A Weekend in Milan

Milan is quickly becoming one of the most international and dynamic cities in Europe.  More than just the fashion capital of Italy, they are smartly capitalizing on the uncertainty created by Brexit and working to attract new talent across various sectors.  Coupled with Italy's affinity for aesthetic and quality of life, Milan is a gorgeous and exciting city worth adding to your next Italian itinerary.  Here's how I spent a long 4 day weekend in one of my new favorite places.

We rented an Airbnb in the Brera district which was one of my favorite neighborhoods in Milan.  Conveniently located and full of cute shops, cafes and restaurants, it could perhaps be considered the Soho of Milan.  One of my favorite coffee shops was called Botega Caffe' Cacao.  The owner is extremely friendly, the coffee is delicious, fresh pressed juices are available and it was a great spot to watch all of the fashionable Milanese come and go each day.

For shopping in Milan, trust me, you do not need my help.  There are gorgeous shops everywhere you turn, so just explore the city and stumble into whatever gems you find.  There is one shop that I discovered though that is worth seeking out as a destination if you are lover of statement jewelry like I am.  Vitti Ferria Contin right next to Botega Caffe' Cacao in Brera is to die for.

Shopping in Brera

For an amazing, romantic, yet casual Italian meal in Brera, be sure to check out Rovello 18.  Their pastas are a must (we actually came back twice for the seafood linguine) but there are so many things worth trying.  So order a lot and share everything.

Another must-see neighborhood is Navigli, which is as close to the "Brooklyn of Italy" as one will find.  Here, the fashion was a bit edgier, vintage shops lined the canals and hipster coffee shops were a dime-a-dozen.  The only downside?....vintage is NOT cheap in Italy!  So be careful. :) 

Grab lunch outside at Al Pont de Ferr then a coffee at Mag Cafe and spend a couple of hours wandering the streets, cafes and shops. If you're there until the evening, be sure to pop into Backdoor43, a literal hole in the wall, secret speakeasy with take-away drinks created by the owners of Mag Cafe.  But this place is so cool, I recommend having your drinks to stay.

Streets of Navigli

Mag Cafe, same owners as Backdoor43

Al Pont de Ferr pea soup with house-made breads

Backdoor43

Cocktail to go at Backdoor43, with some swimmies in case you want to take a dip in the canal.

There isn't as much sightseeing to do in Milan as there is in Rome, but there are definitely a few things worth checking out.  Namely the incredible cathedral in the piazza.  There is a place called Giacomo Arengario that has a beautiful terrace overlooking this piazza.  The food and service are literally terrible, so don't waste your money, but the view is worth one drink on your way to the next stop.

 

Terrace at Giacomo Arengario

View of Piazza del Duomo from Giacomo Arengario

Another sight worth visiting is the Sforza Medieval Castle.  This fortress houses many art treasures as well as exhibits showcasing old battle armor, weapons and more.

One of the most beautiful things about Milan is the architecture.  If you can, explore some of the residential areas and marvel at the incredible craftsmanship that went into creating every detail of the building.  We were invited to a cocktail party at a friend's home who lived in this incredible building located in the neighborhood of Porta Venezia.

I hope this inspires you to add a stop in Milan to your next Italian vacation.  Be sure to check out my post on where to eat in Milan for more details on my favorite restaurants.  

Until next time Milano, ciao e un bacione.

Earrings by Vitti Ferria Contin