquisite and it is managed by a family — the father welcomes the clients, the daughter serves at the tables and the mother is at the stove in the kitchen. Lunch is offered in a sheltered, elegant inner-court garden or in one of its rooms furnished in French style like a little postmodern bistrot. It serves a number of typical Italian dishes in an ambience that's both relaxing and enchanting. Some say that their tiramisù is the best in Milan, and who am I to deny it?
Teatro Alla Scala
Via Filodrammatici 2, 20121 Milano
One of the world’s most famous theatres, this has been a stage for internationally renowned artists for some 200 years now and has commissioned operas that are still on the repertory in theatres all over the world. It has had its own choir, orchestra and ballet corps since its foundation in 1778 and in 1982 it also became the home of the Filarmonica. Its glorious dynasty of conductors includes Toscanini, De Sabata, Wilhelm Furtwängler, and Herbert von Karajan. There are two surprises to be had on the first floor: you can look into one of the theatre’s boxes and also admire, in rotation, some of the sumptuous stage costumes.
Piazza del Duomo 21, 20121 Milano
The ideal day in Milan starts at Il Camparino, the historic "in-and-out" bar, perfect for a stand-up breakfast in true Milanese style. It's been my family bar for generations, and it's incredible how it hasn't changed in one hundred years — the counter's inlay work, is by the famed ebonist Quarti. Campari's historic bar is in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, on the corner with Piazza Duomo, in the heart of Milan. Like fashion and design, Camparino is one of the city's emblems, as well as symbolizing the birth of the "aperitif" tradition. It has always been the fulcrum of Milanese society life and a favourite haunt of top Italian showbiz people, past and present, such as the De Filippo brothers and Vittorio De Sica and today's Diego Abatantuono and Nina Zilli.
Villa Necchi Campiglio
Via Mozart 14, 20122 Milano
At least one afternoon should be spent at Villa Necchi, in the heart of the “Quadrilateral of Silence”; perfectly preserved, it reminds us what Milan used to be — secret and elegant. This was designed by Piero Portaluppi between 1932 and 1935 for the Necchi sisters, whose family was an icon of Lombardia’s affluent and industrious bourgeoisie. It's a little oasis of green in the centre of Milan, ideal for reading a book beside the pool in the shade of centuries-old magnolias.
Via San Rocco 8, 20135 Milano
If interior design is your thing, I'd suggest a place that very few know about: it's called FLAIM and it's run by a young man called Riccardo. The place has original furnishing accessories in 19th and 20 century styles that would delight any collector.
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