I LOVE SHOPPING
It's sale time and the city is inundated with hordes of fashion addicts in search of desirable objects. To survive sale-time fever you need quick reflexes, flat shoes, a well thought out plan and our invaluable suggestions!
To survive sale-time fever you need a well thought out plan and... our invaluable suggestions!
Milan is the fashion capital of the world. In case you don't believe this, various surveys conducted over the past few years have confirmed that Milan is the number one luxury-shopping destination. While the so-called ‘Quadrilatero della Moda', which includes via Montenapoleone, via della Spiga, via Manzoni and Corso Venezia, is the place that has the highest average price tags (followed by Paris, New York and London) and the largest concentration of the most prestigious designer boutiques, new highend shopping districts (several located outof-town) are gradually emerging. With such a wide selection, it is not surprising that the whole city is alive with shoppers during the eagerly awaited summer and winter sales. In Milan, summer sales run from 7 July to 30 August. Where and what to buy? What are the main attractions in your area of choice, and where can you unwind and recharge your batteries after all this shopping? Sit back and relax, we've got all the answers!
A FASHION VICTIM’S PARADISE Our tour starts from the world's most famous fashion district, the labyrinth of cobbled streets that winds between via Montenapoleone, via Sant'Andrea, via Borgospesso, via Santo Spirito, via Gesù and via Manzoni. It's a real open-air shopping mall, where haute couture takes centre stage and a profusion of eye-catching window displays will make the eyes of even the most hardened fashionistas sparkle. Here, in the space of just a few hundred
metres, you'll find everything your heart desires, including boutiques, museums, restaurants and luxury hotels. If fashion is your thing and you're interested in learning more about its history, then a visit to Palazzo Morando (www.costumemodaimmagine.mi.it), the headquarters of the museum of costumes, fashion and image, is an absolute must. If you're feeling frazzled after browsing all the boutiques in the area, take a break and head to Cova, a historic pastry shop located at no. 8 via Montenapoleone (www. covamilano.com). Now that you're refreshed, carry on walking until you reach another reference point for upmarket shopping, the picturesque, iconic and simply spectacular Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. After honoring the Milanese tradition of spinning around three times and firmly grinding your heel into the testicles of the bull depicted on the mosaic flooring, you can indulge yourself by purchasing something from one of the fabulous boutiques lining the Galleria including Prada, Versace, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Borsalino. If you're a fan of aerial views, you're in for a treat! The Galleria now offers a spectacular rooftop view thanks to the Highline Galleria (www.highlinegalleria.com), a pedestrian walkway that runs along the rooftops of the Galleria, where you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the Duomo and its surrounding streets. Known as the ‘Living Room of Milan', the Galleria, in addition to various historic bars and restaurants, now boasts a new starred restaurant owned by the renowned Carlo Cracco. Four floors of sheer culinary heaven, where you can dine, have breakfast or indulge in the renowned Milanese aperitivo ritual (www. ristorantecracco.it). If you're a fan of street
food, a few metres further on, at no. 16 via Santa Radegonda, you'll find Luini (www. luini.it), a historic bakery renowned for its utterly delectable panzerotti. Stand patiently in line and order one of their pillowy fried dough parcels stuffed with tomato and mozzarella. From here, you can easily walk towards Corso Vittorio Emanuele II that boasts a mecca of large international chains and ready-to-wear clothing, including H&M, Zara and Sephora, which are always packed, especially on weekends, and patronized by young, fashion-conscious Milanese in search of the latest trends. If you're not keen to wander from shop to shop, loaded down with purchases, then we've got the answer. Just enter one of the many entrances of the Rinascente department store, all located just steps from Piazza Duomo. The store has ten floors of temptations for aficionados of luxury shopping. This prestigious chain offers a vast selection of the most prestigious fashion labels and accessories for men, women and children, the best beauty brands, exclusive objets d'art from design greats, plus an array of fabulous gourmet food, all under one roof. (www.rinascente.it).
NICHE SHOPPING Real Milanese trendsetters, those who would never dream of mingling with the crowds, shop in the Ticinese area and surrounding neighbourhoods. Here, amongst the columns of San Lorenzo and the Navigli, you'll find numerous trendy boutiques, niche labels and small vintage shops where, if you know how to look, it's still possible to bag a bargain and find showrooms that sell to the public. Those wishing to get acquainted with fashion's newest kids on the block should head to Mariza Tassy's boutique overlooking the Parco delle Basiliche (www.marizatassy.it). If you're in search of sassy, sexy bikinis and lingerie, make sure to drop in at Individuals, a must-visit store located at no. 11 via
Vigevano, just steps from the Porta Genova railway station (www.individuals.it). If you need a breather from all this retail therapy, head to Six Gallery, a concept store hidden in a charming Milanese courtyard a few steps from the Darsena. The store comprises a bistro, an art gallery and a flower shop (www.six-gallery.com). If you're headed towards the Navigli, don't miss the Darsena, the city's recently restructured old mercantile port, bursting with locales and artists' studios. If you're interested in discovering the city from a different perspective, treat yourself to a picturesque cruise on the Navigli (www.milancanalcruises.it). The 5 Vie, a district marking the convergence of 5 historic streets in the heart of the city, is another great area to source unique, original items. Boasting picturesque courtyards, artisan workshops and an oldworld atmosphere, this historic corner of Milan hosts several unexpected gems that will captivate the hearts of fashionistas and design aficionados alike. Two great addresses are Wait and See, in Via Santa Marta 14, a boutique selling edgy, colourful fashion items (www.waitandsee.it) and Funky Table – located at no. 19 of the same street – an eccentric space renowned for its whimsical, eclectic array of home ware and design objects from all over the world (www. funkytable.it). The area's picturesque streets include several gems marking the history of Milan, including Piazza San Sepolcro. Formerly the site of a Roman forum, the piazza now hosts a church dedicated to Saint Sepulchre, which was built in 1030 and restructured several times until its present-day shape. MODERN TIMES Beneath the imposing UniCredit Tower, one of the symbols of the Milanese skyline, you'll find the newest and most modern part of Milan, home to the skyscrapers of Porta Nuova and Piazza Gae Aulenti. In addition to the latter, the area also contains the Corso Como complex, where you'll find some of the most famous and fanciest clubs in Milan alongside fashion and art hotspots. If shopping is your objective you'll be spoilt for choice in piazza Gae Aulenti. The piazza hosts numerous bookshops, perfumeries and design or clothing shops, including Replay, which has a picturesque restaurant and bar with a panoramic terrace (www.replaythestage. com). Those looking for respite from the summer heat should head to Grom (www.grom.it), the famous gelateria located opposite the UniCredit Pavilion, a stunning example of contemporary architecture that hosts concerts and events (www.unicreditpavilion.it). Are you dying for a cup of top-quality Italian coffee? At Illy Caffè (www.illy.com) it's prepared under a breathtaking chandelier comprised of 200 coffee cups – all collector's items. And then there are the famous communicating trumpets: 23 brass pipes
that connect the square to the shopping mall beneath it via a cavity, allowing communication between the two levels like a wireless telephone. Both tourists and the Milanese love using these pipes, and find themselves behaving like kids. Continuing onwards from the square along the fashion ramp of via Vicenzo Capelli that's lined with breathtaking boutiques, including those of Maison Margiela and Christian Louboutin, you'll find yourself in Corso Como, home to historic concept store 10 Corso Como, an oasis of luxury hidden in the courtyard of a Milanese tenement with communal balconies. This eclectic hybrid of fashion boutique, café, gallery and bookshop is a strikingly chic destination and a must-visit for discerning fashion and art lovers (www.10corsocomo.com). Just a little further on, in Piazza XV Aprile, another late 19th century courtyard is home to High Tech, a 2,000 square metre haven for lovers of industrial design, furnishing accessories, homeware and highend perfumes (www.cargomilano.it). If you're starting to feel hungry, just cross the street and enter Eataly Milano Smeraldo, where you'll find every Italian specialty of your dreams, plus others that you might not have known existed (www.eataly.net).
Another futuristic complex that has changed the skyline of Milan is that of the ‘Tre Torri', comprising the Hadid Tower, the Libeskind Tower (still under construction) and the Isozaki Tower, beneath which you'll find the recently built CityLife Shopping District, the largest urban district dedicated to shopping in Italy, featuring 80 shops, a supermarket, 20 restaurants and bars and a multiplex cinema. Situated in the old fairgrounds, in the north-western area of Milan, it caters to the every requirement of shopaholics with a variety of brands ranging from the large chains of international fashion like Guess or Levi’s to highend Italian brands like Max&Co, department stores like Coin Excelsior and popular design brands like Habitat, which has chosen this mall to open its first Italian sales point (citylifeshoppingdistrict.it).
On leaving piazza Gae Aulenti, you’ll notice the stark contrast between the area’s futuristic buildings and the Corso Como district with its banister houses and hidden courtyards.
Chiara Zaccarelli Travel Editor Where® Italia
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Rinascente Milano from the Duomo terraces
Wait and See