Every element of the city is the epitome of this disarming dichotomy – the clash of the ancient with the industrial, handmade with machine-made and classic with edgy
What makes Milan a unique bastion of culture, cuisine and craftsmanship is its charmingly paradoxical character. Every element of the city is the epitome of this disarming dichotomy – the clash of the ancient with the industrial, handmade with machine-made and classic with edgy. For instance, the Milan cathedral dating back to several centuries seems to be having an interesting conversation with the luxury shopping mall, La Rinascente located in its vicinity. While the cathedral looks timelessly magnificent and seems to puncture the Milanese skyline, the impeccably refurbished mall caters to all your luxe needs. From the fresh-off-the-runway merchandise – all pragmatically curated to the toasty and welcoming food court on the top floor, a trip to Milan would be incomplete without a mall visit. If one’s looking at high street shopping, then there are a plenty of stores clamouring for one’s attention with their interesting window showcase – all nestled around the Duomo – from Uniqlo and Stradivarius to Bershka and Pull and Bear.
A Mecca for vintage finds
DMag outlets in Milan are your best bet, if you’re looking for designers pieces from the previous seasons at pocket-friendly prices. There are three outlets located in the city, and I’d strongly recommend checking all of them out. From Paul Smith and Balmain shirts to Miu Miu shoes and Saint Laurent bombers to Bottega Veneta coats – all up for grabs in mint condition and at great price points. It’s also a treasure for accessories junkie like me as one could pick a nifty Armani backpack or a Valentino clutch at a reasonable price. The merchandise is well-curated and astutely showcased and what’s best – the staff is friendly and attentive. What’s not
Soak in the street style
Unlike London and Paris, Milan street style is way more multi-layered and complex. Picture a lot of tailored pieces, nifty sunglasses and a generous pop of colours in terms of accessories like pocket squares and shoes. Italian men love sporting different hues of blue – from rich navy to deep midnight – playing with this palette in terms of layers and separates. A navy blue pin-striped, double breasted suit cut close to the shoulders and waist teamed with cropped pants or cuffed denims so as to expose a hint of the ankle is the go-to pick for Milan’s preening peacocks. While women love sporting head-to-black accented with a bold red lip, a section of them could just throw you off-kilter with a statement-making, multi-hued coat from either Etro or Missoni and statement earrings. Daring, risk-taking and seductive, Milanese street style is singular and stands out for its inimitable appeal. Just sit at a cafe and indulge in some people-watching and get
Check out Fondazione Prada
Over decades, Italians have refined the fine art of savouring coffee. A cup of steaming cappuccino kissed with chocolate and a cream croissant never disappoints. I went to my favourite Prada Cafe for breakfast and then enjoyed an exhibit (a curation of historical artefacts handpicked by filmmaker, Wes Anderson and his wife and collaborator, Juman Malouf) comprising 537 objects and titled ‘Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures’ which attempted to engage audiences in an evocative manner at Fondazione Prada.
Lunch at Trattoria Torre Di Pisa
Perhaps the best pasta in Milan, either savour their homemade ravioli or the Tuscan ‘rigatoni’ (type of large macaroni), it’s the ideal spot for a long and lazy lunch, which comes to life thanks to its indulgent cooking in the extra virgin Tuscan olive oils. Pick from their classic starters like the ham and the seasoned toasted bread and then savour the fresh tagliatelle with cherry tomatoes sourced from the hills.
Dine at Paper Moon
If you’re craving the authentic burrata and truffle pizza, then make sure you have made dinner reservations at the swish Paper Moon restaurant. Top it off with a glass of white wine and their artisanal tiramisu.
Art of aperitivo
When in Milan, do as the Milanese do. One of the charming Italian traditions is the aperitivo, a drink/light meal that’s savoured at the end of the workday as a kind of warm up to dinner. Go for a walk in the evening in the scenic Navigli as a slew of moony canal-caressing cafes light up. Ditch the pizza for the classic Mexican food and aperitif at Maya in Navigli, which has a Mayan-themed decor.