Brera is synonymous with the artistic heart of the city. As you stroll along the streets of this ancient district, you cannot help but be enchanted by its almost surreal atmosphere boasting small artisans' workshops or quaint stores selling canvases and paints.
EDITOR'S TIP Additionally, Brera is home to the impressive Accademia di Belle Arti, where visitors can admire Milan's famous painting collection at the Pinacoteca, the historic Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, the Museo Astronomico, the oldest scientific research institute in the city and the Giardino Botanico. ART, SHOPPING AND ENTERTAINMENT To start your sightseeing tour on the right foot, we suggest stopping for a cup of coffee at Princi, not just an ordinary bakery, but a meeting point where, amidst the heady scents of “brioches” and “cappuccino”, you'll have a chance to begin your day on a high note. A reference point for antique lovers, Brera boasts numerous antique shops and art galleries. Among these, Pettinaroli, just relocated from its historic headquarters near the Duomo to no. 4 via Brera, offers a wide selection of maps and antique prints.
As an aside, those interested in bargains or bric à brac should definitely make time to visit the Mercatino di antiquariato e brocantage, held on the third Sunday of each month. The array of boutiques continues with the elegant artisan footwear sold by Iliprandi or the tailor-made, Italian-style shoes by Alfonso Garlando. Other points of interest include the elegant womenswear boutique Rosso35, Misani's artisanal jewels for him and for her, the original accessories by Angela Caputi Giuggiù and the unique leather accessories by the new Giosa Milano boutique in via Ciovasso, 6.
THE PERFUME DISTRICT At no. 4, we find the new The Merchant of Venice boutique, an historic perfumery epitomizing the art of Venetian perfumemaking offering a luxury line encompassing a wide range of exclusive perfumes for men and women contained in elegant bottles inspired by the tradition of the city's famous hand-blown Murano glass (www.themerchantofvenice.com). Our next port of call is via Fiori Chiari, where we find the beautiful window displays of Culti Milano. The brand also has a boutique at no. 53 corso Venezia (www.culti.com). Other must-visits while in the area include Olfattorio Bar-à-Parfums (via Brera 5, www.olfattorio.it), Diptyque (via Brera 23, www.diptyqueparis.eu), Profumo (via Brera 6, www.profumomilano.com), the new Amouage boutique (via Fiori Chiari 7, www.amouage.com), Dr.Vranjes (via Fiori Chiari 24, http://drvranjes.it), Officina Profumo - Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (via Madonnina, www. smnovella.com), Creed (via Madonnina 17, creed.cale.it), 9Nine (via Ponte Vetero 22, www.beautysanspa.com) and Fragonard (via Solferino 2, www.fragonard.com).