The new dichotomies of Milan
New locations and little-known spots in the capital of design, revealed exclusively in MStyle.
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  (www.fondazioneprada.org/torre) 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 , 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  (www.teatrofrancoparenti.it). 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  (www.bagnimisteriosi.com), 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  (www. museodelnovecento.org/it), 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  (www.triennale.org), 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  1824 (www.pasticceriamarchesi.com/it) 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  . 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  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 , 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  (mudec.it/eng/museum) 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  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.