A few steps from Milan...
Milan is a mixture of art, culture, shopping and lifestyle and its outlying areas are equally attractive. Discover our pick of these fabulous destinations for an unmissable outof-town trip. By Simona P.K. Daviddi
Our tour begins on the outskirts of Milan at the 17th-century Villa Arconati 1 (www.villaarconati.it). Known also as ‘the small Versailles of Lombardy’, it is set within the vast green spaces of the Groane Park in Bollate. This is a splendid example of Lombardy Baroque architecture, and visitors are welcomed in its frescoed rooms, while summer evenings are jazzed up with a series of concerts and events in its magnificent gardens. We recommend a visit to the Villa Visconti Borromeo Litta 2 (www.villalittalainate.it) which is just a short distance away in Lainate. This neo-classical jewel of architecture is surrounded by a lovely park that earned the title of the ‘Most Beautiful Historical Park in Italy’ in 2016. The Villa is renowned for its Nyphaeum and spectacular water features. A mixture of sacred and profane – the Metropolitan City area is interspersed with numerous abbeys. In fact, there are so many that there is even a Road of Abbeys (www.stradadelleabbazie.it). Our route starts from the Abbey of Chiaravalle 3 , dominated by an imposing, richly frescoed 14th-century bell tower, and continues onwards to the Abbey of Viboldone 4 , one the most beautiful medieval complexes in Lombardy, until we reach Mirasole 5 , a 13th-century monastery which, with its numerous moats, resembles a fortress. After travelling for a few more kilometers, in a southwesterly direction, we come to the Abbey of Morimondo 6 , a former Cistercian monastery renovated in Gothic style.
EN PLEIN AIR
The area housing the abbeys is also the heart of the large Parco Agricolo Sud Milano (www.parcoagricolosudmilano.it). The Park boasts a rich historic and agricultural heritage and comprises old farmsteads, waterways and important residential complexes, including Gaggiano 7 , which, with its small, pastel-coloured houses nestling on both banks of the Naviglio Grande, is well worth a visit. This charming hamlet can be accessed from the city via a scenic bicycle track skirting the canal. The Martesana Canal also offers views of rare beauty as it flows towards the Adda river. Rural centres are interspersed with expanses of greenery (an absolute must is a visit to the Adda Park which can also be crossed by bike or on horseback) and charming urban centres, including Crespi d’Adda 8 , a late 19th-century workers’ village built up around a textiles factory and a UNESCO world heritage site (www.villaggiocrespi.it). However, Milan is not only renowned for its canals. Lying on the outskirts of the city, just behind the airport of Linate, we find the Idroscalo 9 , a large artificial lake set within green surroundings (www.idroscalo. info). The area offers all types of facilities including jogging, horseback riding and bicycle paths, boat, canoe and pedalò hire, recreational fishing and even rugby pitches.
A DAY DEVOTED TO CULTURE
If the weather’s gloomy, don’t despair! This is a great opportunity to visit a museum! Perhaps a historic one like the Alfa Romeo Museum 10 (www. museoalfaromeo.com) in Arese, formerly home to the prestigious factory. This museum has six floors of models that have made motoring history, as well as prototypes and memorabilia. Another must-visit option is the Galleria Campari
11 (www.campari.com) in Sesto San Giovanni, a trip to discover the merchandise and cocktails that have made the brand famous. For lovers of design, the Kartellmuseo 12 (www.kartell. com) in Noviglio is a must see. Located in one of
Lombardy’s most notable examples of industrial architecture, it showcases more than 8,000 objets d’art and 5,000 drawings associated with the famous brand. Another noteworthy museum is Mumac 13 (www.mumac.it) in Binasco: a sleek, redlacquered building, it houses a spectacular display of coffee-making machines.
As with every ‘city on the move’, Milan is constantly enriched with new attractions. Three in particular deserve a special mention. The first is Scalo Milano City Style 14 (www.scalomilano.it) in Locate Triulzi. This new metropolitan district for fashionistas, where design, fashion and food are represented by international super stars and iconic brands, offers a 360-degree shopping experience. The second innovation is found in the area that hosted Expo in 2015 and which has now become Experience Milano 15 (www.experiencemilano.it), a four thousand square metre park (open from May to November) where visitors can attend performances, concerts and sporting events. Other highlights include the fabulous Tree of Life show and the exhibitions staged in the futuristic Palazzo Italia. The third innovation is Milan’s latest attraction dedicated to skydiving. Aero-Gravity 16 , the largest freefall simulator in the world, has just opened in Pero. This is a sophisticated contraption, designed to overcome the force of gravity and support flight, offering visitors the thrill of experiencing what it feels like to jump from an airplane at an altitude of 4,500 metres.
Museo Alfa Romeo