The new di­chotomies of Mi­lan

New lo­ca­tions and lit­tle-known spots in the cap­i­tal of de­sign, re­vealed ex­clu­sively in MStyle.

M Style - - What To Do In - Text: Marisa San­ta­maría

The words new, vi­brant and in­no­va­tive are of­ten re­peated in this ar­ti­cle. It’s in­evitable—they’re the defin­ing qual­i­ties that Mi­lan ex­udes on ev­ery street cor­ner. It’s a city that has never ceased to grow and sur­prise us year after year. Start­ing with the stark con­trast of tra­di­tion and the clas­sics, we sug­gest dif­fer­ent ways to get ac­quainted with the many sides of Mi­lan.

Clas­sic and in­no­va­tive restau­rants

The brand-new Torre restau­rant [1] (www.fon­ sits atop the tower that has trans­formed Mi­lan’s sky­line. From this van­tage point you’ll see the city in a whole new way, from the build­ing’s foun­da­tions and con­tem­po­rary art—spon­sored by the Fon­dazione Prada—to the panoramic view fad­ing into the hori­zon, which you can en­joy from the rooftop ter­race.

For con­trast, a few me­tres from the Torre you’ll find the Tav­erna Cal­abi­ana [2], a clas­sic trat­to­ria whose owner, Alessan­dro, goes out of his way to make each diner’s ex­pe­ri­ence un­for­get­table. The va­ri­ety of Lom­bard cui­sine is di­vine; there’s a rea­son Mi­uc­cia Prada and her hus­band, Pa­trizio Bertelli, are reg­u­lars here. They’re es­pe­cially fond of the restau­rant’s in­ner court­yard.

Baths to re­lax and theatre to make you think

Two years ago, renowned theatre direc­tor and en­tre­pre­neur An­drée Ruth Shammah de­cided to re­store the Caimi swim­ming pool and its ad­join­ing build­ings, with their 1930s ra­tio­nal­ist style. They’re lo­cated right be­side the theatre she man­ages, the Teatro Franco Par­enti [3] (www.teatrofran­co­par­ With the help of the Fon­dazione Pier Lom­bardo, she’s re­vived this spec­tac­u­lar com­plex that in­cludes a theatre, pool, li­brary and restau­rant. The Ital­ian tra­di­tion of pub­lic baths serv­ing as spots for gath­er­ings, in­ter­ac­tions and en­joy­ment is both ob­vi­ous and un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated. These are open year round and clearly hon­our their name: Bagni Mis­te­riosi [4] (www.bag­n­imis­te­, a ti­tle that al­ludes to Gior­gio de Chirico’s foun­tain and sev­eral of his works.

Ex­hi­bi­tions from the 20th and 21st cen­turies

Ex­plore the jux­ta­po­si­tions of the 20th and 21st cen­turies: de­sign and func­tion­al­ity, de­sign and art, de­sign and tech­nol­ogy and more. In the city of Made in Italy, you can dive into a fas­ci­nat­ing anal­y­sis of cre­ativ­ity’s evo­lu­tion and con­nec­tions to the paths of de­sign, at two dis­tinct yet com­ple­men­tary mu­se­ums.

The first is the Museo del Nove­cento [5] (www. museodel­nove­, lo­cated in a build­ing in the shad­ows of the Duomo: the Palazzo dell’Aren­gario, right in the cen­tre of the Pi­azza del Duomo it­self. The revolutionary cre­ative man­i­fes­ta­tions of the 20th cen­tury are dis­played here both to ed­u­cate and to en­ter­tain. The sec­ond is La Triennale [6] (, the ul­ti­mate au­thor­ity on the im­pe­tus driv­ing dif­fer­ent kinds of de­sign. It re­flects end­lessly upon the ad­vance­ments and mir­a­cles of de­sign in the cur­rent cen­tury, con­sult­ing with artists, ar­chi­tects, philoso­phers and all sorts of de­sign­ers.

Sweets and gelato with well-de­served fame

The Pas­tic­ce­ria March­esi [7] 1824 (www.pas­tic­ce­riamarch­ has been res­cued from decay, dis­missal and dis­ap­pear­ance by none other than Mi­uc­cia Prada. This cre­ative busi­ness­woman has an in­fi­nite sen­si­bil­ity for fash­ion, art and ev­ery­thing re­lated to beauty and in­no­va­tion of the ex­quis­ite. Each de­tail takes us through the past en route to the fu­ture, fea­tur­ing de­li­cious Lom­bard sweets along the way.

All the fame at­trib­uted to Ital­ian ice cream starts to make sense when you try one of the hun­dred ar­ti­sanal flavours at Ri­no­mata Ge­la­te­ria [8] . En­joy a noc­ci­ola (hazel­nut) gelato and a sun­set walk among the Nav­igli, ar­ti­fi­cial canals de­signed by Leonardo da Vinci.

Gar­dens made for med­i­ta­tion

The Botan­i­cal Gar­den of Br­era [9] is a rare and peace­ful refuge lo­cated in­cred­i­bly close to the city’s lux­ury shop­ping area, Mon­te­napoleone, and next to the Pi­na­coteca di Br­era. De­spite this, it’s al­ways empty. It’s man­aged di­rectly by the Isti­tuto di Fisica Gen­erale Ap­pli­cata of the Univer­sità degli Studi di Mi­lano and is an ab­so­lute won­der, with more than 300 plant species.

But Mi­lan’s crowning nov­elty is the Li­brary of Trees [10], a gar­den de­signed by Pe­tra Blaisse in the new part of the city: Porta Nuova. This ex­ces­sive use of the word ‘new’ may seem re­dun­dant, but there’s no other way to de­scribe the un­ceas­ing nov­el­ties of Mi­lan’s resur­gence.

Mu­se­ums that main­tain col­lec­tive mem­ory

Mudec [11] (­seum) delves deep into the cul­ture and his­tory of mankind, hu­man ori­gins and our planet’s evo­lu­tion. Its spec­tac­u­lar spa­ces were de­signed by the renowned ar­chi­tect David Chip­per­field, who left an es­pe­cially dis­tinc­tive mark on the light­ing ef­fects in the vaulted area above the es­ca­la­tors.

The House of Mem­ory [12] uses its dis­plays, ex­hi­bi­tions and con­fer­ences to ex­press Mi­lan and Italy’s hec­tic his­tory, rev­o­lu­tions, changes and so­cial, cul­tural and eco­nomic up­heavals, help­ing us to un­der­stand both the present and fu­ture of this fas­ci­nat­ing city.

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