A Different Milan
14 April, 2014
By Tensi Sánchez from actitudesmgz.com
Milan has been the economic, industrial and financial capital of Italy since the 1970s. Nonetheless, all the attention on this city is garnered by its expensive fashion boutiques and the majestic cathedral, one of the most perfect and famous religious to be found anywhere in the world.
Walking around the edge of the old historic centre evokes feelings of the industrial city that Milan still is today, but the more central streets of the inner city exude history through their old buildings and it is easy to understand why this used to be a major capital of the Roman Empire.
I have discovered many interesting shops, restaurants and galleries in the historic centre that offer a great alternative to the typical tourist trails through the city and a great way to fill a morning. Travelling on the metro or the tram is the best option and, what’s more, the tram network still uses a few carriages that date back to the 1920s. Taking a ride around the city on one of those old trams is an irresistible treat.
It has become hugely fashionable of late to partake of the so-called brunch, that undefined area somewhere between breakfast and lunch. At Zerodue, they offer brunch every Sunday but you should get there before midday because the place fills up so quickly. They have a varied buffet and the decoration is to die for. Radetzky Café can be found in Garibaldi street and is also very famous for its brunches, as well as for the “cotolettas alla milanese” (Milanese cutlets).
The best hamburger in the city is served at Mamaburger, where the décor is totally minimal and rather unusual to say the least. Still on the subject of hamburgers, 202 Hamburger & Delicious and Tizzy’s are also highly recommendable.
Milan is also a bustling hive of activity insofar as art is concerned. The city is simply bursting with contemporary art galleries.
The Galería de Carla Sotaní has ties to the famous and very pricey fashion boutique 10corsocomo. Before venturing into the gallery, visitors have the chance to explore the Box and Design Shop that can be found on the same floor.
If you are a lover of design, this is the perfect city for you. The five-storey Hightech building will keep you entertained for hours, and also has a restaurant and cafeteria for recharging your batteries. Here you will find all sorts of never-before-seen curiosities presented in a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere. The place describes itself as “a sea port in the city”.
At 89 Porta di Ticinese you will come acrossOltolini; a shop dedicated to all things designer kitchen at more than reasonable prices.
Finally, I was thrilled to discover Aspesi 1910; a shop selling 100% ‘Made in Italy’ glasses that has been operating in the city for more than 100 years. You will find a host of unimaginable designs and colours well within reach.
Fashion in Milan simply cannot be ignored. The Porta di Ticinese district and neighbouring streets are full of small boutiques waiting to be discovered. Here are a few that surprised me because they try to step away from the conventional:
Maison I Yamakabe – Italian jewellery with personality and originality; Panca’s Designer – different footwear;
Dictionary Milano – men’s and women’s fashion with such brands as Scotch & Soda, Camo; Frip – a very cool shop where you can find such brands as Acne and their Little brand Frippino for the small, budding musketeers in the house; unique records and accessories at Serendeepity; and finally, two shops dedicated to the world of vintage clothes and complements, Groupies and Lo Especchio di Alice.
One of my favourite hotels in Milan is the Crowne Plaza, with its impeccable interior design and magnificent outdoor terrace. However, its best feature for me is that the entrance to the metro is inside the hotel itself, thus making it a rather unique hotel.
Before going to a party in Milan, one usually enjoys an aperitif at about 7 in the evening. It is an inexpensive and entertaining way to start the night. A typical aperitif consists of a good “Negroni” accompanied by some modest snacks. Nowadays, the aperitif scene has become a veritable institution of the city’s night life and is the reason why most bars offer a variety of tasty dishes to eat in the evening, including pasta, risotto, salads and some more exotic food dotted around. The aperitif has thus become a valid alternative to dinner at just the price of a cocktail (between 5 and 10 euros) in a great atmosphere with good music.
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PS: The recipe for a Negroni
INGREDIENTS: 1/3 gin; 1/3 Campari (bitter); 1/3 red Vermouth
Pour all the ingredients straight into a single glass with only a couple of ice cubes (max.). Never use crushed ice because the Negroni should never be watered down. Mix well and serve in a cold cocktail glass. Some people add a few drops of lemon to enhance the flavour, especially the gin. However, the original formula would be served with a slice of orange on the rim of the glass.
A “Negroni” is a great aperitif for stimulating your appetite. It was invented in the early 1900s and its name comes from Camillo Negroni, who always used to order the same cocktail in Florence. Cheers!
By Tensi Sánchez from actitudesmgz.com
Photography: Rubén Seco
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14 April, 2014